living underground in the real world

no more store: day five

You know the deal: I’m seeing how long I can go without going to the grocery store.

Here’s the backstory, and here are today’s meals.

I have a little noontime Sunday brunch club with some friends, so off to brunch I went, a little late because I got up at 8:30 and decided to manically clean my house until 11:30, whereupon I spilled an entire bottle of floor soap onto the floor, which took forever to mop up. The floors are very clean now.

But brunch was worth it: I had an outrageously (not pictured) great meal at a newish restaurant, Rock and Rye Tavern. I wasn’t expecting much, because it’s a restaurant at a golf course (kill me now), and because the restaurant previously in that location was notoriously overpriced and vegan unfriendly, but when I finally got to brunch my friends were tucking into expertly made bloody marys (maries?) and things looked promising. There was only one vegan item on the brunch menu, and it was a tofu scramble wrap.

Now:

-I FUCKING HATE WRAPS. I’m going to assume I’ve run down why WRAPS MUST DIE in this space before, so I’ll spare you right now. But feel free to request the rant if you’re so inclined/can’t find it by searching.

-I am not a fan of tofu.

-It was $14.

But I got the thing, and the other vegan at the table did too, and

DUDES! It was good! Not just OK, but GOOD! How one could make a tofu scramble wrap GOOD is beyond me, but something having to do with caramelized onions and a properly cooked-through wrap (those disgusting half-raw processed tortillas are what make wraps so nauseating to me), along with a nice roasted tomato salsa on top and properly cooked home fries on the side made it wonderful.

Amazing!

After that I went to the farmer’s market, whereupon I was informed that I was wearing a shirt as a dress. Hrumph. I still think it’s a dress. It has smocking in the front. I think that makes it a dress.

(Sidenote: I also screamed “I LOVE YOU, KIRA KINNEY, EVEN THOUGH YOU UNFRIENDED ME ON FACEBOOK BECAUSE YOU THINK I WHINE TOO MUCH” to a friend (?) when we passed each other on the street, but that’s a different story. Real quick though, here’s the thing: I love Kira Kinney. It’s OK about the unfriending. As she was driving away, she yelled “I JUST LIKE YOU TOO MUCH TO LISTEN TO SO MUCH RANTING” and I sighed and didn’t have time to tell her that the one week we were FB friends I was having a lot of building-related stress. C’est la vie. When I turned to keep walking I saw that a gaggle of teenagers were staring at me like I was a crazy person for screaming my head off about how I loved someone who had unfriended me on Facebook in the middle of the street or something. WHATEVER YO.)

(Please excuse the self-timer photo and weirdly snobby pose.)

I went to the farmer’s market searching for onions.

Not having onions is bumming me out. I knew there wouldn’t be real onions yet, but I would have been happy with spring onions, or scallions, or chives, or any allium whatsoever, really, but no luck.

No fruit either—NONE. I came a little late, but still. The New Paltz farmer’s market is notoriously awful, particularly for a town overflowing with CSAs and organic farms. All the smart farmers I know take their stuff to fancier, bigger markets (preferably the NYC greenmarkets, which are basically a license for farmers to print money [as long as they are willing to work 80+ hours a week for the privilege], so we’ve got a real cobbler’s-children-with-no-shoes thing happening in my farmy little town. Sux. But I can walk to the market from work, so what can you do.

I walked back to work and painted some roof trim at the building by hanging upside down from the roof, which worked up an appetite. (I changed into painty clothes, yes. And yes, this photo was taken later on, when it was getting dark.)

OK, so I wasn't hanging upside down. But I was painting upside down!

I needed to use up a napa cabbage from my CSA, so I made some cole slaw. Except that I didn’t have half the ingredients for the cole slaw. Here’s the recipe I usually use (note that the dressing makes A TON):

cole slaw with almond mayonnaise

1 c almonds (I used a mix of very old hazelnuts and cashews—almonds are lots better)

1/3 c lemon juice, or more to taste (of course I didn’t have a goddamn lemon, and I missed it)

1 ½ c water

1 c grape seed oil

2 ts sea salt

3 Tb mustard (I made my own! See below)

1/3 c red wine vinegar

splash Tabasco

3 small cabbages, thinly sliced (I just had one napa cabbage)

6 small red peppers, slivered (nope)

6 carrots, grated (nope)

4 small red onions, thinly sliced (I had some onion scapes I thinly sliced.)

  1. Blend almonds, lemon juice, and water in blender until emulsified. Drizzle in grape seed oil with blender running in a thin stream. Add salt, mustard, vinegar, and Tabasco and blend until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more water if necessary for a creamy consistency.
  2. Combine all vegetables and add mayonnaise. Stir well and add salt and more Tabasco if necessary. Refrigerate for an hour to meld flavors. Eat within 2 days.

Just for you, dear internet, I also chopped up some nasturtiums for the top, so it wouldn’t look so colorless. Even with all the substitutions (which definitely compromised the flavor a bit, sigh.), it was a nice meal.

I didn’t have any mustard, so I made my own by mixing together coarsely ground mustard seeds (I threw in yellow and brown, why not), my homemade garlic vinegar, mustard powder, white wine, and salt.

Homemade mustard is better when allowed to sit in the fridge overnight (it needs cold to activate or something), but it was OK right away.

Without this challenge, I definitely would have bought mustard, which is just stupid when I have all the ingredients for a superior homemade mustard, so I ate my meal feeling very smug and thrifty indeed.

I had to open a bottle of wine for the mustard, so I had a glass with lunch, why not.

I kept on eating more cole-ish slaw (that cabbage was big) throughout the afternoon, as I painted and painted. Then it got dark and I went inside and scrubbed up and…..

….

MADE TEMPEH!

I’m so excited. I haven’t used my tempeh incubator in 2011 at all because of the move and not doing the meal delivery, so this is a big deal.

I weighed out 20 or so 8 oz. packets of tempeh-to-be that I’m going to freeze and sell in the shop. Who says a chocolate shop can’t sell tempeh? I’m going to sell it cheapo, too: $4 for 1/2 lb!

I made my usual recipe for 100% chickpea tempeh, but maybe in the future I’ll get more adventurous. So look for me eating some tempeh by Tuesday or so.

After that I chocolatized, and for dinner I made some weird not-good thing with some shiitakes I’d bought from my aforementioned pal/contractor Aaron, who grows beautiful shiitakes on logs in his backyard, plus chickpeas left over from tempeh-making, and pasta. And some harissa sauce from the freezer, and some green garlic from the farmer’s market. It was OK.  It needed some veggies and color, as you can see.

It would have been insanely good with an insanely good tomato sauce, all rich and long-simmered and filled with all my secret ingredients and techniques (fry the tomato paste when the onions are just caramelized; nutritional yeast, red wine, lots of e.v.o, shoyu, balsamic, pesto at the end, my mouth is watering), and I had everything for an insanely good tomato sauce but onions. Tomato sauce without onions is stupid canned salsa. No thanks.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll simmer the leftovers with some tomatoes and spice it up a bit and see how that goes.

OK, it’s 2 and I’ve been up and on my feet since 8, so maybe it’s time for bed. Tomorrow I have high hopes of finishing the painting (I’m turning everything [plus more not pictured] in this photo that’s white to brown.).

Writing about my everyday life on the blog like this is very boring to me, but also addicting. Is it boring to you?

How long is this dang challenge going to go on? Why am I doing this?

I want an onion.

Sleep well, sweethearts!

5 Responses to “no more store: day five”

  1. India-leigh @ aveganobsession

    not bored. looking in on what a complete stranger you will never meet and seeing what she is doing is odd, but strangely addicting. Your post made me laugh. I hope you find your onion.

    Reply
  2. Randal Putnam

    Your posts are not boring! It is nice to keep up with your day to day struggles and triumphs, you inspire me to try to keep improving in the kitchen (and provide invaluable recipes) and your photos are a delight.

    Funny you should ask, though, because the first things I thought when I woke up this morning were WHY DO I WRITE ABOUT MY LIFE? and IT MUST BE SO BORING FOR OTHERS TO READ! I am too scared to ask my readers what they think of my work. Not even sure I have readers. I have hits and a few subscribers, but I have no idea if folks read my posts. I do enjoy the process, though. Maybe the answer (for me) is to keep a journal by making draft posts on WordPress and never hitting publish, or waiting to publish only the posts that I think may help people with this or that. Who knows. I will keep at it. I hope you do as well.

    Have a great day.

    Reply
    • lagusta

      I love your blog!
      Also–who cares if it’s boring for others, really? It’s not like we’re blogging for money–for me I just think of it as a record of my life and the things I’m interested in, and if other people are interested that’s fine too.

      Reply
  3. adriennefriend

    You are totally wearing a shirt as a dress! But that’s okay, because you rock it, not least of all because you have perfect gorgeous gams.

    Also, yeah, this daily food/no grocery is great. I tried to do it on cracktheplates.com back in 2008 – I called it NoMoCoFo (no more costly food) and basically tried to focus on eating what was in my pantry already for as long as possible. I think I blogged about it maybe two days and did the whole experiment upwards of two weeks? anyway, your stuff is way more interesting, and you’ve got resolve. Keep it up!

    Reply

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