Rye bread + rutabaga

It turns out that when I am stressed, I cook really weird combinations of really weird foods. Tonight I made quinoa with cheddar cheese, rutabaga–carrot purée, and Swedish rye bread.

On my way home I was contemplating what to make for dinner, and I was like, haha, I should go get a rutabaga and finish that stupid experiment. Then I was like, well … I guess I will go get a rutabaga. I procrastinated for a while at home because I desperately wanted something warm and bready immediately, so I looked up whole-wheat and/or rye biscuit recipes, and then ended up finding the recipe for Swedish rye bread when I googled quick rye bread. It’s a quick bread (no yeast), but not sweet. I also pretty much picked the first rutabaga recipe I found on Epicurious because I wanted something edible, i.e. not just roasted vegetables (which were good the first night but unappetizing subsequently). The quinoa was just to round things out. The bread wasn’t really part of dinner, it just happened.

So. I went to the wax turnip area of the supermarket, and discovered that the wax turnips all weighed like 2.52 pounds. But then I dug around a bit and discovered some much smaller, different-looking wax turnips beneath the giant ones. These weighed less. Obviously. So I put two in my basket and went about the rest of my shopping. (Things got dicey when I spotted a jar of almond butter for $11.99. And there were no regular almonds in the rest of the store. But I didn’t buy them. And now I want almond butter desperately again.)

At the checkout counter, several things happened:
Continue reading


Soup ennui

I don’t really know how this post is going to work. I’ve made three very similar vegan soups from my soup cookbook, never blogged about any of them, and don’t want to type three recipes. Making them has started to become routine, easy, quick. I suppose I should branch out soon.

Several weeks ago (the same weekend as the ham hocks, actually), I made Tomato, Lentil, and Barley Soup. As of today it’s my favorite of the three. It involved onion, garlic, lentils, barley (yay!), celery, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, wine, apple cider vinegar, and parsley. Fairly standard. It was mild, warm, made me feel healthy and taken care of. And full-ish. I like the texture of barley.

So many ingredients! I am usually not this organized.


Post-soupifying, aka cooking


Last weekend, with Jacqui, I made Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage and Bread Stew–onion and garlic, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, bell pepper (which I don’t like. Why did I include it?), red wine, paprika, cumin, lemon juice, sugar. (Just typing that list of ingredients kind of made me go eurgh. I got sooooo tired of eating this.) I made this for the following reasons:

  1. I had a lot of cabbage left from the week before.
  2. I had bread that I had made.
  3. There was a quote on the page with the recipe that read, “Having a good wife and rich cabbage soup, seek not other things.” —Russian proverb

I found this delightful. I am my own wife.

I substituted leeks for the onions because I had leeks, but I don’t think this was a good idea; leeks should only be used when you can really taste them.

Jacqui took better pictures of the leeks, but my hands look cool in this one.

Always eat a banana while cooking. And look how small my kitchen is.

(No pictures of the final soup product. Just look at the picture of the other soup again. They were similar.)

The upshot of this soup was that I don’t like sweet-and-sour soup because I don’t really like sweet things or sour things. It was pretty cool when I first tasted it, though. Jacqui was all, “Ahhh!!! It’s sweet! AND sour!” And it was. I got tired of it very quickly, though, and also didn’t want my lovely bread to sog in the not-entirely-delightful liquid, so I kept eating the soup on its own and the bread on its own, which just wasn’t all that good.

Yesterday I made Chickpea and Bulgur Stew. I was choosing between that and Curried Millet-Spinach Soup, because I had spinach and have been wanting to try lots of weird cool grains lately, but ultimately it seemed less exciting than the bulgur one (and I wanted stew rather than soup). Also, the bulgur one involved buying more ingredients, which I enjoy.

Unnecessary, overly cropped closeup of bulgur. Looks like rice. Isn’t.

There were also turnips in there, and since I now know that I like turnips, this seemed like a good idea. I can now say that turnips cooked in tomatoey, watery liquid don’t really have any taste, but I am actually OK with that; at least they are not vile. And you can’t get sick of something that doesn’t have much taste. I do like the stew, though—it’s overly tomatoey, I think, but I am eager to keep eating it, especially to discover the secrets of bulgur. (I still don’t understand bulgur. I was really surprised when I bought the package of it—I thought it would be something else. I think it’s just sort of like … wheat. Like … pre-bread.)

This has not been an informative post. I think Nava Atlas might get mad at me if I keep putting her recipes online, so I will stop. Oh, I just got a good idea. Hold on. OK, I added links from her actual website.

Chickpea and Bulgur Stew (not on her website!)
From Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas

2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (I used 3 ridiculously small and slightly gross ones)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large celery stalks, diced
4 cups water
2 medium white turnips, peeled and diced
1/2 c finely shredded cabbage
1/2 c raw bulgur
28-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Italian herb seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash)
1 tsp paprika
16-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
[You are also supposed to do something with a bell pepper at the end but I didn’t because I hate peppers, officially.]

Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a yellow, sunshiney Dutch oven. Add onion and saute over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and celery and continue to saute until all are golden or you get bored.

Add water, turnips, cabbage, bulgur, tomatoes, bay leaves, seasoning, and paprika. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes or so. Discard bay leaves, unless you can’t find them.

Add chickpeas and s&p to taste. Unless you were eating grapefruit while cooking this and can’t accurately assess the seasoning. Simmer over low heat for 10 more minutes.

Mushroom soup!

So today I had planned to make Smitten Kitchen’s mushroom soup, which looks wonderful and lovely. Then I was at the grocery store, and the shitaakes were all, “HAHA, we are ten dollars a pound!” and I was all, “HAHA, fuck you!” So I didn’t buy them. Well, I bought .3 pound, and now I don’t really know why, since I can’t make the Smitten soup.

I have just spent a very long time looking at all the mushroom soup recipes on the Internet, and figured I might as well do this one. I’m sort of nervous. I only have horrible-quality grocery-store sherry (obviously, because why in God’s name would I own high-quality sherry????). So it might suck. Ugh, but then what do I do with the shitaakes? I hate soup. I will think about this while I eat a rustic lunch of bread, cheddar cheese, and grapefruit juice from the container. (It’s 4:09 PM, by the way. I can’t remember if I have time stamps on this thing.) (I’ve only been awake for three hours.)

OK, I have mused on this, and have decided to cook the shitaakes and freeze them, and then they can become a delightful pasta dish sometime in the future. You’re welcome, Future Julie. I feel you have to have a really unpleasant, hubristic personality to adapt an Anthony Bourdain recipe. It’s just not a good idea. I am going to scale it up a bit, though, because it’s only four servings, and presumably appetizer-size servings. (Wow, that makes the amount of butter required nine tablespoons. That is so not happening, good lord.)

OK, my one and a half onions are chopped (actually one normal-size one and two insanely tiny ones), and three tbsp of butter are melting in the pot. My cat is meowing very sadly.

The onions softened in the butter (smells amazing); I quartered or halved the mushrooms, depending on their size, and then added them and the remaining 5 tbsp of butter—I opted to just use a stick. I’m also following Serious Eats’s version of this recipe, by the way, because Epicurious’s didn’t tell me what to do with the mushrooms at all, slicing-wise, and that made me nervous.

I’m listening to the Splendid Table podcasts, which I highly recommend you do every time you cook. It makes cooking seem so important. She also has kind of awesome guests… for some reason Ty Burrell was on. It was weird.

Anyway, things are a-simmering in butter. I figure it’s OK because the recipe doesn’t have any cream. And it smells great, for some reason. Oh I’m so antsy.

Now the parsley and chicken broth are in; I brought it to a boil and reduced to a simmer; and so it shall remain for an hour. I’m leaving it uncovered because the recipes had no mention of lids, but this seems unusual to me, and I am not without concern.

Things are still simmering. The Splendid Table just went on a thirty-second spree of really awkward sexual innuendos. 😦

Right before blending.

One hour later: Soup is done! I blended (blent?) it, and chose not to take a picture. Well, OK, I’ll take one. But it looks bad. It’s really, really rich-tasting (in a good way, but woah so much butter!!!) and I didn’t even think it needed salt (particularly since cooking sherry has tons of salt); I added a bit of pepper. Now it’s re-simmering. Soon it will go in Tupperwares. The end. Full review tomorrow.


Oh, and here’s Fitzpatrick, since some of you don’t are about food. Enjoy him while he still lives with me. Sob sob sob (someone might adopt him).

Italian feast + austerity measures

I guess it would make more sense if it were Greek feast + austerity measures. Har har har. Anyway, Jenny and I made our parents an Italian feast last night, and today I didn’t get the chance to buy groceries (slash drank more than I ate at dinner, so I probably shouldn’t be cooking anyway; but I did make baked oatmeal, which was kind of nerve-racking under the circumstances), so I’m just going to scrounge in my own apartment for food all week. And I’ll be editing my parsnip soup to make it more palatable for a second week of eating. SIGH.

Also, you should all go to my Flickr, since I don’t post all the pictures here. Does that link work?

Our first course was bruschetta, which Jenny made. She thinly sliced a French baguette (because there were no Italian baguettes), then drizzled olive oil over them. Then she instructed me to preheat the oven to whatever temperature I desired (I chose 350), and toasted the baguette slices for a while. Then she added diced tomatoes, which smelled like tomato vines, which is the best smell on the planet.

Meanwhile, I was making tiramisu, which turned out to be Tiramisu Soup. Ahh! Soup! I am categorizing this post as soup. (How noticeable is it that I had two beers for dinner??) I made custard (egg yolks + sugar, but it was supposed to magnify to two or three times its initial volume, and I don’t think it did) and whipped in a pound of mascarpone, and then Jenny and I valiantly tried to make whipped cream. We failed, for the first time in our lives. I know you’re supposed to use nonpasteurized cream for whipped cream, but I only use pasteurized because I shop in normal grocery stores for normal Americans who only eat pasteurized things, and I have always been a magnificent cream-whipper before. But tonight, alas, it came to naught.

So we combined them, and created tiramisu-soup-filling. Then I dipped ladyfingers

[just remembered what I forgot about the oatmeal. Oatmeal always gets really excited and overflows the boundaries of its containers. So now my recently cleaned oven has oatmeal all over it. NOOO]

in decaf coffee, layered them with the soup in an 8×8 pan, and put it in the fridge, where I hoped I could forget about it. It was very sad. More on that later.

The first course was Spaghettini alla carrettiera, aka Lidia Bastianich–brand linguini with basil from our freezer (previously from our garden) and fancy Whole Foods canned tomatoes. Recipe below; it looked terrible but tasted really, really good, and was really easy to make. We did have to make a disclaimer that we had no idea if it would be nasty, because it really did look nasty. Frozen basil has a tendency to turn an unattractive color after it thaws.

Don’t worry, I have even worse pictures.

Then the steak. This was extremely exciting. Jacqui, avert your eyes.

Oh no, my cat is sleeping with his head on the cookbook, so I can’t turn to the recipe! It was steak cooked with onions and tomatoes, and it was supposed to have olives, but only one-half of the present family members are willing to eat olives, so we omitted them.

First the onions were cooked in an amount of olive oil that was supposed to come up to the one-quarter mark on the saucepan. This was horrifying, but we of course obliged, since Marcella Hazan said so. Jenny cooked them, asking me every three seconds whether they were softened or golden or whatever they were supposed to be. I said I did not know. She said this was not helpful. After a while, garlic and more canned tomatoes were added; these cooked for a while.

Then it was time to cook the steak. We got very happy steak from Whole Foods (clarification for those who still don’t seem to understand this: they were happy before they were humanely killed), and were supposed to slice it into 1/4-inch pieces. We tried to pound them using a meat cleaver. Well, Jenny did, while I freaked out. I later described the scene as “It looks like we murdered a cow and then splattered its blood everywhere.” To which Jenny responded, “No it doesn’t.” I was like, “Yeah, I don’t know why I’m still talking.” It was gross, though.

ANYWAY. We heated up the pan for a good long while, then added olive oil, then put in the steak. It splattered. There were screams. Our mom, doing laundry in the basement, yelled, “Is everything OK in there?” We ignored her, being unable to truthfully answer.

We cooked it on both sides until it was beautifully browned (though still somewhat raw on the inside, as we would later learn. Holy shit, I just spelled that lurn). We topped the steak pieces with the onion-tomato mixture.

Then dinner time! The bruschetta was lovely.

The pasta tasted way better than we anticipated. The steak was re-cooked on lower heat when it was time for the second course, because it was scarily red inside, even though we are all medium-rare eaters in this family. Ooh, the kitty got off the book. Yay.

At first we ate all the courses in the right order, but then we went back and re-ate more of the previous courses. Also, we drank wine.

The tiramisu was even pretty good! It was texturally ridiculous, but it did taste like tiramisu. (You know, I just went to post a picture of it, and decided not to.) And we also ate macarons from Laduree that Jenny and our mom had bought the day before. They were good, but I don’t really get why people think they are the epitome of wonderfulness in life. Maybe I am a heathen.

This is my favorite plate.

That’s about it. It went well. Then we finished our puzzle, and all was right with the world.

Spaghettini alla carrettiera (thin spaghetti with fresh basil and tomato sauce)
from Marcella Hazan’s The Classic Italian Cookbook
1 bunch fresh basil (1 1/2 to 2 cups; I only used 1)
2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes (or regular, even non-Italian! tomatoes), seeded, drained, and coarsely chopped
5 large cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/3 c olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, about 6 twists
1 pound whatever spaghetti you frickin want

Pull all the basil leaves from the stalkes, rinse, and roughly chop. Put the basil, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and pepper in an uncovered saucepan and cook over medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Taste and correct for salt.

Drop the spaghetti in 4 qts boiling salted water. Cook until very al dente.

Drain the spaghetti. You’re supposed to mix the spaghetti with the sauce, but we served them separately, since we still didn’t know if the sauce would be nasty…

Marcella says no grated cheese is called for. This is bullshit. You should serve it with (good) parmesan cheese. Sorry, Marcella. Unless you meant that it shouldn’t be served with the green-can stuff.

Fettine di manzo alla sorrentina (Thin pan-broiled steaks with tomatoes and olives) (without the olives)
1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
Olive oil sufficient to come 1/4 inch up the side of the pan
2 medium cloves garlic, diced
2/3 c canned tomatoes, roughly chopped, with their juice
1 dozen black Greek olives, pitted and quartered (or not)
1/4 teaspoon oregano
Freshly ground pepper, 6 to 8 twists of the mill
1 pound beef steaks, preferably chuck or chicken steaks (what is that???), sliced 1/4 inch thick, pounded, and edges notched to keep from curling

In a good-sized skillet, saute the sliced onion in the olive oil. As it takes on a pale gold color, add the diced garlic. Saute until the garlic has colored slightly, then add the tomatoes, olives, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook at a lively simmer until the tomatoes and oil separate, 15 minutes or more. Turn the heat down, keeping at the barest simmer.

Heat a heavy iron skillet until it is smoking hot. Grease the bottom (we just poured some oil on and swished it around). Put in the beef slices (Jenny, on reading this I am now worried we did it completely wrong. Were we actually supposed to slice it into slices????? Does that make any sense? Whatever, you don’t read this blog). As you turn the meat, season it with salt and pepper. Transfer the browned meat to the simmering sauce, turning it quickly and basting it with sauce, then to a hot platter, pouring the sauce over the meat. (Whoops, we just put the meat on the plate and poured the sauce on top.)

Marcella says not to serve this with any tomato-based first course. Oops.

The tiramisu was adapted from this—and by adapted, I just mean I did it wrong. I also omitted the coffee liqueur and did not chill it enough.

Parsnip soup and new cookbooks

My very lovely mother bought me a new cookbook for Hanukkah because of my recent descent into soup-obsession. It’s vegan (which I actually like—even though I’ll be de-veganizing most of the recipes—because I have vegan-envy), organized by season, not too healthy, not quick. Big, long soups. This one’s taken a few hours what with the chopping, onion-goldening, and cooking, and it was lovely and smelled wonderful.

It’s called Creamy Parsnip-Vegetable Soup, and I am including the recipe at the bottom (first time!) (de-veganized!) because it’s really really good, and I don’t always love things I make.

I did not know what a parsnip was when I went parsnip-shopping. This was a two-grocery-store ingredient list, which I generally like because the NYC Freshmarket is a very pleasant place, full of exciting vegetables, and I don’t go unless I have to buy something weird. I asked a produce dude if they had parsnips, and he pointed at the weird-looking vegetable I was standing right in front of. I was like, oh. (I thought they were supposed to be like turnips, but they are like carrots.) Then I bought 1.43 pounds of them, even though I only needed 1, because they don’t have a scale. So this is actually Extreme Parsnip Soup. (I scaled up the rest of it a bit; it calls for two large potatoes, and I used four small ones, which was clearly too much. It’s really thick. And creamy and tasty.)

I chopped chopped chopped for a while; the parsnips were the hardest. The cookbook also said they were supposed to be “scraped,” but I have no idea what that means, so I just peeled it as I would anything else, which seemed to be the way to go. They smelled really strange and interesting. I should have tasted it raw.

Then I goldened the onions (well, sort of; they didn’t really golden particularly) and celery and added everything else (the celery leaves were the coolest part—I’ve never used them before), and stirred, and waited. And smelled, and blended, and seasoned exuberantly, and licked the entire spoon at the end.

Parsnips, potatoes, carrots, celery, celery leaves, diced tomatoes, etc.

After blending and adding parsley; before milk and cream



Creamy Parsnip-Vegetable Soup
De-veganized by me, otherwise basically as set forth in Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil (I eyeballed)
1 1/2 c chopped onion (for me, one medium, one small; this was a bit more than 1 1/2 c)
1 large celery stalk, diced
Handful of celery leaves (cool!)
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 16-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 tsp salt-free seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash Table Blend)
2 bouillon cubes (vegetable bouillon if you are not me; chicken if you are)
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 c milk, or as needed
1/2 c cream

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add onion and celery and sauté over medium-low heat until golden. (Or not until golden.)

Add all other vegetables, seasoning, and bouillon cubes. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables—I think I probably used about four cups. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender; this took 20 minutes for me. Remove from the heat.

Blend about half of the soup (or all). (Sorry, Sari. But really, you just got married, and should own a blender. You probably do and you just don’t know it.) Stir in the parsley, milk, and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Return to the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.



Soup dreams

I know I’m being a terrible blogger, but this is really funny.

At some point in the middle of the night while I was asleep, I had a dream I invented a soup recipe in this really fancy foodie language. It was a blended carrot and shiitake mushroom soup, and in the final end product you couldn’t taste the mushrooms at all, but they added “body and earthiness,” or something. I think it was even more foodie-ish than that. It was ridiculous.

Then I woke up and was like, that is gross and I would not eat that soup.

Actual posts forthcoming.

Pudding, soup, and my cat

I was just looking through the pictures on my camera to see if I had anything I could blog about, and found some pictures of the cauliflower soup I made last night. I have NO memory of taking these, and actually have a very clear memory of deciding not to bother because I wasn’t feeling very good about the world. But I guess I did.

I hate how my stove doesn’t have a clock.

I also found a lot of pictures of my cat.

Anyway, the title of this post alludes to various experiences I had with Smitten Kitchen this weekend. I have a love-hate relationship with her; on the one hand, whenever I want to cook anything, I go to her website, but on the other hand she’s so happy I hate reading her blog. (I hope and assume she will never read this.) (“Happy” isn’t usually the word I use.)

On Saturday night I made her chocolate pudding—no pictures because it came out so terribly and I wasn’t at home. I don’t know what went wrong, but it never thickened, and ended up looking like hot chocolate with bits of unmelted chocolate and LUMPS OF CORNSTARCH. Just fyi, a lump of cornstarch is the devil incarnate. My friend said it was the worst thing I had ever cooked.

Then last night I made her cauliflower soup, in keeping with my Sunday immersion-blender soup tradition. It was really good when I tasted it last night, which confused me because all it contained was onion, garlic, cauliflower, parmesan cheese, and chicken broth, and I wasn’t aware that I liked cauliflower. But I was pleased with how it came out.

Today I started eating it at lunch, and it sort of tasted like the tears of tortured chickens.

(This is because I made it with chicken bouillon cubes. I am transitioning to a vegetarian kitchen, and the only thing standing between me and kitchen-vegetarianism is twenty-two bouillon cubes.)

I mean, it was still pretty good. But Jesus Christ, where do they get the chickens for chicken bouillon cubes??? I checked the ingredients and they *do* contain chicken product, which made me feel worse about the whole thing.

Here’s a picture of my cat.

Mr. Fitzpatrick Bubbles, Esq.

Good night.

Google, soup, and so on

I’ve discovered that if you do a Google search for “what to do if you make soup and it sucks,” there are no results. Well, now there will be. I don’t have an answer, though, other than “suck it up and eat it for the rest of the week anyway.”

I’m not sure what went wrong, but I can’t taste the garlic at all. Part of it could be that I used too much water and not enough vegetable broth, but I’ve seen enough recipes where they were interchangeable that I don’t think it should make that much of a difference. I think it just needs some lemon juice or something; it was very flat. Overall, a failure that I do not blame myself for.

I am still experimenting with the barley. Update later. (Tonight’s rendition was better, but not ideal. I don’t think you’re really supposed to eat it plain, like outside of soup or whatever.)

Soup and barley update

The cabbage: extremely wonderful. I was eating it out of the pan after I finished my bowl. (Also, I am still hungry.)

This picture isn’t bad. The cabbage actually looks like that.

The barley: still had no taste. I just ate it with butter and salt, which is probably a bad way to do things; I would never eat brown rice or quinoa that way. I will experiment with it tomorrow. And/or read every single vegan blog in the universe to find something better to do with it. (The non-vegan blogs just have recipes for beef barley soup, which is unhelpful.)

The soup: looks really horrible right now. I was sauteing the


leeks, herbs (my rosemary, marjoram, and other stuff mixture I bought at a salt store in Slovenia), and bay leaves while simultaneously “popping” the roasted garlic out of the skin. Mostly they didn’t want to pop; I alternately squeezed them out (this was disgusting) and stuck my fingers into the cloves to get out the remaining garlic pulp. While I was doing this, I forgot about the leeks and burned them to an inhuman blackness.

[Update update: It’s Spinning on Air, not Soundcheck.]

I carried on anyway, because I am the Relatively Shitty Cook, and added the garlic, diced potato, and a smattering of smoked paprika. One should always measure smoked paprika because it’s so strong—and I don’t love the flavor—but I didn’t. Then I added my one can of vegetable broth and one can of water, because I had for some reason only bought one can. (I didn’t have a can of water. I just filled the empty vegetable broth can with water and added it.) I then de-stemmed and sliced the kale, using a cookie sheet as a very useful second counter. I also ate a piece of raw kale that was on my chair. It was unexciting.

The kale takeover of my apartment is almost complete.

So that’s what’s going on now. Burnt glop is simmering on the stove. Soon I will puree it. La la la. I want cookies.

Shit, I just pureed a bay leaf. I knew I was going to forget to remove them.

Anyway, the soup is now done and it looks… brown. After tasting it I added a lot more salt, pepper, and paprika, and then some cayenne pepper for some reason. Full review tomorrow. I am concerned about it. Also, I am eating chocolate chips again. Good night.

I don’t know if I want to eat this.

I am cooking ninety-five things right now

1. Banana bread baked oatmeal (for breakfast all week)
2. Barley (for dinner) (possibly a mistake)
3. Roasted garlic and kale soup (for lunch all week)
4. Cream-braised cabbage (for dinner)
5-95. Shush

I am currently baking the oatmeal and roasting the garlic (shit the timer just went off) (OK, nothing was done); the oatmeal is really easy and really good, unless you use bananas that have been in the freezer for any length of time. Supposedly you can freeze bananas, but I always find that they become disgusting instantly.

Cut the cabbage in half, then core it (just slice a big triangle out of the center—it’s easy). Then slice, pretty much any which way.

The soup is to once again take advantage of my immersion blender, and because soup is warm and delightful.

The barley is because I read a Michael Pollan book last week; it was boring and pissed me off, but I can’t stop thinking about it. Mostly I just go around thinking, “Would my great-grandmother recognize this as food?” The answer is always no, because all my great-grandmothers were from Russia or Poland or Belarus and I don’t think

[oh God, a lot of things just happened. First the cabbage was softened, or too softened, and I had to add the lemon juice, salt, and cream and stir frantically; then the timer went off again, so I had to take out the garlic and oatmeal, which I decided were done; and then I should have stirred again but instead I’m writing this, and also the barley, in the rice cooker, is being very l0ud]

Leeks and cabbage sauteing. This was right after I put them in, before they started softening/reducing.

she ate tofu, or shrimp, or sushi, or strawberries. But despite all that, and despite the fact that I am positive Michael Pollan mainlines Doritos in his spare time (indeed, it is impossible to be happy in life without doing so), I wanted to try more whole grains (well, he says you should eat leaves, not grains, but fuck that). So I’m cooking barley. It also seemed sort of Old Country-ish, and like it should go with cabbage. But who knows. We shall see.

Oven buddies

The barley-cooking is stressing me out. I have no idea what I’m doing. Also, I’ve taken a pause in the soup-cooking. Hold on, I need to check the recipe. Yeah, it seems like I have to concentrate on everything else I do in this recipe, so it’s going to have to wait a while. The barley is not done, by the way; also, it has no flavor. Well, I guess I have no idea if it’s done.

Anyway—the cabbage is because a few months ago I made that recipe, because I had cabbage left over from a Chinese-food experiment, and it was AMAZING. I have no idea how. I don’t like cabbage except in Chinese food. But this was so great. I guess it’s partly because I love leeks, and partly because it has cream. And at one point I made a great dinner using cabbage-from-the-freezer, fried-ish/scrambled-ish eggs, and toast cooked on the stove in butter. So I am making it again.

I’m going to eat cabbage now. I will be back later. Have a happy dinner.