Tuesday, June 29, 2010

tonight's dinner, an accident and an experiment.

1. I'm so relieved that my laptop and wireless card have mysteriously begun working again that I am afraid to turn the computer off. Ever.

2. Tonight's dinner (you won't believe it):

wheat berries
stir-fried baby bok choy with garlic and peppers
marinated, grilled, sesame-crusted tofu.

a. wheat berries:

I took what I thought was a bag of brown rice from the freezer (I'm a freak, I keep all kinds of things in the freezer.) (you can see from the picture how I could mistake this for brown rice, right? ) Anyway, medium saucepan, 2 cups cold water, one cup "rice", boil over high heat and then cover and drop the heat until the water's mostly gone. You know, like you were making rice. I have no idea if this is the recommended way to cook wheat berries, but it worked great. I loved them. I never remember making them before, but there they were, in my freezer. But I like them a lot.

"They're very chewy," muttered Eric through the chewing. "Tasty. And chewy." Right on both counts.

b. stir fried greens:

(that would be what they looked like if you cooked them without chopping them up. )

slice garlic cloves, chop greens. Heat a frying pan (I have never gotten the hang of the wok, sadly, despite having had several over the years.) Film with neutral oil (like, vegetable rather than olive.) Cook garlic for 3-4 minutes until it starts to brown JUST A TINY BIT. Add greens. Keep stirring.

Note: Huge amounts of raw greens will cook down to nearly nothing. Plan on chopping a completely ridiculous amount, or your portions, though tasty, will be invisible to the naked eye.

Also Note: Please do a better job washing your bok choy than I did. It's kind of like leeks, in terms of grit retention.

c. Tofu.
(This is pretty close to what it actually looked like.)

Today, because it was on sale and because we are on this wacked-out vegetarian kick, I bought some tofu. It was pre-packaged, in the conventional white-people chain supermarket, two qualities that a Korean co-worker warned me against, but I bought it anyway. The label said it was made from sprouted soybeans, and was more nutritious. Whatever; it was packaged in a manageable-sized package (my health kicks are traditionally marked by a good deal of thrown-out tofu) and it was on sale.

It was much better, in flavor and texture, than the national-brand stuff I have bought in the past. Score one for the supermarket! (i almost said "Score one for the white people!" But that just seemed inappropriate, in some way I can't put my finger on exactly.)

I opened a package, drained it briefly but did not squish the fluid out as I usually do. I sliced it into patties and marinated them briefly (less than 10 minutes) in a mixture of Asian vinegar, honey, black pepper, soy sauce, ONE drop of fish sauce and about one drop of sesame oil.

When I removed the patties from the marinade, I dredged them in sesame seeds (which I keep in the FREEZER) and grilled them on the well-oiled George Foreman.

despite the oiling, this led to a lot of well-cooked sesame seeds stuck to the Foreman, which has surrendered its non-stick coating.

I boiled the left-over marinade in the microwave, hoping to reduce it (it didn't seem to reduce at all) and splashed some over the finished tofu patties.

This wasn't completely perfect, but I am pretty damned pleased with myself for making it up, completely off the top of my head, and having it turn out so well.

I squeezed a lemon over the whole plate.

Seriously. It was actually very good. Lots of different textures and flavors: the chewy, popping wheat berries, the crunchy and grill-marked tofu, the slippery greens with some still-crisp stalks, the brightness of the lemon, the depth of the soy and fish sauce...the seasonings need work, and Eric gave up on the wheat berries eventually (his jaw was tired), but definitely a worthwhile experiment.

The success of the experiment was helped by the fact that Eric had the Veria channel on in the background all afternoon, and had just seen an hour-long cooking show all about quinoa. I think this paved the way for the accidental wheat berries.

Eric is off to the natural foods market tomorrow, without me, so God only knows what we'll be eating in next week. I am encouraged and apprehensive in equal amounts.

Monday, June 28, 2010

two completely fabulous things I found on the internet today:

That was tonight's dinner. That's her photo - our dinner was not as pretty, but just as delicious. I am a huge fan of Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks site,and I think you should be too.


I am somewhat weirded out by the way Allie Brosh, in her blog Hyperbole and a Half, not only describes how I often feel but, in fact, ILLUSTRATES IT.

"[after a couple days of accomplishment] What usually ends up happening is that I completely wear myself out. Thinking that I've earned it, I give myself permission to slack off for a while and recover. Since I've exceeded my capacity for responsibility in such a dramatic fashion, I end up needing to take more recovery time than usual. This is when the guilt-spiral starts.

The longer I procrastinate on returning phone calls and emails, the more guilty I feel about it. The guilt I feel causes me to avoid the issue further, which only leads to more guilt and more procrastination. It gets to the point where I don't email someone for fear of reminding them that they emailed me and thus giving them a reason to be disappointed in me.

Then the guilt from my ignored responsibilities grows so large that merely carrying it around with me feels like a huge responsibility. It takes up a sizable portion of my capacity, leaving me almost completely useless for anything other than consuming nachos and surfing the internet like an attention-deficient squirrel on PCP."
Dude, seriously. That's my life. That's been my life for as long as I can remember, and I have never been able to tell anyone about it so clearly or completely. I've been able to let go of some of the guilt and regret about it in the last couple of years (I think I'm a lot older than Allie, and I think advancing age helps you say "ah, fuck it" more easily). But over the last year I've been learning things about myself that have helped me come to grips with that, that STUFF, the fact that the inside of my brain is what she puts into words.

so go read that.

Friday, June 18, 2010

still alive.

Haven't been able to blog much lately, which may well be for the best:

computer broken (I think it's the wireless card AGAIN)

brain broken (by a summer cold, blah)

pre-schooler has broken into my toolbox, which will be NO END OF TROUBLE. Now I have to either padlock it, or find a new place to hide it.

garbage disposal has been leaking a little, and as of today is leaking A LOT. ick, ick, ick.

hung up the hammock today, and nearly killed myself getting into it. Apparently I have been knitting so long that the only knot I remember how to make is a slip knot. Pffft.

AND YET it must be said that, even though practically everything around me at the moment seems to be somewhat damaged, or at least in need a good wipe and maybe some hand sanitizer...

i am working on an adventure.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

jeez, I wish I had something to write about.
I'm knitting something kinda cool.
work's going okay.
Where are all those sites about which I said "Oooh, I should blog that!"?