vegetable "noodles"

Thanks to our wonderful farm box I recently had lots of zucchini and cucumbers on hand. I wanted something crisp and fresh for dinner, but I also had a craving for pasta.

Since it was about 100 degrees in our house even with the A/C on (it's a small window unit) and I didn't want to cook so much as a pot of boiled water I decided to cut the veggies into thin noodle-like strips.

The soy garlic ginger batch was done by hand, not something fun or recommended to do in a 100 degree kitchen, ugh. The pesto batch I broke out the mandolin for. I usually kinda hate my mandoline*, but this made it worth it. Although looking at the two pictures I find the less-than-perfect hand cut strips more appealing, but spending an hour cutting two small zucchinis and one cucumber, no thanks.

These are two sauces/ marinades I use all the time, varying the ingredients slightly to suit my mood and what I happen to have on hand. They go great on all kinds of vegetables, starches and tofu; either one would be good on chicken, but beef works better with #1.

Marinade #1
  • minced garlic
  • finely chopped ginger root
  • soy sauce
  • rice wine vinegar
  • sesame oil
  • fish sauce (optional)
  • red pepper flakes

soy marinaded vegetable noodles

Sauce #2
  • chopped basil
  • minced garlic
  • olive oil
  • chopped walnuts
  • salt & pepper
  • chopped tomatoes (optional)

pesto vegetable noodles

If you eat these immediately they are fresh and crunchy, the longer you let them marinate, the more chewy and noodle-like they become. Either can be made up to a day ahead of time and left covered in the fridge, the veggies just absorb more marinade and become more intensely flavored.

*Can anyone suggest a good mandoline? One that can slice hard vegetables, like carrots (mine fails here) and isn't completely terrifying to assemble/disassemble and clean?


a hero

Douglas Adams is one of my heroes.

Growing up reading the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and all the ensuing sequels, shaped (or fit) my sense of humor and personality.

Shortly after I moved to Davis I was watching public access TV to avert the loneliness and clicked upon a lecture filmed at UCSB a week or so prior to Adams' (early, tragic) death.

He reads and retells stories from his non-fiction account of traveling the world in search of endangered species Last Chance to See. Adams and his traveling companions try to catch glimpses of animals from a New Zealand flightless parrot called the Kakapo to the now (tragically, sadly) "functionally extinct" Yangtze river blind dolphin the Baji.

Everyone should read this book. If you have read it, listening to the lecture and hearing some of the stories in Adams' own voice is wonderfully touching.

But it is the last 10 or 15 minutes of the lecture that really get me.

Adams talks about the incredible simultaneous tragedy and hope humans find themselves in, of how we've come so far to being able to rectify some of our mistakes in relation to Earth's other inhabitants, and how inevitable it seems we'll just keep going as we have been, as is in our nature to do.

You can almost hear his voice cracking.

Parrots the Universe and Everything:

The lecture is over an hour long, so you might want to switch over to youtube and watch it full-screen, or just listen.


Zucchini Margaritas & dinner

This sounds odd, but tastes absolutely fantastic.

Recipe lightly adapted from Andrea Albin's Zucchini Lime Tequila Slushies featured in Gourmet, because I like things boozy and I don't particularly like things sweet. This makes a double batch.

Zucchini margarita

You will need:
  • 4 small zucchinis cut into inch long sections (I think this was just over 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 180 ml (.75 cups) tequila
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • shake or two sea salt
  • 5 cups ice cubes
Puree all the ingredients in a blender and serve. This made three large glass fulls.

[A brief aside on blenders--I never really thought about them, but had always been disappointed with ones I'd purchased, they leaked, jammed and just sucked. As a wedding present J's mom got us a vita-mix (same brand jamba juice uses) and it is amazing; I even never thought a blender could be amazing. So if you've got a few extra hundred bucks, never want to buy another blender in your life, or see one of these at a garage sale or 2nd hand store get it!]

zucchinis limes

We needed dinner to go with our drinks, so I threw together this quick and easy mexi-tinged sweet and sour stir-fry; it took only a few minutes and complimented the drinks perfectly.

mexi-tinged sweet & sour

Make some brown rice ahead of time (or if you're me, have some left in the cooker from yesterday)
  • 1/2 cup firm tofu diced
  • small onion in slices
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • medium cucumber in half moons
  • large tomato chopped (1 cup)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 cup ketchup (oh shush, it works)
  1. heat some oil in wok over medium high
  2. toss in tofu and cook until it begins to turn golden
  3. add onions and cook until they become aromatic
  4. add cumin and stir well, let spice cook briefly
  5. add tomatoes and cook until they begin to break down
  6. add cucumbers
  7. squeeze in lemon juice and ketchup, stir well
  8. cook an additional minute or two, but make sure cucumbers retain some crispness
  9. remove from heat and serve over brown rice



a trip to the park

For several years now I've been craving roller-coasters. Not just the Giant Dipper, which is still one of the most fun I've been on, but a real throw-you-around make-you-fear-for-your-life experience. Last weekend my craving was satisfied.

We got some 1/2 price tickets to Marine World (discovery kingdom I do not accept you) through twitter and braved the atrocious coast-bound traffic to meet up with friends in Vallejo and ride some damn rides.


We met up with the always fabulous Rah:


and her friend Dominic (an awesome guy who also battled the traffic from Sac. and is not intimidated by killer whales.)


Jevan spent the week before saying his Saturday was going to be spent "waiting in lines, in the heat, with screaming children." So that was true, but the lines weren't so long, the breeze was cool, and the children didn't scream very loud.

I even caught him smiling:


We saw captive wildlife:

Tank of the blue dolphin

This bird had amazing feet that looked two sizes too big.
Cool feet bird

This Indian Fruit bat was my favorite, when it climbed up to eat a piece of pear you could see it had a face just like Falcor. The collar looked uncomfortable.

Indian fruit bat

And great wild chickens


It's hard to find a greater density of miserable-looking people that are supposed to be having fun that in an amusement park; looking around there was nary a smile to be found. Thousands of people with small children and infants in strollers waiting in line for rides only a few of the family can go on, asking youth that wants to run around to stand still and behave, it just doesn't seem like an ideal family outing.


What do you do with a five year old and these?


Oh, feed them "American Fries."

American fries

Marine world is a self declared "family environment" where you can be expelled for offending
anyone, and no drugs of any kind are tolerated. However, this was the musical act of the day:


Yep, "Canobliss,"
'coincidentally' is similar to cannabis." the band all had matching t-shirts with their name on them.

was one place in the park everyone had genuine smiles and looks of awe and wonderment -- the butterfly exhibit.



Black & white



We had a great time, and were reminded amusements parks are definitely not somewhere we want to visit more than every three years.

But last weekend, this made it all worthwhile: