You guys, I have some rough news. You see, Mary Ellen and I have been friends for a long time, and I watched her go through the horrors of not eating gluten for YEARS before she ate some bread and was like “oh fuck yeah, this shit’s the best!” Well, my dearest, darling-est boyfriend is now talking about going GF. It’s literally killing me. You read that right, it isn’t figuratively killing me, it’s very literal. Because gluten is life’s antivenom (I guess the venom part is just normal life. Too dark?)
Anyway, I try to be supportive every now and then, so I made a quiche without the delicious gluten-y crust. And then I put broccoli in it, which he doesn’t eat anyway. He wasn’t happy. But the good news here is that my chickens are laying eggs more frequently since it’s getting closer to spring, so I had an abundance of eggs. My chickens are such good girls. At least they still eat gluten with me.
1 large or two small heads of broccoli, chopped into small florets
About ½ cup cheese (or if you hate going to the store, 5-6 slices of cheese chopped into small pieces)
½ cup unsweetened almond milk or regular milk
Small amount onion powder
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400
Heat oil and onion powder in cast iron skillet (or another oven safe skillet) and add broccoli. Cover and let steam/simmer for a few minutes until bright green and just a little soft
Beat eggs with milk, add a little pepper and salt, then stir in cheese
Pour egg mixture over broccoli and even out where your massive chunks of sliced cheese went if that is a problem
Cook for about 10-15 minutes, checking frequently. It’s done when the middle is just set
Let it sit for a few minutes before serving.
May you all find something with gluten to eat very soon
I’m going to try something different with you guys today. Instead of my usual fool-proof recipe that I provide you so that you can finally learn to cook and stop disappointing your family, I’m going to walk you through a cautionary tale about juice.
In a misguided “it’s still early in 2018 so I should try to eat healthy or something” attempt, I decided to make juice without a juicer. You see, juicers are probably expensive, and I don’t really like juice that much. So I never got around to buying one. I also never got married, so I only have kitchen appliances that I decided to purchase with legal currency or received as a hand-me-down. Anyway, no juicer. And I thought I didn’t care about juicing until I found several recipes for a beet-carrot-apple-ginger juice that’s made in a blender. Let’s start with the recipe and then we’ll get to the cautionary tale part…
Beet (peel it and cut it into some pieces so your blender doesn’t explode or something)
Apple (same instructions as above, but less important because apples aren’t as hard as beets)
1” chunk of peeled ginger
Throw it all in the blender with about ½ cup water or other juice (I used water, why would I be making juice if I already had juice?)
Dump into a sieve over a bowl and wait for it to drip out
Ok, now that the nitty gritty is out of the way, let’s talk about why you should never make juice with a blender, especially this juice.
First of all, the blender handled the task pretty well and didn’t explode, so that went fine. I was really busy trying not to stain my clothes as I dumped the “juice” pulp into a sieve/bowl so I didn’t get any pictures of that step. Luckily for you, as I have mentioned previously, I am a certified courtroom illustrator, so I can recreate the scene for you with ease and accuracy.
Now, as the juice is dripping into the bowl at mind-bogglingly slow pace, you might think that it smells really fresh and that you’re excited to drink it. Don’t get your hopes up. After the first round of straining, mine was still SUPER chunky, so I had to strain it a second time with a finer sieve. All told, I spent like 15 minutes mushing around pulp before I got about 200ml juice.
At this point, I figured this juice had to be fucking mind blowingly amazing or no one would have ever wasted their time with it in the first place. So, I took my first sip, and it was kinda ok. Then I took my second sip, and I thought it was kind of interesting, and warming with the ginger juice. And then when I took my third sip, I audibly gagged and had to try really hard not to vomit in the kitchen.
After that shock wore off, I thought it through and realized that I was just having an uncontrollable gag reflex and horribly unpleasant warm feeling in my stomach because of the ginger juice. No biggie. So I did what any good girlfriend would do, I brought the juice to my boyfriend and made him try it. He didn’t describe wanting to vomit, but he reported feeling repulsed before passing on a second sip.
So I was now faced with a dilemma, I had about half the awful juice left but I had put so much work into it I couldn’t bear to waste it. After deliberating for about 20 minutes, I decided that I had no choice. I gulped the rest of it down, which was a deeply regrettable decision.
You know, after all of that I’m actually having trouble deciding if this was a cautionary tale or a strong endorsement. Let’s do a Pro/Con list, those always help:
Your kitchen sink will make you feel like Dexter when you are cleaning up
You will feel very healthful prior to drinking this juice
Your blender probably won’t explode
You can give your chickens some beet greens, which they LOVE!
If the Dexter part really resonated, you can cover your hands in the leftover pulp and pretend that you murdered your boyfriend for a few seconds until it gets just a little bit too dark or he walks in on you and looks like he might call the cops
You will most likely vomit upon drinking the juice, or at the very least experience severe nausea
Your kitchen will be very messy and beet juice stains everything
You will most definitely get a beet juice stain on your favorite sweatshirt, no matter how careful you are
You might develop a taste aversion to all of the ingredients in the juice as a result of drinking it
If you end up keeping the juice down, all of the bodily excretions you have over the next several hours to days will “bleed” red because of the beet juice (wait, should this be on the pro list?)
You know what? We’re tied! 5 pros, 5 cons! I guess I’ll just leave it up to you to decide if you want to make this fancy blender juice!
I endured many hardships in writing this post. (I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way that’s true. She’s sitting comfortably in her house having just eaten leftovers of the dish she is posting about. What could she possibly have to complain about? Well don’t you fucking even start!)
First of all my free photo editing software crashed and I was worried I’d have to update it, but then it started and it was fine (again, I know what you’re thinking: she edits her photos? Yeah, I do. I spend like 20 seconds toiling over the free editing software that I almost kind of know how to use.)
Then, I had to find my hobo gloves because my hands were just slightly too cold and I thought I might die if I couldn’t experience 100% physical comfort in that moment.
Then, I found out that I’m in school again. Wasn’t I in school long enough? I thought so. I told them I was over 30 so they should just give me a fucking master’s degree and the first person I talked to was like “yeah, obvi” but then the second person was like “no, you have to complete the requirements and blah blah blah.” That second one was an exact quote.
And then I had to go comfort my chickens who are still super traumatized from Mary Ellen’s last post.
Anyway, I’ve come across a bunch of vegetarian recipes that use jackfruit. They all start off by talking about how jackfruit is fucking disgusting smelling just like durian which begs the question of how anyone ever started eating foods that make you gag when you try to cut into them. So I went the obvious route of buying canned jackfruit which doesn’t make you vomit when you open it. And then I made enchiladas which are probably more like smothered burritos, but I’m not changing the title.
1½ to 2 cups cooked rice
1 cup cooked lentils
14 oz can jackfruit, rinsed
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups enchilada sauce (I used homemade sauce from this recipe)
6-8 tortillas, depending on how thick you like your enchiladas
Taco seasoning (I used a homemade blend from this recipe)
1 or 2 cups of veggies to throw in (optional- I used frozen zuchinni, with disappointing results, but other veggies generally work well)
Preheat oven to 350
Cook your rice and lentils if you didn’t already do so because you were being lazy.
Chop up the jackfruit. I followed the instructions from this site to shred them, but it was way too much work and I’m just going to chop it all up and let it cook down next time. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating the seeds or the tough parts and the random seeds that I missed picking out tasted fine.
Cook the jackfruit with a little olive oil and taco seasoning for a few minutes, then mix it with the rice and lentils in a large bowl. Add in cheese, a little enchilada sauce (maybe ¼-½ cup) and any veggies you are using.
Put the enchilada mix in tortillas and place in a 13×9 pan with some enchilada sauce at the bottom. Once all your enchilada mix is tortillaed (it’s a word, trust me), cover in enchilada sauce and finish with cheese.
I usually cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the enchilada sauce and cheese are all bubbly.
Enjoy a jackfruit recipe that won’t make you gag while you’re preparing it
I was reflecting on my life as I welcomed 2018, and I realized that there’s something missing. Despite all of my grad-schooling, working in a meaningful career, and raising a family of chickens, I have some serious life goals that I am not pursing. I’m of course talking about my dream of being a babushka. You see, I have some Russian ancestry, and now that I’m pushing 67 (or 32, or however old I am*), I need to really focus on becoming my true self.
After this epiphany, I decided to take a hard look at my life and start making some serious changes. I mean, #newyearnewyou, right? With that, I am embarking on my babushka adventure. My amazon cart is full of various styles of head scarves, but this is going to take more than a wardrobe change. It’s time to make some fucking perogies.
I scoured the internets for perogy recipes and ultimately created this masterful hodgepodge recipe.
Spinach Potato Perogies
For the Dough
3 cups flour
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
For the Filling
1 pound of potatoes, cubed (I used red potatoes and didn’t bother peeling them)
Several large handfuls fresh spinach, roughly chopped
About ½ tsp garlic powder (or one clove of garlic, minced)
About ½ tsp onion powder (or part of an onion finely chopped)
¼ c shredded parmesan
¾ cup or so grated cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
Combine flour, water, salt, and egg and knead until smooth. Most recipes recommend refrigerating the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, while you mix the other ingredients together which seems sensible enough.
Boil your potatoes until they are tender. Save some potato water, you might need it if your filling is too dry. Then mash with a little butter and salt (we’ll salt some more at the end too). Set aside.
If you can handle using real garlic and onion, you’d want to sauté them in some oil to start out. If you’re using good ol’ powdered shit like I do, you can just dump it in when you’re sautéing the spinach. Add in the cheeses and mashed potatoes and stir that shit up.
Now take out your dough and roll it out pretty thin (about 1/8th inch thick was the general internet consensus, but it’s not like anyone uses a fucking ruler in the kitchen, especially not babushkas). Cut the dough into circles with about 3” diameter (my biscuit cutter was about 3.5 inches, which created very large perogies). Plop a scant tablespoon of dough in the center. Wet the edges with some water, then fold over and smush the dough edges together. Place the finished perogies on parchment paper until you are ready to cook or freeze them.
Continue assembling perogies for what will feel like a fucking year, and then when they’re all ready, you can boil them in water. Once they start to float, let them coast for a minute to make sure the filling is done and then they are ready. You can also bake or fry them. There’s a lot of variability in perogy preparation. I haven’t been a babushka long enough to have a really strong opinion here. But serve your perogies with butter and sour cream.
If you want to freeze some of your perogies because you don’t feel like eating several dozen perogies in one sitting, you can freeze them raw and then just boil them frozen when you’re ready. It will take longer to cook if you’re cooking them from a frozen state, obvi.
May 2018 be the year we all become babushkas
*Time for a mini true story: My beloved boyfriend, whom I have mentioned on this blog at least once or twice, recently learned that he didn’t know when his birthday was. I made an appointment for him at the eye doctor and came home to tell him that they had the wrong birthday on file for him. He brushed it off, saying that they always had his birthday wrong, it was a clerical error. Then, they ran his insurance and his insurance also had his birthday one year off his supposed real birthday. His insurance, which is through his employer, should most definitely know when his birthday is. And that, my friends, is when a grown-ass man in his 30’s looked at his driver’s license and said “Whaaaaat?” And then he pulled out his birth certificate. And his passport. And then he called his father to double check all of the legal documents. And then, he took a bath. Because finding out you’re a year younger than you thought you were for your entire life is probably overwhelming.
I figured I would make my final recipe post for 2016 – wait – 2017, my most complex one yet.
Okay, I hope you’re all done laughing now. I would never ever ruin a good year of coming up with half-assed recipes with a decent one. I would never ruin things, like Serafina always does. Like when she puts wine into recipes instead of drinking it. I will never understand such monsters.
So if you’re done with the old year and have given up in hopes that somehow changing a ‘7’ to an ‘8’ will somehow make your life better, well, my recipe this week won’t get in the way of that. It’s very self-loathing positive. Also, if you are snowed in or something, it uses very few ingredients, and you may have some lying around, or you can just make something else.
Whatever, I’m already drunk for NYE so I don’t care.
Mary Ellen’s fancy rice recipe
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup veggie of choice (I used shelled edamame)
Salt to taste
Hummus as needed (optional)
Cook up rice in a rice cooker because who the hell actually makes it on a stove. Steam vegetables, then mix all together with oil and sprinkling of salt. I enjoy mine with hummus, but I bet ranch dressing would also work.
Now go make some drunken mistakes with camera phones this NYE.
I’ve talked to you all about how my boyfriend and I basically don’t eat any of the same foods. Because it wasn’t already hard enough to live and share a kitchen with a man-person, he also had to go and be a fucking meat eater.
Anyway, it was his birthday recently, and like any good girlfriend, I made his favorite meal. Now technically speaking, his favorite food is grilled dead cow or some shit, so I actually made his favorite vegetarian meal. The good news: it’s been so long since he’s had shepherd’s pie with meat that he thinks the vegetarian version is just as good. There isn’t any bad news. There wasn’t a reason for me to frame it like that.
This dish is a mash up of a bunch of lentil shepherds pie recipes, and unlike most of the shit I share on this blog, I actually cook this a lot so it doesn’t suck.
Oh, wait, I just thought of the bad news. I don’t measure things when I cook. I’ve tried to change my ways but it messes up the flow. So, everything in this recipe is an estimate. The second bad news: I didn’t actually make the gravy because my mushrooms smelled bad and I threw threw them in the compost. But I’m linking a gravy recipe that looks like it might taste good for vegetarian gravy….
1½ c veggie broth (1 ½ c water for 1 bouillon cube)
1 tbsp dry red wine (optional)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp flour
Veggies (2-4 cups cut into small pieces)
2 c lentils (1/2 c dry green lentils)
Salt and pepper
Herbs de province
Cook potatoes and mash
Cook lentils with 2 cups water (add water as needed)
Mix the sauce by combining vegetable broth, tomato paste, wine and flour.
Sauté the veggies with oil, herbs de province and garlic powder for about 6 minutes until a little bit soft
Add the sauce and lentils to the vegetable mix and simmer for a few minutes
Pour the lentil and veggie mix into the bottom of the pan
Scoop potatoes onto the veggies and lentils in small portions and even out with a fork
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes
Broil for 5 minutes if potatoes are not yet brown on top (I also don’t set timers which may or may not be related to the shepherd’s pie getting a teensy bit more burned than it was supposed to)
For the gravy, you can try a package of mushroom gravy which comes out rather gross. Or you can try this recipe which is what I tried to do. Or you can do what I actually did which was to make a rue out of butter and flour and veggie broth, then just add dash of garlic powder, some more veggie broth if needed, and salt and pepper.
May you find many other common meals with your significant other so you don’t have to order Indian food every fucking night.
I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t prepared for this week. Chalk it up to me coming down with the man flu or something. Also, it’s cold as hell where I live, but no snow (figure out where I live, you weather snoopers!). Also, I hate the expression “cold as hell” because I thought hell was hot, so am I being ironic and it’s not actually cold here? Even I don’t know, so I guess I can go ahead and wear shorts today.
I have been beyond unmotivated these last 20 years, and I doubt that will change in the next 20, loveliest readers. However, I’m dusting off my nice camera and picking up some more projects after the holidays, which means I’ll be putting those off and writing on here instead. Count yourselves lucky because you’ll be getting some quality content from me.
That day isn’t today though.
However, to keep things festive, I used sweet potatoes. I eat these a lot because I tell myself they are healthier than regular potatoes, which I also eat, but I’ll never tell you about it.
This recipe is easy, kind of healthy, vaguely filling, and vegan, so you can have all the bragging rights of every other asshole health nut out there that is bothering you to eat healthy.
Mary Ellen’s Sweet Potato Fiesta!
(This feeds two people)
2 baked sweet potatoes
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup preferred salsa
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
Cut sweet potatoes in half long ways and slice up the insides to break it open. Heat the rinsed beans until hot in the microwave and add the other ingredients. Spoon on potatoes. Enjoy the rest of your night or go to bed early.
I was talking to my brother recently about how his wife always loads the dishwasher wrong (let’s be honest, it’s a pretty specific skill that not many have mastered). He was wondering if he could blame the whole episode on feminism. As a supportive sister, I told him he could blame whatever he wanted and he proceeded to write Gloria Steinem a strongly worded letter.
I felt guilty about our conversation, though, because while obviously the problem is feminism, I feel like Gloria probably loads her dishwasher effectively. She just strikes me as a strong, independent woman who doesn’t want to eat off a plate covered with hardened cheese particles.
By the way, this is one of those dishes you’re going to want to soak for a sec before you try to scrub the cheese off. Just in case there is anyone out there who needed a little remedial dishwashing LPT.
¾ cup lentils, rinsed
¾ cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup diced butternut squash
2 cans diced tomatoes (or use many fresh tomatoes)
2 cups veggie broth
About 1 tsp Garlic powder
Small amount onion powder
About 2 tbsp Chili powder
About 1 tbsp Cumin
A little bit of oregano
Salt and pepper
Optional: Tortilla chips, cheese, avocado
Heat oil and add spices. Allow to simmer for a minute. Add butternut squash, lentils, quinoa, tomatoes, and veggie broth. Add lemon, quartered with seeds removed. Keep the skin on, you’ll remove all the lemon chunks before serving. Simmer for a while, until butternut squash and lentils are soft. I think mine simmered for about 45 minutes, but it could have been done sooner.
If it is too thick by the time everything is done, I will sometimes throw in a full can of tomato sauce. I also do that if I accidentally made it too spicy.
Serve with tortilla chips, avocado, and/or cheese.
Think about how we’re now getting 79 cents on the dollar now, ladies, it’s really starting to come together for us!
Friends, I wanted to talk to you about fried rice today. I have a wonderful story about how I learned to cook fried rice from an Asian lady I met while camping in the Pacific Northwest (we were searching for Bigfoot). But, I just can’t go into that right now. I’m too distracted by my very meaningful research.
You see, I recently started learning about carrots, and it ended up being a bit of a rabbit hole. Did just miss an opportunity for a pun? Shit. Sorry, I’m off my game. I’ve just been so distracted by carrot history that I failed one of my classes and I forgot to feed my boyfriend for a whole week (some how he survived off of Doritos and a bag of beef jerky he found).
Did you know that there is a virtual carrot museum? I was actually really disappointed to learn it wasn’t a brick and mortar museum because I would have traveled to see it. It talks all about the history of carrots. My new goal in life is to get everyone to change the standard color of carrots again, just to honor me.
Anyway, this fried rice has tons of carrots in it, and it’s also the perfect food. It’s what I make when I go camping and also any other time I’m hungry and there is rice around.
About 2 cups of cooked rice
About 1 cup of veggies (carrots and peas are a good place to start)
Toasted sesame oil
Coconut aminos (or tamari)
Salt and pepper
Instructions for making fried rice while camping (you can adjust these to use in your kitchen if you’re cooking indoors because it’s like fall or something)
Start by heating some oil and garlic powder in a cast iron skillet. Add your veggies and sauté until they are mostly done, then push all the veggies to the side of the pan. Crack all three eggs into the pan and scramble them with a spatula. If you are making this at home, you can try to cook your eggs without burning the shit out of them. If you are using a camp stove, just go with the lowest possible setting, I found that my lowest setting was “extra high.” Once the eggs are mostly done, add the rice, sesame oil, and coconut aminos. Cook until everything is thoroughly heated. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add hot sauce.
If you are camping, serve on plastic plates with sporks, but don’t forget to arrange attractively.
I think I’m only going to make soup until Mary Ellen gets un-kidnapped. It’ll be like a hunger strike, but I’ll still get to eat soup, which sounds nice. I thought about starting a fundraiser for her ransom money, but I was too hungry from my hunger strike idea, so this will have to do.
I cleared out the rest of my garden this week and found several butternut squash as well as a few carrots I had missed earlier in the season. I started shooting photos while making this soup, but my camera died, and I couldn’t find the charger. You’re all in luck, though, because in addition to going to school to be Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, I have also completed extensive coursework in courtroom illustration. So, I was able to quickly and accurately draw the important steps of this recipe. I imagine you won’t even notice the difference between my exceptional photography and illustrations.
Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Brush with olive oil and then lightly salt and pepper it. Roast face down on a baking sheet at 400° until soft (about 45 minutes)
Once done, let cool for a few minutes until you can handle it. Scoop out all of the squash into a bowl.
Cut apple and carrots into bite sized pieces
In a large pot, saute garlic and leeks (or shallot) until soft and fragrent. Add carrot, apple, cooked squash, thyme, sage, and vegetable broth. Simmer until apples and carrots are soft )about 15 minutes or so. Add coconut milk. Blend with an immersion blender.