Mashed Potatoes
Saturday, October 29, 2005, 11:18 PM - soups, comfort food

menu



breakfast: um... breakfast?
lunch: ramen
dinner: mashed potatoes with gravy and meatballs

recipes



ramen



1. Search your house from top to bottom in hopes that you have some foodstuffs besides the ones you just bought at the store, because you just aren't in the mood to eat any of that stuff today. I didn't buy much because my car is 3000 miles away so I just bought some staples I was out of due to poor planning in July. Plus I'm going back to Albany in a week so I didn't want to buy anything that could go bad. Just some canned and frozen stuff.

2. Discover a stash of ramen in (surprise, surprise) the little hidden ramen cupboard. Score!

3. Boil water. I boil water in one of those counter-top boiling water pitchers. You could use a stove top, but it's much slower and quite possibly less efficient (more waste heat). I couldn't swear by the heat efficiency, but I can swear by the time efficiency.


4. Scrounge through your freezer for veggies. I found green beans.

5. Microwave the green beans in the bowl you plan on eventually having your ramen in.

6. put the ramen in the bowl. use the block of ramen to put the beans aside so that the beans end up on top of the ramen; this way it's easier to make sure the noodles are properly submerged.

7. add flavor packets. If you know what you're doing and buy the good ramen, there will be several flavor packets. I had 3 flavor packets. Do not decide that fat is bad for you and you're going to skip the fat flavor packet. I've never tried this myself, but I've been warned by several reliable sources that it tastes yucky without the fat packet. And really, it's not that big and your body needs some fat.

8. Pour boiling water over the ramen.

9. Let it sit a while.

10. Eat.

Mashed Potatoes with Gravy and Meatballs



1. decide, upon reflection, that you still don't feel like eating anything you bought at the store the other day.

2. poke around looking for cream of mushroom soup.

3. open the can and put it in a saucepan. stir up the soup. You need to add a can of water, but if you stir it first it won't get lump. Once it's smooth, you can add the can of water and it will stay smooth.

4. Remember to turn the stove on at some point. It doesn't really matter when. I turn it to hi because i'm impatient. If it bothers you to risk boiling a cream soup, you might be more patient and use a lower setting. But I've always been too impatient so I use high and turn it down when I remember.

5. Add 6 fake meatballs. Why 6? because the package says 6 is a serving. If you're using different fake meatballs, you might need a different number. My fake meatballs tell me they should be cooked for 8 minutes. It really doesn't matter if you overcook them, but I set a timer just in case, because nothing is worse than having an unexpected frozen chunk in your food from undercooking.

6. Poke around in your freezer for vegies. Ideally, you want brocolli, but no such luck. Add a bunch of green beans. Somehow brocolli is much more comforting than green beans. When I was a little kid, I always wanted brocolli on my birthday. Yeah, maybe I was a freak. It might have been because when my mom made mashed potatoes she let us build landscapes with gravy volcanoes and tree-covered slopes and all that... Let that be a lesson to any parents that might be reading this: if you want your kids to eat their veggies, let them play with their food. It's all about presentation.

7. You might want to stir periodically.

8. Oh yeah, I added a couple of cloves of garlic. I didn't have any real garlic, I had this frozen stuff in cubes that are each supposed to be a clove. I dunno... it seems mighty suspicious, but the store I went to didn't have any other garlic. It's better than that powdered stuff, anyway. Not having a car really cramps my style. If I ever have to do this again, I might risk eviction and sneak out the back of the apartment complex, cutting 2 miles off of the round trip walk to the grocery store.

9. Boil some water in the water-boiling-pitcher.

10. Stick a chunk of butter in a bowl.

11. Pour some instant mashed potato flakes into the bowl. Just eyeball it... make about as much as you think you'd want to eat once they were expanded. And add some salt.

12. Pour some water into the bowl... just enough to make the flakes turn potato-like when you stir them with a fork. I always eyeball these things because following the directions never works. It's always too runny if you follow the directions, so you go back and add more flakes, then you have way more food than you intended. The directions also call for milk, which I don't have on me at the moment. But it tasted fine just using water---good to know for future reference.

13. Spoon the mushroom soup/green bean/fake meatball mixture over the potatoes. The gravy-type stuff made enough for 2 meals (I ate all the meatballs, I'll probably cook up some more and add them to it for another meal some other time).


14. Eat.

breakfast for dinner
Wednesday, October 19, 2005, 06:43 PM - comfort food, dessert, breakfast

Menu


We had ochazuke for breakfast. We both have this cough... we've actually been sick since I started blogging. Maybe if I delete it we'll get better, but that might anger the laser monkey. Anyhoo... what with trying to convalesce and all, we got going pretty late. This is by way of saying we started lunch at 5ish and then decided maybe it was dinner. Originally it was just going to be a light lunch because it was close to dinner time, but I guess it was a light dinner. It's too early to tell, maybe it was lunch and we'll eat dinner even later. But we had fake breakfast sausage, egg, and tomato.

edit: no dinner, but we had false pie for desert.

Recipes


Ochazuke


1. cook rice
2. put rice in bowl
3. add furikake---if you don't have any, substitute chopped nori, sesame seeds, salt, and maybe a drizzle of sesame oil.
4. add a couple of sour plums
5. pour tea on top. Today I used genmai cha.

Egg, sausage, and tomato


This is prepared about like you'd expect.
1. cut the fake sausage into patties.
2. fry fake sausage patties in olive oil until they're nicely browned on both sides
3. transfer the patties onto plates
4. break some eggs into the same pan and scramble. Some people think you have to scramble eggs in a seperate container and then pour them into the pan. That's just silly. You can whip them up just fine in the frying pan while they're cooking using the cooking implement of your choice. Then you don't have an extra dish floating around that has had raw egg in it. Since you're doing it in the same pan as the sausage, all the little sticky sausage bits that stuck to the pan will get mixed into the eggs. yum.
5. add the eggs to the plate.
6. cut tomatoes into wedges and put those on the plate
7. eat

False Pie


1. break 1 graham cracker into a coffee cup
2. add about 2 tbs of dark chocolate. This can be in the form of a handful of chocolate chips. I used two squares of a trader joes 80% cocomass pound plus bar. So they'd melt better, I cut them up.
3. top with another crumbled graham cracker.
4. pour amaretto over the top. probably a tablespoon or two. Enough for it to soak into the graham crackers.
5. microwave for 15 seconds or so. The cup should feel hot; the chocolate should be melted.
6. eat.

Brocolli Ochazuke
Tuesday, October 11, 2005, 05:37 PM - comfort food, breakfast
menu
For breakfast we had frozen berries with grapenuts, lunch was more cold pizza; and dinner was ochazuke.

recipes

frozen berries with grapenuts
Put frozen mixed berries in a bowl. Top with a roughly equal amount of grapenuts. Pour coffee over the top... this sounds like it might be a little weird but trust me; I'm a recent convert myself. Don't drench it in coffee, just put enough coffee on that the grapenuts soak up coffee. There shouldn't be any actual liquid in the bowl. Microwave it a bit so the berries thaw, but this is inessential. Maybe throw on some chocolate chips for good measure.

Ochazuke
We are still both under the weather so we thought ochazuke was in order. We also had a bunch of fresh broccolli that we wanted to use up, so this was slightly experimental. We have this pot that is a decent sized pot, and then there are steamer attachments that can fit onto the top without decreasing the capacity of the bottom. We cooked 1 1/2 cups of brown rice with 3 cups of water in the bottom section. To do this, put the stuff in the pot, heat it to boiling, put the lid on, then turn down to simmer. Brown rice (at least this brown rice) takes about 40 minutes to cook. I don't know why; white rice takes 20 minutes. While the rice was cooking, we prepared the broccolli and sliced a bunch of ginger into one of the steamer attachments. We didn't think the broccolli would take 40 minutes, so we waited until the rice had gone 20 minutes then put the steamer attachment on the pot and let it go 20 more minutes.

Then we put rice in a bowl, put broccolli on top, and added a couple of sour plums, furikake, and green tea. It worked out well, but the broccolli was still quite cruncy---we might try starting the broccolli at the same time as the rice if we do it again. The ginger ended up flavoring the rice because the steam hit it and dribbled back down into the rice pan, which was a nice touch. It was yummy, though. It made me feel less sick.

October 10 -- beans and rice
Tuesday, October 11, 2005, 05:14 PM - comfort food
menu
I had cold pizza for breakfast and I sort of forgot about lunch because I'm still feeling sick and napped all day. Dinner was plantains, beans, and rice.

recipe

Plantains, beans, and rice (you're on your own for cold pizza)
Dice plantains and cook them up with garlic in a pot. Add a can of beans. And add some rice... you're on your own for quantity; we eyeballed it. Fill the pot up with water so it covers the stuff in the pan by a couple of centimeters. Add seasoning... I think we started with cumin and paprika and decided to add a cajun seasoning blend to avoid thinking any further. Heat to boiling, put on a lid, and turn to low. Come back in 20 minutes and eat.


More Ochazuke
Wednesday, October 5, 2005, 07:24 PM - comfort food, flatbread, breakfast, sandwiches
Menu

I don't guess i'm getting off to a very good start here, what with having the same thing two nights in a row just as I start the blog. Then again, I am sick, so I have a good excuse. Today, for breakfast, I had leftover pancakes with peanut butter and jelly. For lunch, I had egg sludge sandwiches. I had some goldfish crackers for an afternoon snack. You can't beat goldfish crackers when you're sick. They have extremely high placebo value. For dinner we had ochazuke, but with broccolli added.

recipes

Leftover Pancakces
1. Have already made pancakes and leave them lying around in the fridge. Since I made the pancakes before I started the blog, I should elaborate.

Since the kitchen here in Albany is about the size of a walk-in closet, there isn't much storage space. That means making things out of boxes instead of making things from scratch. Yummy varieties of flour take up way more space than a little box of mix. Plus the mix means you don't have to have egg on hand, or flour, or baking soda, or milk. These things take space, not to mention the ability to foil the clever plots of egg-booby-trappers.

I wanted these pancakes to be versatile, so I made them more like crepes so that the leftovers could be stuffed with savory filling and covered with sauce some night. That hasn't happened yet, but it might if I get over this cold before the pancakes go away. For nice faux crepes, just add half again as much liquid to your pancake mix.

Preheat a frying pan to medium heat. coat the pan with butter or spray it or oil it or whatever you like. I use an 8-inch frying pan. It holds maybe a 1/4 cup of dough, poured in circles so that it thinly covers the bottom of the pan. I'm not 100% sure if it's a 1/4 cup, because i don't have a 1/4 measure. The 1/4 measure is in a flour canister in San Diego because it seemed convenient at a time... So I use a 1/3 cup measure and don't fill it all the way. I might use less than a 1/4 cup. Who knows? After the dough dries out (you can tell because the surface isn't shiny anymore) I flip it to cook the other side. Because it's thin the other side doesn't take very long. Then put the pancake on a plate and repeat the process until you're out of dough. Voila!

2. We used peanut butter and jelly because we had it on hand. I don't like syrup because it's too sweet. Sometimes I make a berry topping, but that's for another time.

Egg Sludge Sandwich
Egg Sludge is basically just egg salad, but with a cooler name. I don't make egg sludge. It scares me. It's yummy, but it scares me. Deep down, I know it involves mayonaise. Yuck! I can eat it as long as I don't see the mayonaise go in.

Your best bet is to woo someone who is willing to make egg sludge for you. I found mine wandering around in the rain several years ago and offered him a ride home. See how it payed off? He made me an egg sludge sandwich today and I didn't have to look at any mayonaise.

Ochazuke
We made extra rice yesterday because we felt like crap and thought we'd be in need of more comfort food. We made Ochazuke the same way as yesterday, but today we used broccolli instead of peas and carrots. We used up the furikake this time. Next time we're trying a different variety, which is almost identical except the ingredients come in different proportions.


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