laurenlikestocook

Hooray! It’s May! And I Completely Passed Over April

In Greek, Holiday, Jewish, Quinoa, Salad, Shopping, Soup, Sweet Potato, Vegetables on May 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm

It’s been a while.  I think that’s mostly because the thought of how long it’s been since my last post made me even less inclined to want to write, even though I have PLENTY of reserved material to use.  It’s probably the perfectionist in me, trying to do everything right or not at all.  Looks like I better realize it’s better to chip away or do something partially, lest risking my momentum to keep on keeping on.

Anyway…a quick synopsis of the past 5 weeks or so.  I went with Nick to Aruba for a very necessary vacation.  I only took photos of food, especially because nobody wants to see me in a bikini after all the drinks and crap I ate.

The day after we got back, it was cleaning and prepping for Passover, followed by cooking the day after.  And what do you know, I got sick (probably from the plane ride) and had to do all of that work while feeling pretty crumby.  Instead of taking it easy, I opted to run a 10k race, which made me even worse, keeping me out of commission from exercise and cooking for over a week.  I was even sick on my birthday ( April 9th – in case you need to send me a belated gift).  Instead of birthday cake (even the Passover kind), I was eating whole wheat matzah with avocado, tomato, and cucumbers.  Even though it was tasty, it wasn’t exactly how I wanted to celebrate.


I barely make it through half a box of matzah usually, but since I was feeling so awful all week, I ate my fare share.  It was all whole wheat, of course .  Matzah gets a bad rap from the white flour kind, which causes some “irregularity”, especially combined with the mass quantities of meat, eggs, and processed passover convenience products most observers consume.  I treat Passover as a time of rebirth; it is known as Mezeg Ha’Aviv, which means holiday of the Spring.  This season is synonymous with trees blooming, crops growing, and getting a fresh start on reinvigorating your routine after a winter of hibernation.  Thus, I like to use the dietary restrictions of Passover as an excuse for a “cleanse” or “detox”.  I don’t buy any boxed or packaged processed products, and eat mostly fruits, veggies, some dairy/eggs, nuts, and quinoa (which I know is controversial, but as a vegetarian and sometimes vegan ashkenaz Jew, I have to put my foot down somewhere against the semantics of modern rulings).  There was even one year when the only matzah I ingested was at the seder, and it was literally a bite.  The rest of the week was very clean, and I dropped the last few lbs stored up from the winter.

This year, I had such low energy.  My muscles ached, my head was hot, my nose was stuffed, my nose was running, I sneezed all over everything.  I felt (and looked) AWFUL.  Thus, my surrender to everything matzah.  I even made what I call matzahkopita, a version of spanikopita using whole wheat matzah instead of filo or pastry dough.  At least I made it with salad :).

I did end up making a lot of soup.  The lack of vegetable broth available for the holiday made that a smidge challenging in the flavor department.  I was perfectly happy to eat bland soup, but that’s not really fun for anyone else joining me.  I made a pureed butternut squash soup, similar to this one, except using water instead of broth.  I also added more sweet potato and carrots, which helped the flavor a lot.  When it came time to puree, I realized I didn’t have a blender for Passover, so I had to mash everything up with a wooden spoon.  That was not so much fun.

Another soup I made with a twist on a roasted mushroom recipe with garlic and fennel.  I figured it was a good base with lots of flavor.  I actually took some photos…

I used white mushroom because they were on sale for 99 cents.  For those of you who don’t shop for groceries, that is a super good price!  I rubbed them with a wet towel, and then sliced them up to saute in EVOO in a pot until nice and brown.  Just an FYI, all EVOO is kosher for Passover, so no need for the often marketed cottonseed oil, which is AWFUL for you.

Another note, my kitchenware for Passover is rather collegiate – most pieces are from a cheap set from Target.  I just wanted to point that out because if anyone reads my blog and wonders how to cook without fancy equipment (which I do have year round), it is definitely possible.  I also have to hand wash everything, which makes it challenging for the cleanup process, so I completely empathize with those who don’t have a dish washer.

While the mushrooms cooked, I cut up the fennel bulb, onion and some garlic.  I took all these photos with my phone, so not all came out so clear.  Here’s the fennel.

The mushrooms browned up, and I added the other veggies.

After mixing for a few minutes, I added about 7 or 8 cups of water, salt and pepper, and let it boil, then reduced to simmer for an hour.

That night, I paired the soup with a take on Israeli salad, which included tomato, cucumber, red onion, carrots, avocado, and pickles.  I squeezed some fresh lime, and used salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder.

This photo doesn’t do it justice, but the soup was really good.  I know it appears a lil “oily”, but I only used about 2 tbsp for the whole pot, which made about 6 servings.

The soup was better the next day, and even better the day after that.  Nick added some feta to his to bump up the protein, but I was perfectly happy with my surprising vegan Passover meals.  Even my salads weren’t boring this year.  My favorite was this one, which is the most prismatic I’ve ever made.  Ain’t it purty?

Now that that’s all out of the way, I can trace back on my tangent and continue the rest of my synopsis.  Once Passover was over, it was time to celebrate Nick’s birthday and my birthday, both with friends and family.  This turned into a week long celebration, which meant no cooking for moi!  That leaves one more week, which also rendered no cooking because I was lazy.  By the end of the week, I had to buckle down and go food shopping.   And there you have it.  Here’s to chipping away at the month of May and getting back into the groove – both cooking and writing!

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  1. […] been a very good girl since my last post.  Last Saturday I cleaned out my fridge, wiped the counters, and finally did enough dish-washing […]

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