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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
lost november 
1st-Dec-2011 11:15 am
(rabbit rabbit.)

As I've said, I spent the latter half of November fried. One of my stress responses when I'm this overwhelmed is to cocoon, but I had zero time or space to myself for several weeks in a row, so I have been trying to fight all of this off without the resources I needed. Balls have been dropped, in part because I just could not work myself up to being capable of interacting with anyone who wasn't right there in front of me.

There were really good things in all of this. The house concert. Time with good friends. This Thanksgiving was the best yet. But I've learned that what I need is to schedule downtime in the middle of the uptime, or I will completely lose all of my cope, and it's really, really hard to struggle back from a cope/energy deficit like the one I'm dealing with.

elisem refers to the sangha of the workbench. The obvious translation for me would be writing, but no, the writing I am doing is not meditative, is is tearing through me, it is eviscerating me, it is leaving me a husk.

I have found my small, flashing moments of peace in the kitchen with sindrian.

Staring at the screen and berating myself for not having the spoons to respond to this e-mail or do that task or write that post is no good for me. You've seen this post, right? That.

But it is dinnertime and we have to eat.

sindrian and I have been slowly replacing some of the crappier things in the kitchen with things that are better and easier to use. We have colorful ceramic knives now that cut through potatoes like butter, and a cheery red cutting board that's already quite scarred, and this awesome garlic crusher - I know, I know, unitaskers! but we put garlic in everything, and some days my hands are bad. When my hands are bad, I have no grip, not without terrible pain. This garlic crusher, I can just press down with the flats of my hands. It doesn't matter what my body does. I can still dice garlic.

We scavenged the crisper and the bowl of leftover CSA veg. This is all of the normal-size potatoes from the last delivery (we still have fingerlings). Yes, some of them are purple. I washed them, and cut some, and then Sindrian took over as I washed and de-stemmed the kale, tearing it into manageable pieces. The sausage is andouille. The onion was hardcore and made our eyes sting all night. He almost forgot the garlic, but threw it in at the last minute.

We make big pots of food so we can eat for days. We both lose ourselves in work all day. No one wants to figure out what to make for lunch.

I bookmark recipes all the time. I take cookbooks out of the library and have Adam photocopy pages. I want food, I want to try things. When I was growing up we had pasta most days of the week, and while I love pasta, I want to make casseroles, I want to roast root vegetables, I want risotto.

The original recipe calls for millet instead of rice, but we always keep arborio rice in the house, and I've never tried millet. We've made other adjustments, too. And we doubled this - again, for more leftovers. I fetched out the onions and celery and Sindrian sliced them while I sliced a pound of mushrooms. We danced around each other at the sink, and I washed knives as he fried bacon.

Why do more people not know about celery? I feel like that's one of the big secrets of food, what a chopped celery stalk does to a dish. You should use celery.

But yes. The sangha of the kitchen. No flailing, no self-recrimination. Just this - just slice the mushrooms, slice the potatoes, wash the kale. There will be dinner.
1st-Dec-2011 04:40 pm (UTC)
Recipes for the delicious-looking yumminess in the two pictures, please????? (I adore kale, and we grew our own this year and definitely plan to do that again next year.)

Also, what knives did you buy?
1st-Dec-2011 11:54 pm (UTC)
I was going to write out the recipes here, but then I realized that I'd like to be able to send people to them easier, so I just posted them on my LJ here. Enjoy!
1st-Dec-2011 05:05 pm (UTC)
Sympathies for lost days and lack of cope.
(Deleted comment)
5th-Dec-2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, please! :)
1st-Dec-2011 05:21 pm (UTC)
Around here even the birds won't eat millet. You were probably better off with rice.
1st-Dec-2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
That potato dish looks amazing. I think I will try that tonight with the chard I have in the fridge.
1st-Dec-2011 06:35 pm (UTC)
That second dish would probably be really good as a quinoa pilaf type thing too.
1st-Dec-2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Before enlightenment, slice mushrooms. After enlightenment, eat risotto.
5th-Dec-2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
Yes. :)
1st-Dec-2011 11:42 pm (UTC)
Millet is delicious! It has a very nutty flavor and makes an amazing porridge.
2nd-Dec-2011 03:45 am (UTC)
... I was going to say something but forgot. *sigh.*

Also, I am totally with you on the celery. However, my boy does not like the actual celery pieces, and my girl does not like the celery flavor. Attempts to convince them that it is an integral part of some flavor combos just fail.

So I just use half the amount. If it's supposed to stay in, I cut it TEENY TINY as in OMG MINCED. If it's something wet enough or just there as an aromatic in something going in the oven, I leave it in GREAT BIG PIECES and take them out before serving.

Also, that garlic thing looks like it may work better than the weird hinged thingies that make me cringe for my hands just LOOKING at them. My usual solution is to smash cloves with the flat of my blade, or with an unopened canned good, THEN cut up.
5th-Dec-2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
I love the weird hinges ones.

My mom actually has a garlic peeler that is just a rubber sleeve for smashing them and rolling the peel off. (Basically a safe way of doing your blade smash.)
5th-Dec-2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
Oh! I am not swinging my knife around to do that, I set the flat of the knife on top of the garlic and use the heel of my palm against it.
5th-Dec-2011 11:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know, that's how I do it, too. :)

It is kind of neat, though, with the rubber sheath.
2nd-Dec-2011 03:58 am (UTC)
Apropos of very little in the post, tonight my family went to my favorite Mexican place, Cantina La Mexicana in Union Square Somerville, and I double-checked on some menu items. Apparently, the only item that uses a flour tortilla is the burro (large or small), though I admit I did not ask about the quesadilla (it might be flour, might be corn). They apparently get a number of people in who are gluten-intolerant. They are also inexpensive and very good eating, although parking in the area has gotten tough.
5th-Dec-2011 03:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tip!
2nd-Dec-2011 07:11 pm (UTC)
People think celery has no taste.

This despite it being a major seasoning for thousands of years.

People are weird.
2nd-Dec-2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
The garlic crusher is pretty. I don't know what you mean by unitaskers.

So you like the ceramic knives then? (I've been thinking of getting some.)
5th-Dec-2011 03:08 pm (UTC)
We love 'em. :)
5th-Dec-2011 05:42 pm (UTC)
Details on why?
3rd-Dec-2011 06:24 am (UTC)
that last paragraph was beautiful. and that sausage-potato-kale dish looks SO good right now in the middle of finals :) soon i will cook again...
5th-Dec-2011 04:06 am (UTC)
Are you familiar with maureenslist.org? It's a resource for people with gluten and other dietary restrictions, run by a couple I've known since high school--one of whom has celiac and is a skilled programmer, the other who cooks the meals for her husband with celiac and kids with other dietary restrictions.
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