January 17, 2010

Weather-weary | raw dinner x 2

On Friday evening I was having a severe "allergic" reaction to the weather. Specifically, that would be a reaction to the unrelenting rain, and the accompanying dark and damp. Day after day after day of RAIN. In an unrelated but strangely ironic connection, even the pipes under the bathroom sink had begun to leak, requiring a visit from a plumber. (A tall, cute plumber with an earring, but that's irrelevant.) My "allergy" took the form of intense agitation. I was irritable, crabby, in a bad mood, and ready to scream. It occurred to me that when we lived in Wisconsin, surrounded by mountains of snow, and freezing cold, I seldom had a problem with the weather. I only seemed to remember the good weather, and dismissed the bad. My family from Philadelphia and Florida would ask me how I could stand so much cold and snow, and I'd reply that it wasn't as bad as it sounded. And it wasn't. At least there was SUN! And it was mostly dry so the snow was powdery. Honestly, I hardly ever minded. But lately I find that I can only remember the bad weather. I can't remember the sun. I'm feeling hostile and irritated. What is happening?

Anyway, Friday night I was too pissed to cook (or be nice to anyone else who might cook) so we went out to dinner. We had a gift card to Chaco Canyon, a restaurant we really like, that we decided to cash in. I needed a large quantity of vegetables, and this seemed like the place to get them. You can eat raw at Chaco, and that's what I decided to do. I had green coconut curry — a large bowl of raw veggies with a Thai influence. It was a lot of green! After I finished, I needed something a little more lighthearted so I had a raw brownie. Okay then. I wished I'd brought the camera — should have but was in too bad a mood when we left the house.

The problem I have with raw food in the winter is it leaves me feeling chilly. As we walked out of the restaurant, my husband was nice and warm and I was still cold — though slightly less angry. I decided that what I needed was some nice warm, freshly popped corn, so we headed home so I could try out a corn-popping method I'd seen in a podcast earlier in the day. We didn't bring our air-popper to Seattle, and I've been unhappy with the microwave experiments I've tried. I popped the corn on the stove in a large stainless mixing bowl, like this. It worked great but I thought it was too oily (it would have been too salty, too, but I only used a scant 1/4 teaspoon), and I felt bad about using all that foil. I think I'm off to Goodwill soon to look for an abandoned air popper.

So, by now you're probably wondering, how did I get the photos without the camera? Did I steal them off the Internet? I considered it but no, I wouldn't do that. The truth is we went back to Chaco last night and used the rest of the gift certificate just so I could illustrate this post. Told you I was losing it. I ordered exactly the same thing figuring that two days of raw food would probably do me good. The coconut curry was even better the second night but the brownie not so much. The first night the brownie was creamy and delicious but the second night it was hard, and made me think I was eating chocolate-flavored solid coconut oil. Not good. It makes me shudder when I think about it.

I made the popcorn again, too, using one tablespoon of oil instead of three, and less than 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I think with less oil you have to pay closer attention so the kernels don't burn, but I liked the result much better. Try it both ways.
(Thank you M.C.!)


Please help

I can't write a post without encouraging all the generous bloggers out there to make a contribution to help the people of Haiti recover from the horrendous earthquake. Here's a list of trusted places that will put your money to good use. Even a small donation will help.
The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) announces its top-rated list of charities involved in Haitian earthquake relief efforts. AIP, a leading charity watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, identifies the following charities, which are providing aid to the victims that receive an “A” or “B” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency. Contact the organizations below for information of specific relief operations now underway.


  1. Yummy... I wish I was eating where you are eating!! Here is another link to some Haiti relief, a bunch of bloggers are holding a bake sale!! http://thechiclife.typepad.com/the_chic_life/2010/01/online-bake-sale-for-haiti.html

  2. Any excuse to go out for a meal, huh Andrea. I think I would have done the same. It's sounds like a great meal. My friend Adam makes lovely raw food, especially desserts, so I know how good they can be. As to the weather, I feel the same. Snowy days are lovely and bright. It is the dark and dreich days that I hate, although I was getting a bit sick of the snow after nearly a month of it. I am glad it has gone now. At least I can get out with the pram.

  3. That is too funny that you went 2 nights in a row and ate the exact same thing! It does look like a good meal, though. I think I've had that brownie--sometimes I find raw desserts a little too heavy on the coconut oil, too. It's like eating pure fat--ugh!

    I'm with you entirely on the rain-vs-snow issue. I hate, hate, hate the cold, but would still rather have sunshine and relatively "dry" snow than rain.

  4. Awww...I am sorry about the weather! The sun has to come out eventually, right?!? It is funny that you say you are allergic to the weather...there was a story on our local news a while ago when it was really cold here about how people CAN actually really be allergic to the cold, lol. They interviewed an actual allergist and everything. It is apparently very rare, but it happens. So who knows?!? Maybe you really ARE allergic to Seattle weather!

    Hang in there--the sun will shine eventually!


  5. Jessica- Thanks for the link. The generous vegan bakers of Seattle are having a bake sale on Jan. 31. I'll probably contribute to that but also felt compelled to give a larger amount to two of the organizations I've listed. The situation in Haiti is dire.

    Jac- Back in Madison, once the snow comes it stays until spring - doesn't ever melt until the weather warms up in April. I'm hoping that the rain here will stop by April, if I haven't run away by then. :) Give an extra kiss to little Cooper for me.

    Ricki- Yes, I ate the same thing but Ken had different things each night. Sometimes I get into ruts like that with favorite foods at restaurants, but not usually 2 nights in a row. Of course, we don't usually eat out 2 nights in a row.

    Courtney- Thanks for the allergy alert! I think it's my mind that's allergic to the weather. I think I may have reached my rain and damp limit when we lived in Syracuse, N.Y. and all this additional gloom has put me over the edge.

  6. The green coconut curry and brownie look so delicious! Sorry that you didn't like it that much the second time but it was worth it to get the pics for your blog, wasn't it?

    Sorry about the weather, hope the sun will come up very soon. It was raining all day here in L.A. I have a bad cough and cold, maybe I'm allergic to the weather too!!!

  7. The weather really is giving me troubles! The cold is not comforting anymore and it gives me chills at night.

  8. Oraphan - I loved the big plate of spicy veggies both nights and the brownie the first night. It's funny the way restaurant food can change from night to night.

    I sure hope your cough and cold improve, even if the weather doesn't!

    Small house - Extra quilts and warm sweaters! I don't mind cold if there's also sunshine.

  9. Oh girl, I hope you're feeling better. Hate to get all Annie on you, but maybe the sun will come out tomorrow? I didn't see the sun for weeks at a time when I lived in England, but it made it all the sweeter when the sun did shine (I was totally in a pissy mood until then though ;)).

    That raw food looks delicious, and I love your dedication to the blog. I ate the same thing twice this weekend too, because the battery in my camera died the first time and I needed a decent photo. Sadly, it tasted better the first time I made it! Life.

  10. Look at you, taking one for the team and eating out two nights in a row just so we can see that delicious food!

    FYI, we had two days of unrelenting fog; fog that froze at night. Today it cleared up and was sunny, yay! The snow is both melting and sublimating, so there's less of it, except for on the street sides, which are closing in on the available car space in town. More snow is predicted for later on this week, though.

  11. That raw brownie looks so incredible. Too sad it was restaurant food and not your own. Otherwise there would be a recipe ;)
    I totally understand your allergic reaction. You described the average autumn/winter weather here and it sometimes makes me wanna scram, too. I already have two lamps on my desk, to fight the darkness.

  12. We love our old hot air popper, it's the only way we make popcorn!

  13. Sounds like you are losing your mind.

  14. Trinity- The sun came out today but tomorrow promises to be another day without orange juice. (sorry) I think your dedication surpassed mine - you had to COOK the same thing twice. I only had to eat someone elses cooking twice.

    Claire- I know, I know, the things we do for others.

    We had a night of gale force winds that howled, and kept me awake for hours. Then suddenly this morning it was quiet, and the sun came out. We went walking and I wore my sunglasses! That's probably it for sunshine this week.

    Mihl- Maybe if it had been my own, it would have tasted good both nights! Maybe I need one of those "happy lights".

    Janet- The metal bowl method was pretty cool, but if you want oil-free popcorn the hot air popper is the way to go. (I have to admit that the popcorn tasted pretty good with the tablespoon of oil.)

  15. Aw... sorry you were grumpy, but I quite understand why! I also know what you mean about raw food. It would really only suit me in the summer. I like my soups in winter!

  16. Penny - I'm with you. I like soup in winter, too. I like to have raw food every day, too, but not usually as the only food.

  17. We're finally getting a little break in the weather here in California. We really need the rain so it's hard to complain about it. Sometimes I like to try new recipes when it's cold and rainy - something to keep me busy and it heats up the place.

    The food looks delicious! Must be really good to order it two nights in a row. :-)

  18. I'm ready for winter to be over. I miss the (warm) sunshine too!

    I can think of a couple of restaurants I would eat at several times a week, and I can always go for a heaping pile of veggies. I'm with you on the raw desserts. All that fat can leave you feeling not so good.

  19. Penny - I'm with you. I like soup in winter, too. I like to have raw food every day, too, but not usually as the only food.

    Chow- California really got hit hard with rain. I'm glad it's finally getter brighter. We had a few days of "sunbreaks" here, too, but it's back to rain today. I made soup!

    Diann- There's definitely something to be said for sunshine and warmth.

    The raw desserts made with dates and nuts can be so good, but the ones filled with coconut butter make me a little nervous. There, I said it.


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