December 22, 2006

Baby Vegetables!

I got a fun holiday gift today - my mother sent me a box of baby vegetables. Just in time for some holiday culinary fun! Here's what was in the box:

The carrots and fennel ended up in tonight's dinner. (Which I'll describe in a follow up post.) I'll probably roast the beets and put them in a salad with walnuts and blue cheese. I'm not certain what I'll do with the potatoes, though plenty of possibilities spring to mind. I'm really not certain what to do with the turnips. The little flyer that came with the box says they can be eaten raw, and I just might do that.

Hmmmm. So many possibilities.

Posted by spaceling at 09:39 PM | TrackBack

December 16, 2006

Potluck, Silicon Valley Style

We had an potluck for the whole Engineering department at work on Thursday. (Though I'm a technical writer, I'm considered to be part of the Engineering deparment, at least for purposes of parties and the like. Very convenient.)

I was chatting with a few coworkers a few days before the event, talking about what we were going to bring. "I was thinking of bringing sesame noodles," I said, feeling a bit silly for wanting to bring a cold noodle dish to a December potluck. "Ooooh," said a coworker. "Sesame noodles! Yummy. Bring that! Bring that!"

Well, that settled it. Only problem was, I've never actually made sesame noodles. But, never fear. I have something almost as good as experience: A copy of Mark Bittman's The Best Recipes in the World. I used Bittman's recipe for "Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce" with a few tweaks to it. I'm not sure that it is the best recipe in the world for cold sesame noodles, but it was a hit.

One note: using fresh spices instead of ones that have been sitting in the back of your spice cupboard for years really does make a difference. I was running low on sesame seeds, so I picked up a fresh bag. When I opened it, the scent of sesame was positively intoxicating. Don't let your sesame get old.

The food was pleasantly diverse: as well as potluck standbys like potato salad, devilled eggs, and chili, we had pakoras, homemade bread, and several different ethnic variations on the spiced-meat-wrapped-in-thin-dough-and-fried theme. Someone also brought an enormous whole catfish, cooked with a spicy sauce, which found a surprising number of takers.

Posted by spaceling at 08:04 AM

October 30, 2006

Halloween Potluck

The sweet potato salad described in my last entry was well-received. (And admired for its Halloween color scheme.) It's a keeper for potlucks, since it's pretty simple to make (especially if you avoid setting off the smoke alarm) and fulfills my two potluck rules:

  1. Bring something that you yourself want to eat.

  2. Bring something vegetarian, or, if possible, vegan, because you might save someone from having to lunch on dry crackers and carrot sticks.

At this particular potluck, we had options for people of every dietary persuasion. In addition to potluck staples like devilled eggs (yum), brownies, and the relish tray, my coworkers brought homemade ciabatta, duck pate (which I don't think was homemade), tomato and mozzarella salad, pickled beets, bean and vegetable soup, apple pie, wild rice and couscous salads (from the salad bar at Whole Foods), and a really scrumptious curried chickpea dish. (I'm going to have to see if I can get the person who brought that to part with the recipe.)

In fact, we had so much food that I think we all came home with leftovers, except for the bread baker and the devilled egg maker. (Few people seem to be able to resist homemade bread or devilled eggs.) So, I'll be eating sweet potato salad for lunch this week, at least when I'm not eating leftover roasted pumpkin.

The leftover situation around here is approaching critical. My freezer is full. The fridge is pretty crowded. (Every time I start to make headway on emptying the freezer, I make a pot of soup or stew, and then I'm back where I started. We may need to call a soup moratorium here. That or I need to teach Mr. Spaceling to eat leftovers.)

Posted by spaceling at 08:51 PM

January 11, 2006

A Case of Mistaken Vegetable Identity

Can anyone tell me why all the fennel I find for sale in local supermarkets is labelled "anise"? I know the flavor of both is licorice-like, but anise is a seed. The bulby thing is fennel, darn it.

Posted by spaceling at 10:31 PM

January 02, 2006

Let's Get This Thing Started

Welcome to Spaceling Cafe: Food That's Out of This World! Here are a few notes by way of an introduction:

Who is the Spaceling?

I'm not a chef, or food writer, or a professional anything when it comes to things culinary. I'm a technical writer, living in Silicon Valley. I love to eat good food, and I love to cook good food. And I love to talk about eating and cooking good food.

Spaceling is a childhood nickname of mine. (Make of that what you will.) It has no particular connection to anything foodie, but my husband (Mr. Spaceling?) suggested 'Spaceling Cafe' when I was trying to come up with a name for the blog, and it seems to have stuck.

Why a food blog?

See above: I love to talk about eating and cooking good food. I love reading food blogs - I've picked up a ton of great tips, ideas, and recipes from food blogs over the past year. I wanted to try my hand at food blogging, and see if I could pass on some tricks of my own to others.

Also, it's been raining nearly non-stop in the Bay Area for the past couple of weeks, and I'm starting to get a little stir crazy. Why not start a blog?

What's this blog going to be about?

Anything and everything food related that I feel like talking about. Some popular themes are likely to be:

I think that will suffice for an introduction. Now, let's eat!

Posted by spaceling at 03:28 PM