Monday, February 15, 2010

NOTD #2: The noodle as backup plan

As some of you know, I am obsessed with pickled foods. At the moment, my fridge and pantry contain the following: olives, sauerkraut, kimchi, bread and butter pickles, Moroccan preserved lemons. Probably there are some other pickled items hiding in the back as well.

About a month ago, my friend Sara and I took a class in which we learned how to make Moroccan preserved lemons (So delicious! And easy! Put slices of lemons in a jar. Add one tablespoon of salt per lemon. Fill jar with lemon juice. Add spices if you want. Close jar. Let sit for 30 days. Add to couscous, stews etc. and make yourself very happy.). Today was roughly the 30-day mark, so I decided to make a Moroccan-ish stew, sans recipe, as an excuse to use some preserved lemon. I was going to serve it with wheat berries (like rice, but tastier and chewier!) but became so excited about the existence of guacamole that I burned the wheat berries and had to make pasta instead. Hence Moroccan-ish stew/stew-made-of-things-that-were-lying-around-my-house as pasta dish.

Directions: throw onion, garlic, stewed tomatoes, butternut squash, canned beans, a little chicken broth, slices of preserved lemon, green olives, cinnamon, paprika, and a bay leaf in a pan. Cook on low heat for a long time. Yum. Once again, the photo is ugly, but not as ugly as last time:

In other news, I leave for China two weeks from tomorrow (eek)! I am finding myself consumed with pre-departure chores (buying a VPN service so that I can access the internet unencumbered by the Great Firewall, doing Institutional Review Board-mandated revisions to my research plans (those of you who don't do research on humans are lucky not to have to deal with this), finding an apartment in Beijing, etc.). None of it is particularly fun, but it all helps make the trip feel less abstract, which I think is probably a good thing.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hello, readers!

In preparation for my imminent departure for the noodle motherland across the Pacific, I thought I would get my new blog up and running while I still have reliable Internet access.

While I'm in China, I plan to blog about my travels, things I'm reading, people I'm meeting, and, of course, food. Let me know what you're excited to hear about and what you wish I'd stay away from! You can also read blog posts and articles I've found interesting by following me on google reader (just search for my name using "sharing settings" under the "people you follow" section).

There's unlikely to be an actual noodle of the day (NOTD) while I'm still in the States, but I thought it was appropriate to start things off with a very California noodle dish: orecchiette with rapini and goat cheese, from the this year's Saveur 100 (my second-favorite yearly issue of any magazine, after the NYT Magazine Year in Ideas).

Citrus fruit grows like weeds around here in the winter (I love you, California!), so I zested a Meyer lemon from a friend's lemon tree and added it to the pasta, which was tastier than this unflattering photo suggests:

Seriously, get your hands on some rapini and make this stuff. It's tasty and fast.

Also, if you have never had a watermelon radish, GO OUT AND GET ONE AND ROAST IT AND EAT IT RIGHT AWAY. I don't even like radishes, but I just did this and it was amazing--nutty and not at all spicy the way radishes normally are. I might bring a suitcase full of them with me to China.