special dinner

So, I might have just had a really strong mojito at Rancho Alegre, a great Cuban restaurant in town (on MLK—they have snazzy live jazz music). And now I’m about to prepare a meal, but I figure I can’t be any worse now than I would have been sober. Maybe even better.

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My girlfriend, Gillian, is about to be here for a weekend visit from Hendersonville, N.C. (aka the land where fun goes to die…or where old people go to get ready to die…she’s there because she works at a local outdoors school). I thought it would be charming to prepare a meal for her consisting of some of her favorite foods. Like ribs, even though we are both vegetarians (ironic? Maybe. Sometimes you just crave meat, though. After a few drinks, I always want a bacon cheeseburger from Five Guys. I know, I’m awful). And mashed potatoes, if the potatoes aren’t rotten yet. And biscuits with country gravy.

[As a completely irrelevant side note, my idiotic cat couldn’t cope with the fact that I accidentally placed the lid of the litter box on backwards, so he peed all over the kitchen rug. Is it socially acceptable/legal to euthanize him? Let me know in the comments section.]

Later

The potatoes I had were a little soft and unnervingly sprouty, so I left them alone. The ribs were easy enough to make: pre-prepared hunks of frozen tofu with sauce. I don’t know if preheating the oven and sticking them in counts as cooking. For now, I think so (I’ll get more complex, gradually. Like, I’ll buy things that aren’t pre-made).

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I did make homemade country gravy. This is super easy and super delicious. I think I could slather it on a tennis ball and eat it/choke/not care that I was choking because it would taste so heavenly.

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Here’s how to make it:

• Heat up 1/2 c vegetable oil. (I only had olive oil, and that seemed to work just fine.)
• Whisk in 3/4 c all-purpose flour, half a handful of salt, and half a handful (I added more just because I like it) black pepper.
• Cook this for about ten minutes.
• Add 4 c milk, slowly, stirring until all (or most of) the lumps are gone and the gravy is nice and thick, like an angel’s loogie.

The biscuits were pre-made also, but so yummy. The next morning we had the leftovers with scrambled eggs.

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(Gillian cookin’)

Until next time!

this is what I had for dinner last night

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That’s right. A PB&J and 50 shades of not giving a shit.

But it’s the latter part that I’m trying to change. I, like everyone else, have an aspirational self (note: this is very different from the actual self). She is morally sound, organized, crafty and motivated. She doesn’t sleep til noon. She cares not only about how she presents herself to the world, but also about how she treats her body.

Cooking is caring. And I’m not talking about Honey Boo Boo’s interpretation of what constitutes a good meal. I’m talking about the health-conscious aspirational chef. The going-on-ten-years vegetarian who actually remembers why she stopped eating meat in the first place.

My history with cooking is a rocky one. Years ago during another short-lived culinary kick, I prepared two dishes that stand out in my mind: one, a simple pot of pasta with vegetables. My dad was on a low-carb diet and wanted something light but satisfying, so I used whole grain pasta and planned to use the sauce sparingly.

At the time I didn’t fully grasp the definition of a roux (pronounced: roo). A roux is typically used to thicken sauces and is made with equal amounts of butter (or any other fat) and flour—about 3 tablespoons each. You cook the flour and butter for a few minutes, or until you eliminate the raw taste of the flour. Then, voila, you can add it to your sauce of choice.

Patience is one of many virtues that my actual self lacks. Roux takes a bit of time to thicken. So, I thought, I’ll just keep adding flour. Two cups of flour. And a full stick of butter.

I reluctantly served the dish, which had the consistency of wet cement. I don’t think my dad finished a bowl (and that’s saying something).

The second catastrophe was something called a lentil loaf. Like meatloaf, but without the meat. And…crustier.

No one in my family managed to take more than a bite.

Needless to say my self-esteem has suffered at the incompetent hands of my Helen Keller-esque inner chef (oh, I should mention: I might get a little offensive at times? Maybe I will aspire to be PC someday…~~*~JKLOLz**~**~)

So here goes. Get ready, y’all.