Lessons from a Pineapple.

Today I:

woke up late

ate a doughnut

threw a fit

messed up cooking rice (of all pitiful things!)

cut my thumb

cleaned the toilet and the sink

did dishes that desperately needed to be done (doing dishes is nearly as satisfying as chopping onions)

did self assigned homework

did not go running

wore my apron

took unsatisfactory pictures of potatoes

read blogs

wore a flannel shirt

It was not the best day in the world. Neither was it terrible. I think, nay, I KNOW I need to take myself a little less seriously.

Here is a picture of me not taking myself too seriously:

This is an old picture. That’s my sister. And a surgical mask. I’m holding a pineapple. There’s an Absolut vodka bottle hanging from the light fixture. And dead daisies on the table. And a bag of chocolates. See that sign in the left corner, with the yellow and black hazard stripes? It says, WARNING OVERDUE BOOKS LATE FINES MAY APPLY. I look sleepy. My hair looks TERRIBLE. This is the day I graduated from the University of Michigan.

It’s a good reminder that there is NO POINT in taking yourself seriously when pictures like this exist to remind you that you and your immediate family are total goofballs.

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Indian Onion Pancakes

We got this month’s Vegetarian Times in the mail the other day.

Do you know what Vegetarian Times is? It’s a cooking magazine, with recipes and helpful articles, for vegetarians. (We’re vegetarians. But fun ones, I promise.) I really love that it is called Vegetarian Times. Keeping up with the Times. Gotta know the cutting edge vegetarian recipes of today. It’s a funny title.

You can see our forwarding address sticker there. Told you we just moved. Also, I will not be making Cute and Kid-Friendly Halloween Menu. Ever. All kids are supposed to eat on Halloween is candy, and maybe cupcakes with those terrible sugary pumpkin candies on top. And this VT recipe had things like olives and red peppers decorated to look like ghosts for the kid meal. No. I will one day make my future children homemade costumes, sure. I will paint their faces with great detail. I will NOT let them wear masks because masks allow for no peripheral vision and make it dangerous to cross the street. I will tell them poor renditions of “High Beams” and other ghost stories and scare myself. But I will not try to feed them vegetables on Halloween.

Anyway, this month’s Vegetarian Times had a bunch of Indian recipes. G likes Indian food. His mother makes good Indian food, because she has years of practice, because she is Indian. His girlfriend (that’s me) does NOT make good Indian food, because I am not Indian and I grew up eating chicken ‘n biscuits and toast and pasties and other beige food. His mother has tried to teach me some things. I’ve learned a bit. So much depends on the spices, beside the the chopped cilantro. Ok, ok.

Ok!

So, now I’m going to make bread. G calls this type of bread something that sounds like “piranhas.”  Vegetarian Times called it Onion Stuffed Indian Flatbread. I kept calling them onion pancakes. Indian Onion Pancakes, no man eating fish involved.

Remember yesterday when I alluded to being nervous about messing up my kitchen? This recipe messed up my kitchen A LOT.

It involved making very sticky dough, flouring everything in sight to keep said dough from sticking, rolling dough out, stuffing with onions, and frying.

Look at all that flour! P.S. I used a pint glass as a rolling pin, because I didn’t move my rolling pin to Seattle with me. Pint glass works just fine!

In addition, I made Indian Bean Dip. That’s what I called it anyway. Vegetarian Times had a better name. Here’s what that looked like:

Spice-iriffic!

Kitchen was covered in flour. And then covered in chopped cilantro. But the final onion pancakes were pretty good -just like the “piranhas” G’s mother makes. They should probably be rolled a little thinner than I did this time around, but cooking’s for learning. And the Indian Bean Dip, which we tried pureed and not, was better not pureed. Better bean-y.

Yum! So turmeric-y! And I love cilantro. I know some people don’t. But it tastes SO GOOD with Indian food especially!

Dough-y, onion-y, fried bread. Can’t go too astray!

Thanks Vegetarian Times! Thanks G’s mom! Thanks, free Friday afternoon! Messing up my kitchen is actually really satisfying. As is cleaning it after the fact.

Don’t mess with success!

Especially when it comes to baking.

Now, I like to cook quite a bit. I like to read recipes, I like to try recipes, I like to experiment with and modify recipes.  And lots of times my modifications are good. I have good ideas in my brain. Sometimes they are translated to the food I make.

However.

There is always a however. Baking is a however. Baking does not allow for many modifications. I mean, I’m sure if you are a pro baker you can just eyeball how much Clabber Girl you add, but I am not a pro baker. I am kind of scared of baking. I toe the measurement line. I once (with help) made the absolute worst Christmas sugar cookies you have ever eaten. Or not eaten, as was the case. They were inedible. They were fit only for use in hockey practice. As pucks.

Pie is scary, bread is scary, cake is kind of scary and all are very messy. Messy messy messy.

That is CAREFULLY measured flour, baking soda, and cinnamon!

Cookies are not that scary. But I still measure cautiously, scraping off the flour in my measuring cup with a butter knife, just like my mother does. She’s a good baker, which I find surprising because she’s not a particularly precise person. But she’s efficient. And not afraid to mess up her kitchen. And also not afraid to just chuck a pan of burned whatevers in the trash. She just goes for it. 40+ years of just going for it will make you a good baker, entertainer, and storyteller.

So, cookies! Last night I made oatmeal raisin cookies. And they were really good. I use the recipe from the lid of the Quaker box. It works every time. I have been making these cookies since high school. It is the only thing I feel 100% confident baking. Thanks Quaker! A boost of confidence is never a bad thing.

This thing gives me confidence too. It helps enormously. With everything.

And I even made a modification! I had some walnuts leftover from my parsley/walnut pesto (another successful experiment!) so I added those to the cookies for some crunch. And to make them healthier. Yep! Healthier!

Sometimes you just have to drive

To the grocery store that is.

Our new neighborhood is great, and our grocery store is very nearby, and I get most of our produce at our farmers markets, so I usually just walk, clutching  my canvas tote. And I inevitably buy too much stuff, and stagger home (thank goodness we live down a hill) feeling like my shoulder is going to snap off.

But yesterday… yesterday we had no food. None. We had 1 egg. 1/2 a head of lettuce. Chamomile tea. Flour. Crumbles of month old Sun Chips. Poor G asked pitifully what was for lunch. He knew the answer. 1/2 a nectarine. That is no way to live, just because I’m too lazy to walk to the grocery store.

SO. I drove the 5 short blocks to the grocery store. It took me longer to park than it would have to walk.

BUT.

Now we have peanut butter! And cans of beans! And olive oil! And spaghetti sauce! And Sociables, the best crackers ever! And jars of spices! It was a VERY good decision to drive. My shoulder doesn’t have permanent imprints from my tote bag!

I think I’ll go have a late lunch. It is good to have options.

Busy!

Busy is good. Not busy gets too boring.

I’ve been heading out to local farmers markets pretty much daily, taking pictures, connecting people to promote the use of Real Time Farms. It’s fun. A little daunting to talk with so many people, but also really refreshing. It’s also really refreshing to see how vibrant all of these markets are. So many people interested in good food, local stuff. It’s nice. A sense of community, or at least steps in that direction.

Kohlrabi! How pretty.

In addition to visiting farmers markets, I’ve been loving the internet, spending more time on it than ever before. Scary! But there is so much stuff to learn, especially about this sustainable food, locally sourced stuff. So many people are into it! Which is a great thing.

Lots of people love the tomato, in other words.