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Monday, a Good Day to Read.

Posted: March 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

This morning I woke up for the second week in a row where I just didn’t feel like going to yoga- at first I chalked it up to daylight savings, but I think I need to just suck it up and go.  I’ve been having a rough time exercising these past few weeks, and for me, lethargy breeds more lethargy.

On my walk to work, I stopped by Holey Bagel to pick up some breakfast. Oatmeal wasn’t going to cut it – I needed Jewish comfort food, and by that I mean a toasted poppyseed bagel with lox spread. There’s not much more Jewish than that – and Holey Bagel does a pretty good job fulfilling my East Coast bagel snobbery requirements.

bagel with cream cheese

Because of my morning funk, I was in a similarly odd mood when I headed to the grocery store (I couldn’t make up my mind at home of what to bring, so I thought that shopping would be a better idea – just to get myself out of the house in the morning.) I opted for a cup of black bean soup, and an organic pink lady apple. The apple was on sale, and I always forget how much I like apples until I bite into the thing around 5 o’clock and it gives me a nice little afternoon boost.

This black bean soup was good, but not great. And I can make a pretty great black bean soup, so it only reaffirms the fact that I should be making a bigger effort to cook my own lunches rather than go for convenience!

black bean soup 

The day was mostly a relaxing one – I kept the door wide open at the store, and people came in in jovial moods, ready to discuss the new Pastry in Europe 2010, my opinions on Lucinda Scala Quinn’s ‘Mad Hungry, Feeding Men and Boys’ (favorable!!), and the highlight – a woman who came in looking for a second copy of Nigella’s ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ after I had just been assuring our neighbor Donna that it would be a nice gift, and she was holding the only copy in her hands. What is it about these coincidences that always happen?

And I finished up reading Tara Austen Weaver’s ‘The Butcher and the Vegetarian’ about her foray into meat eating, and the ethical, gastronomical, and practical questions it raised. (She grew up a vegetarian in West Marin, and didn’t start eating meat until her late twenties under doctor’s recommendation).

One of the underlining take home messages from the book: If I’m going to eat it, I’d like to know how it is raised, what it ate, and where it comes from. I’ll make an informed decision, and not make it lightly. I’d also like to know my farmers, and my butchers, thank you very much.

And with that in mind, I started planning my dinner.

I stopped at home first after work, and after a brief mental struggle, opted to put my butternut squash in the oven to roast. This butternut squash has been sitting on my counter for over a month, the last standing of a farm box that I’ve long since eaten the rest of. Somehow, the squash sat there, lonely, calling out to me, but it wasn’t until the weather turned almost too nice to eat a squash that I decided I might as well do something about it.

And then, in honor of Tara’s book, I decided to head to Drewes’ and see what small piece of meat might call out to me. Being spring time, I opted for a lamb chop. It’s been quite some time since I’ve eaten lamb, and thought that it was fitting, as Nigel Slater happened to eat a mustard lamb chop right around this season in his book ‘The Kitchen Diaries’, his journal of a years worth of dinners. (It’s currently on remainder and out of stock most places, but if you can snag a copy somewhere, I highly recommend it.)

I decided that Nigel’s method of preparation seemed exactly what I wanted to do – mash a few cloves of garlic with some sea salt in a mortar and pestle (I had to take some dried dates and mysterious leaves out of mine… it’s been some time since we’ve been together) and then stir in a tablespoon or so of good grainy mustard, for which I used Maille, the juice of a lemon, and a few glugs of olive oil.

Usually you would rub the chops with the marinade, and let it go for as long as you can wait, or at least an hour, but I was feeling impatient, and opted to stick it into the oven at 425 F, for about 25 minutes.

Right as it was finishing, I ripped up the last of some swiss chard that I had from the last farm box, and put it on a baking pan with a little bit of mystery cheese (manchego perhaps?) to make some chard “chips”. I took the lamb out, and popped the leaves in – letting the lamb rest for about five minutes as the chard got crisp.

lamb chop

Dinner, it turns out, was quite good. Except maybe the squash. I think I’ve gotten used to the sweeter kabocha, and this wasn’t quite as flavorful.

I almost finished on a healthy note, but at the last minute tonight opted for a late night snack – the most recently ubiquitous pita pizza that seems to have invaded our diets this week. Devon made himself one, and I too, couldn’t resist. Mine was pita, slathered with a thin coating of barbecue sauce, and a layer of cheddar, baked for about 10 minutes until everything was crispy.

pita pizza

And now, perhaps some sleep.

I have to wake up tomorrow for my farm box, and to work on my next literary adventure – Gordon Edgar’s ‘Cheesemonger: Life on the Wedge’. He’s the cheese buyer at San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery, and a man I admire greatly, as he has brought so much pleasure to my life through his cheese selections. The book, which I’m about a quarter of the way through already (I read quickly!) is hysterical.

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