VeganMoFo: Favorite Things
I’ll actually be heading out of town for the weekend starting Friday night, so I’m trying to push out some posts before that happens. I am so busy, I wish I didn’t have to sleep at night! This post is a random list of favorite food and food-related things:
- Thai young coconuts They’re satisfying to crack open (in fact, I got a cheap, huge butcher’s knife from an Asian market just for this task), though sometimes a bit difficult. I love drinking the coconut water, and scraping out the flesh with a spoon — the taste of fresh coconut can’t be beat! Plus, it makes a great base for raw sauces and dressings.
- Worn wooden spoons I have two spoons in my cooking utensil basket, one short, one long. They’re almost blackened at the spoon’s end from scraping up lovely caramelized veggies, tinted from tomato and red wine sauces, and overall soft and scuffed. That’s love, right? There’s just something so satisfying about stirring with a wooden spoon that makes me feel more connected to my food and to the wonderfulness of trees.
- Fresh berries While summer berry season is officially over, I was a lucky recipient of several free pints of organic raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries over the past week and I was reminded how good they are eaten straight up, or smashed between raw bread, or added to a smoothie. The smell and taste of raspberries, especially, is an intense olfactory trigger for summers spent with my sister and grandparents in Sweden. Swedes love berries, so much in fact that you can buy aseptic packages of berry compotes and soups all year round! I always loved the forest berries compote (skogsbärskräm), and blueberry soup (blåbärssoppa) with a drizzle of cream. Not a berry, but they also have rose hip soup (nyponsoppa), which I’ve never been able to track down in the US. It’s something I always have to have when I visit, and the powdered mix you can find at IKEA or wherever is just not the same as the stuff that comes in a carton.
- Raw tahini I started using this when I got more into raw foods, and it’s such a nice alternative to nut butters and even it’s roasted cousin. My favorite brand by far is Living Tree Community Foods, which is often more expensive than others, but worth every delicious penny. Aside from raw food preparations, I’ve really been into spreading it on toasted spelt bread with grainy French mustard and raw sauerkraut.
- A sharp chef’s knife I prepare almost everything I make with the same knife. I learned my lesson that money is far better spent on one or two good-quality multi-purpose knives than a knifeblock full of mediocre, often useless ones. I especially like having a deep blade so that my hand never gets pushed onto the cutting board by the handle – good for both mincing herbs and dicing veggies. Knives like this used to intimidate me, but once I started using one, my life and knife skills changed dramatically. While I should invest the handful of dollars into getting it sharpened every once in awhile, I’ve found a steel to come in handy for now.
- Music to cook to I’ve pondered making a whole post about this, because I feel like the right music can really influence the speed and mood of my cooking. I often listen to NPR or the local community radio station as well, but some of my favorite artists and musical styles to listen to while making food are: Yma Sumac and exotica lounge, the B-52′s, a Roaring 20s compilation or Billie Holiday, Sleater-Kinney, and Queen. Random, yes. I like a little dancing when I’m cooking, whether it be just a little foot-tapping or shakin’ it over to the cupboard to grab some quinoa. In fact, I think cooking has made me a more confident dancer outside of the kitchen, since I can now handle some shimmying without any alcohol consumption!
- Vintage dishes I had really good intentions of making this a mofo post in itself as well, but life got in the way again. I replaced all my very cute but very plastic mixing bowls a couple years ago with a set of Pyrex nesting bowls that come in varying shades of avocado green (it’s totes hot). Now I can wash my mixing bowls sparkling clean in a jiffy, they never have a lingering smell of garlic, and the sizes are just perfect! I’m also amassing a modest collection of serving and casserole dishes, my favorites being from the Catherineholm line. Again, my grandparents played a vital role in my fondness for midcentury Scandinavian dishes, for they still own an intact original Gustavsberg Berså coffee/tea set that I could only dream to aspire to now that part of the line has been rereleased.
Back tomorrow with more pictures, I promise! (Including of the raw strawberry macaroons that are in the dehydrator and currently making my home smell delicious.)