Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ugh.

AAAAAAH! I was feeling so, so great about things- about my weird future hermit lifestyle, my half job, my night school classes. Then I went home and talked to a bunch of my friends, and mostly still felt great.

It was the grocery store that killed me.



That? That is half of the "inorganic carrots, radishes, beets and cabbages" section at Berkeley Bowl. HALF!! Look how beautiful it is! Look how many colors! And that's just the inorganic section! WHY AM I IN NEW ENGLAND?

(Also, I went to a Giants game on Thursday, and when I went to throw away my empty mustard packets, the waste bins were labeled recycling, compost, and landfill. Perfect.)


I promise there is a recipe coming soon, but for now, oh nonexistent readers, you shall have to be happy with pictures of beets. Who doesn't like pictures of beets? Internet: the only socially acceptable venue for talking to yourself. Now go read this and don't come back until you've forgotten how abruptly I ended this post. Bye Bye!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Good Ideas on Toast

I like breakfast. I like eating pancakes at 5am during exams, and knowing everyone in my house's preferred bagel order. I even like going out to breakfast with my grandfather at 7:30am because, as he once told me, "decent people do not eat breakfast after 8." Most of all, I like it when it's Saturday, and there are too many people sleeping on your couches, and all it takes to make everybody happy is ten minutes spent cracking eggs and trying to see how many english muffins you can fit into your toaster oven.

Hey Dad! Your house is super photogenic.

I know nobody actually needs a recipe for scrambled eggs, but I'd never put scallions and cheddar in eggs until my friend Trisha showed me, and now they're my go-to egg scrambling additions. Cheap, generally hiding in my fridge, and a perfect combination of flavors. Sold. 


So! Put some english muffins in the toaster, chop a scallion, break some eggs. (take a shower, shine your shoes...)



USE THE SCALLION GREEN PARTS! They get no love.


Grate some cheese. Observe that it is probably too much cheese. Decide not to care. 


On principle, I'm not gonna tell anyone how to scramble eggs, and besides, I was told once that I over-stir mine. I usually put the scallions in the pan with the eggs, and then add the cheese just before they're done, but it's scrambled eggs. Do it however you want. Wake up your sister. Remember the Saturday the evangelists came while you were eating breakfast, the eggs on Thanksgiving morning, your roommate making coffee. Pull out some plates. Miss, for the thousandth time, a white house in Providence. Eat eggs. Feel better.




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cucumber soup

Californians who go East for college are warned ferociously about winter, which I’ve subsequently decided is kind of unnecessary. Sure, I had to learn to dress myself properly (coats with linings? socks? what are these things?), and just this year I did manage to slip and fall on my butt twice walking to class on the same day, but overall, winter in Rhode Island wasn’t that big of a deal. [Yes, Dad, I know I only think this because I never had to shovel snow in upstate New York. I’m sticking to my story anyways. HAH!]


Summer is different.

 I hate hot weather. Part of it is my own personal physiology- I start sweating grotesquely at about 76 degrees- but it goes deeper than that. Being cold is a problem with an easy solution, but with heat… I mean, there are only so many clothes that you can take off. You know your agree with me. The one and only summer I spent in Providence was brutal, and I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t bought an air conditioning unit for my third floor bedroom I would have ended up a melted pile of exhausted human tissue sludging around campus like a giant amoeba within a week.

Fun fact: I am now imagining myself as one of the Mistwraiths from the Brandon Sanderson books- you know, the creatures that have an irrational number of bones poking out at odd angles?

That beautiful image brings me to the third week of July. I’m staying with my grandfather on Cape Cod, which would normally invalidate my complaints about the weather (or really anything), but I’m clearly being punished for something because it was disgustingly hot and, unusually for somewhere this close to the ocean, sticky, humid and breeze-less. I spent most of the week lying on the living room floor failing to do work and wondering whether getting my cousins’ dog to stop barking at nonexistent squirrels would be worth the effort of moving my body. Bottom line: I’m a wuss with first world problems. I am, however, a wuss who makes pretty awesome cold soup.



I know. It looks repulsive.

In reality, it's a delicate minty green color and NOT gross looking, but every picture I took looked turned out worse than the last one. You should see the ones where the soup was in a blue bowl... let's just say, I would not eat that based on photographic evidence. After a while, I got frustrated and took a sequence of equally terrible photos of my lemonade and iced tea mixing, which did not make me feel better. Go figure.

Back to the soup. It has cucumbers!



The recipe is from the very first cookbook I ever owned. It was given to me when I was 15, shortly after I stopped eating meat. I don’t remember what it was actually called (Hippy Dinners? Vegetables are people too?) but I’ve got a photocopy of a page that my high school self annotated with the words “soup: excellent!”. Crossed out next to the word excellent is ‘winner’, an expression my mom uses while writing in cookbooks and that I was apparently subsequently embarrassed to have imitated. I was obviously a really cool, self confident teenager.  


Either way, I was right: this soup was, and is, a winner. Cold soup sounds fussy, but this one has, like, five ingredients, a blender does all the work, and it’s perfect summer food. Best of all, you can make it when you do have the energy to move, and then eat it later when you don't feel like leaving the floor. Or you could be a civilized person and eat at a table. I won't judge.



Cucumber Soup
Stolen from a cookbook I can't quite remember

Notes: I'm pretty bad at blenders, so I always end up having to do this in batches. The recipe I'm retyping seems to think you can do it all in one go, so blend according to your own ability. Or the size of your blender. Additionally, you might want to start with half that amount of salt and then work up- I've actually decreased the amount of salt from the original recipe, but everybody's different.

3 large cucumbers (1 1/2 lbs), peeled
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
Black pepper

1. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. If you're me, enjoy this step immensely. Chop them up, but don't worry about it that much. Translation: chop coarsely and transfer to blender.

2. Add yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, mint, garlic and salt and blend until smooth. Season with black pepper, and chill until ready to serve. You might want to chill the soup too... I'M HILARIOUS. Ok, but seriously. Put the soup in the fridge. I'm gonna stop typing now.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

I was supposed to be in Kenya

I really, really want to live in Nairobi. I have absolutely no idea where this fascination came from; nobody I know has been to Kenya in recent memory, and to my knowledge, none of the bits of Planet Earth that make me want to drop everything and become a nature photographer were filmed there. When put on the spot, I end up saying that I want to go because it’s where the United Nations Environment Program is headquartered, but I have a sneaking suspicion I'm obsessed with Nairobi because of how cool the word sounds.

The actual point (there is a point!) is that today, in August of 2013, I am not where I expected to be.  I don’t really remember making an actual life plan, but I’m pretty sure that at 23 I was going to be making very little money, living at least six time zones from home and communicating primarily via mime.  I was definitely supposed to have graduated from college. Instead, I’m sitting on my grandfather’s couch on Cape Cod feeling alternately fine and hopeless, and wondering whether I’m ever going to finish school.

The solution is clearly to start a food blog.

That’s totally how the story goes, right? Someone feels confused and lost, starts a food blog, and bam! Five years later they’ve got a baby and a book deal because their life is so awesome that people like me will spend time and money for the privilege of using it for escapist purposes. On the off-chance that there is anyone reading this who isn’t my mom doesn’t know me well, here’s the rundown: the implication that I want either a book deal or a baby anytime soon (or ever, actually) – COMPLETELY sarcastic. I do, however, spend an egregious amount of time reading food blogs and will happily continue to buy any books the Orangette lady feels like writing.

So here goes! I know that starting a food blog without a recipe in the first post is probably a bad idea, but so is having a grammatically incorrect blog title and eating as much Cholula as I do on a regular basis, so really I’m just sticking to my guns. It’s definitely not because I’m petrified that my food photography and recipe writing skills aren’t up to snuff. No way, no how.

Goodbye for now,
-Becca