Sunday, June 28, 2009

Frisbee Kirbys

D has been playing frisbee since he was like 12 years old. He's been to both national and international championships multiple times. This summer, he joined a Grand Masters team--men over 40--in a tournament in Denver, Colorado. I wanted to do something special to support the new team. A few times, I've brought out big containers of cookies or brownies that they guys munched up after their last game. I wanted to do something healthier this time.

For the past few years, from the sidelines I've seen the guys chugging pickle juice from big jars of Vlasic pickles that they kept in coolers. Apparently, pickle juice helps with muscle cramping in athletes. I don't know if it's the vinegar, or a complex interaction of the ingredients, but I knew what I had to do. (info about the benefits of pickle juice in muscles here). So I made a big batch of kirby dills a few weeks before the tournament, and then packed them very carefully in a big plastic container, quadruple wrapped them, and put them in my checked luggage. I had a lot to think about before this trip--a lot of work stuff going on, things to do....but the safety and security of the pickles on the plane was really my biggest concern. They arrived safely with a very minimal amount of leakage and I brought them out during their second day of play. I think they liked them, though I regret not getting a picture of them digging in to the jar from the sidelines.

D's master's team made it to nationals in Sarasota, Florida this year, and I wanted to send him down with another batch of pickles. I bought about 24 persian cucumbers and socked them in ice water for two days, but then I found myself too busy to finish the picklemaking in time enough for me to be confident in their taste to send them down for the team. I cut them up, packed them in a big glass jar, and they stayed behind when D boarded the plane for Florida.

I wish I would have sent them because they were delicious, and they would have been fine after sitting for a few days in his hotel room. Oh well. Now we have a big old jar of pickles to eat ourselves!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Naturally Occurring Salad Greens

Last year, my friend took me to a swanky localvore joint just North of the meatpacking district in Manhattan called The Cook Shop ( and we had a purslane, goat cheese, and blueberry salad. When the waiter put the plate in front of me, I recognized the greens: I had pulled up and disposed of every single one of them from my balcony garden in Brooklyn because I wrote them off as weeds. I vowed to bring them back and cultivate them this year, and it's working. Just the other day, I was able to harvest a handful and toss them in our salad. Delicious. Check out the nutrition benefits of purslane:

This experience definitely made me rethink an article that a friend wrote when we were in college called: Why is a Weed a Weed? I can't wait to have enough purslane on the porch to make my own blueberry and goat cheese salad. I'll be sure to post a photo.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Now that's camping!


Blog-productivity has suffered this summer because D and I have been traveling so much. There's not much to say about this meal in terms of preparation, but it can't go unrecorded. We drove to Letchworth State Park a few weeks ago--about an 8-hour drive from Brooklyn. I was on a work trip and D came to meet me on the train. We drove from where I was staying about 3 hours to Letchworth, and then broke the trip up on the way back by stopping at my parents. Letchworth is known as the Grand Canyon of the East, and it was simply beautiful.


On the way to the campground, we stopped at a supermarket and picked up a grass-fed beef steak, fresh ears of corn, asparagus, and heirloom tomatoes. When we got to the campsite, we set up the tent, made some margaritas, and chopped up some garlic and spices to marinate the steak in (with olive oil, salt, and pepper). A friend brought back some spices in a little decorative container from Zanzibar, and we just used those--saffron, sesame, cumin, and I think some sort of red pepper spice. We put the marinating steak in a plastic bag and tucked it away in the cooler and headed off for a hike.

When we returned, D sparked up the fire, set up the grill, and we laid it all out. One flip on the grill, and voila. Shortly before sundown, we were enjoying this lovely meal under the trees.