Friday Fuck Up: Savory Yogurt Dinner

I often make my fiance buy a large tub of Greek yogurt when he makes his weekly milk and cereal run to the grocery store. I know not what I will do with said yogurt, but I know I will put the thick substance to use, be it mixed with fruit for lunch or turned into a sauce over a grain and vegetable salad.

But I’ve never thought about substituting chunks of eggplant, cucumbers and oven-dried tomatoes instead of peaches, blackberries and blueberries. And I should have stuck with that.

Instead, I shredded cucumbers into the yogurt, tossed in diced eggplant and roughly chopped oven-dried tomatoes. I sprinkled in salt and pepper and lemon thyme. During this incorporating period, I thought I was genius.

Then I took a few bites. It wasn’t terrible to start, but it just didn’t work. Especially the tomatoes. The tang of tomatoes and the extra oil that still clung to them made for a uncomplimentary creamy versus acid nightmare.

Both the Indians (raita) and Greeks (tzatziki) somehow make yogurt work at dinner, but this part German girl just couldn’t swing it. Any ideas how to turn yogurt savory?


Alert Isaac Newton: Gravity-Defying Apple Found in Cleveland

I’m a 1950s housewife these days. I’m writing (unemployed-ish) and therefore find my schedule fairly flexible. Bennett signed up for a work training in Cleveland, but since he would finish by 4pm and we have our friend Heather living there now, I decided to jump along for the Midwestern vacation. I know that’s what my grandmother (housewife) would do when my grandfather traveled for work.

On vacation I rarely think about choosing healthy foods. Fuck it, right? I’m on vacation. But my aunt said something during last Thanksgiving that (unfortunately?) stuck with me. It’s easy to think of a special reason to turn to treats—birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, holidays, break-ups, fights, good days, bad days—so soon every day there can be an explanation to eat dessert or go for that second helping.

So for my second lunch in Cleveland, where the first screamed indulgence, I chose a light dish at Lucky’s Cafe. Something I could be proud of: yogurt with berries and house-made granola. Heather oozed with excitement after I placed the order and my worries of a boring meal on vacation soon diminished. (Heather, by the way, keeps an eating-in-Cleveland blog.)

We sat outside on a wooden picnic table, under an umbrella and next to the restaurant’s large garden.

Then the yogurt came and holy shit.

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Friday Fuck Up: Dry Pasta Salad

I thought it was a genius move. Actually, I thought it was the second genius move in just one dish.

At first I panicked when I saw only a 1/4 of a box left of the whole wheat squiggle pasta. How could I complete a proper salad for a birthday party with only a 1/4 box of pasta?! But then I spied some orzo. Who said pasta salad must only carry one type of pasta?

I thought, like I just said, that it was a pretty smart move. I compared cooking times and knew exactly when to drop each pasta into the salty cooking water. Bravo, Gansie, I said to myself. Actually, it might have been out loud.

Anyway, that worked out.

I run a mostly no-mayo zone in the kitchen. It’s not a strict rule, just something we don’t buy. (For fear that Bennett will suddenly make 14 peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches in a row. That’s right. I said peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich.)

With the no mayo in my fridge, I reached for yogurt as the base. Oh, you darn nasty yorgurt. I think you fucked me.

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Sick of Asparagus Already?

Not everyone is a slave to the season. My dad, for example, buys his vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers from Produce Junction. They source from all over the world and you can buy pretty much anything all year round, and for super cheap.  Living in the Garden State, he also grows plenty of his own produce. But before things pop up, it’s Produce Junction time.

We finished the asparagus I brought home for Mother’s Day dinner and for Monday’s dinner were left with Produce Junction goods and other items I found in my dad’s surprisingly well-stocked, but not seasonal pantry and fridge. So for those tired of hearing about farmers’ markets and asparagus, here you go.

Roasted Broccoli with Chickpea and Wheat Berry Salad

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Always Do a Lap Before You Commit

Hallelujah! My neighborhood far mar, Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market, is opening this Saturday. I’m working there the first day and cannot wait to be surrounded by spring’s fresh vegetables. But I just couldn’t wait and headed to FRESHFARM’s Dupont far mar this past Sunday. A little sneak peak, if you will.

I listen to Cher and always do a lap before I commit (see last quote), checking options, quality, prices and variety around the far mar. I selected the spring staple asparagus, as well as spinach. And then I made my one out-there purchase: peppercress. I’d never heard of it before. My rule at market is if I haven’t heard of it I’m allowed to buy it and will try not to buy something else that I’ve already discovered.

I tasted the mirco-green and holy crap, it’s like eating horseradish. It has that fantastic harsh heat, sort of like a radish as well. I was stoked but wasn’t at all sure how I’d like to use it. And then I went with my standby: whiz it into a sauce.

Recipe, with mysterious berry, after the jump.

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Get Your Ass to an Indian Grocery Store

Get your ass to an Indian grocery store. I can’t even pretend to start this post with a cute little intro. You just need to find one, budget an hour plus of browsing time, and thank me later. The store will amaze you with its aisles of spices and spice blends, varieties of dal and boxes and boxes of in-minutes dinners. I’ve never purchased a Lean Cuisine but for some reason I thought it was perfectly acceptable to buy boil-in-a-bag, ready-in-2-minute versions of palak paner (spinach and cheese), chana masala (chickpeas in tomato sauce), dal makhani (creamy black dal) and paner makhani (cheese in a cashew cream sauce). I haven’t tried them yet, as I’m saving them for a night I can’t bare to cook.

In the meantime, another purchase inspired me to actually cook. And my about-to-expire Greek yogurt became the perfect addition to my almost-Indian dinner.

And don’t worry, I’ll try to stop my love-of-the-dash current obsession for the recipe portion of this post.

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