Excuses, Excuses. Then, a Great New Product.

Sorry. I’ve been so busy this past month that I’ve ignored this blog for 3 weeks in a row! I work a full time job in something completely unrelated to art, design, love, or food, and so I usually write this blog on the weekends. But the month of May proved to be very eventful for me, and I say this on a positive note. I had guests one weekend for a foodie extravaganza, and then the following weekend I spent time getting my container garden planted (more on that soon). Last weekend I took a trip to upstate New York for a wedding, and now…whaddya know? It’s suddenly June!

In my last post, I professed my love for local farmers markets and how fabulous the market near me is. I have been there every Saturday (except for the weekend I was in NY) and that has taken up my time as well. Not only do you spend that time picking out your produce and goodies and running into friends (so wonderful!), but when you get home you need to wash and put them away properly and then efficiently plan what you’ll be doing with what you bought. This requires research for the items you bought that you were curious about but have never prepared before, or perhaps digging out that favorite recipe that might call for a few ingredients you don’t have on hand. In any case, good food takes time and I happily dedicate mine. So forgive me for not being consistent with this “weekly” blog. I will try to keep it coming every seven days, but sometimes my life outside of the web will have to take precedence.

Now. On to something very exciting in the world of design! I stumbled across a relatively new product that I have been meaning to get for some time. I find supporting small businesses and companies that sell genuinely good products very fulfilling. It makes me happy. So I’m pleased to spread the word on the Cuppow! The Cuppow is a plastic drinking gadget that replaces the seal of a canning jar. It was designed by two guys from Massachusetts.

I use canning jars for everything from storing dry goods in my pantry to transporting lunches to work. And yes, I also drink from them and have taken them in the car as a travel mug. But I didn’t like opening them in the car with the chance of my tea spilling out. So this innovative product is going to fix this little problem for me and make my life easier!


The Cuppow is recyclable, BPA-free, affordable, and made in the U.S.A. Yes, yes, yes, and YES! Plus, their pals did the packaging design (also recyclable) of which I think is so so clever. Love the colors, the lettering, the instructions. Love it. I also think this video is well done, and markets this product so effectively.

If you use a Cuppow or buy one soon, let me know what you think! As far as I know, they are only available on their website.

Cheers,

H

Farmers Market Food Geek (and Nettle-Walnut Pesto).

I’m really into cooking lately. It happens in waves. I mean, I cook pretty regularly and enjoy it, but I have been much more excited about it in recent weeks. I mean like food-geek excited where I take photos of what I got and what I made. Like so excited that I text my friend (who is equally as excited about this as I am, by the way) these photos. And then I post them on Instagram after that with plenty of exclamation points!!! [Look!!! Pizza with caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar, canned tomatoes from our garden last summer, asparagus, fresh mozzarella, arugula, and a duck egg!!!] Whooo! I suppose we can conclude that the uber-excitement is because of the availability of delicious, organic/no spray local food right now. The farmers market here is in coming into full swing. I get so super-anxious each year come March or so, pouring over my cookbooks and foodgawker (a great food website!) and making plans and preparations and lists (plenty of lists) for when the first spring harvest shows up at the market and at the food co-op in April. Microgreens, arugula, spinach, stinging nettles, radishes, asparagus, cilantro, baby leeks, onions, oh my…sigh. Why is this so thrilling to me?

I suppose it’s because of the sense of accomplishment I feel when I make something from scratch from ingredients that were grown locally. It feels great to support local people and their hard work. Farmers markets are great fun – it’s so cool to talk to the people who grew or raised the food. Ask them questions and they’ll answer you – and honestly. I mean, how cool is that to actually get your food from people you can see each week and get to know? And to know that the vegetables were harvested within 24 hours? No fluorescent lights. No conveyer belts. No air conditioning. No plastic and Styrofoam-wrapped vegetables that have been sitting there for who knows how long. Sounds like a no-brainer to me. If you can get to a farmers market, that is.

Yes, I am completely spoiled. I am truly lucky and feel enormously grateful to have a farmers market like this where I live. Not everyone gets this wonderful opportunity to shop at a beautiful market like I do.

To celebrate spring and my farmer’s market goodies, I’d like to share a recipe with you. I know, I know. This was supposed to be a blog about art, design, love, and life. But, food can be an art. You can design it (or style it), you can love it (!!!) and it is what makes life. So I guess it fits into my categories quite well. Oh, and my disclaimer: I am not a food photographer. I did my best.

STINGING NETTLES AND WALNUT PESTO (Vegan)

I made this last week and it is delicious. I used some on pasta (I used Jovial brand einkhorn pasta) and froze the rest (some, of which I just thawed tonight to spread on a pan bagnat sandwich). Stinging nettles sort of taste like spinach. They have detox qualities, and are rich in vitamins C and B complex, iron, calcium, and other such good stuff.

INGREDIENTS

1 generous bunch of stinging nettles (Don’t pull these out of the bag with your bare hands, by the way. They are called stinging nettles for a reason – they have little hairs that create skin irritation. Now why would you want to eat these?!? Read on…)

3 – 5 cloves of garlic, pressed (Depends on your love of garlic and how big the cloves are)

½ cup or so of walnuts

Juice of 1 lemon

¼ c. nutritional yeast

¾ t. salt

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the nettles (I turned the bag inside out and dropped the nettles in so I wouldn’t touch them). Let them boil for a few minutes. This gets rid of the hairs and therefore the sting. Strain the nettles and let them cool.

Press the garlic into a food processor. Add the walnuts, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt. Process until smooth. Add some olive oil (a drizzle or two). Process again.

When the nettles have cooled, remove the big stems. Then squeeze the water out of what you’ll be using in a clean towel. Add to the food processor and process until smooth once again. Add oil as you go until you reach your desired consistency.

Easy! Which is great, because although I like good-quality food, I get impatient if recipes are too involved. I’ve got other things to do too, you know.

Makes enough for 6-8 people for pasta. It freezes beautifully. You can freeze it in cubes (in an ice cube tray) or in a freezer bag.

Be well and happy spring!

H

Spring Shrooms.

The best mushroom ever…

Morel mushrooms at my local food co-op. April 2011.

I am deliriously tired and dreaming of pasta with morels. Therefore this week’s post will remain short and sweet! Tell me what you make with morels – I’d like to hear other ideas (vegetarian, preferably). Do you go out and pick them yourself?

Mmmm,

H