Half A Salad with a Full Garden

Last summer I was getting all fancy with the gardening and the fresh stuff and piles and piles of lettuce to show for all my hard work. Thanks to my appaent inability to withold memories I went and planted flowers and herbs on top of where the end of last year’s crop went to seed. So what happened? Rogue lettuce. EVERYWHERE. It was growing out of the drainpipe hole at the end of the garden bed. It was springing up from between the cracks in the sidewalk. It was sort of grow up and through a rock?? And that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that even with all that crazy ninja lettuce popping up everywhere and messing up my carefully planned out herb garden I’ve gotten about 10 good leaves from the lot of them.

On the bright side (in the back where we get more sun) I’ve had so many tomatoes that the only thing I could think of after a while was to cut them in hlf and throw them in the oven so I could at least have something that still tasted like tomato and would turn to black goo on the countertop. I really hate it when tomatoes go bad. It’s super gross.

But all those poor tomatoes I just didn’t rescue in time aside, I was left with only half a salad since I was strangely without any other ingredients to help make any salad I made be more than just chopped tomatoes with salt. It takes a special tomato to be delicious without some sort of additional lubricant with taste.

Here is a picture of tomatoes.

Here is a picture of tomatoes.

But between work and more work and my entire fammily deserting me for the island homelands I have had very little to eat except vegetables for the last month. It all happened because my dear mother finished her radiation treatments (yay!) and it ended with a really really big last minute party where I tried to grill outside. Thinking I’d try something new for a big crowd I attempted making burgers. Like real burgers. The kind with meat cooked on an open flame. Well over charcoal.

For those of you who don’t know: I was raised vegetarian. At some point the family became pescatarian but even fish is a rare occurence at Chez Tobing. I have left behind those meatless way for almost a decade now but even today I don’t cook meat. So me deciding to try cooking burgers for a party was probably the worst idea. They didn’t turn out awful. Just not great. The black bean burgers I mixed up, however, turned out amazing and I’ve even made this receipe since. I usually make my own aioli with vegenaise, fresh crushed garlic, lime, and sriracha. I had also posted the burger recipe last year in “Keeping it Veggie“:

Black Bean Burgers with a Smoky Red Pepper Spread

Black Bean Burgers with a Smoky Red Pepper Spread

But alongside the semi-successful burger project I grilled about 5 billion pounds of fresh stuff: Eggplane, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, OKRA!, bell peppers, asparagus, baby bell peppers, portabello mushrooms, sweet potatoes, corn… You put the grilled veggies on a toasted bun with the aioli and a still cripsy-on-the-outside black bean burger (or a marinated and grilled portabellow mushroom if you prefer) and that makes for a good party! In the future, though, I think I’ll leave the regular burgers to a professional. The afterparty of this whole affair was me sitting on the sofa eating nothing but roasted vegetable sandwiches for the next week while watching “Chuck” and drinking the remains of my homemade “Make Your Own Juice Bar”. My favorite was the sparkling  Persian Lime with an extra shot of sweetness from the ginger simple syrup.

In honor of the vegetables (and “fruit”. That’s right, I’m looking at you tomatoes!) that kept me alive while living alone for the last month I’m dedicating the next series of posts with all the wonderful ways to eat them!

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers (from SkinnyTaste)

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Advertisements

What I Wish I Had For Lunch Today (Day Five)

Portobello Pesto Pizza

“Portobello Pesto Pizza” from Brown Eyed Baker

It’s Friday…. Woooooo hooooo! And this looks yummy and there’s even like a whole “How To” photo essay on the site and yeah. I’m gonna be way too tired to make anything like this and the end of the week but a foodie can dream, can’t she?

The Dark Side of that Corner Office with All Those Legos in the Window (Now with a Side of Soup!)

Vader's Dark Side Roast Coffee

Vader’s Dark Side Roast Coffee

It’s lunchtime in the bottomless pit of horrific grade…itude (yeah, that makes it sound better) and I’m on my second cup of coffee. I now know that 2 is the number of cups I can fit into my travel mug and that 2 cups of coffee is still not enough to wake me up on a day like today.

I know I should not be drinking coffee. Just last week I warned a third of a class full of students how coffee was like a gateway drug and that you shouldn’t use it to keep yourself awake when you really should just put down the cell phone or get off Facebook and go the f**k to sleep. I also told them to practice safe sex. That last one could get me fired but there are just WAY too many students running around with their babies on this campus. Clearly someone needed to tell them what a condom was and how to use one because abstinence only works until someone gets naked and you’re all like “Yeah! Sex!” I’m more concerned about this situation:

Guy with baby tries to hit on random girl.

Girl is all impressed with his, let’s be honest, less than satisfactory parenting skills. The kid’s eating carpet lint. Pick her up.

Guy  talks all about being a dad… Dude, your baby is wandering awfully close to that sharp object….

Girl giggles.

Guy says they should go out some time. Oops! Baby fell down some cement stairs and hit her head and is now crying!

Girl gasps.

Guy picks up baby…. “Daddy’s here…”

Girl…. “He’s so sensitive!”

NO!

That man has a baby. If he has time to be dating you he is doing something wrong.

Wow… I really should slow down on the coffee. That and I should probably rethink my whole quadruplets plan. And… hey! Someone messed with my Legos! [Wonder Woman is now aggressively attacking Lex Luthor, she’s hanging on to his laser majigy with her laso, and Superman is on top of the Kryptonium.] Well that doesn’t make any sense…

And now for something completely different:

I made soup for my family’s lunch today. Since we’re all spread out all over the area I even prepacked it into nice little containers. But I forgot the veggie meatballs at home so it’s just soup. I really like soup and think there should be more of it. I also, don’t mind making soup. It’s simple and, if you’re doing it right, doesn’t involve too much cutting up of onions so there’s no crying. Yay!

Here are some upcoming soup ideas to be implemented this week for family lunches:

Dahl Makhni

“Dahl Makhni” by Alfred Prasad on GreatBritishChefs.com

Pea Consomme with Mint

“Pea Consomme with Mint” from Foof & Wine

Split Pea Soup with Portobellos

“Split Pea Soup with Portobellos” from Food & Wine

Warm Carrot Parsnip Soup

“Warm Carrot Parsnip Soup” by Brittany Mullins on Eating Bird Food

Thai-spiced Pumpkin Soup

“Thai-spiced Pumpkin Soup” from 101 Cookbooks

All of these soups, and many others, can be found on the Gastrogasms: Soups and Stews board on Pinterest.