Delicious Disaster

“I really need to include a section for ‘Ingredients I Don’t Have’ in these blog posts. It’s becoming a thing.”

I said this to Laura as we were talking on the phone while I was trying to cook. She was driving home from a long day of #teacherlife and I had just returned from a trip to Wholefoods. I went to Wholefoods specifically to gather ingredients for Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime, and Green Chile (from the Plenty cookbook) and still came away light-handed.

Huh.

I think maybe I don’t like to food shop.

Or maybe it’s that I’m easily distracted by packages of vegan GMO-free marshmallows with bow-tie-wearing-cartoon-marshmallow-dudes and delightfully-emphatic-orange-haired-adolescent-cartoon-girls pictured on them:

1

7Non-Bone Char Sugar! From Chicago! And perfect for camping!

These tumid little puffs caught my eye while I was scouring the baking aisle for cardamom pods after realizing that I had no idea what a cardamom pod looked like or whether Wholefoods sold them.  Google was helpful in demonstrating what I was actually looking for, but was unable to tell me where I could find them. Sometimes asking a real-life human for help is hard.

5FYI: they are located in the Indian spice section. I found them while I was looking for chick peas. Random and racist.

6

Also: who runs out of chick peas? Seriously!

(Also, also: Remember that time someone invented an app that allows you to select your local grocery store and then type an item to find its location in  said store instead of wandering around said store for hours/days/months looking for said item? I’m not the only one suffering from this first-world problem. Get on it, tech assholes. We are waiting.)

As previously stated, I decided to make Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime, and Green Chile for dinner two nights ago. I’m not going to share the recipe here (get the book, it’s so pretty!), but will say that I chose to make this specific dish because I thought it would be super simple.

It was.

Except for when the recipe called for sliced lime.

3The above is my attempt at “standing each lime on a chopping board and cutting down the sides of the fruit, following its natural curves, removing the skin and white pith” and trying to “quarter the limes from top to bottom, and cutting each quarter into thin slices, about 1/8 inch thick.”

Close enough?

The recipe also said to “place the cardamom pods into a mortar and work with a pestle to get the seeds out of the pods”. Welp, considering the fact that I didn’t own a whisk until a few weeks ago, that certainly was not going to happen. Even if I did miraculously own a mortar and pestle, I didn’t buy the cardamom pods because 1. $12.99 for a bag of alien-esque spices seemed ridiculous and 2. I had powdered cardamom at home (or so I thought).

In addition to zero cardamom (I substituted cinnamon), I was one lime short and couldn’t find tahini (nor was I able to locate bulk sesame seeds to make my own). I also decided to substitute sweet potatoes for butternut squash and goat kefir for Greek yogurt. Basically, I was making something totally different.

The end result? This delicious little disaster:

2Don’t let the (no comment) sauce fool you–it was quite tasty. Such savory, tangy and spicy goodness!

Just watch out for the jalapeños.

Until next time,
Rachel

Sad Scones

TG - pizza jam

“Are these gluten free?”
“Yeah.”
“Oh, that’s why…”

Yesterday, with all kinds of time on my hands and just one real chore to do (you guessed it: laundry), I decided I was craving scones.  I wanted to clean out my coconut and almond flours, so I found a recipe that used these and was also vegan.  In theory, this should have been a pretty awesome and easy recipe, providing me with breakfast and treats for the entire week.

There were a few staggeringly obvious issues with what happened next:

1. I decided to make a vegan and gluten free version of something I had never made  in its “normal” form.

2. I decided that 72% dark chocolate chips could easily be substituted for blueberries.

3. I decided to multiply my recipe by 1.5, because eight scones just wasn’t enough.  I then fudged the math multiple times, and/or changed quantities (because no one wants to use 9/8 of anything, amirite?).

Even though I’ve taught dozens of 7th graders, plus my 31-year old girlfriend, fractions in the past five years.

Attempting to fit 1.5x the recipe onto a pan was almost unsuccessful, until I decided to make two “pies” worth of scones.

TG - giant dough ball

TG - pies

A few things I did like about this recipe:

– It told me to play with my food.  Okay it didn’t quiiiite say to make a snowball out of the dough.  But it said to use my hands which I took to mean: make a snowball out of the dough and pretend to throw at your dog.

TG - snowball

– It told me when to wash my hands after making said snowball.  I appreciated the explicit directions.

– It calls for dumping a bag of chamomile tea into the dough.  The dough itself looked like cookies and smelled like tea.  What could go wrong?!

TG - dough

A few things I did not like about this recipe:

– It uses my least favorite word ever.  I guess I may need to get used to this word now that I’m attempting to bake things more often.  Let’s all practice together…

mm…mmm… moist.

ACK.  EW.  Reminds me of the time my coworkers plastered my classroom with post-its after I took a day off.

2013-05-24 16.04.49

2013-05-24 16.04.54

Oof.  Maybe not over it quite yet.

– It told me I could use any kind of milk, so I used 1 cup of unsweetened and 1 cup of vanilla almond milk.  I think these definitely only have a shot at being tasty if you use the sweetest milk option you can find.

– Most importantly: The scones tasted like shit.

When I realized how terribly yucky my scones were, I set about making Chia Jam to make up for it.  When warmed up and doused with raspberry jam, they were relatively edible, and thus have not been tossed into the trash can yet.  Each of my roommates pretended to enjoy one of them, until Edith (my co-chef from the Lentils day)  lovingly let me down and informed me that the scones were, indeed, as bad as I thought they were.

What did I learn from this experience?

Just because something is pretty doesn’t mean it’s nice.

TG - dip

TG - jam

Sugar

photo 2
There are a few things about my personality that are pretty glaringly obvious, once you get to know me:

1) I love sweets.
2) I hate chores.  Most especially, folding laundry and dishes.
3) I am a huge procrastinator.

What happens when all three of these personality traits collide?  You find me procrastinating my two least favorite household chores by baking.

Baking is an interesting topic for me.  I used to hate it, mostly because I was terrible at it.  Baking is way closer to chemistry than cooking is, and I got my worst grades ever in high school Chem class.  I have/had a really hard time understanding that measuring cups and teaspoons and tablespoons are important, and usually just eyeball quantities the way I would with cooking.  Unfortunately, that’s not something that really super works with baking.

One too many baking fails and I basically gave up on baking, for almost a year.

Until this Winter.  Until I got my hands on the Oh She Glows Cookbook and saw the amazingness that was the Raw Cookie Dough Balls (recipe only found in the Cookbook, but a similar one found here).  Until I realized that vegan baking is awesome because even if you fuck things up, you don’t have to worry about getting Salmonella.

I’ve been avoiding folding my laundry for almost a week.  At this point, I’m probably going to have to spend another dollar fifty to re-dry the laundry, it’s so wrinkled.  But instead of attacking the problem head-on, I have been dilly dallying.  I picked up the baby blanket I’m crocheting for a friend.

Gus wasn’t a fan of the crocheting.

photo 1

So, I started baking.

Mostly, I just wanted to make the Amazing. Chia. Jam. that has made me a celebrity at work, and that I literally crave once every few hours on a daily basis.  I first discovered this jam when making the Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Oat Crumble Squares, but since have been known to make a pot of this jam and eat it on toast with a spoon.  So I looked up recipes that involved coconut, because when I was Hangry Shopping at Trader Joe’s, I “accidentally” ended up with sweetened coconut flakes in my cart.

So, I made these incredible Coconut Macaroon Thumbprint cookies.  I’m telling you, it was so easy that even this measuring utensil-hating girl did it!

photo 2Then, I got so overexcited that I decided I should make not one, but two batches of cookies in a day.  Also I realized that as yummy as these macaroons are, I originally was craving chocolate.  So, I made the Crispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from the OSG cookbook (similar recipe here).

Unfortunately, I got kind of cocky and told all of my roommates about how amazing at baking I’d become, before realizing that these cookies basically tasted like chocolate covered flax seed.  Angela Liddon, I love you, but I can’t with the Flax Eggs.  Kevin, the vegan guru of the house, told me they tasted okay, but I think that’s just because he’s used to his vegan desserts tasting like baked cardboard.  If I were to make these again, I’d definitely use applesauce or chia for the egg.  Or an actual egg, since I’m not actually vegan.

photo 3They were definitely crunchy and if you could try not to think about the flax flavoring, were at least edible.

The best part, however, was what I decided to do with the extra dough.  Cookie Pie was my favorite dessert in college, so I thought it would make sense to combine all of the leftovers of everything into my own version.

At this point, my roommates were highly intrigued, and everyone had to taste the RaspberryChiaSeedJamCoconutMacaroonPeanutButterAlmondOatChocolateChip Pie.  I daresay it was delicious.

photo 5

A few days and zero folded articles of clothing later, I decided I wanted to bake again.

This time, I decided to try to use whatever I had in my house already, so ended up picking a recipe for Frozen Banana Bites from the OSG cookbook.  I combined the ideas from the cookbook while reading this article on How To Make Chocolate-Covered Banana Bites.  These were literally the easiest thing I’ve ever made, yet the most impressive to my bromates (and brand new, female roommate who arrived just as I was removing the bites from the freezer!).

photo 1I should have stopped there.  But I decided I’m a baking machine and should make one more sweet.  After all, tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and I haven’t picked up the ingredients for the Blue Cheese Guacamole Stuffed Mushrooms I promised I’d make, so why not make another batch of cookies instead?

By this time, I have very few ingredients left in my kitchen.  I have no chocolate chips or cocoa powder.  No butter (vegan or regular).  But I do have almond butter, white whole wheat flour, vanilla, and baking soda.  So I decide to go for the Auntie Angie’s Soft Peanut Butter Cookies recipe.

Dear Auntie Angie, I’m sure you’re a nice person, but your cookies suck.

They’re pretty-ish.

photo 3

But they suck.

I suppose maybe the problem could be that I substituted Almond Butter for Peanut Butter.  But I’m going to operate under the idea that Auntie Angie’s cookies just plain suck.  Don’t make them.  I’d tell you to make these instead, but the whole point was trying to find a recipe without eggs.  Sigh.

They basically taste like almond-y balls of flour, and I’m super disappointed.  The only thing I can think to do is look up a recipe for Vegan Frosting and dye them Patriots colors to serve at our party tomorrow.  I’ll let you know if the frosting makes them any better.

So, I’m 2 for 4 in the baking department (or roughly 50%, or 1/2 in simplest form).  Could be worse. And at least I have had Chia Jam.

I Got This

14It is no secret that I haven’t really ventured outside of my cooking comfort zone since the kale salad fail. My confidence took a serious hit, but when I saw the OSG recipe for Enchilada Casserole I thought, ‘How hard could it be to cut up some peppers and toss a can of beans into a baking dish?’ The answer: not super hard. Even with having to make the enchilada sauce (and homemade taco seasoning!), it was a pretty painless endeavor. Perhaps my new kraken-clad cutting board had something to do with it. Best Christmas gift everrrrrrr.

Note to self: buy a whisk. Buy a whisk so that you will be prepared for the the next time you make a sauce using a recipe that mentions the word ‘whisk’ nine times. And buy a whisk because it is especially ridiculous that you somehow have a cooking blog and yet do not own a whisk.

Even though I didn’t use a whisk (let it be known that I keep typing ‘whiskey’…), doubled the onion powder because I own zero garlic powder and accidentally bought one plain tomato paste and one garlic herb tomato paste, the sauce came out pretty good.

Next up: cutting vegetables. The last two times I’ve cut vegetables, I thought to myself, ‘I really need to Google how to do this because there is no way I am doing this right.’ Real paddle. However, I decided to forgo the Google search for the time being and seek answers to a more pressing question:

scallionsPerfect.

Scallions, done. Jalapeño, done. Onions, done.

I cut the top off my gorgeous yellow pepper only to reveal what looked like several yellow pepper fetuses growing inside. I was immediately repulsed.

5But chopped it anyway.

4Once the veggies were done sautéing, it occurred to me that I didn’t peel any of the stickers off any of the peppers. I promptly decided it was OK to ingest a small amount of melted plastic as part of my meal and continued to combine ingredients, adding the beans and the enchilada sauce like the recipe said.

At this point, my biggest pan is feeling pretty small.

2I stirred slowly and purposefully, keeping most of the contents in the pan. Success! Except that the next step called for adding the pasta and cheese.

Right.

Remember that time I made enchilada casserole in a giant stockpot?

Because I do.

16

10I need bigger pans. Or a saute pan. Or to hire a personal chef.

Still, the stockpot was a genius move.

I used veggie pasta because #veggies but also because I’m pretty sure that 85% (or roughly 17/20) of the items consumed during my trip to SF last week were bread-related products. Veggie pasta seemed like the best alternative until my brilliant girlfriend one-upped me by substituting quinoa. She is the smartest.

I emptied the contents of the pot into a baking dish that was way too big for the amount of casserole happening and covered the whole thing with an entire bag of cheese (lactose what?).

8Contrary to popular belief, setting timers is not for losers. I set a timer and let that puppy cook until the top turned golden brown.

The verdict? Pretty damn good. Though I think I’ll go with quinoa next time.

dish

Enchiloction

photo 2

Short post today because I actually managed to make a recipe without any glaring failures!

I wanted to make the Enchilada Casserole recipe from OSG, but had seen recipes for farro enchiladas and quinoa enchiladas on Pinterest and hoped I could sort of combine them all together into a quinoa enchilada casserole situation.

I’m making this recipe for Lunch Club. Bridget’s meal on Thursday was mushroom enchiladas with green sauce. I had already bought the ingredients for this, so hopefully the Club rrreallly likes enchiladas.

And hopefully mine win. Not that it’s a contest.  Not that I’m competitive.  Ever.

The recipe calls for you to make the enchilada sauce first. Easy enough, right? These spices are so pretty! Then you just simmer. Totally fine.

photo 1

Except if you’re me and have ADD and forget to stir. Then you get burnt enchilada sauce.

photo 2

Luckily, it wasn’t tooooo burnt, and upon some bromate taste tests was informed that it was just “extra smoky.”

Max has decided that I am making an “Enchiloction,” or enchilada concoction.   He informed me that, he’s “not even hungry and that smells delicious,” which I take as a good sign.

I only have one can of tomato paste when the recipe calls for two because reading is hard. I’ve already used the correct quantities of spices, but only have one can of paste. Oh well. Maybe I’m making a new version of the recipe that’s extra spicy. I use one can of paste and 1 cup water and it’s actually pretty GOOD!

I chop up the onions and then the peppers. I know you MUST have also bought one yellow, one red, and one orange pepper just for aesthetic appeal.

photo 3

I realize I’ve always made up how to cut a pepper, so I google it to find out if I’ve been doing it right. Not entirely, but kind of close. It seems like if you get the seeds and stem off, you’re doing pretty well.

How to cut a bell pepper

Also, who knew that if you leave a wooden spoon on a hot pan it will actually burn? It does smell kind of good though….

photo 5

I make the quinoa separately and put it in with the veggie mix, just like the recipe says to do with the pasta.

photo 1

I douse the mixture with cheese (real cheese, not vegan cheese… just because I had it on hand, not for any other reason).

photo 4

Setting a timer is for losers! Even though I forget to set one, I miraculously check in before it burns.  It’s delicious.

photo 3

This blog is a lot more exciting when I fuck things up!

Lentils and Libations

photo 1

The night this dish was made, I was lucky enough to have a guest co-blogger.  I’m talking about a real chef, someone who has actually been cooking and baking for way longer than us!

Granted, I once pulled an entire carrot (stem attached) from my mouth after biting into her vegan carrot birthday cake… And gagged on a lemon seed after she “got a little lazy” grating lemon for a lemon pie… But those things aside, Edith is a real chef!

Okay, even if she’s not a real chef – she’s brilliant, hysterical, and another set of hands.  And my best friend in California.  So, she’s co-posting and co-cooking with me this evening!

It’s really hard to get Edith to pose for a picture:

313230_2213725785760_855240234_n

She basically only does it when wearing mustaches:Edith Laura

Tonight Edith and I are making this Roasted Potato Salad with Asparagus and Lentils from the Oh She Glows website as my Lunch Club dish to serve tomorrow.  I’m planning on doubling it and/or making the proportions up.  More on that in a bit.

Edith is the best chopper!  I don’t know who make up that “too many cooks in the kitchen” phrase, but they definitely must not cry as hard as I do when cutting onions.  I welcome anyone into my kitchen who will cut an onion or do dishes for me.

photo 2

Guess what this recipe calls for?  You guessed it.  Parchment paper!  I am so glad I finally broke down and got some.  Edith and I are discussing the burnt edges from last time and she explains that parchment paper is actually flammable.  Which makes me super confused, because why would we be instructed to put that in the oven all the time?

Also, I can’t say flammable and keep saying “flannel-ble.” I think I’ve been around my hipster bromates too much.

Or maybe I’ve had too much wine.

After I typed this much of the post, Boots joined us and we basically downed the rest of our bottle of wine, and then another half bottle, between the three of us.  Edith stopped being my co-blogger because she landed on the floor and stayed there:

photo 4

So basically, the rest of this post is going to be some highlights and quotes of what followed, and blurry pictures:

Me: Do you think the potatoes are done?
Edith: Put it in your mouth and see how it feels!
Boots: That’s what she said.

Edith types this:
No mames Boots porque no tienes wine.

And this, after I decide there might not be enough food to serve five people:
Bruseeellls sprouts? Why not? MOAR salad.

photo 3

By that she meant: I thought I had two packages of asparagus, but really had one.  I got nervous that there wouldn’t be enough to feed five people.  So I added Brussels sprouts.  Because adding Brussels sprouts always makes everything better.

You know you’ve had too much wine when your friends grab the computer to write down your own quote:
“Everything in the kitchen looks like a sex toy… wait, maybe I just think everything looks like a sex toy.”

Edith has woken up and is reading us a list of 14 Serial Killers Who Were Never Captured, In Order Of How Frightening Their Media-Created Names Are.  My favorite is “The Doodler,” I think.

She and Gus are both very concerned about the serial killers:

photo (10)

I decide to dump the lentils on top of the roasted vegetables in the baking sheet, to save space and do less dishes.  Edith and Boots are both extremely skeptical.  It totally works.

What doesn’t work, is taking a clear picture of it:

photo 2

Unfortunately, after a bottle of wine, I have difficulty remembering correct sayings and in attempting to chide Edith and Boots for their lack of faith in my cooking prowess, say something along the lines of,

“Oh ye, what little faith you have.”

Words are hard.

Potatoes with mustard are good.

photo 3

photo 5

Oh, ye.

I’ve learned that wine is the most helpful when cooking!

So, I got cocky

kale

I think cooking cockiness might be a real thing. And I think it’s what happened to my brain between the successful strawberry arugula pizza making and the mostly-successful tomato soup making. I mean, I killed the pizza in all of its pistachio pesto glory. And even though my soup was borderline puke-y in its consistency, it was both flavorful and filling. So why the epic failure when it came to putting together this kale and pomegranate salad? I can find no other explanation than cooking cockiness.

Rachel’s Guide To Failing at Kale & Pomegranate Salad

  1. Get cocky. Make something you’ve never made before. And make it really, really tasty. Then try to make something super easy like tossing a handful of greens in a bowl.
  2. Buy the incorrect kale. It’s totally fine to buy the incorrect version of the base ingredient. Repeat to yourself, ‘cooking is an adventure!’ and move forward with confidence.
  3. Don’t buy walnuts because you think you have some. Discover that what you actually have is a bag of walnut crumbs. Then try to toast them anyway.
  4. When you’ve gone to two stores in search of pomegranates/pomegranate seeds the day before thanksgiving in sunny New England, substitute dried cranberries when you find zero.
  5. Stay the course! Even though you didn’t buy the correct kale, have no walnuts, and are substituting dried cranberries for pomegranate seeds, this will be the best kale and pomegranate salad of all time.
  6. Spend $6.99 on tiny bag of wild rice at Wholefoods after swearing you will not shop at Wholefoods any longer. Be sure to give yourself 50-60 minutes to cook said rice. And be sure to ‘separate and wash’ said rice before cooking it. To wash, pour two cups of the thinnest rice known to man into a standard colander. Enjoy rice falling onto the floor and into the sink. You will be reminded of the time you attempted to strain rice every time you walk into your kitchen, finding grains of rice in every nook and cranny for days to come (kind of like pine needles in July).
  7. The next time you talk to your mom on the phone, ask her what ‘separating rice’ means. Then confess that you–for a hot second–wondered how on earth you were supposed to actually separate all those tiny grains and what purpose that would have served.
  8. Now that the rice is done, enjoy the sweet, sweet aroma of what smells like alfalfa, but totally reminds you of hamster shavings. Because that is what you want to think about when you’re eating this glorious frankensalad. Hamsters.
  9. By this point, you’ve decided that the only thing that will save this salad is the dressing. And the cheese. Because who doesn’t eat salad just for the dressing and the cheese? The dressing is a super simple combination of shallots, olive oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt, and lemon juice–awesome.
  10. Reach for the shallot. Peel the shallot. And fight the urge to cry when you realize that those shallots that have been sitting in your wooden bowl for two weeks are moldy and sad. Try to peel them anyway! Then casually toss them into the garbage either before or after you swallow your pride (chef’s choice).
  11. Stand in the middle of your kitchen wondering how the fuck you’re going to save this salad because you promised a friend that you were going to provide the only green at her Thanksgiving table this year. Determined, decide that you are going to see if your landlord has any shallots or onions since you need to borrow a serving bowl anyway.
  12. Grab the spare key to your landlord’s apartment (with permission) and enter. There, you will find zero traces of shallots and onions, but learn that said landlord is seriously grappling with a Gatorade addiction.
  13. Return to your apartment with a serving dish and low spirits. Wallow briefly, but then decide that the key to saving this salad is to make up your own dressing recipe. Substitute mustard for shallots and taste said dressing. Upon tasting, quietly acknowledge that said dressing is the single most vile thing you’ve put in your mouth all week.
  14. Give up. Wave the white flag in surrender. Throw in the dish towel. You, my friend, have lost the battle, have lost the war, and have lost whatever cooking confidence you’ve started with.
  15. Text your friend to notify her that no one will be having kale salad with Thanksgiving dinner this year, but that a bottle of your favorite Pinot Noir will do just fine.

 

 

Tinderific Thanksgiving

photo 4

Remember when we started a cooking blog… the week before Thanksgiving?

Oh, you mean that time I offered to host Friendsgiving for approximately fifteen of my bromates’ friends?

I set out to write specifically about the Lentil Loaf from the Oh She Glows Cookbook (the recipe isn’t available outside of the printed book, but a similar one can be found here). But I can’t write about that without mentioning the Mushroom Gravy and the Kale and Pomegranate Salad that I attempted to make at the same time. Oh, and the bromate antics that were happening concurrently:

Antics.

Let’s start with the ingredients. Number one: walnuts. Forgot to buy them. Whoops. Luckily, Kevin has whole ones. Unfortunately that means this recipe’s prep time has basically tripled because CHOPPING WALNUTS IS THE WORST.

photo 1Halfway done.  Only took me 13 minutes to chop this many.

Once the walnuts are chopped, I stop at the words “rimmed pan” and try not to act like a giggly 13-year old.  I remove my mind from the gutter and Google it just to make sure – FYI a rimmed pan is literally a pan. With sides.  Like most pans.  I also don’t actually think the sides made a difference while toasting the walnuts, but I’m a novice here…

Speaking of novice, most people hold their prepped ingredients in solo cups, right?

photo 2

Recipe calls for parchment paper. Upon realizing that, I decide I really just need to procure some. So I send one of the bromates out to buy parchment paper. He needed to pick up beer anyway.

Side note: Patsy Kline is singing “Crazy for Loving You” on the speakers. I am wearing the vintage apron that you bought for me.  Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my three male roommates and our house guests, while one roommate sits with a beer on the couch and two play with smoke a turkey.

It’s fine. I promise I really am a feminist.

Forgot a timer but walnuts are alive.  I’m not sure how one minces celery so I make it up. I’m really not sure how one grates apples so I make that up too. The apple is definitely a #fail but I’m getting hangry and just want this shit to get into the oven.

Did I mention I’ve eaten zero food and that I’ve been convinced by the bromates that Coffee Stout is an appropriate replacement for Regular Coffee on Thanksgiving?

photo 1

Not an adequate substitute.

Trying to remember the last time I ate applesauce or raisins. I’m pretty sure it was in the same era that I was trading Kudos Bars for Gushers and Fruit Roll Ups for Double Stuf Oreos.

I always feel like a super accomplished cook when throwing fresh herbs into a dish. I sneak a taste and it’s delicious. The consistency is kind of dry, so I splash a little bit of veggie broth in. Because I’m so accomplished.

So accomplished that I completely skipped the paragraph where the recipe talks about blending the lentils into a paste.

That probably makes a difference?

Luckily, I was really hoping to work out today and missed my dance class. So I vigorously pound (calm down…) the lentils until they are somewhat mushy. I smush the whole mixture into the pan and get excited to be done, only to realize that you’re supposed to make the glaze before cooking.

photo 4

A Note About Ketchup: Before the industrial size fridge my three roommates and I shared crapped out, there was ample space for my Fancy Organic Brand Ketchup along with the bromates’ Scary High Fructose Corn Syrup Ketchup. Unfortunately, we had to throw all of the food from our old fridge out, and therefore I am currently stuck with the Scary HFCS Ketchup that was literally procured from a GAS STATION in a moment of panic by one of the bromates, when he wasn’t going to have anything to top his pre-made, frozen pigs in a blanket.

I’m not sure if it’s the HFCS or the fact that there is maple involved, but the glaze is ahhhmayzinggg.  I smear it on the moist loaf (tried to use three of my least favorite words in a sentence, just to see if I could do it) and pop it in the oven for 40 minutes.

photo 5

While the loaf is cooking, I have been deemed the Ice Queen by the bromates and handed eleven Smirnoff Ice bottles to hide on them (“icing”). It feels kind of like an adult Easter Egg Hunt. Which makes perfect sense in the West Oakland Country Club on Thanksgiving.

photo 2

I definitely need to research how to use parchment paper because I don’t think it’s supposed to start smoking? Not quite sure.   I cut the burning edges off and throw the loaf back into the oven for 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile, I’m making this orgasmic mushroom gravy from the Cozy Millet Bowl recipe that you HAVE to try. I didn’t put the kale in it, but you should because it’ll be amazing.

photo (7)

Loaf is done.  Not gonna lie, I’m pretty proud of myself for getting all of this together.

photo 2Coupled with the turkey that Max smoked, Wanamaker’s mashed potatoes and rolls, and the incredible pies baked by Boots, we actually managed to have an Almost Adult Thanksgiving.

photo 3 photo 4photo 4

Almost.

photo 3

The Soup Happened

IMG_3855

And I have to say: it was super tasty! Though, I almost didn’t eat it because of questionable consistency issues. More about that shortly. First? Let’s talk about Ingredient Acquisition.

As you know, I’ve been trying to Wholefoods less and Trader Joe’s more. And as you know, I’ve been failing miserably. Why? Because I would much rather spend $60 for three avocados and a bag of kale at the Wholefoods 2.5 miles away from my house than drive the 4.8 miles to Trader Joe’s. I’m a convenience girl, what can I say?

(Yet, I’ve been traveling halfway around the world to spend time with a girl I ReallyLike. This makes no sense, but I digress.)

Trader Joe’s just hasn’t been happening. And let’s face it, it’s probably not going to happen when all I’m shopping for is three cans of tomato-related ingredients and thyme.

With Wholefoods off the table and Trader Joe’s out of the question, my only option seemed to be Stop & Shop. And even though I hate Stop & Shop and everything it stands for, the fact that it is conveniently located 1.7 miles made it a given.

That is until I remembered that a brand new Market Basket recently opened 2 miles from my apartment (!!). And even though MB isn’t a huge step up from Stop & Shop with its painfully effulgent florescent lights illuminating aisle after aisle of processed food items, it’s at least cheaper than Stop & Shop. And cheap is good when plane tickets have become a thing.

My trip to Market Basket is best summed up by this short text exchange.

As for the soup? It was really easy to make. Even with piecing together multiple photos of the ingredients list and a running text message containing the actual cooking instructions. If I was cooking anything else, it would have been a disaster.

The Highlights:

IMG_3852 That time I broke one of my cute vintage glasses trying to extract a cutting board from the dish strainer. No worries. I have eight more of these darling little things.

blend That time I realized far too late in the process that perhaps a food processor wouldn’t be a good stand-in for a blender.

spillage That time my theory was proven.

peas Which was right around the time that I burnt the shit out of the chickpeas. If you’re going to burn the chickpeas, you might as well top this soup with rocks. Same taste, easier to procure.

The thing about using a food processor as a blending mechanism when you’re trying to pulverize stewed tomatoes and onions into a silky smooth liquid is that it doesn’t fucking work. Instead, it creates a texture similar to vomit. Which is a really, really, really unappetizing and unappealing consistency for soup. FYI.

But I ate it anyway.

After a moderate amount of mental coaching.

I’m buying a blender.

No Fridge, No Prob.

bowl of yum

So.  I don’t have a fridge.  That’s kind of a thing.

Which means I have to cook this entire meal and then pack it up and send it with Boots, to keep cold in his fridge.  Which means I have to hurry.  And you know how I am at hurrying while cooking…

Hopefully this will be my least funny post, because hopefully it will be the only one during which I am not drinking a large glass of wine.  But Tinder Girl With a Cold + wine didn’t seem like the best idea.

Meal: Cream of Tomato Soup with Roasted Italian Chickpeas
From: the Oh She Glows Cookbook

Important to note:  This recipe wants you to do something in advance.  Did I?  Of course not.  But you should, because it’s cashew cream as a replacement for real cream.  Which will be good for your lactoseyness.  I used real cream and it made everything ahh-maay-zing, but I have a feeling the cashews would actually lend an even silkier texture and more flavor.

Also important to note: This recipe calls for parchment paper and paper towels.  Both things normal households would have…  But I obviously ran out of paper towels this morning and still haven’t purchased parchment paper.  After briefly contemplating whether draining chickpeas into toilet paper would be effective, I scavenge a quarter roll of paper towels from my bathroom.

I’m making 1.5 times the recipe, since it needs to feed five people.  I’m making double the roasted chickpeas because roasted. chickpeas.

Start time: 10:30pm
I’m using olive oil instead of grapeseed for the chickpeas because I’m confused about what grapeseed oil actually is and what kind of person actually has grapeseed oil on hand.  The smell of the chickpea spice mix is orgasmic.  Thinking about just eating these and calling it a night…?

chickpea prep

Chickpeas make it into the oven to roast.  Aluminum foil working just as well as parchment paper so far.  Super proud of myself for setting a timer!

orgasmic

Sauteing onions and garlic – no big deal except for the fact that multiple roommates have asked me if I’m okay because of the tears flowing down my face.  I cut the last third of the onion with my eyes closed and wonder how many onion-related injuries there are in the world each year.

After forgetting that 1.5 times the recipe might not fit into the mixer and thus christening the Vitamix with lots of tomato soup splash, I get most of the soup mixture blended into a smooth (but not too smooth, because then people won’t think it’s homemade…) consistency.

mess

Also.  Tell me there are people who can look at peeled tomatoes and not gag.  Please. Find me someone who can do that.

fetus tomato

really though.

Soup has pureed and is now heating.  I grab the chickpea tray after forgetting to set a timer for the second 15 minute rotation, but they seem okay.

Oh. My. God.

There’s no way anyone else gets to enjoy these chickpeas.  I am definitely going to eat all of them by tomorrow morning.  After my timer went off, I tried the “give them a good shake” method as suggested by the recipe and mostly succeeded in burning my finger and dumping a handful of chickpeas into the bottom of the oven.  So I might suggest using a spatula to gently move them around.  Total, I think the chickpeas roasted for 30-35 minutes.

Soup is finished and is really flavorful!  Although I can’t stand them in whole form, the sun dried tomatoes really gave the soup amazing flavor.  The roasted chickpeas are definitely the highlight.

roasted chickpea amazingness

End Time: 11:35pm

The whole meal is really filling, but I still think I am going to buy bread and cheese for a grilled cheese tomorrow.  It just feels… sacrilegious to have tomato soup without one.

I’m excited to hear how your attempt goes!