Sunday, February 28, 2010

leftover thoughts

leftover veggies are a common site in my kitchen and fridge. throughout the fall and winter, i will roast a batch of veggies and/or braise a bunch of greens with the express purpose of having them available for me to add to soups, a stir fry, pastas, rice, etc. throughout the week. this allows me to put together simple yet tasty meals quite quickly. also, living in the bay area allows me access to a seemingly endless amount of wonderful locally grown produce....which would, of course, not be available if i lived in new york....or london.

pros vs cons people. pros vs cons.

i was definitely thinking about this as i was roasting some brussels sprouts about 11pm last night (extra virgin kalamata olive oil, ca-grown brussels sprouts, sea salt, heavy on the cayenne, and a lot of black pepper) and watching an early episode of "no reservations". i think it was the second season...where anthony bourdain goes to venice and he's on this island that grows food for venice and is eating a tomato that has been picked about 10 minutes before. also in that episode, he mentioned how he really wasn't a fruit and veggie guy. this makes complete sense to me as he is a new yorker.

i know that i'm a big fruit a veggie gal because i grew up in the bay area and have always been in environments where it was a given that i would eat fresh produce on an ongoing basis....even when i was in siginifantly poorer environments than i am now. for my mother, it didn't matter how much money we did or did not have, it was a given that there would be piles and piles of veggies...often purchased from chinatown or asian markets buried within little saigon or an equivalent. she rarely purchased produce from american grocery stores. now that i am older, i realize how this was probably not an easy thing to do given the lack of easy access to fresh produce in lower income neighborhoods...even in the bay area.

i can imagine that these challenges are expounded for those living in new york. not everyone can afford to go do dean and deluca or balducci's....and even some of the corner grocers' produce (which has improved dramatically during my random visits to new york over the past 10 years or so) cannot compete with the likes of what i have access to within 2-5 blocks of my place in berkeley. yes, i make good money. i live in a good area of berkeley. it isn't the most chic-chic but it is a FAR cry away from living in the 'loin. yes, i am lucky and spoiled. i realize this. i'm evaluating what kind of life i can have given my current income level in new york and london...and what that would mean for the food i eat. this is not a small insignificant issue given how important food is to me.

i was still thinking about all of this after sleeping in and deciding to make myself an early lunch with the brussels sprouts i roasted last night. i love using strong spicy flavors with brussels sprouts...

"hmmm, what should i have for lunch?" i asked myself after taking out the leftover roasted brussels sprouts. after a moment or two of quiet contemplation of what else was in my fridge and pantry, i decided that i would reheat about half of the brussels sprouts, add some ricotta salata, and roasted pinenuts.

talk about simple, easy, and delicious. hmmmmm.

first, i heated up a pan to roast the pinenuts, then put half of the brussels sprouts in the microwave, then grabbed a wedge of ricotta salata, and then picked up the bag of pinenuts....

and sprinkled some of them into the hot pan.....twirling them around in the hot pan for a few moments and then turned the heat off...but left them in the pan...shaking them around in between my fluttering around my kitchen and shredding a bit of the ricotta salata on top of the sprouts.

then finally, i added about half the nuts i roasted and put the rest of the nuts with the unused sprouts that will likely have with dinner tonight or lunch tomorrow.


isn't that beautiful?

yup, i'm definitely a fruit and veggie gal.....that also loves her eggs, pork, and duck. i think eggs, pork, and duck are the reasons why i am not vegetarian. hmmmm. i suppose that makes me an omnivore...rather than a "fruit and veggie" gal.

soooo, do i know what i am going to do about the new york vs london thing? nope. still don't know. this is quite a new thing for me, to process and share with everyone (particularly via the interwebs) as i am processing. typically, folks find out after i've made a decision. yet, will i be living and working in new york for a month this year? yup, this is something i am pretty certain about. i think this is something i need to see if i could really live there. most of my loved ones....when they first heard about my plan to "try out" new york....they were, like, "i'm surprised that it took this long."

as for london, i am going to wait until after the office opens before i make any further decisions about that one....and lets not forget....i could just stay in the bay area and still go off and live somewhere else for a month....every six months or so...that wouldn't be a bad option either.

the other night the best friend was totally laughing at me, saying that i am the "queen of contingencies" at the moment.

this is true.

it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. for the past couple of years, my life has gone in directions that i would have never been able to predict a few years ago....and i rather like it. i have no idea what will be around the bend......and that is ok. it is kind of like what i have done with the veggies....i'm putting certain things into action that can impact me over a period of time....but am also trying to have enough flexibility to figure out how to make it all work for me on an everyday level.