2

And It’s Still Passover…

And now that it seems like my blog is entirely about my lack of energy and food qualms, here’s some more about my lack of energy and food qualms.

So, I posted on my Facebook about my misadventures with Passover cooking, and immediately got meal invites (and local ones too…I feel special) so I ended up having dinner at the Gellers’ tonight, and at Rabbi Rebecca’s place for lunch on Saturday. I was going to go over to Hanna’s for dinner tomorrow night, but I don’t think that’s happening anymore due to a change of plan. Still, my stomach’s kinda bleh and it’s been crazy hard to focus. In addition, it just seems like other than a few people, no one is observing Passover around here. I’ve been going to Hillel for lunch, and it’s basically been me, the people who work there, some adults, and maybe one or two other students.

Dinner was fantastic though. Even the matzah tastes better when you’re around a table with 9 other humans (11 if you count the babies). They had some kind of orange soup, delicious baked fish, kugel, vegetarian lasagna, and pound cake, and much fun was had. This weekend is going to be full of work I don’t want to do, but I gots to make the most of it. At least I’ll only have to deal with Passover until Saturday night.

Oh, and despite flagging visitors, I got a six-continent day, so hello North America (USA), South America (Brazil), Europe (UK, Ireland, Portugal, and Greece), Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and India), Africa (South Africa) and Oceania (Australia)!

8

Raw Food and a Raw Deal

So much is going on in the world today, but as for me, I have finally decided to take a tighter hold on my eating habits.

As of 48 hours ago, I have subsisted almost solely on raw food. My only exceptions have been yogurt and peanut butter, because who has time to make those items from scratch unless you live on a farm.

I’ve always been of the opinion that a healthy diet consists of moderation. Protein, carbs, sugars, fats, all in harmony, just never too much of one thing. Carbs are not the enemy; well, not all carbs (hey, maybe that can be the next Facebook/Twitter movement, NotAllCarbs) but the majority – potato chips, white bread, sugar cookies – are just empty calories.

But now, I think it’s become time to purify my system, and maybe this raw food thing is the way to go. So far, my meals have consisted of:

  • Breakfasts: Yogurt and banana (the only fruit with more protein than sugar)
  • Lunches: Egg whites, salmon, tuna and lettuce
  • Snacks: Salad (sigh), chicken soup, post-workout green smoothie
  • Dinners: Chicken, some sort of veggies to pretend to enjoy
  • Drinks: Water, coffee, tea, water with sugar-free lemonade powder

I spent most of my day looking forward to my post-workout smoothie so I could have something sweet in my system. So, as you can see, my life is terribly exciting. Yeah…not so much. In fact, I’m miserable. I feel like I can’t eat anything. How do people live like this for days and months on end? Maybe, just maybe, if I make a list of foods I’m craving here, it’ll help me stop thinking about them all the damn time.

List of foods I miss:

  1. Sushi. (I wonder if I could get away with nigri or sashimi and still be on the wagon)
  2. Chocolate-covered almonds/bridge mix.
  3. Twizzlers.
  4. Frappuccino.
  5. Caramel Macchiato.
  6. Diet Coke.
  7. Cookies.
  8. Popcorn.
  9. Pretzels.
  10. Muffins.

I guess that’s not too bad or long of a list.

Here’s to Day 3, I guess.

But I don’t have the rawest deal of the day.

After Donald Trump’s crazy rant about Mexicans being drug lords and rapists, he’s been losing traction. First, Univision canceled the airing of Miss USA and Miss Universe, which, by the way, is two weeks away. Then, individuals started dropping like flies: judges including former Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera, the entertainment, the Spanish-language commentators, and Farouk Systems (the hair and makeup stylists). Today, NBC officially announced that they are dropping Miss USA from its airing schedule. So, basically, 51 women who have already traveled varying distances to the pageant (well, I guess Miss Louisiana didn’t have to go too far, given that it’s in Baton Rouge this year) will either a) not get to participate in something they’ve been preparing for for the better part of a year, or b) be denied the privilege of having their non-present family members watching them getting crowned. Either way, it’s most likely that these poor ladies wasted thousands of dollars on travel, gowns, and other preparation-type-things.

Prepare for some epic backlash. Meanwhile, I will prepare some vegetables.

 

6

Quinoa-Wa-Wa-Tusi

And let it be known that as of yesterday, That’s So Jacob has hopped on the quinoa train.

Yes, it’s another new recipe. It required a bit more effort than normal, and had mixed results, but it made an awful lot of food, more than I thought it would, for which I am grateful. This recipe comes from Emily at A Nutritionist Eats (not, as I thought it was originally, A Nutrition Is Teats).

That’s So Jacob Presents:

That’s So Nom: Treats and Eats from Jacob’s Completely Amateur Kitchen

Episode 5: Quinoa Black Bean Salad

Step 1: Look at recipes online.

Step 2: Gather ingredients.

Step 3: How does one properly wash quinoa? Isn’t it going to get boiled anyway?

Step 4: Put 1 cup of quinoa into a pot of water. Note that it doesn’t look like an awful lot of quinoa, so throw in a little more. Bring to a boil.

Step 5: While that’s happening, combine your olive oil, honey, lime, and shallots, and whisk.

Step 6: Take the lid off the quinoa, and realize HOLY HELL THAT’S A LOT OF QUINOA. Drain quinoa and dump into whatever bowls you can find

Step 7: Toss the honey-lime vinaigrette with the quinoa and try not to get too much of your quinoa stuck to your hands.

Step 7: Drain black beans, put on quinoa. Mix. Enjoy some quinoa!

Step 8: Wonder why you bought green onions and cotija.

Step 9: Go to the Internet, and sigh in relief that they are the final two ingredients, so chop those onions and put them in, as well as the cotija that you clearly bought way too much of.

Step 10: Enjoy the spare quinoa, put the rest in tupperware containers.

The recipe says to chill overnight, but I ate some while it was still warm and it was flavorful and delicious. I only had a few forkfuls, then chilled the rest. I just had some right now, and it’s not terrible but I think it tasted a little better warm. Oh well, at least I have enough quinoa black bean salad for the rest of eternity. Off to find some new recipes, maybe for chicken or fish this time.

2

LBBBB

One of my summer resolutions was to try out some new recipes, hopefully healthy ones, and so last night I tried my hand at this LBBBB, AKA a Chipotle-style black bean burrito bowl, thanks to Anjali of The Picky Eater Blog.

That’s So Jacob Presents:

That’s So Nom: Treats and Eats from Jacob’s Completely Amateur Kitchen

Episode 4: Little Black Bean Burrito Bowl

Step 1: Look at recipes online.

Step 2: Salivate at the pretty pictures, then get your ass up and out to the store to buy ingredients. Except…cottage cheese, no thank you (don’t hate me, I just never liked it!)

Step 3: Come home and procrastinate until dinnertime.

Step 4: Chop 1 onion, 1 yellow pepper, and 1/2 jalapeno pepper, and saute in canola oil. Sprinkle garlic powder on top because I don’t have a garlic press and garlic powder works just fine.

Step 5: Sprinkle on a dash of cumin and a dash of chili powder, then dump the black beans on top. Boil for 10-15 minutes, realizing that if you put the salmon in the oven for 20 minutes at the same time, you can just turn the stove off when the timer hits 5:00. SMART!

Step 6: Heat some rice and corn in the microwave.

Step 7: Take bowl. Put in rice, then mixture, then corn. Sprinkle on cilantro and salsa

Step 8: Enjoy your protein filled deliciousness, and get halfway through before realizing that you bought diced tomatoes but didn’t use them, but it tastes good anyway.

Makes 2-3 dinner-sized portions. Refrigerates very nicely.

I’m currently eating my second portion for dinner, and am happy to say that it’s just as delicious as the first. So, consider this a success! Thanks, food blog!

And hooray for six continent day! Welcome to North America (Canada and USA), South America (Guyana), Europe (UK, Netherlands, and France), Asia (India, Philippines, and Qatar), Africa (Sudan), and Oceania (Fiji). Come back soon, I’m nice!

12

Random Thought of the Day: Depression, Cooking, and Cuban Jazz

What do you do when you’re depressed and you have a 6-8 page paper due tomorrow afternoon that you haven’t even started yet?

Naturally, I cook orzo with vegetable while listening to melancholy, Old-World-sounding Latin jazz music with my door wide open to let some of the steam from the stove out, imagining that I’m a middle-aged Cuban lady named Jimena with a giant mole, wearing a stained pinafore and a faded head kerchief, wistfully dreaming of my lover while my laundry dries in the Havana breeze and the chickens cluck in the distance.

And for some reason, that made me a little less sad and a little more inspired – not to start my paper, but to write this post.

Oh well, at least I got a hot, healthy meal out of it.

 

4

Tiny Edible Penguins for Humans Big and Small

This semester, I’m on the education team for our Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) production, which happens to be about penguins. As e-team members, we will not be performing in the shows but making programs (paper and online), educational materials for classrooms, lobby displays, school assemblies, and other things that I am probably forgetting to mention here. At Wednesday’s rehearsal, the creative food artist in me had an epiphany: there must be some recipe that we can include in the material for the children to do. I had this image of tiny penguins made from olives and cream cheese. Because I always look for any excuse to do work/not do work, I decided to stay up until 2 in the morning making culinary masterpieces for class today, and I call them Baby Penguin Canapes. I have not written the childrens’ version yet, but here’s the adult version of what will surely become a culinary classic.

That’s So Jacob Presents:

That’s So Nom: Treats and Eats from Jacob’s Completely Amateur Kitchen

Episode 3: Baby Penguin Canapes

Step 1: Look at recipes online and then realize that you can probably figure it out yourself.

Step 2: Grab a fellow blogger and head to Target to buy ingredients. I chose Princess Ciarawho happens to be in my dance class. Together, go to Target, buy carrots, olives, and cream cheese. Intersperse with bits of gossip.

Step 3: Come home and realize you probably should have bought regular carrots but these baby carrots will have to do.

Step 4: Chop carrots into little circles.

Step 5: Very carefully, cut a tiny wedge from the carrot circle. Put that aside for now; that will become the beak. The Pac-Man shaped piece will be the feet.

Step 6: Make a ball of cream cheese about the size of a large olive. Put it on the carrot feet.

Step 7: Wash an olive, then cut it long ways.

Step 8: Slap the sides of the olive on the cream cheese ball, gingerly. As in, with ginger. Seriously, that’s a weird phrase. Who came up with that? The olives will be the wings.

Step 9: Wash a second olive and make a small slit in it short ways.

Step 10: Remember that tiny piece of carrot that may or may not have fallen on the floor or in the sink? Wedge it into the second olive and make it look like a beak.

Step 11: Put the second olive on top of the cream cheese ball, and hold for a few seconds until it stays.

Step 12: You’ve made a penguin. Celebrate!

Step 13: Realize that you need to transfer the penguin to a Tupperware. Put in refrigerator and hope that people appreciate it when you bring it to them the next day. (Spoiler alert: they went surprisingly well!)

Makes about 8 penguins, or until you feel you’ve lost control of your sanity.

Helpful Advice: Keep the olives washed and dried because you will get cream cheese everywhere. Keep the counter clean and dry or else the penguins will slide dangerously close to the edge. Stabilize with a toothpick, or if you’re feeling fancy, a cocktail umbrella.

And…double yay for another six-continent day! No new countries, but warm welcomes to North America (Canada, USA, Antigua and Barbuda, and Mexico), South America (Chile), Europe (UK, Germany, France, Spain, Czech Republic, and Norway), Africa (Mayotte), Asia (UAE, Singapore, India, and Philippines) and Oceania (Australia and Guam).

 

1

Honey Cake on a Whim for Rosh Hashanah

I woke up this morning, and I was like, holy crap, it’s Rosh Hashanah.

Well, not now, but later tonight.

And I haven’t done anything for it.

Then I went to class, and when I got home, it hit me: I should totally bake something. Last year, I baked a honigkuchen (honey cake) so I thought I’d bake it on a whim, and thereby establish it as a traditional honigkuchen (ooh aah). I found my old recipe, and with about two hours to go until class, I decided to give it a try.

That’s So Jacob’s Kitchen Presents

That’s So Nom

Episode 2: Between-Class On-A-Whim Honey Cake for Rosh Hashanah

Step 1: Gather ingredients.

Step 2: Realize you don’t have all the correct ingredients midway through preparation, so run out to the corner store to buy the remainder for rip-off prices. Be pleasantly surprised when the store actually has normal prices for things – $5 for applesauce, cinnamon, baking soda, and brown sugar? SWEET.

Step 3: Return home and complete the cooking to the sounds of the Ronnie Spector station on Pandora.

Step 4: Put in oven, for twenty-five minutes.

Step 5: Start your reading for class, occasionally checking on the cake.

Step 6: When the timer beeps, check the cake. If it’s still a watery mess in a tin, close oven door and set timer for another 10 minutes.

Step 7: Repeat step six about 5 times because it doesn’t seem to be baking.

Step 8: If on or about the sixth time you check on it it’s still warmed-up ingredient soup in a tin, call mother and freak out at her. Then put on bottom rack in oven for about 10 more minutes, for the last. fucking. time.

Step 9: Remove hot cake from oven, finally cooked, but realize that the batter has overflowed the pan and it looks like somebody pooped in your oven.

Step 10: Laugh uncontrollably at the fake poop in the oven, then take picture of it and send it to your sister in Washington. Consider leaving the poop outside your neighbor’s door as a prank, but eat it instead because it’s actually not poop but delicious honey cake.

Step 11: Put cake in bag and wrestle with the Cling Wrap (the official baking tool of SATAN) to attempt to cover the hot cake in it to stay hot, but ultimately only pull off a few tiny pieces.

Step 12: Realize that you’re going to be late for class unless you leave RIGHT NOW so wrap that burning hot cake in a bag, tuck it under your arm, and run down State Street like it’s the Superbowl.

Step 13: Arrive in class at exactly 4:00 (phew). Plop cake down in bag, on the table but not yet visible. Proceed to torture yourself and your classmates with the delicious smell of honey, and realize that you are now sweaty, have brown stains on your khakis, and smell like a combination of delicious cake and the garlic sauce you made to go on your salmon last night. Hope no one else notices the garlic emanating from you. Practice saying “honigkuchen” in your head several times.

Step 14: At class’s conclusion, reveal the lovingly-baked honigkuchen to a chorus of delight and confusion. Pretend that you just dashed it off casually while reading Chinese and Japanese performance theory texts as if you are Little Suzy Grad Student. Cut off in hunks and serve on napkins. Serves six hungry and curious East Asian studies graduate students and two confused but relieved East Asian studies professors.

Your results, as always, may vary.

Shana tova, y’all.