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Friday, April 8, 2011

Six Weeks to Go!

Six weeks to go! That is, six more weeks until this semester is over, I find out the admissions decision from Hunter College, and I begin my 10 day vacation in London! I've been super busy lately with school and work, so I haven't had much time to read up on food/nutrition or cook. I've been making big one-pot meals that will last me a few days, so that I have more time to study. Last week I tried cooking soba noodles for the first time in VegWeb's recipe for "Sesame Noodles with Tofu & Veggies." I made a few changes using the ingredients I had on hnad, replacing the bok choy with nori seaweed, swapping peanut butter with tahini. using dried shitakes, and replacing the fresh cilantro with cilantro chutney from an Indian market. The overall taste was strange, probably because I made too many weird substitutions. It was too vinegary and I didn't like the raw tofu. I did love the chewy texture of the soba noodles and the creamy quality from the nut butter sauce. On Tuesday, I went to an acupuncturist (for the first time!...I'll let you know how it goes) that was near Live Island Cafe. I got a raw sampler platter for dinner that came with soup and dessert. Like my first experience, the meal was tasty, but raw food definitely takes some getting used to. I also thought I'd pass along a vegan recipe that Danny baked up in his kitchen at work this week. He made VegWeb's recipe for "The BEST REAL Peanut Butter Cookies," and they got rave reviews from his coworkers.

One other thing on my never-ending to-do list is to grow an organic vegetable garden with my dad this summer. We really need to start this weekend, because I was hoping to start transplants indoors and get some cold-weather seeds in the ground (I had really aimed to get this done last month)! My dad grew up on a farm in Sicily, and as much as he probably hated farm chores as a child, he has kept a garden ever since he moved to New York. This is the first year that we want to try for an all-organic garden. We hope to grow: tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, carrot, string beans, zucchini/cucuzzi, butternut squash, delicata squash, beets, sugar snap peas, lettuce, augula, radish, kale, swiss chard, tatsoi, garlic, basil, rosemary, parsley, sage, chives, and mint. My dad also has fig, persimmon, and chestnut trees (although only the fig is mature enough to bear fruit). It seems like a ridiculous amount of stuff to grow, but this year is just a trial! Last summer I interned on an organic CSA farm, so I guess I'm trying to recreate the experience on a smaller scale in my own backyard. I joined another organic CSA on Long Island this summer called Golden Earthworm (which is a much larger operation than Sophia Garden, where I interned).  If you're not familiar with the term, CSA means "community-supported agriculture," and it is a really economical and sustainable way to eat organic. Members buy seasonal shares (subscriptions), and in return they each get a big box of fruits, veggies, herbs, flowers, or whatever Mother Nature chooses to grow each week. Every CSA is unique in size, crop variety, harvest season, membership cost, etc. Some require that you volunteer a small number of hours each week on the farm. Sophia Garden required members to pick up their shares at the farm, whereas Golden Earthworm will drop off my box at a location near my house. For more information and to search for CSA's, farmers' markets, or co-ops near you, go to

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