Category Archives: salad

I Dream of Summer Produce

This is a post that I drafted for last summer– I know, I know, but I can’t stand to waste such good advice! lol … And since it is supposed to snow later today, I thought a reminder of next summer wouldn’t be amiss…

The first is the product of the lovely farmer’s market cauliflower- purple was called “graffiti” and yellow I can’t remember, but it was fun and different and delicious roasted with oil and salt, as the Brownie Points blog author recommends.

The second is also a product of the farmer’s market- hey, I am not the make-your-own pasta type of gal, because I don’t have the make-your-own-pasta type kitchen (i.e. it’s got no counter space). But I bought the bacon sage fresh ravioli from Smith Meadows Kitchen, where the ladies were very nice and gave me some advice about making pesto substitutions, like if you’re going to experiment with something non-basil, like radish greens, you need to add parsley for an herby taste, since radish greens are pretty bitter. Oh, and I didn’t have nearly enough oil. I may be oil-phobic when it comes to that food processor, hmm…
but I forgot- it was a mix! The ravioli was from the market, but I added toasted pignolas and my very own radish-green pesto, since I thought a little with oil would be sweetened with the herbs inside the ravioli. I was right- very tasty!

The third photo is my came-home-wanted-something-fresh, and oh by the way, use up one of the tomatoes and the Kirby cucumber going soft! So I purposefully bought a container of white cheese at Whole Foods, going with a France import over some Easter European country for my first foray. Then I thought artichokes would go great. Then I added pignolas I already had because they seemed Mediterranean and in the right direction. Some salt and pepper (because everyone seems to do that) and then one leftover breakfast sausage (again, farmer’s market!), and I had a full, fresh meal. Yum! So yum! that I had to do a remix last night, with some baked beans and toast added (on the SIDE, silly)- baked beans, very good, from Chatman’s D’Vine Bakery a block away from my house, and sourdough from Atwater’s Bakery at… you guessed it, the farmer’s market.
I love what you do for me, Farmer’s Market!
And NEXT post will be on the wintery night out on the town, I promise.

Fish Tea, Stravaigin, and a See’s Candy look-alike

Scottish Food, Installment 3 of 3
And here I’ve got my final three food experiences, all in Glasgow, and all pretty positive (2 out of the 3 also had some annoyances associated).
These first couple pictures are of the “Fish Tea” I ordered at The People’s Palace. And while it might sound like a bad Asian packaging description of tea, it actually meant ‘tea’ in the afternoon-meal sense, and an afternoon meal that included fish. With chips, of course.
I ordered a caramel shortbread along with the ‘Tea’ and boy, was I rewarded. The little annoyances here were that 1) the greenhouse felt like it had heat piped in from somewhere, and was uncomfortably warm, such that my shortbread got all melty (which was fine, but so did I), and 2) that they lost my ticket for the fish and chips part, and I had to go back up and reinstate my order. They felt bad for losing it and so gave me a free bottle of water (and I was already carrying one, so my backpack got pretty heavy, but I’m not looking any gift horses in the mouth). The caramel shortbread was dee-lish. And very worthy of being reproduced in the States- Go To!

The second experience catalogued here was undilutedly fantastic. I went to a restaurant called Stravaigin (the original, in the Kelvinbridge neighborhood, I think; there are two). If you visit their site, right now at least, they have a picture up of the very same entree- the hake fillet salad! But mine shows the architecture a bit better, I think…

 The restaurant, servers, lighting, other eaters… all was lovely and relaxing and amiable. I liked the iron stairs up with lights, the fun second story that overlooked the first, and the fun architectural finishes that made the place seem magical and whimsical, not modern or sleek or posed. It was a great place, and has a fitting name for one like me: ‘Stravaig’ means ‘to wander’ and that is exactly what I enjoyed doing while in Scotland.

The final experience was part of an homage to Charles Rennie Macintosh, an architect famous in his hometown of Glasgow, and an artist well-known internationally for those interested in art history. I liked the part of his work that was all about an organic whole, form serving function (Arts & Crafts), natural forms being used (Art Nouveau), nothing thrown in for no reason (Modernism but not the Jetsons kind). It’s like smart growth for buildings and furniture!
Anyway, he’s famous for designing the Glasgow School of Art and the Willow Tea Rooms, which of course I had plunked on my list as a Must-See. Tea? Scones? Art Nouveau? Yes, please.

This is the dining room, accessible weirdly through a jewelry store on the ground floor…
And look! As I was leaving, this is the line that lined the whole stairwell! (Pays to be an early bird…)
I had the choice of the open-center room or the Room De Luxe, so guess what I chose? Why not, after all. It didn’t cost any more. It had the windows out onto the street, which I thought would be nice, but… I was plagued my whole luncheon by a very bad saxophone player busking across the street. Grr. He had no rhythm, which made his rendition of Moon River very jarring. Ah well. After I exited, I got to hear a very talented bagpiper… and the tea was lovely: finger sandwiches (crustless!), a meringue tart, jam and double cream for a scone. Yum.
Why can’t we get cream like that here??

Osmotic Pressure and Metaphorical Me

Osmosis is the movement of solvent molecules through a selectively permeable membrane into a region of higher solute concentration, aiming to equalize the solute concentrations on the two sides.”

Often I speak in metaphors which may seem out of place in the current conversation. My brain likes to dig up particularly esoteric or far-fetched descriptions for me to use when I am trying to better convey a certain feeling or state of affairs. This happens frequently at work, and while I register the lack of comprehension, I’m somewhat at a loss to replace my outlandish metaphors with more down-to-earth descriptions. Heave forbid I come off prosaic.

So here is my metaphor from today. I could feel the osmotic pressure of my Within and my Without this morning- the tug and swirl of the happiness experienced through self-discovery and creative effort over the weekend (Inside), contending with the lack of challenge and inability to focus on a long-term goal of the mundane Monday (Outside).

I just sort of floated along with it, letting myself be happy with the former rather than obsess over the latter, and you know what? About 2/3 of the way through the day, my brain started engaging and firing on different pistons, enabling some more cogent contributions to be made to work conversations. Good. Keeping the mind nimble and adaptable. Although- I am thinking maybe the forever-going-around-from-hobby-to-hobby to keep my interest in and mood up is disguising something deeper… but let that go for the moment.

What has been captivating me for the past week or two? All the old hobbies, come back in glorious technicolor: runs on Sundays and yoga on Tuesdays and writing for the novel and baking for friends and cooking for myself. Plus, a new dance course! A style called sean nos, which seems less glamorous but more accessible maybe than step dancing. We’ll see. Two classes and I’m already enjoying the improv parts!

And here’s a fun video that shows some of the inheritors of sean nos in the Carolinas…

Now as far as the more usual theme for this blog (FOOD), I’ll leave you readers with some encouragement. “If you make it, they will come” turned out to be true for me this week:

red wine chocolate cake — afternoon tea on Saturday with Jess
grilled corn salsa (salad) — Sunday luncheon with Kim and Juan
and tomato-shallot Tarte Tatin
lemon rosemary zucchini bread — brown bag lunch with coworkers (I hope- that’ll be tomorrow!)

So now I’m off to grate my zucchini with my only pertinent instrument- a microplane!- to make it easier to bake tomorrow morning! :-)

And let me know: do you want more Scotland or more food? I’ve got both at the ready…