Sunday, December 14, 2008

veggie bags, goals for the week, and carrot zucchini bread (by request!)

I didn't do any baking or cooking this weekend, and barely even made coffee (drank a lot, just didn't make my own). Jake's parents are in town, so we went out to dinner and haven't been home much. This week looks to be pretty busy, with several dinner outings.

Weeks like this make me remember how much I love these (As Seen On TV) Debbie Meyer GreenBags. They work. Seriously, they do. I have already preached to some of you about this, and I hope you tried them. I've been meaning to send them to my mom, who watched tomatoes from her garden rot this summer. A nutritionist in NYC gave me some bags three years ago but I shoved them in a drawer (then drove them cross-country) and forgot them until this fall. Now I use them constantly, rinsing them out and reusing them over and over again. I replenished my stash a few weeks ago, at $10 for 20 at Fred Meyer here in Seattle. Come to think of it, the nutritionist was originally from Seattle--but I think that's a coincidence and does not suggest that the bags only exist in Seattle. Check the supermarket, pay the $10, and you will thank me. Without them, my fridge would be a hot mess most of the time. They keep greens fresh forever (over a week, easy) if you put them in the bags relatively dry. I haven't tried them for tomatoes because I eat them so fast, but if greens and the stock photo are any indication, they work magic.

That said, my goal for the week is to use the vegetables in my fridge before they go bad and/or new ones descend on me on Wednesday. Looks like a maybe a some kind of stew will be in my future, because the slow cooker hasn't made an appearance yet this winter and those potatoes and kale and onions and carrots (still!) aren't going to cook themselves. Can you put bok choy in stew?!

Also, I need to:

1) figure out what to bake for our pug-sitter and christmas eve (I bought some anise extract and am thinking almond anise biscotti, and I just had a f-ing amazing lemon tart at Etta's in Pike Market that had a marshmallow meringue that left me sort of sugar-ill but also really inspired);

2) shop!; and

3) clean up some dissertation thinking I managed to pull off over the past few days.

I think I got a better handle on what my committee has been pushing me on, although I really only have stream of consciousness notes on paper about it. I think there are four main questions I'll be answering.
  1. The very basic: what do people say they want or intend to do with the voucher once they have it? I.e., I want to stay put, versus move to a new place in my current neighborhood, or move somewhere far away.
  2. Second, why? Here's where questions about whether they like their current neighborhood, or feel they are part of a community they don't want to leave, or feel that moving is just too damn hard/expensive/confusing/not a real option come in to play.
  3. Where do people actually end up? So, how many can't find a place and lose the voucher (called "success rate" in the lit)? How many "lease in place" (use the voucher to stay in their original housing)? And how many experience a change in neighborhood quality as a result of moving with the voucher? The latter involves measuring neighborhood quality, which will be a bitch and a half because it means EVEN MORE DATA.
  4. Here's still fuzzy -- but examining which factors influence outcomes. To what extent do preferences predict a person's likelihood of moving vs. staying in place or losing the voucher? To what extend does family size, or race, or some other thing seem to be more important?
That's a mouthful, so thanks for bearing with me (if you did). The fourth is where some modeling is going to have to happen and I need to make sure I'm asking the right survey questions. I'm anxious about it at the moment and concerned I'll need to go back to some drawing board with the survey. Maybe it's just the sugar in that tart.

But lets hope for a productive week and a happy jake family visit (thanks for Dinner Rick and Bonnie!).

Oh -- by request from Anonymous #2: a carrot zucchini bread recipe! Which is basically the pumpkin carrot, but swapping out the pumpkin for the zucchini.

3 cups flour (I split white and whole wheat)
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2.5 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
.5 tsp clove
.5 tsp nutmeg
.5 tsp ginger
1 packed cup grated carrots
1 packed cup grated zucchini
1 cup plump raisins or nuts (if you want)

Whisk the dry together (flour, powder, spices and salt). Mix the sugar, beaten eggs, oil, applesauce, carrots, zucchini and raisins, and then add to the dry ingredients just enough to combine it all. I tend to just eyeball the spices.

Bake at 350 for about an hour in a pam-ed pan (makes two 8 or 9 inch loaves) and you're done. Or about two dozen small muffins.

The measurements on the carrots and zucchini are approximations -- use what you got. I have used pre-shredded carrots and it went fine.

You can do a whole cup of oil instead of half and skip the applesauce, or up the applesauce and skip the oil. I like to drop calories and fat where I can, but some oil helps.

I often substitute one or more eggs with banana and/or ground flax mixed with a bit of water -- which I think is great but definitely gives a denser texture. I've never tried it with this bread, but with others I love it. I'll post something about substitutions some time or another.

Really, it seems like you can take this basic flour, sugar, oil, eggs and spices combo and pair it with combinations of apples, banana, carrot, zucchini, pumpkin ... and crushed pineapple, coconut, nuts and raisins all work well with different combinations, too. Seems sort of like juicing. Whatever works in juice you can probably find a loaf recipe use for.

1 comment:

  1. How do these magical bags work? I need them for the inevitable kale/spinach/chard which shows up in my veggie box every week which I need at least a week to think about before I can prepare. btw, I recommend curried, it must be a bit british but curried cabbage etc. is delicious. You fry onions and cumin seeds (and maybe some ginger and/or garlic) in some olive oil and then add the cabbage with curry powder, garam masala, tumeric, corriander, cumin powder etc. Delicious! Oh and then add the cabbage/spinach/chard/kale.