Archive for August, 2010

August 30, 2010

this girl’s mecca

 

As far as I’m concerned, The Container Store is the holy grail. My mecca. Or, according to my friend Meredith, “the happiest store on earth.” No matter how you see it, it’s pure heaven for us near-OCD types and anyone else who loves good design and symmetry and rows of colorful office supplies.
 
This post is for you, Cerella. I am so sorry you don’t have Container Store in your neck of the woods. When you come south to visit, be sure to bring an extra suitcase!
 
click image to see complete photo album
This Girl's Mecca

 

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August 29, 2010

Sunday Seven :: the perfect summer meal

 

When I was growing up my family always had a particular meal during the summer that allowed us to take advantage of the fresh produce that is so very specific to the season. As luck would have it, the meal had seven components, making it the perfect final post to the summer’s Sunday Seven. I recreated most of this meal a couple of days ago in order to capture it for posterity, and though the produce is just past its prime moment in time, it was still as delectable as I remembered.
 

perfect summer meal
 

ONE
Purple Hull Peas — my favorite of all legumes — cooked all day with a little salt pork then seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper
 

TWO
Summer Squash, sautéed in a little olive oil and butter then seasoned with salt and pepper
 

THREE
Corn on the Cob, usually freshly shucked, although I never do that anymore because I despise cleaning the silks (much like my friend Cerella spoke of this week in her series of foodie posts)
 

FOUR
Homemade Cornbread (or, in later years, Jiffy brand sweet cornbread). My grandmother always made cornbread sticks in a heavy cast iron pan, which I have now inherited, but fat muffins are just as delightful. With a little butter melted between the muffin top and bottom, the cornbread is almost like a dessert in the middle of the meal.
 

FIVE
Cucumber Salad (not pictured here) was always a primary element to the meal, although I didn’t really appreciate it when I was young. But it’s Grandmother’s best little salad, made from cucumbers, coarsely chopped sweet onion, and chopped tomatoes doused in a sweet vinaigrette made from vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
 

SIX
Cantaloupe and Watermelon, as a sweet contrast to the savory components. Often the watermelon served as dessert and sometimes was not even included, but it was very rare to not have cantaloupe on our plates. A good thing, in my eyes, as cantaloupe is my favorite summer fruit.
 

SEVEN
Lemonade Pie remains the best summer treat, and in the event that we had it at the time of our summer meal, it was the absolute best capper. Everything that is good and fresh about the summer just comes together perfectly in this simple, cool, sweet treat. And the perfect summer meal was made even more perfect.
 
lemonade pie
 

August 28, 2010

things I can cook

 

This week, my best friend Cerella ran a series about the enjoyment of food and how closely that is tied to our personal life stories. In her first post, Hidden Talents, she made the statement that “everyone has SOMETHING they can make well” and I realized that she’s right. Even I, who does not cook but once a month maybe, have a small repertoire of dishes that I can make perfectly, every single time. My favorite is a Japanese fried rice that I learned from my college roommate and loved so much that it immediately became my go-to meal. The dish had been a mainstay in her Japanese family for generations, something quick to cook from staples in the pantry, but she could only tell me the name for it without ever being able to spell it. As a lover of words and a person obsessed with correct information, the fact that I could never write out the name of the dish was a persistent irritation, but it never prevented me from cooking it. Today, while preparing this post, I finally found its true name online. And so I present Eggs Cha Han (pronounced eggs KA hahn), a fried rice dish featuring bacon, onion, and eggs. I’m fairly certain the “eggs” part of the name was a family thing among my roommate’s clan, but the dish is a keeper for lovers of pork and rice. Which I am. This is the dish I make when I don’t want to cook but need something that will yield leftovers. For me, it is pure comfort food. And it’s a dish that can be eaten for dinner or lunch or even breakfast. Over the years I’ve made my own adjustments in measurements (which is actually “to taste” and never actually “measured”), but the recipe is exactly the same today as it was 18 years ago when I first learned to make it. On my personal menu of dishes I can make, this one ranks number one.
 

Eggs Cha Han

eggs cha han

I always make a large skillet of eggs cha han so that leftovers are abundant, and that means I use a full pound of bacon, one large onion, and a rice cooker full of cooked sticky short grain white rice. (For me that’s usually 5 cups dry rice.) The directions are super simple: chop bacon and onion, cook in skillet until done but not crispy, then add rice and stir together. Crack open three eggs over rice mixture, then stir until mixture is fully coated. Pour shoyu (soy sauce) over rice mixture, sprinkle liberally with garlic powder and black pepper, then stir together again. Continue stirring and turning mixture over and over until all ingredients are fully mixed together. Cook in this manner until eggs are completely cooked through and shoyu/garlic/pepper is stirred into mixture. Add more shoyu, garlic powder, and black pepper until the taste is pleasing to your palate. The flavor and texture will be that of a fried rice. And that’s it!

Step by step photos give you an idea of how the dish should look. Click each image for a larger view. And then take some time to make this dish! It’s truly simple (obviously, if I can cook it) and yummy yummy yummy. Enjoy!
 
eggs cha han  eggs cha han  eggs cha han
 

eggs cha han

 
 

August 28, 2010

a happy accident

 
cinema steps
cinema steps descending to the foremost rows, just after being reminded by a young blazered employee that “it is illegal to take photos inside a movie theater”
 
::ahem::
 
 

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