Defeated Eggplant

A Saturday post? What am I doing here? I thought it was still Tuesday. I’ll have to talk to my assistant about keeping a better schedule for me, and maybe limit my daytime drinking just a bit. 
This week has defeated me in almost every way. I am so excited for this weekend, where I still have a shit ton to do, but Annie is also semi available and I can just ignore it all and go drink sake in the corner. 

Since Serafina already shared my likeness, I’m sharing this intimate moment with Annie post coitus. Sorry we look like shit. I’m wearing my house/chore clothes and he’s a corporate accountant and has let himself go.

I promised myself I would never do an eggplant recipe on this blog, but, just like I do with everyone else, I break promises frequently and aggressively. This recipe will not win anyone over that is scared of eggplant.  It really is for people who already like it. 
It’s also adapted from my sister’s recipe that I saw her make once many years ago. I was going to call her and ask how to do it, but I just sent her dance videos for hours instead, never mentioning that I was destroying her recipe and posting it publicly. 
Let’s get to it. 

On the plus side, this recipe doesn’t involve much attention, so it’s good for fellow lazy assholes like me.

Sista Ethel May Darkhorse’s Eggplant Appetizer (pillaged from the mind of Mary Ellen’s sister, Inception style)

Ingredients:

  • Eggplant
  • Bell pepper (I like yellow)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt (I used course Himalayan in a grinder)
  • Goat cheddar (don’t fucking use anything else) 

Directions: 

Slice the eggplant fairly thinly, salt, and put in a colander to sweat for several hours. When ready to bake, rinse and pat dry. 

Eggplant sweat lodge. Yes, that’s my dirty pan from breakfast. It’s fine. I’m fine.

Lay the eggplant out on a pan with parchment paper and brush with the vinegar. Bake at 375 degrees until it’s pretty done. I didn’t time it, sorry. It’s up to you, young Jedi, to figure that shit out. 

I like to put the pepper on top because it’s pretty.

Remove from oven and flip the eggplant. Brush the other side with vinegar and then lay out cheese slices and pepper on top. Drizzle with oil and salt. Put the eggplant in to broil until the cheese is melted. 

If you didn’t almost burn the house down with the parchment paper, then good for fucking you. Guess you are just perfect at everything, huh?

Remove from oven, and eat it. It’s weird and eggplant-like. Yummy. 

Ugh, need to get a manicure.

The odds aren’t in your favor,

Mary Ellen 

Making Salad While Procrastinating 

I’m leaving on my trip to the state where Serafina lives, in two days! So, of course I’m not prepared and I’ve been putting everything off by watching Korean pop dance videos all week. 

However, if you make salad instead of a packing checklist, people will judge you less. They think you’re just prioritizing your health or some bullshit like that. 

Remember my post about how Serafina and I met? Well, in celebration of our impending reunion, I’ve decided to share the recipe for the Kicked up Kowboy Kale recipe that was so popular at the vegetarian topless bar that we once worked.  Instead of bacon bits, which I assume is on everything with a cowboy theme, we’re using spiced nuts.  It’s a really easy recipe, but makes just enough of a mess in the kitchen that you get pissed off because now you have more fucking cleaning to do before the god damn trip. Fuck. 

Kicked up Kowboy Kale (adapted from the sketchy owners of a 1960s era topless bar in West Texas

Ingredients: 

(If you’re making this for your own vegetarian topless bar, multiply the recipe by 40)

  • 1 bunch of Kale 
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing (whichever you prefer)
  • 1 TBSP BBQ sauce (again, whatever brand you prefer) 
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Drizzle of maple syrup (a drizzle means different things to different people – you have to discover your own drizzles) 

Directions: 

Put the nuts in a pan at medium high heat with the salt, sugar, cumin, maple syrup, and a couple tablespoons of water. Toast them until they are sticky. 

I literally cook everything in my wok.


While your nuts are toasting, prepare the Kale. 

You will not be healthy for me today, Kale!

Here’s the thing about Kale: it’s great for you and all, but I find it chewy and not great to eat in salads (the curly stuff). Solve this minor problem by drizzling a teaspoon of olive oil and massaging it into the Kale in a bowl. It’ll prevent it from being chewy. 

Prepare the dressing by adding the BBQ sauce to the ranch dressing and drizzle onto the Kale. Toss with your hands and make sure it’s all thoroughly covered. 

Taking a page from the book of Serafina, I did not clean the kitchen before doing any of this.

Plate the salad and add the nuts. That’s it. 

I only have a few place mats left, so I didn’t use one this week until I can get more. It’s like formal dresses. You can’t be photographed in the same one twice. It’s the same with placemats.

I will see you soon, Serafina. 
-Mary Ellen 

Things my Boyfriend Won’t Eat (Broccoli Rabe Pasta)

If you’ve been following our blog for awhile, or at least have skimmed the bios, you probably know that I’m not a lesbian. I know, I know, it’s a big disappointment. But, here we are. Not only does my man/boy friend not have lady parts, he’s also an avid meat eater and hater of veggies. I’m not sure how we live in the same house.

At one point, I started trying to increase the amount of home cooked and healthy meals we ate, so I started a collection of recipes that he will actually eat. It’s in a folder on my desktop titled “togetherness meals” and one of the documents is actually a list of things he won’t eat, because it was easier for me to think of that than things he was willing to eat. I included an excerpt below

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Spoiler alert: this pot of greens is on the list!

Things Serafina’s man-friend won’t eat

“Foot Cheese” (apparently the only cheeses that don’t smell like feet are mild cheddar and mozzarella)

Calciferous vegetables

Squash or other gourds

Tomatoes

Eggplant

Anything with a weird texture

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I had trouble not eating the parm immediately after grating it because people who aren’t romantically involved with me generally prefer cheeses with flavor.

Anyway, to celebrate an alone evening I had last weekend, I made all of my man-friend’s least favorite foods (don’t worry, he wasn’t sleeping in a tent outside because we had another vegetable fight, he was just visiting his dad).

 

Broccoli Rabe (AKA Rapini) Pasta, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

½ lb pasta

½ bunch broccoli rabe (I don’t know how else to quantify this, maybe like a full handful?)

Olive oil

Garlic powder

Juice of about ½ a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan

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You’re not required to clean your sink before draining the pasta, but you will get bragging rights if you use a clean colander.

Instructions

Cut broccoli rabe into bite sized pieces, with the larger stems removed.

Cook pasta half way and then add in the broccoli rabe.

Cook until pasta is al dente and broccoli rabe is mostly soft, then drain.

In the same pan, sauté garlic powder (or real garlic if you’re the sort of person who keeps that on hand) in the olive oil for a minute or so to bring out the flavors. Add the pasta and a healthy squeeze of lemon juice. Mix to coat.

Cover with copious amounts of parmesan.

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The ideal pasta to greens ratio is 1:1, and the ideal wine glass will hold about half a bottle of wine (don’t worry, I got a refill shortly after taking this photo)

Carrot Soup: Ode to Serafina

It was 1969 and a hot summer somewhere in west Texas. Serafina and I worked at a topless bar off the highway. I know what you’re thinking and no, they would not allow us to be one of the topless performers. We had to be fully dressed waitresses.

It was our dream to perform, but seeing as how we were the only employees forced to keep all our clothes on, it seemed like our dreams would never be realized.

Also, we hated each other. Serafina was always stealing my tables and tips and flirting with my customers. One particular night, as I was bringing table 4 our house special, Kicked up Kowboy Kale (I should also mention that our bar was the number one rated vegetarian topless bar for over five decades), she was sitting in my best customer’s, Seth’s, lap! And I was sweet on him!

Anyway, this kind of went on for the entirety of our employment there, which was only around four months. We didn’t become friends until our last night there. Oh, what a faithful night that was! The bar’s most famous dancer, Seitani, had a severe allergic reaction to some radish pasties, and was rushed to the hospital, right before she was to go on!

Serafina and I locked eyes, and rushed to the stage. There was no music, but we rhythmically (we each had a different rhythm) removed our clothes, trying to outdo one another. The audience booed, but we pushed on. The bouncer tried to catch us, but we darted out of his grip! Finally, in what could be considered the bravest, most spectacular move I’ve ever seen in my life (I still get emotional and teary thinking of it), Serafina ripped her pants off, revealing a rainbow vajazzle. It caught the light from the stage spotlight, and blinded everyone in the bar. The light was so miraculous that it acted as sort of a North Star to weary travelers, and before we knew it, her current lover walked in bearing gifts of cats (she accepted his romantic proposal DESPITE the cats).

We were fired immediately, but I was so in awe of Serafina, and realized she wasn’t just any part time, fully dressed, topless vegetarian bar waitress. She was my guru.

So now our readers know the short form history of how we met, here is a recipe that is dedicated from me to Serafina.

I made this soup at 8am wearing a baby, because I didn’t think I was quite enough of a crunchy granola mom.


Carrot Apple Ginger Soup (adapted from Oh She Glows who adapted it from Joy the Baker)

Ingredients:

1 TBSP olive oil

1 sweet onion

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 TBSP grated ginger*

1 apple

1.5 lbs carrots, fresh from the garden you should have

4 cups vegetable broth

Pinch of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Prep your vegetables and set them aside. If you hate chopping veggies as much as I do, rejoice! You don’t need to be perfect because you’re going to purée this shit in the end.

Except I’m perfect. See, I did this perfectly.
Just seeing this picture sends me into a rage. I fucking hate chopping and peeling vegetables.
 
Using a large pot, heat your oil over medium low heat, and add your onions. Cook until translucent. Add your garlic and ginger, and cook for a few minutes. Finally, add your apples and carrots and cook for a few minutes longer (I usually wait until I can kind of smell the apple cooking).

Add the vegetable broth, and your seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Use this time to clean up, and make sure your home is in tip top shape. Remember, cleanliness is next to godliness! Or, you can do what I did, brush your teeth and take pictures of your dogs.
 
When all your vegetables are tender, use an immersion blender and blend until smooth (or the texture you like), or, you can do what I did, and transfer it to a blender in batches, spilling carrot water all over the dogs along the way. Either works.
Serve with crackers, a baguette, or my favorite, warm quinoa (yeah I’m that asshole).
Remember to drink your calories,

Mary Ellen

*fuck grating fresh ginger. This was such a pain in the ass and now I have like a pound of ginger left because they only sell them in 20 lbs increments. Just get the jarred ginger.

 

Easy Weeknight Lunch and Dinner: Chicken Edition 

So, I wrote an amazing post about Mardi Gras and I was going to bake a king cake and everything was going to be unicorns flying and purple sprinkles everywhere.

But then, the baby decided he hated sleeping, and possibly me.

 

I still wanted a cake so I bought one at Whole Foods. It includes beads, so, have fun, kids!

I only got around 12 hours of sleep total last week. I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. This isn’t even satire right here. Just me, Mary Ellen, or whatever the hell my name is because I can’t brain things anymore, just pleading with you to understand as I work through this trying time. Thankfully coffee is a thing that exists, and I love it, because otherwise I don’t know how I would have survived. Even the dogs are strung out, and I’m hearing whispers in the shadows that they might be planning to overthrow the baby. It’s a tense time in the house right now, so I unfortunately don’t have time to track down a plastic baby, or bake a beautiful yeast-based cake. My time is dedicated to streamlining as much as I can, and bribing the dogs.

A few things did happen that were important last week. First, I hired a maid to do light cleaning once a week. Serafina has a maid, so I was jealous and got one too. My house is clean. I’ve finally made it to the point in my life where I can hire help. Oh, the American dream. Secondly, I discovered curbside grocery service. I ordered all my groceries online through my store of choice, selected a pickup date and time, and then picked it up. Normally, grocery shopping takes forever with a baby, but this took 15 mins. I know now heaven exists, and its online shopping.

This week, we’re doing salads for lunches. Ew, salads! That’s what I would normally exclaim. But as you get older, and the years of drinking, and binging on powdered donuts and fried cheese start to take its toll on your body. Also, having a baby makes your body weird. My skin is truly terrible. I think a demon is possessing me and drying me out from the inside. I smell weird most of the time too. I’m extra lumpy in weird places, and what in the actual fuck is up with my facial hair? Am I turning into Hagrid? Also, nursing is giving me monster-like hunger and thirst. I really do feel like I’m turning into something you might see on Supernatural.

 

First you eat everything in site, then you start turning on the humans. This is a picture of me from last night. They based the metamorphosis monster on me. True story. Don’t do the math.

This also means that when I eat too much crap, I can feel myself dying, and my body screaming out to me, “please, just one leaf of lettuce, please!” I tried telling my body to shut the hell up, take the donut and stop complaining, but then it gave me sad, puppy dog eyes, and really bad heartburn.

 

See? Almost looks like I’m a capable adult. Almost.

So for dinner, we’re picking up a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods (you don’t have to be a pretentious asshole like I am, you can get a chicken at most grocery stores, or make your own if you’re one of those homesteaders) and then cooking some vegetables to go along with it. It’s easy, because I have appointments in the afternoon, and we can still eat at a decent time, since the prospect of cooking scares the shit out of Annie.

 

It looks good now, but it gets ugly soon.

After dinner, I’ll go to town on the chicken, ripping it apart (Serafina, avert your eyes and your pet chickens’ eyes) and use the leftover meat for a chickpea salad recipe/other stuff. It’s hard to believe I used to be a vegetarian. Don’t worry, I cried while eating the chicken, and while re-purposing it.

 

Yeah, sorry. Forgot to take the artsy pic while it was on the chopping block. RIP, chicken.

When that’s done, the carcass gets bagged to go into a pot to make stock later this week, along with some other bones from a different dinner recipe. Yay for not being wasteful and being budget friendly, right?

 

Chicken and chickpea chopped salad (adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)

Ingredients:

Two hearts romaine lettuce, chopped and washed

1 can chickpeas/garbanzos, drained and rinsed

About 1 cup leftover chicken, chopped

1 cup grape tomatoes

1 cup corn (I used canned, drained and rinsed)

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

BBQ dressing, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

*Note: I didn’t use avocado from the original recipe because I made them ahead for lunches, and I didn’t use cilantro because I don’t like cilantro. I prefer arugula.

Directions:

Combine all ingredients, except the dressing, in a large bowl and toss. I separated into 4 Tupperware containers for lunches, but you can also serve immediately. Add dressing before serving. I imagine this salad would go great with Greek yogurt and hot sauce instead of BBQ dressing, as well as avocado.

Serve with: Sauvignon blanc or Chardonnay.

Milli Vanilli,

Mary Ellen