“Claudia, why do you make dinner at 4 AM when no one is around?”
Because this is essentially how every evening cooking endeavor goes, including the despair, lack of cooking skills, and having something entirely different from what I set out to make.
This is probably going to sound really stupid/weird, but I’ve always kind of wanted to work at sea. Like, ever since junior high or so, I’ve had this weird fascination with wanting to work/live on a big ship. I have no idea why; it has zero correlation with any of my other dreams or desires. But it’s always kinda been there, and it’s a little embarrassing to admit for whatever reason (probably because I imagine the reaction to this dream being a judgmental look and a “pfft, you? Please.”).
Woah, this is super satisfying and calming.
I think it would be super cool if someone came up with a cookbook in which all recipes were stupid reconfigurations of mathematicians’/statisticians’ names or mathematical objects.
- Tukey Sandwiches
- Bonferroni and Cheese
- Putnaan (“Putnam” and “naan”…anyone?)*
- Gabriel’s Corn
- Fig Newto—OH WAIT
I’d buy a cookbook like that.
*Yes, I know Putnam wasn’t a mathematician himself, but he’s got that competition named after him, so yeah. It counts.
So unless I’m hallucinating (it’s like 5 in the morning and I had Red Bull), the University of Arizona nursing department’s looking for a stats instructor to develop/lead an online intro stats course.
I’m totally going to apply. That would be a super awesome job. I think I’d be good at teaching stats just because I’m so obsessive about them and I really like to explain them to people.
In the meantime, here are some of my favorite internet-found recipes, ‘cause for some reason I really feel like cooking at 5 AM.
- Eggplant Hummus – based on Trader Joe’s BADASS eggplant hummus. Best hummus ever.
- German Chocolate Cake – My grandma used to make me this for my birthday. It freaking rocks.
- Green Monster Muffins – Spinach muffins? Rock on! These are really good.
- Peanut Butter Blondies – Also known as “these will kill anyone allergic to peanuts if they’re even in the same room.”
- Poppy Seed Loaf (run this through a translator) – Safeway used to sell these all the time, but now they only sell the muffins. Poppy seed-saturated sweet bread is best in loaf form.
- Potato Sour Cream Biscuits – Pretty much everything Noble Pig has posted is amazing, so check out the blog.
- Rolled Spinach Omelet – Made this for my mom and she loved it.
Holy freaking crap: http://modernistcuisine.com/
“Modernist Cuisine is a six-volume, 2,438-page set that is destined to reinvent cooking. The lavishly illustrated books use thousands of original images to make the science and technolgy clear and engaging.”
This is like food science on crack.
Anybody who knows me knows I’ve been into cooking as of late, and this humongous wealth of knowledge is quite enticing. The photographs look amazing…I was reading a bit about one picture featuring a cross-sectioned action shot of noodles being stir-fried in a wok.
The article was saying how there was no Photoshop involved and that the photographer actually had to capture the flying noodles as they were stirred in the half-wok. Pretty badass.
Too bad the set of six volumes costs $600, or these would be mine.
Here are the FAQs from the site in case you missed them.
Very interesting indeed.
So I have recently acquired a wok and have decided to try out stir fry. My first attempt was pretty damn good, and even though I’m probably doing it all wrong, I decided to share it (mainly ‘cause I took a pretty picture, haha).
You will need:
- Some sort of uncooked egg noodle – 100 grams or a bowl filled with uncooked noodles. The noodles will compress once they’re cooked, so don’t worry about fitting them plus the veggies in a bowl once you’re done.
- Broccoli – 35 grams of small stalks with florets or a about half a cupful
- Carrots – 2 ounces julienned or about a half a cupful
- Red pepper – 1 ounce cut into cubes or however you prefer (about a loose handful)
- White or yellow onion – 20 grams sliced or cubed (enough to fill your palm)
- Mushrooms – 15 grams sliced, or about a small handful
- Canola oil (or some sort of equivalent—whatever oil you like that’s good for high heat) – 2 teaspoons
- Stir fry sauce (again, your choice) – about 3 tablespoons
It’s best to get all your slicing/combining/other cooking done before you actually start the stir fry, so do all this before you even turn on the heat beneath your wok.
Combine broccoli, carrots, pepper, onion, and mushrooms into a microwave-safe container, add about three tablespoons of water, and microwave on high for about 1:45 or 2:00, depending on how thick you’ve kept your broccoli stalks. While this is microwaving, put a pot of water on the stove and get the water boiling. Also, go ahead and put a tablespoon of stir fry sauce and the two teaspoons of canola oil into the frying pan/wok and mix it up for later.
Drain the water from the veggie mix and set aside. Once your water starts boiling, cook your noodles to the package instructions (the variety I use cook very quick and are done in less than a minute—don’t overcook or you’ll end up with squishy and that’s not very appealing). Once they’re done, drain the water and set aside. Start heating up your frying pan/wok. I get mine up to about a 5 or 6 on the oven knob, just until the sauce starts to bubble.
I know I’m going to get chastised for this, but I add all my veggies at once. Everything seems to be pretty uniformly cooked once I take them out of the microwave and they’re not going to be on the heat very long, so I don’t worry too much about different cooking times like I know you’re supposed to do. It all tastes fine in the end, in my opinion. If they’re sizzling like hell, though, you’re doing this part right. Stir them up with the sauce so that they’re all coated—this’ll take about a minute.
Make a well in the veggies and dump in your noodles. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of stir fry sauce atop the noodles and mix well with the veggies. I usually cook for another minute and a half to two minutes, just until things start sticking to the frying pan/wok. Turn off the heat and transfer everything to a bowl.
Yay! I think I’m getting better at this cheffing stuff.
Today’s song: Dog Days Are Over by Florence + The Machine
I think I need to start a cooking/recipe blog separate from this, because this is turning into a near-weekly thing, and since I already have promised a science-related blog every week (or so) and I don’t want my blogs to turn into a compilation of themes, it might be necessary to do so.
I was screwing around with “what has been in my fridge for x weeks and is about to expire ‘cause I eat the same things everyday so why do I bother buying anything different?” ingredients and I stumbled upon a few things that make a tasty little appetizer thingy if you ever have people over or are asked to bring food to a party or whatever you social people do.
What you shall need:
- 1 can of Pillsbury Crescents (the “makes 8 crescents” size)
- 3 string cheeses
- 1 tbsp. butter
- Parsley flakes
- Garlic salt
Open the can of crescents, trying to keep them all intact. Roll out and separate the 8 triangles, then ball the triangles up. The “let’s roll this into a ball” step is solely to make the next step easier: cut the balls of dough into to equal halves.
Remove the wrappers from the string cheese and cut each string cheese into 5 pieces. You’ll note the discrepancy between the 16 half-balls of dough and 15 chunks of cheese. Since it’s not worth opening a fourth string cheese and since 15 fits best on the baking pan anyway, either eat the extra chunk of dough raw (tasty!) or just cook it regularly.
Press the cheese chunks into the balls of dough, then mold the dough around the cheese, creating a tight seal where the dough meets itself. You’re going to want a seamless little ball of dough filled with cheese.
Place these balls crease-side up (though they shouldn’t be visible) onto a baking pan. Now you’re going to make the tasty part. In a bowl (or microwave safe measuring cup, in my case), combine the butter, a good sprinkle of parsley, and a half a teaspoon of garlic salt. Microwave until the butter is totally melted, then stir to evenly distribute parsley and garlic salt. Spread this concoction liberally onto the tops of the dough balls.
Now bake according to the instructions on the crescent can (I believe it’s 10 – 12 minutes at 375°). When you take them out, you’ll notice that the crease has now reopened, leaving a nice neat little pool of cheese in the middle of a doughy bowl. Freaking tasty! They’re also good cold.
Today’s song: I Want You to Want Me (Live) by Cheap Trick
Or should that be “cheffing?” Either way.
Do you have a potato? DO YOU WANT A TASTY DINNER?
This amazing blob of beige is made from a potato (and miscellaneous) and tastes substantially better than it looks. It’s good when you want something that has a lot of weird textures to it but you only have, well, potatoes.
- 1 potato
- 1-2 tbsp. peanut butter (I used chunky, but I’m assuming smooth would work just fine)
- A small amount of olive oil
- A packet of ketchup, like from McDonald’s or something
- Mrs. Dash (if you so desire)
Here’s what you do:
Take the potato and peel half of it. I’d say cut it in half first, but I think it’s easier to peel one half so you have the other half to hold on to. Next, wash off the peeled half and run it over a cheese grater until you have grated the entire half into a bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water and stir gently. This will get the extra starch off of the slices so that the hash brown part will be crisp and not chewy.
Next, drain the water from the bowl, dump the potatoes onto a paper towel, and pat dry. This will also help with the not-soggy hash browns. Return the potatoes to the bowl and squeeze the whole packet of ketchup onto them. Stir until all the pieces are coated.
This was actually my first time attempting to make hash browns of any kind, so here’s where my guidance is more “cook them until you think they’re done.” I tried to base my doneness off of the hash browns at the University Inn, if any of you have ever had those.
Anyway, while that’s cooking, take the other half of the potato, put it on a paper towel, and microwave either for 4 minutes on high or on the “potato” setting on the microwave. Once it’s done, take it out, let it cool for a minute or so, then saw off the end where the potato was exposed from grating (it’ll be hard as a rock anyway). Scoop the flesh out of the skin into another bowl, trying to leave the skin intact. Unless you’re not into eating potato skin; in which case, maul away and just omit the skin from the final conglomeration.
Assuming your hash browns are done, go ahead and dump them onto a plate. They’ll be super hot, so it’ll be good to let them cool for a bit. While they’re cooling, coat the inside of the potato skin with salt and re-add the potato/peanut butter mixture to the inside. Put the skin on top of the hash browns, then sprinkle the whole mixture with Mrs. Dash. Me being me, I can’t taste Mrs. Dash very well at all, but I added it anyway for a little color. I don’t really know how it tastes with the spices, so omit it if you want.
It tastes really good. Leaving the peanut butter potatoes in the salted skin kind of makes them soak up the salt, and that makes it even better.
Today’s song: Repetition Kills You by The Black Ghosts
No, that is not a misspelling.
NNNNH I have such a freakish urge to cook.
They’re a tribute to John Tukey, American statistician and source of horrible, horrible lunch meat puns. Yeah, I know, I made the joke two days ago and I haven’t been able to go 15 minutes without thinking, “exactly what would a Tukey sandwich entail?”
Ingredients, process, and general apology to Mr. Tukey as follows (I didn’t really measure stuff as I made this, so fair warning).
You will need:
- Bread. A small loaf works perfectly. You’ll need six pieces.
- Butter. About a tablespoon will work fine.
- Cheese. Colby Jack is preferred. Make sure it’s in a block so you can slice it.
- Turkey. Clean pieces of breast meat are best/neatest.
- Bacon. Three long slices will suffice.
- Mayo. 2-3 tablespoons.
- Cinnamon. A teaspoon sounds about right.
- Corn bread (or muffin) dry mix. Three or four tablespoons will be fine.
- Oil. Just a bit, maybe a teaspoon.
- Mrs. Dash.
What you need to do to make this awesomeness happen:
3. Take the other three slices and toast them lightly, just enough to get them a little brown and provide them with a bit of structural integrity.
4. Mix the teaspoon of cinnamon with the mayonnaise. Add more cinnamon if you’d like. Mine looked pinkish when I was done. Once the three toasting pieces are done toasting, spread the mayo/cinnamon mix on one side of each of the three slices and set aside.
5. Place the buttered slices butter-side down onto a frying pan and turn on to low heat. Cut a three medium-thin slices of Colby Jack cheese and put a square onto each piece of bread as they heat up (note: they have up here in Canada land these cute little rectangular cuboids of cheese. They’re smaller in area than the bread, but I think it works fine that way). Sprinkle the cheese and bread with Mrs. Dash and let it cook until the underside of the bread is golden brown and/or the cheese is gooey.
7. Now it gets fun. Take the corn bread dry mix and mix it with the teaspoon of oil and some water. I really didn’t measure this, but you’ll want a consistency similar to that of the mayo/cinnamon. Don’t make it too moist, but don’t make it dry enough to crumble.
9. Fold the turkey into nice little square packets and place each packet onto the bacon and mayo/cinnamon bread.
10. Complete the sandwich by putting the cheese/Mrs. Dash bread on top of the turkey and securing with a pretty frill. In my opinion, these taste equally good hot and cool, so if you made a super mess out of your kitchen like I did, go ahead and clean before you try them.
So why does this qualify as a tribute to Mr. Tukey again?
– There are six pieces of bread because he came up with the Six Pack Test.
– The sandwiches are square because he came up with the boxplot.
– They’re small because he coined the word “bit.”
– They’ve got turkey in them because DUH.
– Cinnamon is brown. He went to Brown University. I’m funny.
– He was born in Massachusetts. Corn muffins are the state’s official muffin.
– The turkey is also Massachusetts’ state bird, which is hilarious.
– He made significant contributions to jackknife estimation, hence Colby Jack cheese. It’s a stretch, but so is this entire thing.
– And I just assumed he liked bacon.
So yeah. This is why I should not be allowed to have free time.
Hey ladies and gents. Today I shall present you with a recipe for salad. Because it’s a freaking awesome salad.
Ingredients you shall need:
- Broccoli (1 ounce – I don’t know how many little florets this is; I’m picky about the way I cut my broccoli. Guesstimate or use a food scale)
- Carrots (1 ounce – approximately three baby carrots)
- Radishes (two medium-sized ones)
- Cauliflower (2 ounces – approximately two large florets)
- Shredded parmesan cheese (3 tablespoons, or to taste; I like cheese)
- Lettuce (100 grams – I use iceberg lettuce)
- Croutons (20 grams – about a small handful)
- Dressing (2 tablespoons – I use Kraft Calorie Wise Caesar)
Use a cheese grater to grate the carrots, radishes, and cauliflower (I just run the whole cauliflower florets over the grater, it seems to work best that way) and combine with the broccoli, chopped any way you prefer. Add the parmesan and stir. It should look something like this:
Pick apart lettuce to manageable sizes and add to the mixture. Toss to mix everything up. Add the dressing and toss again, then finally add the croutons. Voila!
Note: this makes a lot of salad, but depending on the type of dressing/croutons/cheese you use, it can still be pretty healthy. My version runs about 250 calories (10 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber, almost 11 grams of protein), which is pretty good for the volume. I eat this and Mini Wheats for dinner ‘cause I’m weird.
Today’s song: The Fame by Lady Gaga
Life is weird.
Weird, weird, weird.
It’s even weirder when I try to cook and actually succeed in making something edible. I know it’s nothing too original, but I’d prefer semi-blasé over burning the house down. The stove in the basement here scares me.
Spinach scrambled eggs!
You will need:
- ¼ cup frozen chopped spinach
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tbsp. mozzarella
Dump the spinach in a pan and cook it. Add the egg whites and scramble to desired moistness. Remove from heat and add cheese. Tasty!
Shut up, it’s a slow day. And my butt hurts because my bike seat tried to surprise buttsex me this afternoon on the way back from Pullman.
Today’s song: Devil Eyes by Qua
Reasons why Claudia would not make a good housewife:
- “Sauteing” is a foreign concept to me.
- “Do not use too many mushrooms” is a phrase I do not heed very well.
- Same with “stir continuously.”
- If there is SAS in the room, my attention shall be diverted to it.
- Ovens scare me.
- I’m not that comfortable around microwaves, either.
- My ingredient-buying heterogeneity to actual ingredients used ratio is frightening (aka I like maybe five things and buy way too many different things on various whims).
- Dirty dishes? Yeah, they can sit there for another week, it’s cool.
Reasons Claudia WOULD make a good housewife:
- If my husband wanted the same meal every day for a year, I’d be totally okay with that. In fact, I would insist upon it.
- I’m an “aim to please” type of lady.
- ORGANIZE! I like to ORGANIZE!