February 23, 2011

Just Checkin' In

I haven't been in the mood to blog lately.  I figured I should acknowledge that in case anyone has wondered if Upstate Cali Kitchen Adventures was gone.  Nope, I've just been doing other things.  Usually I blog in the evening, and I blog about recipes that I've tried recently or recipes that I make frequently so that I'll have a record of them when my kids are older and say, "Remember when you made us fried rice?  I always liked that."  Then the next time they come home from college, I can surprise them with the same Fried Rice they ate 20 years ago... Except that I haven't finished the entry about Fried Rice yet. (And in case I never do, it's the recipe from Joy of Cooking 1975 Edition, and for the meat I use medium sized shrimp, cut into about 4 pieces.)

It isn't that I haven't been cooking lately, I certainly have.  (This weekend I made Pumpkin Bread, also from Joy of Cooking, and a Black-Bean Pumpkin Soup that Jason really enjoyed.)  It's just that my evenings have been full of other things. 

We have some friends, our "potluck friends," who come over once a week or so with stuff from their pantries or the grocery store and the three of us girls cook dinner together.  But we usually don't use a recipe, so there isn't one to share.  Lately we've been eating a lot of soups.  A pound of ground turkey and some beans, with some greens or roots from the farmers market can feed the ten of us economically, but like I said, there isn't really a recipe.  And when they come other, we're usually up a little later, sipping wine or maybe watching American Idol.  (I haven't gotten sucked in to this season though.  I'm standing fast in my opinion that the show was past its prime at least a couple seasons ago.)  And when our potluck friends leave, I'm not in the mood to try to accomplish another item. 

So what about the other five days of the week?  I've been doing yoga right before I go to bed, which adds 15-30 minutes to my bedtime routine.  And I always like to go to bed with enough time to read a few pages of a good book before I nod off, so there you have it.


What's in Season in February?  

Pumpkins and winter squash are such a big deal in October when the weather finally turns 'crisp,' but pumpkins and winter squash keep well and are still available at the farmers market.  Check the prices, because some vendors are offering deep discounts.  Two weeks ago I bought the 4-lb Cinderella pumpkin that I used for the aforementioned bread and soup for $4.  Another vendor was selling all of his pumpkins for $2 each, so I have an 8-lb pumpkin waiting to be used.

Greens including lettuces, spinach and kale, carrots, beets, green onions, cilantro... This last weekend I saw parsnips for the first time.

As of last weekend those delicious Paradise apples are no longer available--It's a fall crop after all--but they have been replaced with all sorts of delicious winter citrus.  Kiwis are also still available from many vendors.

Chico's Saturday Market also sells local nuts, honey, eggs, pork and beef year-round.