Kitchen Library, 2013.06.20


In this Kitchen Library: cooking without recipes, the best pies in Fremont (not the worst in London), and the history of bourbon.

Cooking Sans Recipes

First of all, 待たせた, blackberries. I’ve been waiting.

Blackberries @ I'll Make It Myself!

We stayed in a sharehouse for about a week, and our meals were limited because we were sharing a fridge and kitchen time/space with five other people and didn’t want to have leftover perishables to move to our next location, so we made really simple meals. A lot of avocado sandwiches, to be sure, but I also made some easy hot dishes like pasta and coucous (so, more pasta). Here’s tomato-basil pasta with butternut squash and corn, which I sautéed in olive oil with garlic, and then added fresh sage, salt, and pepper.


Butternut, corn, sage pasta @ I'll Make It Myself!


It was kind of nice to make up meals on the fly since I nearly always follow recipes. Creativity within defined limits is what makes sonnets and villanelles and Iron Chef so interesting, after all.

Couscous cooks up very quickly, so I chose that instead of rice (no rice cooker, nice pot was in use after another tenant cooked). I made an apple, butternut, walnut, and sage whole-wheat couscous with grated gouda-Parmesan on top:

Butternut couscous @ I'll Make It Myself!



These are two of the simplest and quickest meals I’ve made, and even though they’re so simple it’s ridiculous, I’m really proud of them. I’ve come a long, long way from baked sweet potatoes for dinner in four years.

On the Town

Bluebird Microcreamery & Brewery

We went to Fremont for the First Friday art walk and discovered all sorts of nerdy food.

No, we could not resist the Zelda reference on the sign:
Blue Bird Sign

Elysian Stout ice cream in a homemade waffle cone:

Bluebird Elysian Stout ice cream @ I'll Make It Myself


I really like stout (beer) ice cream (again with the “weird local flavors”), and Bluebird’s is excellent: good balance of flavors.  The homemade waffle cones are delicious, and a lot softer and less dry than a standard cone. This was also the first time I’ve ever seen my husband order a cone rather than a cup on purpose in the ten years I’ve known him. He was not disappointed.


Pesto veggie pie
Pesto veggie pie

We decided to be cool and professional and not crack any Sweeney Todd jokes at Pie, but when asked if we’d like to order “savory or sweet pies,” we both started giggling. The clerk said it’s fine as long as you don’t try to order the priest. I had a pesto veggie (zucchini, mushrooms, potatoes, onions, garlic, pesto, parmesan); he had the triple pig (ground pork, bacon, ham, potatoes, onions, bacon gravy).

Triple Pig
Triple Pig

Cherry Street Coffee House

Stopped by the 1st & Clay location for lunch on the way back from Mini Makers’ Faire. I had the lox and cream cheese bagel and coffee.


Oh, I’ve missed this.

He had the minestrone, the soup of the day. Hopefully I can catch it there again–I’ve had a lot of bad minestrone (dining hall, canned, ugh) and it was wonderful to try some that was made from scratch. I need to learn to make this.


Minestrone, Cherry Street @ I'll Make It Myself!


Recommended Reading

Laura Kiniry. “Where Bourbon Really Got Its Name and More Tips on America’s Native Spirit.” 13 June 2013.

A short and thorough guide on bourbon from a historian.

「みんなのお菓子!岩手県 山田町第一保育所」. 石川県 お菓子.collabo. (Okashi for Everyone! Yamada-machi, Iwate Pref., First Preschool.) Ishikawa Okashi Collabo. 15 June 2013.
The Ishikawa Okashi Collabo[rative] goes to Iwate to teach elementary-schoolers in Yamada-machi, which was hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, to make wagashi.

Also: Father’s Day provided me with comparison screen-shots for my (annual?) gendering-food rant. Got any good ones? Send them to illmakeitmyself[at]gmail[dot]com.


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