Category Archives: cooking

#NoKitchenNoProblem

Yesterday, before leaving for the day, I put a turkey roast and vegetables in the outdoor crockpot. Feeling especially smug, I even got busy with the (indoor) rice cooker.A couple of hours later, from about five miles away, I couldn’t remember if I’d turned the crockpot on. (More than once I’ve come home, expecting to be greeted by the aromas of slow cooking, only to find a crockpot of raw food.)

I text a friend, S., who lives nearby, and on her way out, she checked the pot: all systems go.

Three hours later, worried about over-cooking, I texted another friend and neighbor, R., and asked her to run over and flip the roast.

I was feeling pretty good about things when the roast was cooked to perfection at 6. I felt less good when my 16 year old ate half the roast before anyone sat down to dinner and I had to order Chinese.

Oh, and it seems I forgot to turn the rice cooker on.

Sometimes you really can’t win.

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Filed under construction, cooking, crockpot, Uncategorized

Outdoor Instant Pot! (Or What to Do When You Find Out You’re Never Going to Have a Kitchen.)

First came to brisket in the outdoor slow cooker.

Today, I borrowed an instant pot from my friend R., and I’m christening it outside on the back steps. I moved the plants out of the way and am staring at it until it’s done.

I should preface all of this by saying that I am not allowed to own a mandolin. When I say not allowed, I mean that every time I buy one, M returns it. I am a clumsy cook. OK, I am a clumsy everything. A mandolin would have me without a finger within a few seconds. The conventional wisdom was that an Instant Pot (pressure cooker) would have me decapitated in the same amount of time. Everybody was sure I would explode it in the kitchen.

Guess what? I don’t have a kitchen! And we just found out that we have to submit plan amendments to the department of building in Yonkers so I’m never going to have a kitchen!

I just have to keep Lois and children away from the machine, because I’m fine decapitating myself, but the cats are a whole different story.

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Filed under cooking, home improvement, Kitchen, remodel, knife rack,

Nice girls grow zucchini.

I can’t bake. I have horrible handwriting. I can do no sport which calls for hand-eye coordination or the use of a bat, racket, or paddle. I am, at best, a fair driver. Some would even say I am unsafe behind the wheel. 

But I just did this:

This zucchini is so big it borders on the obscene – I felt almost dirty picking it. (As I yanked the thing out of the ground, I heard myself whispering, really, I’m not that kind of girl…)

But pick it, I did. And tonight – we feast.  

All those other things that I’m bad at, all those many many things, the driving, the baking, the dancing (yup), heck, even the parenting… They can all suck it because I just went and grew part of dinner.

P.S. Fuck. I just burnt the chicken.

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Filed under cooking, gardening, Uncategorized

Meatless May, Again. 

It’s that time of year. At least twice a week I get this sort of email: Dear Parent, please send in pictures of your child doing something she loves, something she hates, and something while speaking French and standing on one foot. OR this: Dear Parent, please come in to school for a two hour long presentation/party/celebration on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week and please make sure your child senses NONE of your resentment. And finally,  my favorite: Dear Parent, please purchase 200 pieces of poster board for the endless projects you and your child will fight about over the next five weeks. 

Luckily for me, it’s also Meatless May! And while it’s more of a Mostly Meatless May (meat can happen on weekends if need be), I actually feel like mostly is a pretty good bar, as in – I am mostly a decent mother, I am mostly a good wife, I am mostly a productive writer. 

Everybody gets on board with the meatlessness. My eldest loves it the most because he complains about the lack of variety come dinner time, which is actually how Meatless May was born. Last week he said, “Wow, you really turn into Guy Fieri in May.” I have no idea who that is, but I’ll take it. 

I rescued the veggie Pad Thai after the tofu turned into a gelatinous mush when I followed the recipe and tossed it in cornstarch (never again.) 

Even though know the chickpea omelette looks and sounds pretty revolting, it’s actually a big hit here. You have to ignore the fact that the batter looks like inedible gunge.

Everybody gamely tried the cilantro and basil pesto, even my youngest who believes that if it’s not covered in Nutella, it’s not actually a food.

The herbs are all made possible by M., who built these rockstar vegetable beds for Mother’s Day. 

(Never mind that I told him to build them in a spot which is under the shade of a giant tree and nothing will really grow except for the herbs. Never mind that instead of making me feel like an idiot, he offered to build me something somewhere sunny in the garden.)

I guess I can safely say that I am mostly capable.

Happy Meatless May, peeps.

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Filed under cooking, food, gardening, Mothers Day, school, Uncategorized

Cookbook Conundrum 

I like a good cookbook. If I know what I want to cook, but don’t know how to cook it, I will sometimes search for a recipe online. When I have no clue what to cook and am looking for inspiration, I open a cookbook.

Because I have many cookbooks I don’t use, I try to be judicious in my acquisitions. Sometimes, I am successful. And then there’s this:

I bought this book after I read an article about it, and even used the recipe in the article. What could possibly go wrong? 

I had NO business buying this cookbook. This cookbook did not inspire me; this cookbook made me want to hang myself. I had no business buying this cookbook because as much as I would like to, I do not live in a farmhouse in France. I live in a colonial in the Bronx. I had no business buying this cookbook because even if I did not keep kosher, I would not want to eat rabbit. I had no business buying this cookbook because this woman has AT LEAST as many children as I do and she looks like a runway model when she cooks dinner and when I cook dinner I mostly look like the Good Luck Kitchen Witch. 

While I am cooking dinner using a dull knife to chop wilted vegetables I have bought at the local A & P, this woman is casually chasing a wild hare around her immaculate kitchen in three inch heels, all while applying lip gloss and making pastry dough from scratch. (And the first person to comment here can HAVE this effing cookbook, free of charge.)

But in preparation for Meatless May (stay tuned!), I bought this book after I heard the authors interviewed on Fresh Air. (That’s right. I am now officially your grandmother.)

 I have promised myself not to buy any more cookbooks. Unless of course one of you suggests a title which which will absolutely change my life. Then of course, I’m all for it. Just don’t having me chasing rabbits around my kitchen with a carving knife. Carving knives are for meat (which we will not be eating for a month), and for chasing children, not rabbits.

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Filed under cooking, food, New York City

Summerlution Number One

It’s the last day of school and my first summer resolution is born:

To teach them ALL to clear the table and load the dishwasher. Especially after breakfast.

No more half eaten toast removal, crusted egg rinsing, or (my least favorite) congealed cereal disposal.

I. Am. Done.

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The responsible one does it already. So does the one who is easily guilted. But the others?

Nothing.

Mark my words, people. Come August I will NOT be dealing with this:

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That will be their job. I’ll be around only for emergency clean ups. Like this:

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What’s YOUR Summerlution??

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Filed under children, cooking, food, parenting

Oh, Nuts.

It was inevitable. Although I made it through seven years of the Pacific NW with my sense of humor (somewhat) in tact, it seems that I am not unchanged.

A part of the house hunting process here in NY involves a romp through the garden for a place I can house the compost bin of which I have been dreaming.

And just recently I went and bought myself a nut bag.

A nut bag is surprisingly, not something one would purchase in a sex shop.

You see, it’s no longer annoying to just drink almond milk. Hell, everyone is doing THAT. Now we get to kick it up a notch: There are so many additives (blah, blah) in store bought (gasp!) almond milk, that to be even more annoying, we now need to make our own.

To make your own almond milk you need a nut bag, or else the finished product is sludgy, gritty, and overall undrinkable… at least more so than a glass of milk made from nuts needs to be.

At first, though, when I poured all the almond milk from the blender into the nut bag, it just sat there. Why was so little of it dripping out?

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I asked a friend.

Did you SQUEEZE the nut bag, she asked.

Squeeze it? I could barely bring myself to purchase the bloody thing, let alone say it. I’m not about to go squeezing it.

But you have to squeeze the nut bag if you want to get almond milk. So, I did. I just made sure nobody was watching.

I also made sure (as I like to do), that in making my own almond milk, I sullied as many items in the kitchen as possible:

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All this in the same week I had to walk into Dick’s (Sporting Goods) and ask for an athletic “cup.”

“For you?” the teenaged employee asked me awkwardly.

I thought of telling the poor, spotty soul that one nut bag a week was enough for me, and that I was buying this for one of my sons, but I just mumbled something about a child and he led me to the corner of the store where they sell things to protect body parts. The whole thing was a tad uncomfortable for me. I didn’t like having to ask how one wears a cup, or how one knows what size to buy (note to self: DELEGATE), but I did it. And the child in question was so grateful that he truly said to me:

“WOW! You took time out of your busy day to buy me a cup?”

Indeed, I did.

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Filed under children, cooking, food, health, moving, New York City, parenting, Seattle