Update, mostly about delicious food

Jul 21, 2008 • Karen

So I'm still in DC, still looking for a full-time job. I however did find a part-time contractor job with SPARC, a DC group that advocates open access with which Students for Free Culture has collaborated in the past and for whom Nelson is working this summer. I'm updating the SPARC website and possibly helping with viral video stuff. Everyone at SPARC is basically awesome so I'm glad to be there. :)

Regardless of my underemployment, at least I'm eating well. On Wednesday Asheesh, Herbert, and Tim Vollmer came over to the apartment for a semi-fancy dinner. Herbert can't eat (much) gluten and Nelson is a picky peanuts-and-soy-allergic vegetarian, so I had to come up with something outside my usual cooking repertoire for dinner. This post is basically an excuse to post the recipes from that evening. Because they were delicious.

Course 0: Blueberries

Giant sack of fresh blueberries

Go berry-picking. Pick fourteen pounds of blueberries. Encourage fellow cook to use them in her dessert plans. Strategically leave blueberry sack out while she prepares blueberry sauce. Watch guests be unable to resist.

Course 1: Spinach plum salad

A bunch of spinach (???)
3 tiny purple plums
3 tiny yellow plums
1 cob sweet corn (because it was there)
1/2 a lime

Wash, dry, and roughly chop spinach. Put in salad bowl. Cut pits out of plums and cut into small pieces. Throw half in salad. Hold corn cob upright, with one end in a bowl. With a knife, slide down the four sides of the cob, cutting off the kernels so they (hopefully) land in the bowl. Mix the kernels around with your fingers to get the clumps apart. Throw in salad. Juice lime. Pour over salad. Toss salad. Throw remaining plum pieces on top.

Serve alongside a plate of multiseed crackers if the rest of the food is taking abnormally long and guests are hungry...

Course 2: Saffron rice and asparagus

2 T olive oil
1/2 cup diced shallots
2 cups brown basmati rice
3.5 cups veggie broth
1 generous pinch saffron threads (Nelson's ex-roommate left a whole petri dish of saffron behind!)
1 tsp salt

Wash and drain rice. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add shallots and fry for three minutes, until soft and light brown. Put shallots in rice. Add broth to rice. Stir in saffron and salt. Turn on rice cooker. The rice should take about 45 minutes.

1 bunch medium-sized asparagus, about 1 lb (I needed a larger recipe, so I also added a 1/2 pound of green beans. Worked great!)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
1 tsp lime zest (freshly grated lime rind)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rinse asparagus thoroughly and break off tough, white bottoms. Cut into 1 to 2 inch sections at a slight diagonal. Fill a medium-sized saucepan halfway with water and boil. Add asparagus and lower heat to a simmer for two minutes. Add remaining ingredients to a large bowl. Drain. While asparagus are still hot, toss them in the bowl of olive oil, parmesan, and zest. Salt and pepper to taste.

If your timing is good, the rice should also be done about now. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.

Course 3: Buckwheat crepes with blueberries (Herbert's dish)

1.5 cups milk
3 eggs
1.25 cups buckwheat flour
4 Tbsp butter
1 + 3 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 cups (?) of blueberries

Melt butter. Mix liquid ingredients in a medium bowl. Add sugar and salt. Slowly add buckwheat flour bit by bit, mixing with a whisk. Don't overmix. Cover batter and put in fridge.

Rinse blueberries and remove stems. Put in a bowl. Squish them a bunch with whatever squishing implements are handy. Add sugar to taste and mix. Cover and put in fridge.

When ready, heat a big non-stick skillet and spray on some oil. Pour a ladle of batter onto grill; turn skillet to get the batter to cover the bottom. Flip when ready (shouldn't be long). Continue.

Serve hot with chilled blueberry sauce.