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Food flailing

I have food, but it’s not the food I want.

I had a cold last week, and my throat is still all kinds of raw as a result.

I want soup.

And yet I have a whole bunch of apples, two mangoes, a lot of sweet potatoes and sales this week on chicken leg quarters, london broil, and bolar roasts.

I could make a nice mango salsa and marinade and grill the chicken legs… only that’s not something I want to eat right now.

I have pork stock, which isn’t recommended as stock for soup but does make an excellent starter for red beans and rice. I should put some beans to soaking. Maybe I’ll want to eat that in three days, when it’ll be finished (soak beans overnight, cook beans, cook a second day).

I want spicy, sour thai soups.

I have a recipe for a sweet and sour red cabbage soup that will use two (maybe three) apples.

I have a duck carcass to turn into stock and then baby bok choi to put in the soup. But I’d need the pot I’d be using to make beans – so one or the other, but not both.

BMC Cookbook

Bryn Mawr College has a Cookbook.

It’s new and shiny and very Bryn Mawr. It mixes recipes with essays on the meaning of food and every recipe has commentary… possibly footnotes as well.

It has recipes from mawrtyrs instead of recipes from the Bryn Mawr dining services, which is a pity because I have never had falafel as good as was served in Rhoads dining hall.

It might be worth getting, though, for the inclusion of a recipe for fish tacos.

Best Day in a Long Time – Roasted Butternut Squash Soup of Amazingness

I had a good massage
I have tried several times since I moved to find a good massage therapist without much success. So I found out this was spa week, when spas offer a variety of enticing packages for $50, and decided to try again.

I decided to try the Total Serenity Day Spa because they were close and easy to find and because their website wasn’t too woo-woo.

The reception are was fairly busy, and I spent a while sitting on a comfy chair (which I had not expected to swivel!) waiting to check in. Then I was shown to a restroom with elegant lockers for my stuff and a robe and flip flops I was supposed to change into. Every other massage place I have been has just had me disrobe in the room, so I was a bit dubious… but the XL robe fit with room to spare. I was quite comfy. The shoes, however, were too big and made a funny noise.

Once in the robe, I was shown to a different waiting room with plush couches, a fountain, and barely any lighting.

Then my massage therapist showed up. Lana. Oh, man. I have never before had a therapist who could work on my lower back without making walking incredibly dubious, but she was good. And she scritched my scalp with her strong little fingers. MMMMmmmm… Really a very good massage. The only part that was a bit iffy was that when I was on my back, she put the single folded towel that had been under my ankles to support my knees, and I really wanted more of an angle.

The sad part was that she then spent the massage asking me about my job and asking for advice on changing her profession. Apparently, when she emigrated from Russia some 20-25 years ago, she had been a nurse but was unable to pass any of the competency exams here because she did not put much effort into learning English – especially since much of her time was taken up with rearing three young children. So she ended up in massage. But it is hard work, and she is on her feet much of the day, and the leaning over hurts her back.

So I asked whether the other massage therapists at the spa would give each other massages – and she said no! They did not. Instead, once a month or so she’ll go to the Hyatt on Broad street for a spinal Sunday and pay for her own massages.

I went for a walk

When I left the spa, the weather was all mild sunshine and raw winds. I walked over two blocks to check on [redacted] and then walked with her to Rittenhouse Square. It was so hard not to stop somewhere for a decadent lunch, so I had to keep reminding myself that I had soup on the stove and a loaf of bread that I had started in the bread machine before I left for the spa.

After we parted ways, I hopped on a bus to go home.

I had an amazing lunch
And waiting for the soup was the best plan ever! It was amazing soup!

So I’d had a brilliant idea that I could make a creamy chowder-ish/bisque-ish soup and then put roasted butternut squash in it. Seriously – brilliant plan!

So I had grilled onions in a bunch of butter, added flour, added some milk, and then added some chicken stock. Then I scooped the butternut squash out of its skin and cut it into chunks.

Then I added a whole pod of roasted garlic.

Salt. Pepper. There was also some rosemary, thyme, and savory.

Then I dumped in a bunch of frozen corn straight from the bag.

Then more roasted things – roasted red pepper and one hot pepper that had been roasted.

And I finished by slicing three or so collard green leaves into small, thin pieces.

So I had that with fresh pumpernickel bread.

It was like an orgasm in my mouth.

So good.


Food lists

So I haven’t had much interest in cooking the past couple days. This is a problem, since I have a lot of lovely produce waiting to be eaten… or go bad. I’m hoping some lists will get me more in the cooking mood.

lists! of food!
last of the farm grown tomatoes
a couple small turnips
hot peppers
a few tomatillos
red potatoes
collard greens
2 zucchini (now grilled)
turnip greens
1/3 butternut squash
most of a can’s worth of refried beans

greek yogurt!
sour cream
italian seasoned cheese (open)
mild cheddar (open)
2% milk (shouldn’t last much longer)

cooked chicken (1 meal)
cooked ground beef (1 meal with a extending)
ground beef
chicken stock (about 8 4 cups)
(and chicken breasts are on sale this week, so I’ll buy some of those)

I want to focus on gravies and cream sauces: a) because they are tasty, and b) because I’m about to pitch about 3lbs worth of store-brand flour because it was cheap and makes nasty bread.

Hee – let’s call this Chicken Florentine:
Creamed spinach – clean and cut all the spinach, cook an onion and some garlic in 2T butter, add 1 heaping Tablespoon flour, make roux, add spinach.
I can add the cooked chicken to that. And a hot pepper.
I could add pasta to that to make a real meal, or I could just eat it with a spoon. I’m thinking spoon.
ETA: Done. Wasn’t as tasty as I had hoped. No idea what went wrong.

I’ve been wanting something bisque/chowder-ish with corn. And I have corn in my freezer. So onions, white roux, and then… how about butternut squash chunks? Roasted garlic. The rest of the roasted bell pepper I have in a jar with oil in my fridge. And some collard greens cut into thin ribbons. Sound decent? Does it need anything else? I could roast the turnips and tomatillos for a side dish. This sounds like it needs fresh parsley.
ETA: Started. I have the cream base with squash in it. I have a sprig of rosemary floating in it today. I roasted some hot peppers yesterday, so maybe I shall add them as well.

Hamburger Helper:
Shut up – it makes a great starting point.
Onion, garlic, ground beef. Zucchini. Collard Greens. And shred cheese on top and slices of tomato.

Kenyan Collard Greens:
greens, tomato, rice. (get my 5 spice powder back from my mother’s)

What’s left? Tomatoes, Potatoes, Turnip Greens, Refried beans, chicken stock – and I haven’t made use of the greek yogurt that was so hard to find!

All right – here’s a thing. These are fresh and tasty tomatoes, so I don’t want to cook them. I refuse to use the last tasty tomatoes in a dish where canned would work just as well. I’ll probably just end up eating them while I cook other things… but still.

Ummm… how about open-faces quesadillas – I know those have a name.
Tortilla, topped with a thin layer of refried beans, topped with shredded cheese, topped with tomatoes. With sour cream. Probably I won’t be able to eat enough to use up the refried beans, but maybe put a dent in them.

greens. Ummm… More soup? Turnip greens, diced potato, and carrots in chicken stock. That actually sounds rather dire.

Ummm… I could pickle the rest of the turnip greens and wait until I have leftover roast pork to make more of the excellent soup I made last night. My parents have a roast to make, so that should be soon.

Freeze the chicken stock.

Okay… Moussaka?
Layer a casserole with a mixture of ground beef and eggplant and potato slices, use lots of seasonings, pour a can or two of tomatoes over all, and serve with yogurt on the side?

That should do.

Swap one for the other

The original Battlestar Galactica, you know – the one with Lorne Greene, is so much better than the new one.

Driving on highways during the daytime is always worse than driving at night. Driving at dusk, dawn, and 3am joyous.

Dairy products are interchangeable.

The key to running an economic kitchen is just the right amount of storage space – too much, and those exotic sauces and fancy jams start looking sexy; too little, and you can’t stock up on sales. It’s the freedom to be able to buy the six boxes of pasta for $3 that saves you from running out of pasta and getting stuck with a box for $2.50. It’s knowing that you have enough meat in your freezer that you can wait for good sales and never pay more than $2/lb for any kind of meat (and can stubbornly wait for some to get even cheaper – like chicken thighs below $.50/lb, whole chicken and pork shoulders or picnic ham roasts for $.80 – and if you live somewhere these are cheaper, that alone will be enough for me to spend at least 5 good minutes considering moving there). Produce is pure luck, though – luckily, I have people selling lots of good produce cheaply off the back of a truck.

Sewing your own clothes from scratch doesn’t save a dime.

People think I can garden even though most of the pots on my porch are empty. The pots are empty because I have been systematically killing the plants that were passed to me when my neighbor moved out of state. They think I can garden because I have pots.