what’s in my fridge

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Does that first picture make you uncomfortable? It should.

I’ve been on a rare cleaning kick lately and decided to go through all the items in my refrigerator. I found some real gems that I wanted to share with you all.

This is kind of like the whole “what’s in my purse” thing, only it’s all garbage.

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Here we have some yogurt that I had been “saving for later.”

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Once upon a time, this pot was full of pasta, herbs and broccoli. Then a drunk wench ate all of the pasta and abandoned the broccoli, where it would be long forgotten. Until now, of course.

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The liquid in this box of tofu was, at one time, as clear as water.

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Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Remember that Thai curry dish I made around the beginning of the month? Well, believe it or not, this is that same dish. Chilled, not frozen.

I actually had to hold my breath while taking this photo. I used to wonder what people’s B.O. smelled like back in the days before deodorant. Now I know.

baked zucchini that wants so badly to be deep fried

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I originally found a recipe for quinoa baked zucchini on, you guessed it, Pinterest, but I ended up making some necessary alterations.

I spent a good fifteen minutes looking for quinoa flakes in two different grocery stores. I barely even understand what quinoa is, let alone how it can be made into flakes. Corn flakes? Check. Quinoa flakes? Sounds like bullshit.

I asked a disgruntled employee at the Piggly Wiggly for help, who simply tilted her head and said, “Keen-what?”

At this point I decided that quinoa flour, which the original recipe also calls for, should be enough. I couldn’t find this at the Pig. So I ventured to Kroger and pushed my way through packs of hipsters to get to the organic aisles. I finally found a 10 dollar bag of quinoa flour. Ten dollars for a tiny bag that I would never, ever use again. Ten bucks. That’s more than I would pay for a 6-pack of beer.

Nope, not gonna happen.

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So these zucchini slices are merely coated in egg white and breaded with Panko bread crumbs. Consider this the ghetto version, if you will.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 1 egg white
• 1 c bread crumbs
• 1 tsp. garlic powder
• 1 tsp. onion powder
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. pepper
• whatever other seasonings you want to add—fuck it

After slicing the zucchini, coat each section in egg white. Mix the bread crumbs with your seasonings of choice in a small bowl and submerge each zucchini slice, covering both sides in breading. This is pretty much impossible to do, for some reason. My dry ingredients formed globs and fell off of the zucchini. The process is slightly infuriating.

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Line a greased-up baking sheet with the little guys and bake at 425 degrees for about twenty minutes, or until golden brown.

If you’d like to make a sriracha dipping sauce as an accompaniment, mix 1/3 c Greek yogurt (plain—the recipe also offers “tofu mayo” as an option, but it’s hard for me to type those words for about 75 different reasons) with 1-3 tbsp. of sriracha, depending on how much spice you like in your life. Add in 1 tbsp. of fresh lime juice and 3 cloves minced garlic.

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This sauce is powerful stuff, folks. Consider adding less sriracha and garlic, unless you need to clear up your sinuses.

Once the zucchini cools, I’d recommend eating it within 10-15 minutes before it goes cold and soggy. This is a great dish if

A) you have a deep frier, and
B) you have company over.

Meanwhile, 1/3 of my zucchini chips are still sitting on my kitchen counter top—Cat stupidly sniffs them before letting out a mournful meow, lamenting the fact that they are not tuna.

C’est la vie, mon petit chat.

you’ll want to take this one like a shot

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Pinterest is home to all things crafty, pretty, and deceptive. One of the things I always spot on that site is smoothies. Breakfast smoothies, lunch smoothies, snack smoothies, spinach smoothies, kale and blueberry smoothies, almond milk and tree bark smoothies, protein smoothies, dairy/gluten/cruelty-free smoothies, smoothie smoothies.

One morning I decided to make myself a fruit smoothie, trying a few additions that I had seen on various pins, like oatmeal and almonds.

In my one-serving blender, I tossed together some freezer-burned strawberries and blueberries (maybe 1/2 c of each), Greek yogurt (one serving), honey (about a spoonful), cooked oatmeal (one serving), and a handful of raw, unsalted almonds.

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I microwaved the instant oatmeal in a coffee mug without covering it, which was, er, a mistake.

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I blended the mixture until it was smooth and then added about 7-8 cubes of ice.

Once the ice was blended in with the fruit/nut/yogurt/oatmeal concoction, I sipped my drink and was pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Then, about ten minutes later, the smoothie magically transformed from a liquid to a solid and began to separate into weird, spongy layers. I tried to continue drinking it, but it barely moved when I lifted my glass to my mouth and tilted it until it was almost perpendicular to the floor (initially I tried to come up with an angle measurement, but geometry is not my strong suit).

If you decide to make this smoothie for yourself, I would advise drinking it as fast as humanly possible, like, in a single gulp. Otherwise, it’ll turn into a mixture reminiscent of something an older sibling forced you to drink as a kid against your will.

the internet is full of lies

This is what I had intended to bake last night, via the blog Pastry Affair:

click the image for source blog

And here’s what I actually pulled out of my piece-of-shit oven:

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What the fuck.

Why, God? Why?

I even refrigerated the dough for a good twenty minutes to avoid those spread-out, crispy edges—to no avail, of course.

I used pre-made chocolate chunks instead of crumbling up my own chocolate, like the pretentious recipe recommends. I also don’t have one of those fancy honey serving sticks because I’m not an asshat, so I had to resort to spooning out honey like a pauper and clumsily dripping it all over my counter top.

But really, I did everything else exactly as it appeared in the recipe. Except I had to hand mix the dough, which was a bitch because it’s super thick, but I don’t think that an electric mixer would have made that much of a difference. Right? Right.

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So, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Internet is simply another space that fosters either

A) an elevated sense of self (i.e. when 14-year-olds take selfies and discern a false correlation between their self-worth and the amount of “likes” they receive), or
B) feelings of hopeless, I’ll-never-be-as-perfect-as-these-other-people self-pity.

I reluctantly belong to camp B.

Those of us who tend towards this frame of mind need to remind ourselves, daily, that the world of digital media is an illusory, amorphous, mirage-like place where the only thing worth doing is watching cat videos. Or, you know, reading this blog.

Furthermore, like Anna Quindlen (I recently saw her present at the Landings Club in town—I was one of four 20-somethings in a sea of 60-year-old white ladies) writes in “Being Perfect,” it is absolutely exhausting to try to be “perfect,” or seem perfect, and it is a hopeless endeavor that only leads you farther away from your true self.

To return to the recipe, if you have an oven that isn’t make-believe, I think these cookies are worth giving a shot. Though they are rather sweet, and sticky.

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I began by preheating my imaginary oven to 350 degrees, but who the fuck knows what the actual temperature was.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1 stick butter
• 1 c packed dark brown sugar
• 1 “large” egg (so, I just had, like, a regular egg)
• 3 tbsp. honey (I used organic acacia honey from Savannah Bee Co.)
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 c all-purpose flour
• 3/4 c, um, whole wheat flour, which I didn’t feel like purchasing, so I just added more all-purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. salt (maybe a bit more)
• 6 oz. chocolate, “roughly chopped,” if you’re a goddamn pastry chef and are too good to buy packaged chocolate chips

Beat together the butter and brown sugar. I had to mix these like a motherfucker to get them semi-fluffy. Then add in the egg, honey, and vanilla. Stir in all the dry ingredients, and then fold in your chocolate.

Refrigerate the dough for at least twenty minutes, not that that made any difference for me. Bake tablespoon-sized dough balls for 8-10 minutes, or you can do what I did and take them out when the middles are raw but the edges are burned.

Allow them to cool, and enjoy!

blackened banana bread

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At this point it probably seems like I’m purposely fucking things up. I mean, how could I possibly burn a loaf of bread, twice?

Just like last time, I have to blame my EZ-Bake. Seriously, though. That’s not a cop-out. I’ll admit that I suck balls at being a “domestic goddess.” I’ve come to terms with that…kind of. But it just simply isn’t my fault that my oven is the size of a microwave and distributes heat as precisely as a blind person would fill in a color-by-numbers.

So, on to the subject of this post, and a more heartening reflection. Yesterday, I decided to bake banana bread. Not for my own purposes, but because my girlfriend’s smile is the most adorable, sparkly, lights-up-a-room smile you can imagine, and I thought that baking her something would elicit this response. (Also because I did that thing where you buy a bunch of bananas, forget that you have them and buy another bunch.)

I found a simple recipe to follow, which I expertly augmented to my liking.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• A bunch of really ripe bananas. And by “a bunch,” I mean 3 or 4.
• 1/3 c melted butter
• A handful of chocolate chips/walnuts (I had these on hand)
• 1 c sugar
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• A pinch of salt (I added a good bit since there’s so much sugar)
• 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

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Mix all of the shit together. Yep, it’s that easy. The best part is smashing the bananas—I used my hands, like a barbarian. It feels like the kind of thing you always wanted to do as a kid and still kind of want to do but can’t because you’re now an adult. I’ve seen home videos of myself as a toddler burying my fists in birthday cake. Totally indulged. But someone had to clean me…I’ll be damned if my future children ever touch anything. Maybe I’ll wrap their little hands in plastic wrap.

Bake this in a loaf pan at 350 degrees for, the recipe says, one hour.

One hour. After 45 minutes, one side of my loaf was black. Wtf? Really, I cannot take responsibility for this. It’s a fluke.

I have not tried the bread yet, but I’ll have to let you know how it tastes. But I have to admit, much like that anorexic aphorism promises, nothing tastes as good as self-pity feels.

i am a cheesetarian

When I was a little kid, I was lactose intolerant. I use this excuse—I’m pretty sure it’s valid—to explain why I drank soy baby formula until I was six years old (maybe older, but I’m leaving it at six for the sake of my waning aspirational self). Isomil, I think, is what it was called, or “Sarah milk” in our house. Hey, at least I wasn’t the product of creepy attachment parenting, breastfeeding until I left for college… (Someone, take an icepick to my brain!)

Eventually I grew out of the lactose intolerance and began drinking normal milk like a human. I still did weird, borderline sociopathic things like microwaving ants and squishing caterpillars like tubes of toothpaste, but I could eat cheese pizza and mac ‘n’ cheese to my chubby little heart’s content.

Lately, though, things have taken a turn. Over the past week or so, whenever I eat something with a lot of cheese—like, say, pizza or pasta with cheese sauce—within half an hour I’m on the toilet praying to every divinity I can think of.

I’m hoping that maybe this is just some weird spell rather than the unwelcome return of lactose intolerance, but just to be safe I’m cutting out dairy for a while. Which means I’m essentially going to fast.

In a week or so, I’ll eat something really cheesy and see if it makes me feel like a wild animal is trying to claw its way out of my asshole. If not, I might be in the clear.

Keep your fingers crossed. In the meantime, I’ll be sharing some vegan-y recipes.