I have been having a hard time cooking this week. After a marathon session of cooking through the CSA items on Sunday (rutabaga, sweet potato kugel, turnips, and more), I had to put it all aside on Monday. Our friends took us out to celebrate the wedding and I got to experience my first meal at a Michelin star restaurant. We had an amazing vegetarian meal at Dovetail -and spent most of Tuesday both slightly hungover and basking in the afterglow of truffles.
At one point during the meal one of the waiters came out with a large mason jar full of vegetables and a broth. He explained to me that this was what the vegetable consomme would be using – and sure enough, a few minutes later I received a bowl with a few vegetables (I remember seeing some beautiful cauliflower in there!) and had this wonderfully flavorful broth poured over it. A simple course and so memorable. I asked the waiter where I could get a jar of that – and after considering it, I am thinking it might be a good thing to make a large amount of vegetable broth like that to be stored in the fridge (or freezer). With the winter months coming, I’m certain that one of us will be sick and in want of a good warm broth to sip on.
The other reason why I’ve been having a hard time cooking is that Justin left for a conference on Wednesday morning. I find it hard to motivate myself to just cook for myself. It’s much easier to make a meal to share, or even something that I know I can bring to someone else, than it is to cook for myself. Instead of tackling this week’s CSA box, I’ve been eating some modified ramen – buying the noodle packets and making my own vegetable broth with miso and tossing in some mushrooms and tofu. It’s not the healthiest way to eat for a few days, but it functioned.
I broke the ramen streak today briefly when I went out to brunch with a friend and had eggs benedict (with spinach) at Stone Park Cafe. For dinner I ended up eating some more vegetables for dinner, but it’s been slow. Part of the CSA this week is a head of cabbage that is bigger than my head. I’m struggling to find a way to consume it quickly. One of the ideas I’ve had was to make sauerkraut with it, but I’m afraid that I’m out of time. We leave for our honeymoon on Tuesday morning, and I’d like to be able to sit with it for four or five days to see it develop before putting it in the fridge.
I’ve been reading Sandor Katz’s “The Art of Fermentation” – albeit slowly. The book is rather large and heavy, so I find it hard to sit with. My ideal reading position is laying in bed and there’s no comfortable way to hold up a big heavy book in bed. Although I love reading books on my Kindle, there is something to be said for having hard copies of cookbooks. It’s much easier to skim through a cookbook, searching for inspiration based off photographs or sections than it is to manually click through page after page. Katz has produced an amazing book here – discussing not just the how of fermented foods, but the why. Interspersed with personal anecdotes (his own along with those of others) are various studies discussing the benefits of fermented foods. It’s made me pause and think about the various fermented foods which I love – namely yogurt or kefir, but also miso, sauerkraut, and slowly kombucha.
So here I am, alone on a Saturday night. And instead of going out or watching a movie I am contemplating what to do with the two daikon radishes (yes, I ignored the one from last week too!) and the extremely large head of cabbage. It seems like fermentation is the answer here. Or maybe some of this ‘suspiciously delicious cabbage.’