Counter Action: Watermelon–edamame salad

Next in our summer salad series, which is as much a dedication to seasonal cooking as it is a Hail Mary intermission between cheese-filled pancakes and homemade waffle cones, we have this easy blend of watermelon, snow peas, and edamame.

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And have you ever been told to put salt on your watermelon, to bring out the flavour? That’s what the dressing does, but through the vehicle of toasted sesame oil and soy sauce. Can life get better? I submit that it cannot.

watermelon i

Watermelon–edamame salad

(thrown together with what I had in my cupboard; for added flavour, try Joy the Baker’s original recipe: Snap pea, watermelon, and edamame salad with sesame vinaigrette)

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. chopped watermelon
  • 2 handfuls snow peas, cut on the bias
  • 3/4 c. shelled thawed edamame
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine watermelon, snow peas, and edamame.
  2. In lidded jar, combine oils, mustard, soy sauce, and seasonings. Shake to combine.
  3. Toss salad with dressing to taste. Store leftovers covered in fridge for up to four days.

 

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No Carb Left Behind, episode 2: U-District

pupusas

For the next installment of my food-centered farewell tour of Seattle, we travel north to the University District, home of the excellent Magus Books, a much-touted annual streetfair, and the unparalleled University of Washingon.

bldg

Oh yeah, that’s my alma mater.

stairs

Heck yes. Go Huskies.

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This place does have a formal name, but everyone just calls it the Harry Potter room. Early in the morning, before the tour groups start coming through, there’s no better place for a solo cup of tea and meditation on your philosopher of choice.

Anyhow, as you can see in the first picture, I chose Guanaco’s Tacos for a plate of rice, black beans, pickled slaw, and two zucchini–spinach–cheese pupusas (which, if you’re new to them, are a bit like stuffed pancakes made with corn flour). It was a fantastic meal, especially for the price, but really at the limits of my stomach capacity. Next time I think I might skip the plate and order one pupusa, a side of rice, and a side of beans.

ice cream iii

Just down the hill, at the University Village, there’s a branch of the inimitable Molly Moon’s. It’s a bit on the pricier side, which is why I hadn’t been there since last June, but worth the money for a special occasion. I love their Honey Lavender and Maple Walnut flavours, so this time, I took a chance on another of their year-round flavours, Salted Caramel. It was a bit salty on its own for me, but I can see it really shining alongside a scoop of Melted Chocolate.

I once looked at an apartment quite close to the University Village. I rejected it partly because I would have wound up being far too familiar with Balsamic Strawberry and Vanilla Bean, the scent of homemade waffle cones drawing me on like a siren song.

siren

“Scout mint … Scout miiiiint …”

These are by no means the only, or even the all-out best, places to eat in the U-District — I also love Shalimar for slightly formal (but still affordable) Indian food; Molly’s Café has some of the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had; and the District Market‘s excellent ready-made soups and sandwiches will always have a special place in my heart for welcoming me back to Seattle after a long early-morning flight from Alabama.

In short, it’s hard to go wrong with the U-District, food-wise. Whether you’re looking for a meal on the go or need a good place for a date, the U-District has your back.

If you live in Seattle, what’s your favourite food place in the U-District? Alternatively, what was your go-to food place in college?

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Image credit: Siren from Azumi79 on Pixabay.

Counter Action: Green pasta salad

It’s one of the hottest days of the year so far here, although you wouldn’t know it to look at my neighbours. I don’t think a day has gone by since Memorial Day that they didn’t have the grill fired up outside. Apparently sweat is weakness leaving the body.

As long as this heat wave lasts, I’m staying as far away from heat sources as I can. No pizza or soup or homemade baked goods for this girl. Even snuggling with my roommate’s cats is a bit much.

This salad definitely fits the summer bill of fare, though. I don’t know what it is about the snap of raw vegetables that feels cooler than cooked ones, but this dish has its fair share of crunch with broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers. Have some fresh asparagus spears you need to use up? Throw them in too. Sugar snap peas? Why not. Cooked chilled edamame? Have at it. This is your salad, my friends.

Green pasta salad

(based on Best Food Cloud’s ranch pasta salad)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. rotini
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 6 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 pkt. ranch dressing mix

Directions:

  1. Cook rotini until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool.
  2. Dice broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In separate bowl, combine yogurt, milk, and ranch dressing mix until smooth. (Based on how much whey is in your Greek yogurt, feel free to add a tablespoon or two of flour to thicken the dressing. If you like your salad extra flavorful, add up to 1 tsp. onion powder and 2 tsp. dried parsley.)
  4. Combine rotini, veggies, and dressing. Toss to coat.

No Carb Left Behind: episode 1

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First off, I should admit that I did not come up with this tour name myself; it’s what Liz’s friend calls her Italy trip in Eat Pray Love. Unlike her, I do not have ready access to fried squash blossoms and homemade tiramisu and roasted endive and penne ai quattro formaggi and pizza that incurs an existential crisis.

Perhaps it’s just as well.

However, we do have some pretty awesome street food, delis, and bakeries here in Seattle, and it’s my sad duty to revisit my favourites in the process of moving away. It’s not as impressive as Cher’s farewell tour, I know. But at least I’m only planning one.

My first stop was Michou Deli, in the Pike Place Market. It has a wide range of sandwiches and salads, with a respectable collection of pastas, soups, and pastries as well. My favourite sandwich, the one you see above, is the Tuscan chicken, with chicken, tomato, artichokes, greens, mozzarella, and pesto. This time I got a side of kale–wild rice salad to go with it. Such a good lunch — and super affordable, too; my sandwich–salad combo was under $7.

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And while I was at Pike Place, of course, I had to stop at Three Girls Bakery (no official website, but here’s their Yelp listing) to pick up a pastry. I decided on a poppyseed rugelach in the end, but they also have fantastic palmiers, croissants, brownies, and cookies. They’re reasonably priced, too (I paid $2 for this rugelach, and the guy threw in a broken one for free), so if you decide that the line at Piroshky Piroshky is too long, just walk a block further and get your pastry fix at Three Girls.

Also, a word about visiting Pike Place Market: I highly recommend going there early. Le Panier opens at 6:30 a.m. and Lowell’s at 7 a.m., so by the time you finish breakfast, many of the produce, flower, and seafood vendors will have set up their wares, and you’ll be able to stroll the market without the crowds. It’s a much more relaxed, personal, and efficient way to experience the market. (If you’re there for the crafts vendors, you’ll probably have to wait until 10 a.m. But that’s all the more time to mooch around the nearby coffee shops, right?)

Stay tuned for the next installment … but in the meantime, I want to know: What’s the best sandwich in your hometown?

Your unasked questions answered

First of all, my sincerest apologies to all the commenters, gossip columnists, and TV crews who have been wondering where I was for the past four months. Sorry for the panic — I know, it was like the Marie Celeste all over again, but with more conspiracy theories. It’s okay. I’m back now.

(And by “panicked fanbase”, I mean the one friend to whom I casually mentioned my absence, to which she replied, “Oh yeah, you have a blog.”)

In a nutshell: I’ve been finishing my master’s degree.

There's been serious talk of wearing wizards' caps to graduation. I'll keep you posted.

There’s been serious talk of wearing wizards’ caps to graduation. I’ll keep you posted.

“What’s your degree in?”

There’s more than one reason why I haven’t said before. First, there’s the whole stranger-danger thing. I sometimes play a game (benevolently, I swear) where I read strangers’ blogs and see how quickly I can identify what city they live in. Sometimes they’re super open about it. Sometimes they’re successfully secretive. Most often, they don’t want to say outright, but it’s super easy to find out based on the businesses and events they mention. Because I’m in a field that doesn’t have many masters’ programs in the U.S., mentioning my discipline in conjunction with the other events I’ve described would have been about as smart as posting a daily selfie with the Eiffel Tower and expecting my location to remain anonymous.

“Loving my new place in London! #privacyplease”

The other reason is that my field has a certain amount of stigma. About fifty percent of the time, when I tell people what I’m studying, they scrunch up their noses and say, “You have to have a degree to do that?” (I like to respond with a breezy “No, I just had a spare $45,000 lying around, and Joss said it wasn’t enough to reboot Firefly.”) Another thirty percent of the time, they’ll say, “Really? Where are you going to find a job in that?”, as though they expect me to have a road-to-Damascus moment and switch to, say, bioengineering on the spot.

But neither of these reasons are particularly valid anymore, because (a) I’m moving soon because (b) I just got a full-time job in my field. It can be done, friends.

So to answer your question: I’m a librarian.

It was surprisingly difficult to find a free stock photo of a stereotypical librarian. This fills me with hope.

It was surprisingly difficult to find a free stock photo of a stereotypical librarian. This fills me with hope.

“So, what’s new in your life?”

Well, I just got a full-time job in my field. Did I mention that? Please don’t hate me. It does mean I have to get to move to the Deep South in the depths of summer. So I guess I’m an adult now? Is this what adults do? Does it mean I have to stop sleeping with a nightlight?

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This is definitely not my nightlight. That mouse is far too scary.

In other news, getting a job before graduation means that all motivation evaporates. Right now I’m in the throes of writing MY LAST PAPER EVER (please don’t hate me) and it is not going well. For comparison, I have also written papers on canine imagery in Renaissance drama, the Protestant poetic of George Herbert, and medieval numerology, all of which were riveting season finales compared to this last barrier between me and gainful employment.

Also, I’ve been trying to purchase ebooks for the small library I manage, which is obnoxiously difficult and expensive, and catalog other ebooks with open-source software that was apparently coded in an era when ebooks were naught but a twinkle in Vannevar Bush’s eye. So the next time I hear someone say, “I don’t know why my library doesn’t have more ebooks; they’re just so much easier to buy and use,” I am going to stalk them until they start making risotto, and then I am going to cry into it, and it will be too salty and their dinner party will be ruined. Ha.

bad guy

“Speaking of cooking, can you make a roux with EVOO instead of butter?”

As I discovered yesterday while making the Pioneer Woman’s cauliflower soup, yes, you can, but it will have a pale green tinge that is not for the faint of heart. Also, you will need a heck of a lot of salt.

“What’s up next for IWtSLtY?”

I have every intention of returning to a regular posting schedule, but let’s be honest, I also have every intention of someday learning how to manage my hair, and that’s not working out so well.

However! I’m currently mapping out a No Carb Left Behind farewell tour of my home city, which I can bring you along on, now that it doesn’t matter if you know where I live. So stay tuned for that.

Finally, looking farther ahead: What are your thoughts on D.A. Days, our celebration of all things Potteresque? Is it worth a repeat? Would you like to see another fandom highlighted this year?

Until (an ideally very soon) next time,

~ Sonya

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[traditional Yak of Goodwill]

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Image credits: Great Hall gif from Warner Brothers via Tumblr, I claim no ownership of it whatsoever, please don’t shut down my blog; door by stux on Pixabay; librarian via Bill Branson on Wikimedia Commons; nightlight from twaita2012 on Pixabay; TH gif from MTV via rebloggy, again, no rights owned here, please don’t sue; yak from Simon on Pixabay.