My kitchen and I have fallen into a rut.
It’s partly that I’ve been busy, which makes it more tempting to buy takeout and premade food. But it’s also because I’m underwhelmed by my CSA this year: I had to switch to a new farm, and the bimonthly selection is both smaller and less satisfying than what I used to receive from the old farm, leaving gaps in my meal plan. Friends who had disappointing CSA experiences while I was raving about mine, I now know how you felt and I’m sorry.
All the same, I’d like to return to my previously rigorous cooking habits. I like the food I make, and I like the feeling of accomplishment and creativity it can bring. And some of the times I’ve been happiest cooking are the times I’ve written about it, as when I blogged about my CSA or wrote about my food practices while underemployed. Writing about cooking transforms it into a more meaningful experience for me. It also holds me accountable: I have certainly typed up a meal plan into a blog post, then reluctantly dragged myself to the kitchen to execute it. Rarely do I ever regret taking the trouble on either end.
So, here’s what I’ve been cooking lately:
- Bok choy and green bean stir fry in peanut dressing. The dressing used to be based on this Martha Stewart recipe, but I’ve made it so many times I just eyeball it and use what I have. I like mine with a substantial amount of ginger and chili-garlic sauce.
- A variation on these fruit bars, made by pouring fruit puree onto the crust before baking instead of cooking the fruit at the same time as the crust. I tend to have a jar or two of fruit puree around because I’ll buy an enormous amount of peaches or plums when I’m at the market, knowing it might be awhile before I can buy more. When the fruit starts to get soft I treat it like applesauce, cooking it down with very little water and no sugar unless one component is super tart, like rhubarb or cranberries. Then I eat it for breakfast with yogurt and granola, or bake it into these bars. This time the puree was made from peaches, plums, and concord grapes.
What I’d like to cook, now that it’s autumn and my schedule is changing:
- I have a big bag of ginger root, and I need to peel and dice it. Some of it might spice up my cooking but most of it will go into ginger beer!
- I get a bimonthly egg CSA too, but I haven’t been baking much and I’m way behind on my eggs. Maybe deviled eggs for a gathering of friends are in order.
- Speaking of gatherings, I am excited about mulling wine now that the weather is cooler.
And because writing and cooking are so closely related for me, here are some things I’m writing:
- A chapter for an upcoming edited volume about food and modernism. I’ll be adapting one of my dissertation chapters, which is about The Unpossessed by Tess Slesinger.
- A tour of the food art in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, for a local food magazine.
What are you cooking?