Thursday, September 17, 2015

More Food, Plus Some Discussion of Warehouse Cooking

I still can't believe that not only am I still using the George Forman grill, am I actually LIKING the George Forman grill, but even worse, I'm trying to imagine what ELSE I can cook on the George Forman Grill and actually LOOKED FOR AND FOUND THE COOKBOOK.

I haven't opened it yet, though.


It looks much better in the Instagram shot.

More food!

That's right. I made that. AND I ATE IT FOR LUNCH AND IT WAS DELICIOUS. (Okay, so it's not actually my picture, but I swear it looked close.) Mine was made with peanut coconut sauce out of a bottle. But I doctored it up with a dollop of sunflower seed butter--delicious--and added a little sriracha, because duh. For a base I used faux noodles--of course I did--and cabbage salad, sold by the pound at the hot bar at WF, and premade with rice vinegar, slivered almonds, and green onions. Added an awesome crunch. And, at the end, lime chicken, also from the WF hot bar. (I'm trying to figure out how best to cook in my warehouse kitchen--for the umpteenth time, but maybe this time around I'll pay more attention) and part of that is buying thing that are slightly premade, so I can mix THOSE things into OTHER things and end up with a restaurant quality dish for less money and time. And fewer dishes, because we literally don't do dishes. At all.

Anyway! Goes great with ginger soda--homemade, of course. Seltzer water, ginger juice, and stevia for sweetening. Great sugar-free way to get water--AND get some ginger! Good for what ails you!

Saturday, September 05, 2015


I did something today! This is a pressed breakfast sandwich on a George Forman grill, something which we happened to have lying around the kitchen, and which (although I tend to be a hater of kitchen gadgets) did a bang up job of turning a pile of kale, ham, cheddar, and egg into something recognizable as a Sandwich. 

Notes: I used the Medium setting--hooray for dumbed-down controls! I'm having a stupid hard time getting the hang of our induction burner, for example--and the entire cooking time was less than the time it took to get out the ingredients. Not kidding, it was THAT fast. I did cook the egg separately in the microwave--in paper bowls--and I'm sorry if any part of that sentence offends you, but there it is. I sprayed the grill down with coconut oil, which I will do again, as it improves Ease of Cleaning, and next time I'll spray the paper bowls for the egg as well.

Not pictured: the trip to the Cone and Steiner fridge for eggs, since the eggs in OUR fridge were at their best in April, and the accidental purchases that went along with such a trip; namely, relaxation tea and gluten-free frozen Beecher's Mac & Cheese (I KNOW).

I may try broccoli patties next. 

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Easy-ish Hot Night Dinner: Gazpacho!

No, it's not 100% low carb--tomatoes have a lot of sugar in them--but it's fast and doesn't require any cooking and it's FULL of vegetables, and, oh yeah, it's delicious.

I followed this recipe exactly, except I used pre-minced garlic out of the big jar from Costco instead of fresh. DON'T HATE ME. I know. I know how much worse it is. In fact, I'm well aware, because, after tasting the Gaz, I had to add insult to injury and add some garlic salt to the mix, just to bring out the gar. flavor.*

I am deeply ashamed.

What this recipe really requires is chopping. Lots of chopping. If you are a slow chopper, as I am, then this will not be quite so fast. I started at (about) 10:40 and finished at 11:15. And keep in mind: that is WITHOUT cooking.

The Gaz is currently chilling, as am I. Because my kitchen is still cool. BA-ZINGA.**

More seriously, folks, I did a few more things differently from the original linked recipe:

1. I didn't strain anything. As I told my partner, partway through the cooking chopping process: "We're actually having RUSTIC Gazpacho, where 'rustic' means 'eat your own dang seeds'," but the truth is more complicated than that. I tried straining the gazpacho through the fine-meshed sieve, and in fact dirtied TWO EXTRA DISHES to do so, but...stopped. The problem may have been that my sieve was perhaps too finely meshed. I was getting mainly pink-colored water as the result, and my partner and I wanted to consume actual calories at sometime before 2 am this evening.*** So I stopped and tried to mix everything back into the same bowl. This brought on some spills, as every one of my kitchen experiments is wont to do, but nothing that couldn't be cleaned up easily.

2. I used a mix of balsamic vinegar and cooking sherry in place of "vinegar", and didn't measure either element. This "not measuring" thing is fairly normal for me, as is "substituting flavor profiles for other flavor profiles that I think might fit."

3. I didn't measure the olive oil, either. The cool thing about being a chemical engineer is that you get an instinctive sense for when bases and acids mix together to form a cohesive, impossible-to-separate, whole. Add too much acid, and you've got separation. Add too much base, and you have the same problem. The trick is to keep them, [cooking word shoutout!]: emulsified. It's also a lab term. If your acids (the tomatoes, and later the vinegars) are in balance with your bases (oils) then you'll get a lovely creamy, soupy, texture to your gazpacho. You could rub it in your hair.**** Mess up either one of those amounts and you'll have soupy salsa.

Thanks and enjoy your cool kitchens.

*I've been reading a lot of P.G. Wodehouse recently. Mom, this is reference to P.G. Wodehouse's writing gimmick of using abbreviations to get inside the head of Bertie Wooster, which Mr Wodehouse did to great, great affect. It's still one of my favorite writing tricks.

**Mom, this is a reference to The Big Bang Theory, a TV show. There's a character named Sheldon who started off (and still technically is) a sidekick, but has become a fan favorite, and he has a terrible sense of humor, but still manages to prank his fellow nerdy colleagues. When he feels that he's scored one on them, he yells "BA-ZINGA".

***I think all start-up employees would agree with me here that 2 am still qualifies as "evening."

****This is a reference to an old family joke: "That sauce is so good, I could rub it in my hair!" BUT it also has a practical meaning! Everyone is well aware of the futility of trying to mix oil and water, yes? Right. So why should tomatoes be any different--after all, they contain water, right? A LOT of water. And yet tomatoes are well known for their affiliation for olive oil. What gives? Well, the acid in tomatoes makes it possible. Like liquid soap, or shampoo: you need an emulsifier to keep the oil and the water together. In this case, the acid is the emulsifier. Why can't you pour salad dressing in your hair? Well, there's a number of sensible reasons, but mainly it's because the water and the oil will stay separate. You'll end up with wet hair, and then oily hair. Adding an emulsifier to the mix makes your shampoo a homogenous substance, an easily used goop that cleans your hair and washes out with water. This is part 11 in an umpteen-part series on Chemistry.

Monday, March 03, 2014


I was browsing Pinterest this morning and I kept investigating smoothie recipes. Then I realized I had a blender in my kitchen.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Today I Learned

That the red chili flakes in Spaghetti Carbonara are there for a REASON. And you should probably add some more pepper, too. Otherwise you're just eating parmesan-flavored egg sauce with chunks of bacon.

Not that that's BAD, necessarily, but it won't be the flavor profile you're expecting. Just sayin'.

Also: I made it with spaghetti squash, not spaghetti. Yay, gluten free.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

I Cooked For Myself Today!

Sometimes that's all you can ask for.

(For the curious, which basically means my mom: miso soup made from red miso paste and hot water. And spinach-from-a-bag, well coated with a harissa-cream cheese-champagne vinegar mix that I made up myself.)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Notes From An Insomniac (Warning: Possibly Depressing)

Being an insomniac is not as glamorous as it appears in the movies; and although that's true of many things, it strikes me as particularly true about not being able to sleep. 

Sleep seems like a basic human right; something that your brain should do unthinking; and certainly it's possible that we as a species are now so overbred, overfed, overmedicated or over SOMETHING, that really we should feel lucky we can still perform the act of breeding at all, or at least without the constant assistance of our therapists. Still: it seems incredibly rude of mother nature to have yanked the ability to perform this particular physical need. I mean, at least I'm female--and, because my parents read this, I'll leave the rest of that sentence as an exercise for the reader.

After all, you've been up for a dozen hours, perhaps more; you've performed some kind of work; you've run errands and prepared and eaten a few meals and generally taken care of the detritus of the day; you've brushed your teeth and you lay you down to sleep and maybe you DO, at least for a few hours, but then suddenly at 3:30 your eyes slam open and you are well and truly fucked.

Being awake when everyone else is asleep is ostracizing, disorienting, and depressing. It's not as much fun as you think, listening to people snore, even if you love them. It's actually one of the very few things that's MORE fun, or at least more tolerable, if you live alone, because you have no one lying next to you, snoozing peacefully in the arms of Morpheus, unpacking the cares of the day, hammering home the fact that you are broken, that your brain hates you, and that you are completely out of sync with the rhythm of the world. 

And so you decide to get out of bed, because lying there will just make it worse. Maybe you'll get a little work done. HA. More fool you. Being awake when you should be asleep has one defining physical quality: you're out of sync with time, and that means you are FREEZING. (Terry Pratchett nails this in "Thief of Time.") I don't care if it's the middle of summer in Florida with no AC: you are shivering too hard to type accurately.
So you end up, instead, at a diner with the rest of the other losers who have nowhere else to be.

It should be mentioned here that part of the assumed glamor about being up when no one else is includes the idea that you'll meet someone. Maybe not in a romantic way, but that you'll have a deep conversation with someone you've never met before, baring your soul in the way you can only do in the middle of the night with a stranger that you'll never see again, some twisted Puritan version of Confession for the Damned. It seems so romantic, very Casablanca, that of all the hours of the night and out of all the diners in Seattle, you're sitting there, and so is that other person, and doesn't that mean that you and he have something in common, possibly even more so than you do (at least at this moment) with your lucky, lucky, sleeping partner?

No. Because literally no one is at their best in the middle of the night. Not you, not your promised conversational partner, not anyone. The reality of being up when no one else is is more like the jungle: everyone reverts to their basic lizard instincts, like that scene in Mean Girls. You have to physically watch yourself to make sure you don't start grunting and pointing as you hunch your cold body over the counter. And so you try to talk to the waitress, if you can and she has time, and eating greasy food just to have something to do, and re-reading a book you've already read a million times before, watching the hours tick by, wishing that you could have stayed there, with your partner, in the warm and cozy bed, where you thought you belonged.