Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lemonade Weather on the way?

The soup weather came back around here, foggy and cold and high 60's.  But today it's in the 70's and heating up just a bit.  I missed our usual farmers' market expeditions this week because Ryan's car's in the shop so he's been using mine and there's only one market I can walk to, on Tuesdays.  This past Tuesday I was too exhausted from chaperoning Lauren's field trip, and then navigating the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus to take her to music class and home.  I feel so sorry for people who relay on the bus regularly!  Buses are so unreliable, late, and they will not stop if they're already full, it would make life really difficult if I were trying to get to work via one!
     But anyway, once I've got my own wheels back, we'll resume our weekly strawberry purchase.  There are so many local strawberry farms that sell at our local farmers' markets, I generally pay only $5 for a half flat of organic berries.  I have forgotten the name of the certain kind I prefer, but one taste of it at the market and I know.  They taste like peach candies, bursting with sweetness and they  must be eaten that day or frozen.  We have handfuls of them on the walk home and then I cut the tops off the rest and freeze them. All week we thaw out bowls full and enjoy.

Here's something else we make with the strawberries, and Meyer lemons from my parents' tree:

Strawberry Lemonade (based on "Never Bitter-Lemonade" from


  • 12 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar (use a bit less if the strawberries are very ripe)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • frozen strawberries to taste


  1. In a pot combine water, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 2 minutes. Chill the sugar water for at least 60 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. In a pitcher mix cooled sugar water and lemon juice together. 
  3. Fill blender 1/3 full of lemonade and add frozen strawberries to taste.  I do at least 1 pint.
  4. Return strawberry mixture to pitcher and blend with the rest of the lemonade.  Or mix it directly in each glass if you want to save some plain lemonade aside for the non-berry fans!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Soup Weather

Wait, I started this post LAST WEEK! News flash, it's sunny now!

It's been in the 60's around here, as if Los Angeles doesn't know it's July.  Soup weather.  So I made some Harira, Moroccan Stew from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant: Ethnic and Regional Recipes from the Cooks at the Legendary Restaurant (Cookery).  I've made it so many times that I've personalized the recipe.  Here's my updated version:

Vegetable Stock:

4 small/medium unpeeled potatoes, quartered
4 small/med carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 apple, seeded and chopped
2 T apple juice
2 bay leaves
18 peppercorns
15 cups water

Put all in large pot and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, then run through strainer/colander to get the stock. Freeze what you don't need for recipe. It's not an exact science. If you have extra of some vegetable or not enough of another, throw it in.


1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
2 1/2 celery stalks, finely chopped
4 1/2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 small potatoes, chopped
2 small carrots, diced
6 small tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups tomato juice (I cut out the cores of tomatoes, put them in the blender and use this as juice)
6 cups vegetable stock
1 medium zuchinni, finely chopped
3/4 cups curly vermicelli, crumbled (can use angel hair or other pasta)
1 1/2 cups canned or cooked chick peas (I dump in the whole can)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
parsley for garnish
In a soup pot, saute the onions and celery in the oil until the onions are translucent. Add the spices, potatoes, and carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. (This is the part where the spices will get browned and overcooked if you don't stir!)

Mix in the chopped tomatoes, tomato juice, and vegetable stock and simmer until all of the vegetables are almost tender.

Add the zucchini and vermicelli and simmer for about 5 minutes longer. Mix in the chick peas, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley.

Note: If you don't have all of these spices, you can buy them by the ounce at Sprouts, Boney's...some of the Whole Foods also have bulk spices. And I think I have a lifetime supply of turmeric so you could take some next time you're at my place!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grey in LA: Loudon Wainwright III

This one goes with my "Soup Weather" post that I'm still finishing up in my drafts folder, and is more appropriate for *last* week's weather than today's current high 80's! Still, a great song. :)

Lyrics to "Grey in L.A." by Loudon Wainwright III

When it's grey in L.A. I sure like it that way
Cause there's way too much sunshine round here
I don't know about you I get so sick of blue skies
Whenever they always appear

And I sure love the sound of the rain pouring down
On my carport roof made out of tin
If there's a flood then there's gonna be mudslides
We all have to pay for our sin

And I suppose that they'll close canyon roads
And the freeways will all start to clog
And the waters will rise and you won't be surprised
When your whole house smells like your wet dog

When it's grey in L.A. it's much better that way
It reminds you that this town's so cruel
Yeah it might feel like fun when you're sportin' sunglasses
But really you're one more fool

And I'm just a chump
And this whole town's a dump
We came out here to dump all our dreams
Of making it big but we're stuck in a sig alert nightmare
That's just how it seems

And I suppose Laurie David sure knows
All those cars we drive heat up our earth
And sea temperatures rise and those constant blue skies
And brush fires can sure curb your mirth

Brad Grey's in L.A. yeah OK I should stay here
There's no place that's better i know
For a wannabe star stuck in a car
On a freeway with nowhere to go

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Still Marching to his Own Beat

We met with the fetal cardiologist yesterday, and he was very nice and reassuring and told us that yes, Wrigley has arrhythmia, extra beats, but that so far it is within the normal speed, 153 (anything from 120-160 is normal).  The heart has formed perfectly, and the doctor is confident that the rhythm will resolve itself on its own before birth or shortly after.  When asked, he concluded that the chances that the child would be born healthy and without any medical intervention was "99%."  To err on the side of safety, we will return for a few follow-up visits to insure that the heart's rhythm remains within healthy parameters.  I would only need to be admitted to the hospital and medicated if Wrigley developed a faster beat.  It would be unusual for this condition to develop from extra beats to a fast beat, very slim odds of it happening. 

I am not allowed to have caffeine, but I gave up my morning tea and afternoon lattes anyway as soon as I got pregnant, and I only had the occasional green tea every few weeks.  Interestingly, he said it wouldn't be a problem to raise my own heartbeat, say through exercise, but only avoid caffeinated substances because it crosses the placenta. 

He told me that often OBs don't know what to do with an atypical heart rhythm during  birth, they can't monitor it the way they are used to, so will often insist on a C-section.  He said he would not recommend, based *only* on this (unless something changes) that I have one and that if he were present, they wouldn't do it.  I am seeing my OB on Tuesday so I am going to ask her about that.  I would really rather not have a C-section if I don't need one and given that I had no problems delivering Lauren so didn't need one then, I wasn't expecting this.  But I'm getting mentally prepared just in case (and yes, getting way ahead of myself!).  His due date is 11/8 but they like to do C-sections a bit early. That would mean he would be an October baby, for sure.