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Showing posts from February 8, 2015

A few things I saw while walking in the snow today...

So I've said this before (regarding all-weather bike riding) but I have to say it again...I may be a little crazy--ok, a lot crazy--but I'm not stupid. If the weather gets too bad I just walk, and that's what I did today. This winter--even by Buffalo standards--has been a challenging one to say the least. I'm not sure when they started naming winter storms (is this something new?) but this one is called Winter Storm Neptune. Anyhow, I was feeling the effects of cabin fever this morning and took an elongated walk to a coffee shop. I took a few photos, these are my favorites. Click any for a larger view.








Urban Simplicity.

Salade d'hiver...

So just because it is the middle of February and one of the most frigid nights of the year it doesn't mean you can't eat a salad. This is great as a side or hearty enough as a main dish. And with saffron-poached potatoes, French lentils, and a cumin-coriander vinaigrette, what's not to like. While this may look complicated at first, if you look at each step it is really simple.

Salade d'hiver Serves 8-10
For the vinaigrette: 1 cup virgin olive oil ½ cup white balsamic vinegar 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon sea salt 2 teaspoons whole cumin seed 2 teaspoons whole coriander seed 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and salt in a small bowl and whisk together. Combine the cumin, coriander, and Aleppo pepper in a small dry skillet and place it over medium-high heat. Cook the spices for a couple minutes—until they begin to smoke and pop—and then stir them into the vinaigrette. Set the vinaigrette aside while you prepare the salad.

For the sala…

How to roast a pepper...

So it's February and one of the coldest nights of the year and I am thinking about peppers. Maybe I am thinking about summer...this is what I start to do this time of year. Roasted peppers are readily available in cans and jars but they are about as simple as things can be to prepare yourself and the flavor that it adds to a dish is worth the few minutes it takes. This is an ancient technique of cooking vegetables where the peppers are not actually roast in the oven but are “roast” over an open flame. The skin becomes charred black as night. With a little steam the skin just about falls off the pepper leaving only the tender cooked flesh with a light smoky flavor. This can be done outside over a grill or directly over the open flame of the burner on your stove.
The first time that I had seen this done was while I was at culinary school in the mid 1980’s. The chef-instructor had a thick German accent and when he told me to put the pepper over the flame of the burner I thought I had…

An inanimate de-stressing smile...

So today--for various reasons--I found myself stressed and anxious, and with me this usually manifests into profound sadness. And when I came home this evening on a cold dark night after a cold dark bike ride I found this drawn into the giant snow mound that is currently my front lawn. Then I noticed (as I left again and rode down my street) that there were smiley faces (each at least 2 feet in diameter) drawn into snow banks of front lawns all down the street. Thank you anonymous snow-drawers...this cheered me up and in fact made me smile.

Urban Simplicity.

Things that can be carried on a bike (#625)...

A bucket containing a 36 hour fermented 100% whole wheat bread dough, a camera tripod, a camera bag with a camera and two lenses, a gym bag, and a book.


Urban Simplicity.

Forest Lawn in the Winter...

So I have posted photos from Forest Lawn Cemetery a few times prior (click here to see them) but never in the winter. In fact, I'm not sure I've been there in the winter. And I've also commented on how beautiful and tranquil the cemetery is, but in the winter it is even more so. Aside from an occasional car, the only other (living) person I saw was a woman feeding the ducks and a gravedigger. But then there were times where I would ride--with the sound of snow crunching under my tires--with the company of just the wildlife and the cemetery's permanent residents. I really felt as if I were in a wild bird sanctuary in the middle of the city. When I would stop and listen there were cars in the distance, but above that I could here the water fowl, tons of crows, and some birds of prey (which unfortunately I did not get a good shot at). I took a bunch of photos, and here's a few of my favorites. Click any for a larger view.









Urban Simplicity.

Shakshouka!

So first of all, I have to come clean about something. You may be wondering what a guy like me (one who tries to shop relatively seasonally) is doing with fresh peppers and tomatoes in February...sorry, I had a momentary desire for warmer months and sought it through food...it's about this time of the year that the constant snow and grey begins to get to me. Thus said, you can use canned diced tomatoes for this, which I have in the past.

Shakshouka is a Mediterranean egg dish that is simple to make, nutritious, and really delicious. There are no hard and fast rules for the recipe other than it usually contains tomatoes and peppers, but one can also add other things they like, such as potatoes or beans (just to name a few). The sauce itself can be a sort of salsa-y type sauce, such as this recipe, or it can be more of a smooth tomato sauce (such as this recipe which I posted last year). It can be either cooked entirely on the stove-top (such as the recipe posted here) or it can be f…