24 June 2009

cooking lessons OR all in a panic

You know those lists of things you should have taught your kid by the time they're eighteen? Things like how to change oil, balance a check book, etc.? I'm in a panic realizing I only have one year left to get Ingrid's list checked off, and though Ingrid bakes a killer cake or batch of cookies, I haven't really taught her how to cook.

Where do I start? What are five dishes you need to know before you have to start feeding yourself like a big girl? I was thinking Marinara, as that was the first thing I really learned to do on my own (besides cookies, toast, and scrambled eggs.) But what else?

lula's birthday

Post blow-out

All ablaze, foreshadowing the unsupervised fireworks that took place in the cul-de-sac moments later.
Cake by Mom, prettiness by Eva

Last night I had twenty screaming 11 year-olds at the house for Lula's birthday party. Today I'm lying on the couch an exhausted quivering jelly. I'm all partied out, as you can see from the last few posts. We're hosting a Locust Salon at our house on Saturday night and then that's it. No more entertaining until fall, I swear.

father's day

Daddy's day brunch--flowers by Eva

Cherry turnovers

Not nearly as fancy as he deserves.

welcome home ingrid bash

Nathaniel in a tree.

Ingrid's darling foot getting henna'd
Beautiful cake (authentically German) made by beautiful Mirjam

German flag, sort of

16 June 2009

Veggie Luv

Crispy Roasted Potatoes, Carrots and Onions
Daikon Spears

eva's spinach gratin and crusty french bread

Eva told me I had to wait at least one day before putting up another post, but it's raining and thundering outside, and I'm procrastinating on three other less pleasant tasks, and I'm really excited about photos. So here's another post--posted much too soon.

Eva's going nuts in the kitchen. She made this outrageous spinach, which she wilted with vinegar, garlic and red chile flakes on the stove top then doused with an egg yolk, a few tablespoons of cream and baked in the oven. It was creamy, crunchy, spiked with vinegar and chiles--part custard, part souffle, part quiche--c'est magnifique!

Eva's other specialty is bread--she made this braided loaf of crunchy-soft French bread. T'was beautiful and delish.

Aunt Annie's French Bread
(from my Aunt Anne Whitaker Law's cookbook, which I heart)
makes 2 loaves

2 packages dry yeast
1 T. salt
2-1/2 c. very warm water (not too hot or the bread will taste yeasty)
3 T. sugar
5 T. vegetable oil
6 c. unsifted flour
1 egg white
sesame seeds

*In large bowl combine 2 c. hot water, sugar, salt, oil and 3 c. flour.
*Mix well by hand or in bread mixer.
*Stir in proofed or dry yeast, add remaining flour. Dough should be barely sticky. Add more flour if necessary.
*Mix well. Allow dough to rest for ten minutes and stir again. Repeat five times for a total of 50 minutes.
*Turn dough out onto oiled counter. Knead once or twice.
*Divide in two Roll each half into 9x12 rectangle. Starting at long edge, roll losely. Seal edges.
*Place both rolls seam down on one large baking sheet brushed with cornmeal. Gash tops diagonally three times with sharp knife. Brush with beaten egg white. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, cover and rise for 30 min.
*Bake at 400 degress for 25-30 minutes.

15 June 2009

I have to tell you guys...

I just made a beautiful sandwich. It was on that wonderful honeywheat bread that can only be found at Utah Costcos, with raw mozz (also from Costco) and basil from Chao's (Confession: I can't tell the diff between asian and italian basil. At least not when I'm not doing a direct comparison with one right after the other). I grilled some onions and tomatoes with garlic (and by grill I mean sautee with a lot of butter) until they were all melty and then added basil for a second so that it could wilt a little and distributed evenly over the mozz (which I had torn up and put on the bread.) Then I added some avocado and grilled all this (and again by grilled I mean added butter to the pan and then placed over heat) in the remaining juices.
I am not usually one to be moved by sandwiches, but this one was so beautiful I almost cried.

(I made it again with home made french
bread and olive oil instead of butter)

Sexy Close-up

Grilled Zucchini Couscous Salad

This is a variation on a salad I made a lot last summer. It's super flexible and you can mix up the vegetables, cheeses, and vinaigrette to match what's in your garden and pantry. I can't wait for zucchini season. Note to farmers: let's see a lot of small, sweet zucchini this year!

Grilled Zucchini and Couscous Salad

8 small zucchini
3 cups prepared couscous
3 scallions, thinly sliced, including some greens
1 bunch italian parsley, finely chopped
1 sweet yellow pepper, diced
2 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c. crumbled feta
1/2 c. shaved parmesan
1/2 c. olive oil
1/8 c. red wine vinegar
1 fresh lemon
salt and pepper to taste

*Wash and dry zucchini. Remove stems, then slice in half length-wise. On a medium hot grill, grill zucchini until tender and juicy and not too black on the outside.
*Let zucchini cool, then cut each slice in thirds so you have big juicy chunks of zucchini in the salad.
*Combine vegetables, couscous, and cheeses, salt and pepper, and gently toss.
*Gently toss with oil, then vinegar, then lemon, adjust seasonings and vinaigrette to taste.


I am going home on the day after tomorrow. I don't quite know how to feel, but I think that I could either let my conflicting emotions have a fight to the death inside of me, or just try to let them coexist and live in the moment. I am going for option two, and I try to focus on things like packing rather that sitting on my bed with Chester, staring at the wall and trying to wrap my head around the concept of June 17.
Everybody told me that I will have changed, and I think they're right. So here is fair warning:
-I like sparkly water
-I sometimes take action against cold (for instance using sweaters, tights, and sometimes even socks)
-Yes, socks. Though I rarely wear shoes and socks at the same time
-I get lost rarely, and can even travel alone and reach my destination
-I can fit my hair into a bun. All of it.
-I use nail filers more often than clippers
-I am probably twice as tolerant as I once was
-I can build a habit now
-I am a lot blunter, and less passive agressive

I think that last one is going be a problem, so I want to tell all of you that I am probably not trying to be rude if I say something uncouth. The Germans are just not very well acquainted with tact, which I actually started to find better.
You know what else? And everybody warned us about this: I do have problems with English now. I spent the entire Physics class last Thursday trying to remember the word "misanthropic" (making it the most productive physics class I've had yet). But sometimes I mix up "your" and "you're", and I have problems with sentence structure. I might also incorporate German words in English sentences, which I also do when I speak German (with English words)-- It's really embarrasing.

Looking back on this post, I think it is very self-indulgent. As a disclaimer I will say that my mom requested it for posterity purposes.

14 June 2009

pizza topping epiphany

*caramelized onions, briny black olives, rosemary, goat cheese

*grilled zucchini, slow-roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, sea salt, basil

*spinach, roasted red peppers, feta

13 June 2009


Next week's forecast:

*Dorie Greenspan's Brownies with Walnuts

*Minced Chicken Lettuce Wraps

*Coconut Curry with Tofu and Jasmine Rice

*Zucchini Fritters with Mashed Potatoes (welcome home ingy dinner)

*Homemade Pizza, toppings as yet to be determined, probably using dough from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

12 June 2009

Starry Pasta Soup

If you're one of those people whose kids beg for Campbell's Chicken n' Stars or Alphabet soup, but you just can't bring yourself to go there, this post is for you. If you're like my heroes Mark Bittman and Alice Waters and you have wholesome ingredients washed and prepped in your fridge and a pantry full of delicious, high-quality staples, look away.

If you've ever found yourself on a Friday night, home alone with little ones while nursing a hot water bottle and popping Midol, letting your six-year-old watch Avatar for the 10th time that day, letting your four-year-old play Starfall over and over again, and then at 8 p.m. realizing no one's had dinner yet, or if you've withdrawn from human contact and descended in to agoraphobia with a laptop standing in for a best friend and can't leave the house to shop, or if you've realized you can only spend seven dollars in the next week on groceries or you'll be living in your mother-in-law's basement with your five children come September, and then your six-year-old starts rummaging through the cupboards saying, "I wish we had soup," and you know it's because she's only eaten goldfish crackers all day and is craving something healthy and warm, this recipe's for you.

On the other hand, if you have beautifully organized crocks of pre-cooked organic beans and brown rice in your fridge ready for a quick little salad or soup in a snap, or if you have blocks of Valrohna chocolate dry-packed in storage in case you need some brownies in a trice and were caught unprepared, look away.

This soup is my answer to Campbell's and other canned soups (which my kids occasionally ask for, but will rarely actually eat). It takes about five minutes to prep and fifteen to cook. It uses cheap, cheap ingredients (look away, Alice Waters) that I almost always have on hand, even when I've hit the dregs of the pantry and my wallet, and uses canned and dry goods, minus the awful throat-closing corn syrup after-taste or soggy, mushy vegetables and pasta of said Campbell's soup.

It's inspired by a caldo, but is vegetarian, and could be gussied up with some oregano or chiles, basil or grated parmesan, but I think tastes great and homey with just the salt, onion and tomato savory-ness.

Starry Pasta Soup

2 t. butter
2 t. olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 small yellow crookneck squash, diced
1/4 c. canned red beans
1/4 c. star pasta
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
3 c. water
2 T. heavy cream
salt to taste

*Gently soften onion and garlic over medium heat for two or three minutes.
*Turn heat to medium high and add pasta and squash until a light browning appears.
*Add water, tomato sauce and beans and give it a stir.
*Turn up heat until soup is at a rolling boil.
*Continue at this heat for ten minutes, stirring every minute or two, making sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. (You can adjust cooking time so squash and pasta have the bite you like, which may be more or less al dente then my timing calls for.)
*Remove from heat, stir in cream, and adjust salt level to taste.

09 June 2009

church and food

My favorite part of this article is the end, the suggestion that every church have a food garden--something the LDS sort of do, but in a more centralized manner.  How wonderful would it be to have both the centralized farm/welfare system in addition to a localized one? (Are you imagining a calling as "Ward Weeder"?)

08 June 2009


'Tis a churlish day.

Spent the morning re-typing my poetry manuscript, the electronic copy of which was stolen when my rental car was broken into in Seattle last January.  It sounds like no big deal, but it's kind of a hairy manuscript, and I've hit a patch in the mss. where I don't like the poems anymore (right now) (did I ever?), so I want to give up now, give up the whole thing, the whole writing thing. Which means the whole existence thing. 

(Don't worry, I'm not suicidal, just, just. . . bothered in a kind of restless, unsettled way, as the Bard says with what i most enjoy contented least.)

What do you do with a day like this?  And how do you keep it from seeping into other days?

I did bake Cracked Wheat Honey bread today.

So I guess that's two things on my to-do list--retyping the mss. and baking bread.  I should feel good about that, right?

Gimme some advice:  what do you do when you suddenly feel your whole idea of yourself is built on a faulty premise?  Start over?  Ignore it?  Decide it's too late to turn back?


04 June 2009


I'm already bored with this week, so I'm thinking about next week:  what to buy at the market, what to cook, what to plant, what to write, etc.  I suppose I could start next week right now, but I'm not very good at rearranging my plans.  Here are some ideas for dinner next week, and as always, there's nothing I love more than hearing what other people are making for dinner (and in my case, in honor of summer, random snacks, desserts, appetizers, and small dishes that may or may not make for a well-rounded meal).

*Chicken Cabbage Rice Salad with Chinese Greens
*Patrick Barber's Bistro Style Tuna Noodle Casserole via Facebook
*Lula's B-day Dinner:  Homemade Fettucine with Alfredo, Garlic Bread, Cucumbers with dip (her menu)
*Bruschetta with the new rye-ish bread I've been making  (have you heard that rye makes you skinny?)
*Homemade Ricotta with Cherries
*Spaghetti Frittata (with leftover spaghetti, repeat from last week because it was a ginormous hit, both the original spaghetti and the frittata.)

Tell me what you're making so I can be jealous.

everything i know about monsanto is bad

So don't let them eff up our wheat supply!  Seriously, we don't want Round-up Ready Wheat, and this website will tell you why and how to contact some people who can help stop this from happening.

Love you all!  Love you even more if you help make our food supply safer and more sustainable.

02 June 2009


I found this link on Bitten, and was taken aback by one of my least favorite things about school lunch in the US: styrofoam.  Notice that none of the other school lunches from outside the US are served on disposable dishes.  They even use metal chopsticks.  

What's wrong with us?

For the love of all that's holy, people, let's stop eating food out of styrofoam.  A) it's completely disgusting and B)what's so hard about cleaning and re-using dishes and C) paper containers work just as well as styrofoam (unless you're eating something you should really be sitting down at a table to eat, instead of, say, slurping down in your Jazzy at Silver City in Branson)?

Someone please tell me how this degradation has occurred.  And by the way, I do all of the dishes at our house, for three meals a day, so you can't use that excuse on me. (And for my taste, I would also ban plastic ware for use in food consumption as well, if I had dictatorial powers.  I just know it's wrong.  You can get really cheap, strong stoneware at IKEA for dolls and use it for your little ones.  They'll learn to eat more in a more civilized manner and more carefully with a breakable dish as opposed to an unbreakable one.)

For some reason this is making me really angry right now (might be PMS).  It might be that my kids' lunches in Utah are absolute rock-bottom nutritionally:  an anemic leaf of iceberg lettuce, a brown and wilted apple slice, maybe pizza, maybe a corn dog, maybe nachos, and of course the ubiquitous chocolate milk, which ends up being the most nutritious item offered.  It might be that the styrofoam is just staring me in the face right now as an indicator of how far we've fallen, how out of hand our values have become.

That's my self-righteous rant for the day.

p.s.--Bittman points out the awesome French lunch with mussels and an artichoke.  Now that's a school lunch I can get behind.

01 June 2009

I saw her.

Angela Merkel. With my own two augen (=eyes). We had our Abschlussseminar in Berlin this weekend with all of the kids from language camp. The day when we all saw Frau Merkel was our "Bundestag.. Tag". It started at 5 am and ended at 2 am the next day, and filled up a good five pages of my journal. I will try to abbreviate:
There is a big room in the Bundestag (German parliment) building where all of the work gets done. It sits under an enormous glass dome and has a metal eagle (which actually looks more like a chicken-- an appearance of harmlesness was intentional when it was designed because the Germans wanted to keep the eagle but avoid Nazi conotations), which weighs 2 tons or something. We weren't allowed to bring cameras, otherwise I would have taken a picture, because it's all a little hard to explain. In any case, there are seats for the civilians who want to listen (ie us) way above, and we got to watch lots of important things get done. They told us not to get our hopes up about Angie being there, but we all hoped deep in our hearts, and I had promised to "bestell schöne Grüße" (give pretty messages) from my host sister (for whom Angela Merkel is something of a hero) but when we got there and everything got started, we didn't see her. The members of the Bundestag who were there did give a little speech about our program and how proud they were of us and applauded, but it just wasn't the same without our beloved Bundeskanzlerin. But then, as we were all sitting trying to concentrate, guess who came around the corner and sat in her seat??? Angela Merkel! She chewed gum the entire time, which somehow made me really happy.
After this, we were ushered into a big room with 400 other exchange students and several important people (the ambassador from the US, Bob Bishop, Norbert Lammert, some other members of the Bundestag). A few exchange students gave speeches and there was a question and answer session (during which I completely humiliated myself by forgetting every German word I know)and we got a video message by Hilary Clinton (yes, the Hilary Clinton) about how proud she was of us and a letter from Nancy Pelosi (sp?), also telling us she was proud of us. It was all quite exciting, I think I got a copy of the letter and will try to get a copy of the video. After this, we were let go and I walked around Berlin until 10:00 pm. This, of course, was wonderful, we saw all sorts of buildings and memorials and other things that I won't try to describe because I'm trying to keep this shorter than five pages. My day ended with a dance party, where I shared a glass of ginger ale with another Utahn and put my roommate and a few other kids to bed, wishing them pleasant dreams and mild hangovers.
I am coming home in two weeks. We all fully realized this together, but I can still hardly believe it. I have heard that reverse culture shock can be brutal, and I have changed a ton since going-- I wanted to warn everyone because I've heard that it is hard for other people as well. So expect the same old Ingy deep down, but don't be shocked if I don't structure my sentences well anymore or get lost.
I can't wait to see all of you. Bis später.