I am back, bearing content. A lot has happened recently. I made a meal out of dried beans instead of canned for the first time! I created a song through FL Studio! I might have 5 cavities! And I got a new phone! Really, REALLY exciting stuff going on over here.
I am not feeling particularly witty at this point in time, so I’m just going to proceed with sharing some of the recipes I’ve made in the past few weeks and hopefully will have summoned enough brain power to close with a snappy comment by the time we get to the end of this post, but we’ll see. Also, instrumental and full versions of the song I’m working on to come this week 🙂
First up, Lentil Salad with Tomato and Dill. In pursuit of a carving video several weekends ago to conclude an 8-hour sous vide rabbit cook, Hank accidentally clicked a video which included the slaughter as a quick intro to the carve, and couldn’t get his hands clean quickly enough to turn it off without hearing a scarring bit of audio.
So now Hank has joined me on the happily-eating-less-meat train! Unfortunate circumstances, but we are glad to have him aboard. He was already on the eating-less-meat train, actually, but against his will. Now he’s in the “happily” car of the train. His main apprehension previously has been protein, so I’m ramping up my meatless protein production. That sounds like I am lactating or something and producing the protein myself, but I am talking about lentils. The above recipe was made with French lentils, known for their relative structural integrity. Lentils are awesome because you don’t need to soak overnight a la beans, and they don’t take 40+ minutes to cook a la beans and farro. They’re super easy and super cheap and if cooking them is still too much for you, they sell pre-cooked lentils at TJs which are fine and dandy. This salad also featured dill, so of course we liked it.
For Hank’s birthday earlier this month, I made Gordon Ramsay’s scrambled eggs. If you have somehow not seen this video yet, watch it. It really gets you re-excited about scrambled eggs, especially if you grew up with white people serving you un-seasoned, bone-dry (moisture is where the salmonella lives, guys) “scrambled egg” sadness on a plate. Plus Gordon Ramsay cooking for his wife in his own kitchen is very pleasant to watch and he is hot in a Grand Canyon kinda way.
Ok, THEN, the following Monday we made homemade burrito bowls. I used to love Chipotle and I still love the concept of Chipotle, but try as I might, I just do not think their food is good anymore. I don’t know if they’ve changed or if I’ve changed, but something has changed and I’m sorry. I’m sorry to Chipotle, and I’m sorry for myself. I will continue to visit their stores every month or so, hoping for what once was. But I had romaine lettuce in my fridge last Monday and was thinking to myself wtf to use it for because it’s just so watery and as far as I know not that nutritionally exceptional as a lettuce and then I remembered it’s either the same or similar to the lettuce Chipotle uses. I also had a ripe avocado and black beans and a tub of salsa and greek yogurt (aka sour cream) and a former co-worker’s recipe for mexican rice (and God bless her because we had tried winging it and it is so much harder than you’d think to get right) and canned corn and green onions. BOOM. They were so easy (as in just made the rice and heated the beans and the rest was opening containers and chopping) and so good and filling and meatless that I will probably start making them at least every two weeks.
Last weekend, for St. Patrick’s, I cracked open the Six Seasons cookbook my sister got me, and made Mushroom and cabbage hand pies. I don’t know if I already touched on this cookbook, but my sister’s gift to me this past xmas was a culinary dream c/o Portland, and included:
- my new favorite hot sauce,
- a cold-pressed olive oil variety sample pack,
- pinot noir salt,
- marionberry brownie mix
- and tea,
- another loose-leaf tea,
- Cycle Town’s holiday coffee blend,
- and this cookbook, authored by a gentleman she had become acquainted with while she was working at an OTT trendy spa.
I hadn’t heard of the cookbook and just thought it was cool that someone she knew had written a book. But it turns out this book is actually a pretty big deal in the culinary world (and almost exclusively vegetarian recipes!). It breaks the year down into six seasons of produce seasonality, including early and late season versions of the same vegetables, as early season produce is sweeter and more tender, and so should be treated as a different ingredient than late season crops. I have read the whole thing and loved reading it and am impressed that my sister knows this person and would like to meet him myself. Plus, he recommends some of the other products my sister got me in the book’s intro, like the salt, which is cool and makes me feel ahead of the game before I’ve even entered it. In fact, this is probably what Michael Jordan feels like all the time. I’d had my eye on these hand pies for a while and they seemed semi-Irish, so I made them as a Saturday project. Inspired by the Great British Baking Show, I rolled the dough paper-thin and was rewarded by it not only holding up, but miraculously puffing into a bunch of flaky layers in the oven, just like the book said it would. I mean I was seriously amazed that it did that because it was SO THIN going in. The recipe does advise that it makes 8 pies and to freeze extras if you’re serving fewer than 8 people, but we ate them all in two days so don’t sweat that… lol. I also was out of dijon and didn’t have mustard seed, so I did this weird mustard substitute I found online which was something like garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder… I forget, but there are so many other flavors in the pies that they still tasted amazing.
The following day, I did something new and life changing: I prepared dried beans!!!!! I am aware that this may not sound like the most exciting thing ever, and in fact have been made fun of by the several people I have already told. But. Dried beans are crazy cheap. Preparing them is super easy, and hard to screw up. The end result is infinitely more delicious than canned beans. So ya. I’m pretty excited about it. I soaked them overnight in brine, instead of just water, as directed my girl Alexandra Stafford here, then made these Spicy Beans with Wilted Greens with them. Don’t worry about the cook time, the brining breaks down the beans way faster than this recipe accommodates for. I only had the beans on the heat for 45 minutes after brining from the previous night until dinner time, and I probably could’ve cut that down to 30-35. These beans were SO DOPE and the recipe is so healthy and we ate them on homemade bread and wow, just wow.
Finally, last night I made this pasta with spinach, artichoke, and brie, and it was so good that I didn’t take a picture before we ate it all. There are so many bold flavors in it that it’s a really good recipe to taste as you go for seasoning, because it’s hard to mess up and relatively easy to guess whether what it needs more of is lemon, brie, salt, garlic, or pepper flakes.
Alright, unfortunately I am at the end of this post and still no witty comment to contribute. I’ll try again later this week when I post about my music or my PIXEL TWO WHAAAAAAT