to my great chagrin…salad and mason jars

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Various states of water plus a slice of cheese with one bite characteristically taken out of it

I don’t usually do this, but I had salad for lunch this week. I think I’m overcompensating for the ungodly amount of pasta I made. I guess I’ve become another casualty of weshtern shociety…. I think after this I’ll need to go stir fry some yam leaves and think about my choices. But to be honest, when I see #y’all buying $12 salads with “quinoa” and “farro” and “seared salmon” in it I feel a little bit better that I at least have some fight left in me… Yeah yeah “Let ye without sin cast the first stone” but let me have my petty pleasures please….

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Don’t you be nosey and look at my personal belongings!!! Eyes up here, bud!!

I had some basil and spinach left over from dinner prep this week, plus I bought canned chickpeas (Garbanzos??? Am I experiencing a Mandela effect– always a possibility in these trying times– or are these the same damn thing???) and olives. Then gouda and some frozen strawberries on a whim, so you can clearly tell I was going absolutely hog wild off the rails at the store this week.

I don’t know why I’m sharing this, but when I was little my favorite part was the brown rind off a rock hard block of smoked gouda that had been sitting the fridge for who knows how long. I’m pretty sure “gouda,” “string” and “pizza” would have been the only cheeses I was ever exposed to. Why gouda, I do not know. Also Babybel! (The wax makes a nice sweaty red Play-Doh in a pinch. Don’t be a snob.)  In other news, is basil and strawberry a weird combo? A bougie combo? A great combo? After 5 days I still have no opinion one way or another. Readers….weigh in on the comments below and of course, like, subscribe, and don’t neglect to include the last four digits of your social and the three digit security code on the back of your credit card

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Yogurt and mix-ins in a mason jar…a desperate ploy to break into the mainstream

Anticipating that the salad would tide me over for approximately 35 minutes…. I packed myself a lil yogurt snack: plain yogurt, frozen strawberries, and (pilfered) honey with granola at the bottom. Doesn’t that picture look like one of those ASMR (I can only assume that’s what they are) videos on Instagram where they’re about to mix up the colors of paint? In my humble opinion this is much better, but no shade…..

I got a paper back yesterday and the TA ragged on me for not writing a conclusion (I think my transitions and focus could use some work too while we’re at it). And to be honest I feel misunderstood, oppressed, and personally attacked…. so in conclusion, goodbye until next time you sweet princes of Maine, you kings of New England……

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pasta bake with eggplant and zucchini (the chum method)

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That gritty iPhone photography that shows the reality of the situation
Hello there… Here I am….back at it again with another week of wonderful slop looking food, incredibly precise ad hoc measurements, and totally coherent rambling commentary. In the spirit of spooky October, read on ~~~~If Ye Dare….

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Casually splayed zucchini and eggplant
  • First of all, can I say how attached I was to this eggplant before I chopped it up into a million (OK, maybe 60) leetle fragments of itself? Look how goth and shiny it is….a black pearl…..Which has me thinking, is that Pirates of the Caribbean boat aware it’s named after an gleaming aubergine..?…Who’s paying me to make these connections….? Someone want to tell me about my career in poetry or my way with words….? Inquiring minds need to know
  • So anyways…. My first step was was to get chopping. I chopped up about half a big eggplant and zucchini into small cubes, then onion and garlic.
  • As always, fry onion and garlic in oil, adding salt and pepper. I feel like a broken record. Any of the good people out there see a future where I’m not chopping and frying onions until softened? Let me know.
  • Then add in the ground meat and cook until browned. I would have preferred I-talian sausage but I had turkey so. Whatever. It’s protein. I seasoned with salt, pepper, and some chili powder.
  • There probably is a proper order out there in This World but after the meat was browned I added all the veggies, cooked a little bit until the eggplant went soft, added more salt, and then dumped in, pardon me, Gently And With Utmost Care Upended Into The Receptacle 1 can of whole tomatoes and 1 can of tomato sauce. More salt. More pepper. More chili powder. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer. This is the Classic Chum Method. I think from now on I’ll just skip the BS and say “chum method” and y’all will get the idear. And by the way, by CHUM I don’t at all mean “friend.” I mean: “bait consisting of chopped fish and fish oils that are dumped overboard to attract fish.” Chum is one of my main and also only food groups. Also my area of culinary expertise and a profound metaphorical category. What are your CHUM HORIZONS™?
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Welcome to the Chum Bucket
  • While the chum is simmering, make some pasta, drain, and put it in a big dish. I don’t want to feel more like a 50s mom trying and failing to upstage the other moms at the church potluck than I already do on a daily basis, so I won’t call it a casserole dish, though for all intents and purposes that’s your guy.
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Unceremoniously and cruelly dumped
  • I forgot I also put a bed of spinach on top of the pasta. Cooked spinach is the secret fourth state of water so it’s not like you’ll taste it anyways. I think this is a potential #whitemomhack to get your bad ass kids to eat green vegetables but……..c’mon folks…………maybe I just don’t get the culture…..
  • Once the chum decides that it’s ready (a solidly arbitrary 20 minutes for me), mix it in with the pasta and spinach.
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Post mixing #CafeteriaCore
  • Then after mixing everything I put some shredded mozzarella and basil on top and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until bubbly, as the old refrain goes

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Before baking…featuring a single piece of raw eggplant and a lone discarded rotini. I didn’t remove the stems of the basil because I gotta show the good people I’m still one of them… out here… flawed… relatable… proletarian… bloggin’

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After baking…and burning myself from using my sleeves as oven mitts (“This will only take a second! Everything’s fine!”)
Toodles… I’ll spare y’all the tupperwaring because this was a LOT of pasta and I had to gleefully break out the ole plain yogurt container I had been saving for precisely such an occasion. I hope the taint of using ad hoc tupperware survives into every last generation of my progeny until the aliens finally find us and restore the planet to the bees. A lone un-biodegradable plastic tub of frozen food will my legacy.

I’ll be back in a couple days for this week’s update from the lunch field. No beef related grievances to report today.

comfort food, untranslatables, and BEEF SCENT

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a plebian meal, a plato típico…need I say more….

This week’s lunch prep features the most iconic dish ever invented, the only possible close second being Paul’s one hit wonder Bread Lion on last season of the Great British Bake Off. For all you virgin eyes out there this is the apex predator of comfort food… as a person who needs constant comfort I consider myself an authority on this. I’ve read a lot of translations of the name but all of them are too many syllables and yet have the soulless death rattle of Google Translate. And honestly…..to hell with a  “”””esprit du l’escalier””””” or a “””””schadenfreude””””…the economy, poverty, and #plebcore  of 西红柿炒鸡蛋 is the One True Untranslatable, thank you very much…. Need I go through how I made this:

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Sadly no product placement…Who will sponsor me? Who will be my patron??? for just five cents a day….you can make a difference…..
  • Quite simply just beat some eggs with salt. Just in the interest of full disclosure I put water in because I needed to streeeeetch my eggs a leeeetle bit…just keepin it real with y’all…
  • put some oil in a hot pan and let the egg cook. I let it firm up into a big omelette and then I break it up into little pieces with a fork. My favorite part of course involves destruction.
  • The Orthodoxy will have you remove the cooked egg from the pan as you cook the tomatoes separately but in my case I just…..shoved the eggs into a corner of the pan so they didn’t get as much heat
  • Cook the tomatoes until soft about [REDACTED] minutes. I honestly don’t know, I’m only nine. I just go off and play until I sense they are done.
  • Then mix together the eggs and tomatoes and “let simmer” in the juices on lower heat so it can get…..saucy….
  • Some people put spring onions on top but that’s really doing so much with all the bells and whistles…. in my opinion it’s pretentious like you already have red and yellow as vibrant colors what you need green for, this is not a dish to garnish, this is not for Pinterest. This is for YOUR GRANDMA is SICK AND TIRED of your picky ass so you can just stick this in your piehole and eat your rice and then go watch TV and don’t get any fresh ideas

Side notes on savages and barbarians who walk among us:

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PART 1: THE SACK OF ROME

PART ONE: Who dumped this hearty serving of rice out the window and onto the roof when the trash can is right there. Also and additionally and furthermore those nice young whippersnappers put a compost bin in our kitchen, yet you still chose the path of wastefulness, mess, and sin… Who hurt you?….Is it the same person I saw yesterday wash 3 20 dollar bills in the sink with detergent??? Who’s the adult in charge here….

PART TWO: The kitchen has been smelling RIPE like eau d’BEEF for a couple days… I truly think somebody is eating raw beef or like…roasting beef on a spit over an open fire with no seasoning  because the smell is RIPE. It is OUT and PROUD. I’m disturbed that someone or something is walking around that eats semi raw beef with no seasoning and in all likelihood could just SNAP at any given moment. I don’t even want to know what all this RIPE BEEF SCENT is doing to my hormones…C’mon now folks….

 

 

chicken and dumpling soup

I’m sorry to say…….. that I’ve outdone myself with this one! and truly satisfied my Cracker Barrel cravings! and then some!

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It is a lot of dumplings but not as much as it seems…they all floated to the surface. Notice how I have strategically dredged up some carrots and peas specifically for thine viewing pleasure…The game is changing…
  • For the soup, I started by frying 1 giant (diced) onion and 4 medium carrots in oil (with rosemary, salt, and pepper) until water started to come out of the onions. At this point I lightly coated the veg mix in flour.
  • Then I added more oil and dumped in 1lb give or take of chicken tenders cut into bite-sized pieces, seasoned with just salt and pepper. I meant to put in minced garlic at some point but the thought must have escaped me and I am filled with regret.
  • I just stirred the chicken around for maybe 5-7 minutes. All of this was on high heat
  • I realized that according to certain authorities on the internet I was supposed to put the broth in before the chicken, but I thought it would be better to cook the chicken at least a little bit first??? You can go your own waaaaayyyy….I ended up putting in 4c of chicken broth after about 5 minutes of cooking the chicken in with the veggies.
  • ….I let the chicken/broth/veggie shebang come to a boil, and meanwhile I started making the dumplings.
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It was only most of the way through dropping the dumplings into the soup that I remembered to “document the process”
  • The dumplings consisted of: 2c flour (plus extra– you know how I am with the improvised dough…Oh also for the 2c I used Buttermilk Pancake Mix instead of regular old flour, but the extra I mixed in later was a leetle beet of regular flour I had left from Other Ventures. I know. A hot mess) , 3/4c of plain yogurt + 1/2 c water (to replace buttermilk), salt, pepper, #MrsDash, 1.5tsps of baking soda, and a splatter of oil (no other way to put it). Oh and as you can imagine, none of these measurements are correct. I would describe them as being “in the vicinity of the ballpark” for you pencil pushers out there.
  • With my little floured paws (mitts? hooves? paws.) I formed the batter into balls about half the size of a Dunkin Donuts Munchkin (a standard unit of measurement for me…Also, who in the HELL calls them donut holes??? Have a little imagination….) and dropped them into the boiling soup. It was fun to watch them float to the surface like little fluffy carb clouds as I pondered how I, a harmless and innocent DREG OF SOCIETY, came to be surrounded by my illustrious peers– future engineers, lawyers, doctors, and war criminals.
  • When I snapped out of my reverie, it was time to take evasive action because the dumplings had swollen to ginormous size and I had to beat them back into submission (by cutting them in half with a wooden spoon). I guess this is why people tend to, how you say, “measure their baking soda”
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I know this picture is shocking and appalling and looks like the definition of the word GRUEL….The dumplings expanded out of my control and I had to fight to regain control of the situation. Not before stopping to take a pic for all the people out there.
  • That Dutch Oven was filled to the BRIM. I don’t understand basic physical properties like buoyancy and displacement. I’ve heard tell of them but honestly I live in my own world. Anyways, let simmer for 15 minutes or whatever. I “let simmer” for longer (maybe 25 mins?) because I could honestly and truly not tell if the dumplings were still raw or not.
  • I was using frozen peas so I added them 10 minutes before turning off the heat.
  • This was enough for a whole week so I did some CONTAINMENT….half in regular fridge and half to freeze until Thursday or Friday.
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There was really no purpose for this photo except to show off my tupperware

And y’all…..to my great surprise this was SO GOOD….the dumplings were biscuity and fluffy on the inside and smooth on the outside (with no butter!!!) and the soup was kiiiiilllleeeerrr……I’m only bragging because I have no idea how this all came together. However given the events of this day I am a tad bit worried about the dumplings taking on a life of their own while in the fridge, soaking up all the soup, expanding to infinite size, and sapping away my life energy as I sleep ~all unawares~…Please keep me in your prayers as usual.

misshapen improvised flatbreads

I didn’t buy bread this week under the assumption that I would budget time wisely for cooking and save money by using some flour I already had. At Monday 1am, dough everywhere, interrupting other ppls godly and restrained ramen making with my sinful and excessive ways, with no homework done, no prospects, yet an all consuming desire to birth a batch of flat carb babies……etc…….etc……anyways Here’s what I did:

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My very own Flat Stanleys
  • The oven was already preheated to 375 from another earlier struggle.
  • I started with like 1.5c flour, mixed in 1.5 tsp baking soda (I don’t know how much really, you’ll have to take my word for it), some salt, pepper, rosemary, and the much maligned Señora Dash. Also minced garlic, insofar as anything I “roughly chop until I get tired and bored” can be called minced
  • Added water until it reached a consistency that I was arbitrarily happy with. I think in this process I probably added 1 more cup of flour and an unknown amount of tap water because I kept messing up the consistency (not too sticky that it made a mess, not too dry that it was unpliable….wow, check that vocab…)
  • Oh yeah. Some of the water I used was like…eggy water with spinach bits floating in it from the egg muffins I made earlier. In mine own defense it adds character……it’s all food….
  • Then I rolled out the dough to about 1/4 (or 3/8, again just take my word for it) inches thick on an oiled sheet pan, give or take some lumps and valleys here and dere. Rolled out is inaccurate. To tell you the truth I pressed the dough flat with  someone else’s cutting board that I put flour all over
  • Brushed the top with olive oil and sprinked pepper
  • Cut into 6-8 pieces resembling various quadrigons using an oiled knife and popped in the oven for like 15-20 mins until, so they claim, “golden brown.”
  • Mary Berry might have caled them “rather close textured.” They were kind of hard to chew later on in the week after hibernating in the fridge but obvi in a very charming and DIY way.
  • A note to my haters: the eggy spinach water added a nice pop of green…..In my humble opinion. Aestheticians, judge for yourself below.
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my 20 cent goodwill plate makes its stunning debut

 

sheet pan chikn and broccoli

As featured on Myplate.gov (can you believe they replaced the fun occult food pyramid with a PLATE? Thanks Obama)

This is an absolutely spartan and utilitarian way to prepare food or as my fellow mom bloggeurs would say, “A good weeknight meal:”

  • Preheat the oven to a number between 375 and 425. Life’s a game of chance…
  • Dump some broccoli on a pan after tossing it in oil and  the bare minimum seasoning of your choice that renders a food edible
  • Do the same with some cloves of garlic. Whatever.
  • take some pieces of chicken and squeeze some lemon juice on it and rub in salt and pepper. The lemon is a real effort. If you’re weary of the world, you’re not worried about gaminess anyways. Consider it optional. 
  • I went above and beyond the call of duty by slathering some soy sauce and honey (found in the floor pantry) on the chicken as well. Unless your cookery ‘n’ condiments are under lock and key I definitely liberally “borrow” it….sorry bout it. Honey is a tad bit pricey for the common hog…
  • Just put the whole thing in the oven for what…20 mins? You don’t even need to watch vigilantly. Your natural intuition will serve just as well. I believe in everyone. 
  • As a good chinaman, personally there had to be the element of rice as well. Cook it if you are so inclined while the sheet pan is in the oven. 
  • This did not freeze great. The broccoli got tough on the outside and mushy on the inside after reheating, but if you feel your food lacks wild and wacky textures, then this will be a real treat…. As expected the chicken dried out a lot. C’est la vie~

That’s it for now… This was from a couple weeks ago but I’m just trying to populate the blog…

lunches from early october / freezer foods

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egg muffins about to be frozen

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a glamour shot of the kale and frozen veggies version
Eggs and tupperware… my great loves in life. Nothing much to say here. Just eggs, spinach, garlic, and onion and some Mrs. Dash (not to be stereotypical but my ancestors are literally ashamed) at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or so. I also did this two weeks ago with kale and frozen veggies inside. It’s fine. 

Nota bene: Please don’t bully me about my aluminum tins. I’m waiting for the perfect novelty muffin tins to hit the racks at Goodwill. Also, the paper liners were kind of a bad idea– don’t be fooled by their adorable appearance. No, I didn’t cook the veggies before putting them in the egg mixture due to I am a working gal … Moving on.

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some f*d up but decent tasting butternut squash “soup.” Yes those are seeds still in there
Butternut squash “soup” in the loosest sense of the word “soup.” I won’t call it a “mash” because contrary to popular belief I’m not a lonesome frontier wife cooking beans for my 8 children while my deadbeat husband cavorts with #Loose #Women in a #Saloon out #West. But I digress:

  • First I roasted a butternut squash for like 40 mins at 425 degrees with some EVOO (lmfao), paprika, salt, pepper, rosemary, and chili power. Had to get those spices in since I bought a lot in bulk suuuuper cheap at an Indian grocery downtown.
  • I don’t have a blender nor the wherewithal to go search for one so I just carved out all the meat and mashed it with a fork and refrigerated it for a day (didn’t have time to go the whole nine yards that day)
  • also I forgot to remove the seeds but that’s perfectly good fiber am I right
  • the next day I had an hour and a half before class so I sautéed some chopped onions, 2-3 jalapeños, garlic, and a leek? i think? in some olive oil with salt and pepper. I let it cook down for a hot minute until, as they say, ~fragrant~ and slightly soft
  • at that point I mixed in the mashed squash and let it cook for again, a hot minute
  • after the squash was warmed up and incorporated with Onion and Friends I put in maybe 3 or 4 cups of chicken broth and stirred continuously until the squash and soup were no longer separated. It was a little bit thinner than mashed potatoes but not by much.
  • considered putting in plain yogurt for creaminess (don’t even know if that would have worked or not) but didn’t feel like going back to my room to get it. Just thought the people would want to know what could have been
  • Let simmer on lowest heat for about 30 minutes
  • I made like 9 servings  so by the end of the week I had literally morphed into a squash
  • a message to my haters is that it froze really well

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kale, rice, and turkey meatballs
Bonus dinner from my first week back at school (aka 4 billion years ago):

  • mix 1lb turkey meat, however much chopped spinach you have, a scant cup of rice, an egg, a stale piece of bread since I didn’t have breadcrumbs, 1 minced onion, some garlic, and salt/pepper/Mrs Dash mixed together in a large bowl (or in my case, a saucepan)
  • I put in a little plain yogurt to help everything stick together
  • shape into however many unevenly sized balls the universe has deigned to give you
  • bake on oiled sheet lined with aluminum foil for… 25ish minutes? at 375 degrees. The timing was partially my gut feeling and partially scoping out what (my fellow) health mom bloggers have done
  • froze em for the rest of the week

tofu stir fry thing w/ green peppers and basil

if you think this looks nasty you’re a racist

An ad hoc dinner for the next 4ish days. I ran out of rice so i’m having this on top of spaghetti…Wow…I can’t believe I’m a fusion chef now….. I’d been dreaming about Thai food all week but I was shocked and appalled at the price of shrimp and I was too lazy to go get fish sauce and did nothing to deserve such #luxuries in life… I ended up just using this old Hoisin sauce in my fridge and some PB + a little bit of curry paste. Cultural appropriation or just a day in the life….Sorry bout it! As a side note, I just found out Hoisin sauce is just 甜面酱… revelations…. Hennyways this is what I did:

  • chop up some ginger, garlic, and spring onions. fry with a little oil and salt on medium high heat until it smells good. I opened up the window because some people were studying in there and i didn’t know how sensitive they were…last week this guy on my floor was super embarrassed because he tried to spare my feelings by opening the window while I went to the bathroom (i’d been chopping onions) but I caught him in the act like… That’s very sweet sis but just do what you gotta do….
  • add in tofu and green pepper, mix in a hearty glob (scientifically speaking) of curry paste, mix it in, and put the lid on the pan. As they say, “let simmer.”
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this pic was post curry paste but pre peanut/hoisin and pre basil
  • At this point I did some dishes and mixed up the sauce: Hoisin sauce and crunchy peanut butter. the amount was like 1.75 hearty globs (combined).
  • I turned the heat down and mixed the sauce into the veggies and tofu
  • once the tofu was kind of golden around the edges I turned off the heat and added chopped basil. I loooove basil but this batch had literally no flavor and I felt scammed. Last time I made this (for the first half of the week) I thought it was just because I cooked the basil in too long but this time I was still sorely disappointed!!! what gives!!!
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0 for presentation but it shows you how down to earth I am…

Oh also, somebody left an individually sealed piece of matcha cake in the lounge and I took it. It was bland but that ain’t me complaining. My conscience is honestly guilt free because I’m pretty sure everyone on my floor has more money than me

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stealing from the rich and giving to the poor