Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jerusalem Artichoke a.k.a. Sunchoke

On a quick trip to our farmer's market on Sunday morning to by our favorite organic brown rice, we stopped by the one and only organic veggie vendor at our market. Since it was late, late morning their few tables were mostly empty save for a few bins of potatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes. I have never eaten a Jerusalem Artichoke. Never even seen one. I'd seen the name before but that's about it. After learning from the vendor that they are super easy to cook and great in soups we grabbed some. After all, we were planning on making soup.

We don't regularly patronize the Sacramento farmer's market on Sundays partly because there are not many organic farms that come here. There are, on a good day, about 5 but most of them sell one specific item. Rice (and almonds and almond butter). Apples. Oranges. When I said earlier we have one organic veggie vendor, I'm referring to one who sells a variety of vegetables. I'm sure if I took the time to talk with some of the farmers I'd maybe learn that they use organic methods but just aren't certified. But it's usually so crowded (another reason we don't regularly go) that I feel like a pinball in a pinball machine as I bounce off of people walking through the dang place which leaves me feeling not too chatty. So, we only go when we are on a mission for something specific. Get in. Grab it. Get out. Ding, ding, ding. Wizard Bonus!

Our favorite brown rice is one of those mission items. It comes from Massa Organics which isn't too far from Chico, CA and from where some of our relatives live. I'm so thankful they make the nearly 2 hour trek to Sacramento when they do. I wasn't too fond of brown rice until I tried theirs and now I'm hooked. I don't know what it is that's different about theirs but it's damn good.

The Jerusalem Artichokes ended up being good also. They are easy breezy and delicious. Simply wash with a scrub brush (no need to peel) then chop and cook. To me they taste EXACTLY like the heart of a cooked, fresh artichoke. The best part! And without having to deal with all the artichoke leaves! So, if you haven't tried them before, buy some the next time you see them (or seek them out). C'mon, live a little.

~ Monica

Saturday, January 8, 2011

We have a new bike shop in town owned by the guy who owns a food-delivery-by-bike business here in Sacramento. He has been participating in Second Saturday Art Walk. We went tonight and he had these vintage touring bikes on display.

It was difficult getting pictures of the entire bikes because of the crowd of people but you can get the gist.

The owner offers bike valet, a safe place to leave your bike while patronizing the nearby restaurants and coffee shop (next door). He carries (and plans to only carry) local, handmade cycling caps, and bags including some Carsick Designs panniers. He has some big plans for his space and wants us to be a part of it which is super exciting. He is a big fan of bike touring and is talking about organizing touring classes to get more people involved.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's 2011

I don't care so much for New Year's celebrations (excessive drinking, gunshots, and illegal fireworks that misfire way to close to my house for comfort) or New Year resolutions. Every day is the beginning of a new year, really. Why wait to lose weight or save money or pay off debt until the New Year? Is it easier to measure time by starting something new on Jan. 1? Is it easier to look back on the previous year and be proud of accomplishments and think about ways to successfully accomplish the goals not achieved?

I do agree with the act of setting resolutions and a deadline to accomplish them. The thirst to learn and grow is extremely healthy and I hope my thirst is never quenched. My issue with New Year's resolutions is that people set themselves up for failure. People are pressured to set goals for themselves because that's what you are suppose to do, rather than being motivated from deep within. Another aspect to accomplishing a goal, in addition to setting a deadline, is taking the time to create a plan that addresses exactly what needs to be done to make it happen. I have a feeling isn't getting done by many New Year's Resolutionists.

To be forthright, I've never set a NYR and I can't recall ever knowing anyone that has, or at least that let me in on their secret. So maybe my take on NYR's is all a story I've made up to make myself feel better about the fear of failure and going against the norm.

One little word with so many different meanings....

res·o·lu·tion (rĕzˌə-lo͞oˈshən)
  1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
  2. A resolving to do something.
  3. A course of action determined or decided on.
  4. A formal statement of a decision or expression of opinion put before or adopted by an assembly such as the U.S. Congress.
  5. Physics & Chemistry The act or process of separating or reducing something into its constituent parts: the prismatic resolution of sunlight into its spectral colors.
  6. The fineness of detail that can be distinguished in an image, as on a video display terminal.
  7. Medicine The subsiding or termination of an abnormal condition, such as a fever or an inflammation.
  8. Law A court decision.
  9. a. An explanation, as of a problem or puzzle; a solution.
    b. The part of a literary work in which the complications of the plot are resolved or simplified.
  10. Music
    a. The progression of a dissonant tone or chord to a consonant tone or chord.
    b. The tone or chord to which such a progression is made.
  11. The substitution of one metrical unit for another, especially the substitution of two short syllables for one long syllable in quantitative verse.