Thursday, August 02, 2007


Success! I made a DELICIOUS meal last night, using leftover ingredients from my botched dinner earlier in the week.

What you might not know is that I'm really a ninety-year-old Jewish retiree and my taste in food often reflects this. Yes, I actually ENJOY gefilte fish (even from a JAR), and growing up one of my favorite foods was my paternal grandmother's stuffed cabbage. I still love stuffed cabbage, but I refuse to order it at a restaurant and so I rarely eat it anymore. Until last night, when I made a lazy-man's vegetarian version that was so delicious I think (I mean I know) that I will do a repeatsies on this one for sure.

First, I put on my apron, because I like to be cute for myself. Then I sauteed finely chopped mushrooms, garlic, and onions in olive oil and added a little bit of sherry wine to reduce it. While that was happening I browned some spicy vegetarian sausage that I picked up at Whole Foods out of a weird, but not misguided, curiosity. It didn't crumble as easily as ground beef, but it was seasoned well and after browning the texture was approximate enough. I added this to the mushrooms and a heaping portion of chopped Napa cabbage. To this I also added a small can of Hunt's tomato sauce, which I like for recipes like this because it's a little bit sweet. Then I added some fresh ground pepper, covered the pot and let it simmer.

I knew things were going well because my apartment smelled GREAT. After about 10 minutes I checked on it and voila: done. If I had had white rice I definitely would have dumped spoonfuls of the cabbage/fake-meat mixture over it, but I didn't, so I didn't. Instead, I ate the "stew" from a little bowl, and was really impressed with how much it evoked that old-world stuffed cabbage taste I was craving, and how quickly I was able to achieve it. Again, I had A LOT of leftovers and I briefly entertained the idea of going over to my new neighbor's door and asking him if he'd eaten yet and would he like to try my concoction, but then I realized that no, I'm not that folksy and yes, he would think I was weird. So I did what any Nana would do and I stuck the extras in the freezer for another time.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I really botched my dinner last night. And I was so excited to cook! But: passion doesn't guarantee results! At least: good ones!

After a Chinatown shopping spree earlier in the month wherein I went condiment crazy, I was inspired to make a spicy vegetable stir-fry and serve it over rice noodles. It was supposed to be a classy stir-fry, too; I bought Chinese eggplant because I wanted to see how it was different from uh..."regular" eggplant which sounds kind of racist but is not. I think the primary difference is that Chinese eggplant is a beautiful lavender color, thinner, and extremely more phallic than any vegetable ought to be. I also picked up mung beans, onions, garlic, napa cabbage, white cap mushrooms, and tofu. Sounds good, right?! But: it wasn't. It was TOTALLY BAD.

My first mistake was that I bought way too much food. I just had TOO MUCH STUFF to mix together, which led to my second mistake: I stir fried my garlic, onions, and tofu in a grill pan that I had specifically purchased for the SEARING OF MEAT. You know the has RIDGES? Yeah, it does, and those ridges mean that it is the opposite of a good idea when you're mixing around ingredients. But I used it because it was the biggest pan I had! And I bought too much food! What a mess!

My second mistake was that as I was soaking the rice noodles I separately sauteed the mushrooms, eggplant, and more garlic in the same big soup pot intended for boiling the noodles. As the mushrooms and eggplant turned a horrible gray and released their water, I figured I'd just throw the noodles in with them and cook them all together. BIG FUCKING DUMB MOVE! The noodles congealed almost immediately, the eggplant disappeared, and the mushrooms got caught in a gloppy-gluey noodle web that may or may not have ruined my pot. I'm not sure of its status because it is still soaking in water.

At this point it would have been prudent to give up, but I am a Fighter and an Optimist and so I mixed the spicy tofu cabbage mung bean onion blooper into the gloppy-gluey rice Chernobyl and, yes, it was just too much food for the size of my pots, so yes, my tiny kitchen floor knows the sensation of so much hot food spilling if it didn't already. I forced myself to eat whatever it was that I had cooked, and, here's a spoiler: IT WAS BAD. It wasn't offensive, but it had zero sex appeal looks-wise and I would have had a more exciting taste sensation if I had dipped a piece of white bread into water and let it air-dry on my tongue. The irony of all this is that I have a TON OF LEFTOVERS and an ABSENCE OF DESIRE to eat them.