Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I grew up on TJs ginger-almond granola (which I thought was pretty tasty at the time, granted), but was converted by a fellow from Eugene's The Lorax, who was visiting Berkeley and Lothlorien for a few days.  I have never eaten so much granola in my life as that week.

It took me a while to attempt it myself, but now that I have, there is No Going Back.  Fortunately (as the internet and most likely you have already realized), it's really pretty easy and tastes about a thousand times better than much of the stuff on the market.

Technically, the word I wrote down at the top of this recipe is "granaloa," which says something about the hour and/or mindset I was in at the time of recording.  I found it on the internet somewhere I am unable to recall (apologies to the since-forgotten blogger), and have adapted it as I like.  Have fun!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Black Bean Salad with a Side of Orange and Jicima

The summer salad series continues with both alliterations and recipes.  These next two I thought wonderful served together, the spicy heartiness of the black beans complemented by the sweet, brisk refreshment of oranges, jicima, and radishes.  Both of the recipes come from Annie Somerville's Fields of Greens (which, by now, you have probably realized I am obsessed with).  For the bean salad, the changes I've made reflect concessions to cost and convenience, and for the orange salad, changes reflect misreading the recipe, but liking the final result.

Spicy Black Beans with Chilies and Lime
Adapted from Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville

Serves 4-6.

2 19-oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed*
Salt and pepper
1/2 medium-size carrot, diced (about 1/4 cup, prepped)
1/2 celery rib, diced (about 1/4 cup, prepped)
1/3 red bell pepper, diced (about 1/4 cup, prepped)
Zest of 2 limes (about 1 1/2 tsp)
3 Tbl fresh lime juice (the juice of the two you zested should be enough)
2 Tbl Champagne vinegar**
1 garlic clove, minced
3 pinches of cayenne
1/4 cup olive oil
1 or 2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and diced
2 heaping Tbl chopped cilantro
1 Tbl chopped mint (optional)

Put the (rinsed, drained) beans into a large bowl.  Bring a small pot of water with 1/2 tsp salt to a boil.  Add the carrot, cook for 30 seconds, then add the celery and cook for another 30 seconds.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and add to the beans.  Add the bell pepper to the beans.

To make the dressing, combine the zest, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper in a jar, and shake to combine (or whisk them together in a bowl).  Add the olive oil, and shake again.  Add the dressing and the jalapenos to the salad (the salad should be spicy, but if you're worried, add half the jalapeno, taste, and add more as desired).

Let the salad marinate for at least 30 minutes.  Add the cilantro and mint before serving.

Serving Suggestions: Cotija (or Queso Fresco, or Mexican cheese) is pretty widely available these days, and pretty delicious sprinkled on top.  Quick pickled onions could be good, and I know the orange-jicima salad is!

*Note: The original recipe calls for 1.5 cups (9oz) of dried black beans, sorted and soaked overnight.  Drain and rinse the beans, put them in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and then cook at a gentle boil 20-25 minutes (until tender but not falling apart).  When the beans are done, proceed with the recipe as written.
**Note: If you can find Champagne vinegar for cheap, that's fine.  Otherwise, just use sherry vinegar.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Once summer starts in Davis (and it has, no matter what the calendar says), I become a permanent fixture of the porch.  Breakfast turns into reading the news turns into work in the morning, then the late afternoon wanders in with a book (and quite possibly a beer).  I like to eat late, when the sun has set, but it is not quite dark and still a little warm.  I like to eat lightly, and ideally with my fingers, some bread and cheese and tomato, or a few salads with some warm pita.

The other weekend I was in a park, instead of parked on the porch.  One of the local high schools was putting on a free, outdoor play ("The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)," the first half of which was hilariously bad, the second half was just hilarious - think Hamlet with only three actors, done forwards, fast forwards, and backwards in under five minutes), and the Professor and I met some friends there, to watch and have a picnic.  I'm not sure if the things I brought were ideal finger foods, but they were certainly delicious, and would be perfect for a late supper on the porch.  I will post the salads over the next few days, but start with some pita with your next rendition of your favorite salad.