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.

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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!

6

Ice Ice Baby

Stop, collaborate and listen, because even though I’m still feeling sucky, I made an amazing new discovery today. Well, it’s probably not new, but new to me.

I was making my morning up of iced coffee. First, I made the coffee in the Keurig, and then I put ice in a glass. For some reason, my fingers happened to be wet (I think I had just washed my hands; I hope I did) and while I was reaching for the edge of the ice cube to pry it out, my fingertips grazed over the top of the ice cube tray, and like magic, my wet fingers created a suction force that picked the ice right out of the tray.

I’ve got the magic, in me…

 

I don’t know how it works, but the grip of my one finger was strong enough to get the piece of ice to the glass, and then another, and then another. I don’t know why that brought me so much joy, but I guess you have to celebrate the little things in life.

It’s probably the same reason why that kid’s tongue got stuck to the flagpole in A Christmas Story (a moment which still scares the heck out of me) and this, from Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.

Obviously, this horse did not watch A Christmas Story.

MAGIC.

SCIENCE.

SCMAGIC.

 

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.

0

Tears-Free Turkey Burgers

New apartment, new feature:

That’s So Nom: Notes from Jacob’s Kitchen

Episode 1: Tears-Free Turkey Burgers

This is not what they will look like.

  1. Buy ingredients in three separate grocery stores on three separate trips because you’ve already forgotten what’s in it.
  2. Call mother, confirm ingredients and instructions.
  3. Wait until the sell-by date, then prepare to turkey-burger.
  4. Thaw turkey in a large bowl and preheat oven.
  5. Watch a podcast and then return to bowl. If the middle is still frozen, just pour water onto it.
  6. Realize that it’s probably a little soggy, so attempt to strain the water out, in vain.
  7. Mix in onion soup, mustard, and a few squirts of ketchup.
  8. Stir until it smells divine.
  9. Form six patties, place in the preheated oven.
  10. Realize five minutes later that you have somewhere to be, so turn oven off and go to meeting.
  11. Stay longer than planned at the meaning having fun conversations.
  12. Return to apartment.
  13. Broil the six patties, turning when firm, hoping that they’re still good.
  14. Take out patties, and make sure to not drop the first one on the floor like I did.
  15. Enjoy five little turkey burgers with a dash of salsa.

Recipe makes 10 burgers total.

The reason for the title?

Even though this week has been great and relaxing, it’s still nerve wracking that school is starting up again, next week. I feel so not ready. I was crying a little inside today, knowing that this is the last week that it’ll be easy. My apartment is still a mess and things just feel weird. Blogging has been helping, marginally, but cooking a healthy, somewhat-grown-up dinner for myself helped a lot.

Even after a shower, I still smell like turkey.

20

Thumb and Thumber

51qm0m31jyl_The concept of a “helpful tips column” has been around for awhile. From Ann Landers to Emily Post, Dear Abby to Heloise, “hints” and “tips” have been at our fingertips, literally, since my grandmother could clip them out of the newspaper and store them in a fancy box in the kitchen. With the decline of the print newspaper (you can argue that it’s not dying, but I’d ask you to read the front page advertisements in The New York Times before you stated your case), the advice column is probably what’s taken the biggest beating, along with weather (which is even in cars now), stocks (already outdated by the time the issue hits your hands), and sports scores (24/7 sports television takes care of that). Plus, society has changed; people care less about how to clean the insoles of your shoes than about how to set up a video game console. Certain things matter less to people, like having a squeaky-clean kitchen, reusing flour sacks as diapers, and the proper way to show up to a cotillion. They’ve been replaced by antibacterials, recycling, and…well, who goes to cotillions anymore? Certainly, the advice column as we know it was about to go.

Then, along came Pinterest.

And Buzzfeed.

And Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

And Cake Boss.

And suddenly, “tips” got hot again, whether for going green in the kitchen, saving bathroom space, or artsy-craftsy things like making baby shower invitations or making a bookshelf out of an old oven range. What came back in full force, though, were the cooking tips. Gluten free, vegan, and of course, all those mini-mini-cupcakes and cake that looks like a Mondrian painting when you cut into it.

Ever going along with the trends, Reader’s Digest presses on with their columns, but sometimes the advice isn’t that well-thought-out, like this past March’s column on page 46 entitled, “The Clever Cook: Be A Spotless Gourmet.”

Tip #1: Place ingredients on an empty baking sheet prior to prepping them.

Okay, so it’s just basically saying, get your shit together before you make a mess.

Tip #2: Broken glass? Pick it up with white bread!

I really wonder who thought of that idea, and who had to test that.

Tip #3: As you cook, toss scraps into a large bowl to contain messes if a trash can isn’t around.

When I cook, I don’t tell my trash cans to go out on a date and “come back before midnight”…most kitchens have trash cans for this purpose, or even sinks with garbage disposals to eliminate this problem entirely. Moving on…

Tip#4: To protect a recipe card, put it under a glass lid.

Okay, so kitchen snow globe. Not a horrible idea, but who uses recipe cards anymore? For me, it’s my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook or the Internet.

Tip #5: Secure a paper towel around the neck of an olive oil bottle to prevent drips.

This one is actually smart. I hadn’t thought of that. However, I usually just wipe the bottle after I use it, problem solved.

Tip #6: “Keep your thumbs squeaky clean by using a wine cork to make an indent in thumbprint cookies.”

…um, what?

Seriously?

wine cork?

If you’re making thumbprint cookies and are too lazy to do the thumbprint thing, maybe you should’ve thought this activity through a little more, and made cupcakes, or flan, or jello…or even a fruit salad, for that matter. Unless you intend to make a watermelon basket with your thumbs. Also, if you’re that anal about keeping your thumbs clean, then maybe baking is not the activity for you. Baking is fun, but it’s inevitable that you’re going to get something messy, whether it’s your hair, hands, clothes. Usually, it’s all three.

Try knitting, or playing piano, or watching TV.

Unless you’re also so lazy that you need to use wine corks to press the buttons on your remote control.