Brand New Apartment, Brand New Life

New Apartment

This is a big step, for me, for him, for us. It’s extremely cliché; I know it. We signed a lease together and I’m going to write this post even though he’ll probably be embarrassed. However, since many of you out there don’t know who HE is, he can relax, knowing that the ones who do know won’t make fun of him for too long.
My man and I lived together for a few months out of necessity and, I’d have to wager, a bit of laziness on his part. Or, maybe it was his sneaky way of a test drive. Whatever it was, living together at my last place of abode led to us signing our first lease together about one month prior to this post. We’ve been officially moved-in together for about three weeks; I think it’s going well! We even had our first houseguests over, including one of our favorite couples ever over for a hilarious evening of food and wine. I made boeuf bourguignon a la Julia Child (because I can’t resist making a mention of her wonderful legacy) and he made the most wonderful salad. Of course, the walnuts were raw, yet still scrumptious because, as we discovered in media res, our oven wouldn’t heat up…

New Life

In other news, I’ve gotten what one can only call a promotion of sorts. It’s funny how getting a raise and promotion only means new (and more) work. At least that’s what I’ve observed in the movies! Ha! I’ve just gotten my first one of either sort. Although, I’m not sure if I can really say promotion, but my hours of work and play have dramatically changed and, as of this payday, so will the number of dollars in my direct deposit.

Looking Backward, Just for a moment

It’s amazing to think that it was three years ago to the day, I was fired from my first job in the city, for, essentially, not being trained properly. I still believe there were more motives than that at play, but who cares at this point? The only reason I even know that it happened is that I have a draft labeled March 22, 2014: “Being fired and moving on…Yes, I was just fired from my job yesterday.”

I’m not sure I even want to open the draft to read the rest…I can’t believe how different my life is now. I can’t believe that back then I could even begin to fathom that I was happy. I was not nearly as happy as I am now……

Took the time to read that draft. I’m amazed at how positive I was about being fired from a job I loved so much…Of course, that’s how my momma raised me!

As I watch Laura Calder…

My Day Goes By and the Leaves Grow…

I’m feeling relaxed and happy and satiated. Very full and content. None of the things happening in my life, none of the projects I have half-finished, none of the mean people, none if it worries me as I sit at my teeny tiny kitchen table and write this blog. My dreams of being a food writer/chef are simmering in the background as I make terrible food puns. I don’t even care right now about the fact that that probably wasn’t even a pun. I don’t know…
This relaxed, peaceful feeling is probably coming from my dinner because earlier today I was worrying about whether a decision to go shop for much-needed new jeans was a foolish one or not. I purhased some really cute items that I think I will actually wear, but it was a LOT of money that I should’ve saved for more important purchases. Like my plane ticket to my college roommate’s wedding in May, or my gas for my trip home for Easter (to be fair, I hadn’t planned on heading home at all over spring break), or even just for groceries for next month. Monetary concerns are fairly important when you’re living on loans…But I’m pretty confident that I’m going to get hired somewhere quite soon. So the clothes were necessary so I don’t feel gross wearing the same pair of jeans every day. Because, yeah, I was there. All my other jeans were flare-bottoms or ripped in the crotch and cut up into shorts. So I’m set for summer’s heat, but not so much for winter and spring’s cold.

As I sit here now, I think about the episode of French Food at Home that I just watched: “Slow Food“. I love themes like that because well, who wants to eat McDonald’s on a daily basis? Or even Mac ‘N’ Cheese or what have you. NOT ME! I like to cook, regardless of the time it takes. I know what’s going into my meals, and I can decide how healthy or unhealthy I make each part of my dinner. I still crave pizza or a McDouble once in a while, but it feels more like fast food used to be: a treat! I remember my mom used to tell me that when she was a kid, McDonald’s was a mini-roadtrip! Of course that’s probably because distances and times are radically different to a child than they are to an adult, but she just meant that it was a once-in-a-blue-moon type of treat. And why wouldn’t it be, when my grandmother is such a great cook…I wonder sometimes if my Omi (that’s grandma in German) always had a knack for meats and vegetables…

My delectable dinner was just fried chicken legs with milk gravy and some grilled vegetables. But it was goooooooooood! I think the chicken leg made all the difference: they’re much juicer at the end of cooking than chicken breasts tend to be. Also, I didn’t worry about them being fully cooked, (though they were, don’t worry) so they came out perfectly done instead of dry and overcooked. I’m having good luck with chicken legs. I just fried it in coconut oil then finished it by baking it for ~20 minutes in a 375-degree oven. The gravy was a flour fried in butter then add seasoned milk (cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt, black pepper) til the right consistency is achieved type of deal. So pretty simple, but awesome-tasting.fried Drumstick, grilled vegetable medley IMG_0427
The vegetables were the real miracle of dinner. I had some leeks in the refrigerator that I was worried might go bad soon, so I sliced them up into long strips and then did the same to a bit of white onion. Starting with some of the coconut oil I’d fried the chicken in, I fried the onions, the the asparagus I’d cut into small pieces. Then to top off the ensemble, I put in some grape tomatoes at the end just to warm them up a bit, really. I salted, peppered, plated, photographed.
Oh boy, did I ever enjoy!

Just as an aside…Can I mention how foolish my chef’s uniform du jour was for frying chicken:

what was I thinkin?
what was I thinkin? Originally my outfit did NOT include my apron…

I Need To Buy Parmesan and Other Reliable Facts

Garlicky Creamy Pasta Sauce, Chicken and Asparagus

Pasta Sauce and Tenderness

I don’t know how it gets to be so, but cooking really is therapeutic. I can have the crappiest day ever and it will always be better after I’ve cooked. I guess it helps knowing that recipes are easily found and easy to follow. Mostly the easily found part. It never fails that I can pick something to make for dinner if I look for a few minutes at a cookbook or my Pinterest food board!

Tonight though, I used my old standby, Supercook.com, to pick out a recipe. It was a simple garlicky cream pasta sauce. The blog the recipe was on even recommended accompaniments to pair with the pasta. So I made chicken and a green vegetable just as recommended, although I had asparagus, not kale in my refrigerator.

And though my sauce could have used perhaps more salt, and definitely the parmesan cheese I was missing, my chicken, and the asparagus turned out to be just what I’d hoped. Filling and delectable. I have to say that no, I did not eat all the chicken I put on the plate for the pictures. But I thought it would look better to have two pieces. And who the hell cares if I DO do that and then refrigerate the uneaten piece for leftovers? I certainly don’t! I’m going to make a salad with it, and my pecans and dried cranberries.

I have a 1lb box of baby greens in the fridge and I plan to eat ALL of it before it goes bad. So I’m having fruit and vegetable smoothies and salads all month long. Actually, probably only for the next two weeks…because vegetables don’t tend to stay crisp very long in my experience. But I’m going to feel healthy as hell because of it, don’t you think?

I’m still thinking of making some sort of dessert for tonight/this weekend because I have a can of sweetened condensed milk in my cupboard that’s been winking at me trying to get me to boil it for a caramel dip for the apples it’s sitting beside.

Persian Poached Eggs

Persion Poached Eggs
Persian Poached Eggs

What I wrote last night:
I’m making a strange, oven-baked, banana-slice-filled pancake this weekend. I have two very much too overripe bananas that I have no intention of eating plain, nor of making smoothies with them, since I don’t have any other fruit except a lemon. I was going to make banana bread, but I don’t have brown sugar and I’m trying not to spend any more money this month, at least, not on non-necessary foods like brown sugar. Of course, this means that I will be drinking coffee with only milk. More likely, not at all since the reason I use brown sugar is that black coffee is too bitter and regular sugar just doesn’t cut it.
I wish my mom were here for this recipe because we used to make this thing my childhood recipe book called ”big fluffy pancakes” (also known as German Pancakes), which I’m sure this recipe is similar to, except that that old recipe was not filled, but topped with fruit. Usually berries and whipped cream. I never even liked it all that much except for the fluffy part. The flavor was too eggy for me as a youngin. It looked cool though. However, I, like Julie Powell, have never really liked eggs much. I eat them occasionally because they always look really neat when you fry or poach them.
Anyway, for dinner tonight I’m probably going to make some sort of chicken…I’m not sure, but it’s either that or more quinoa, which I’m not excited about lately…
2/23/13 aka tonight:
Last night for dinner, I ended up making my roommate and me “Persian poached eggs” which, while freakin delicious, I yet again slightly failed on the execution. I did almost everything right in the instructions except I let them sit on the heat for too long. Thus, my eggs did not break open and run all over the beautiful tomato-y garlic and onion mish mash. They were medium, aka soft, but not at all runny, almost hard….but they looked beautiful on the outside, and I ended up not minding the fact that I had overcooked my eggs once again. Because even though they didn’t run and get all over the spaghetti and tomato-y garlic and onion mish mash, they were yummy. Moreover, my roomie liked the dish (or at least pretended to), so I was happy.
And I’m sorry to say, I didn’t photograph the meal because I didn’t want to look like an idiot…though I’m sure in hindsight that C. probably wouldn’t have batted an eyelash…as she is a blogger/etsy shop owner herself.

Chicken Fried Chicken, Gravy and Fried Asparagus

Earlier in the evening:
I have found a recipe for chicken fried chicken tonight. I do not know how to make gravy, but I suppose I will find a recipe for that too. I have no idea why, but the recipe really just sounds yummy…I’m not sure if that’s something a normal 22 year old makes for dinner when she doesn’t have a man to feed (mine is back home in Sacramento), but why do I need an excuse to make something delicious? Women need to eat too, and the way to my heart isn’t flowers and chocolates, as my boyfriend found out this Valentine’s Day.
We had a wonderful day exploring the Embarcadero, which I haven’t done in the five months I’ve lived in this huge city because, hey, I’m busy, ok? Graduate work is not like undergraduate work. There is much more reading to skip out on and it is a lot harder to fake being knowledgeable in graduate school! But I digress, the way to my heart is exploring new places, buying French bread rolls and butter and eating it on a park bench and then enjoying a delicious plate of Tandoori chicken (my boyfriend isn’t very adventurous) and Tawa Scallops (?) (soooo soo good).
It’s a lot easier to just write for a personal blog than when you’re engaged to write for an internship. I wrote the previous two paragraphs in five minutes because I had something to say, whilst it would take me an hour to scrounge up something halfway decent for my internship. This is probably because I’m not quite busy yet this semester, and probably also because I was so burnt out on writing about literature that I couldn’t think about the books I was already reading in class. Also, I was compelled to find an angle on literature that made my articles relevant to current events, etc.

Later the same evening:
As I sit here drinking white zinfandel, I think back on my dinner-making experience of the night. And I realized that there a few things in life as exhilarating as making a recipe correctly, nor as disappointing as wasting food by preparing it incorrectly. Tonight, I rocked it! And sadly, had nobody to share it with, as my roommate is a vegan…but we talked about it while we were both in the kitchen making our respective dinners, which is always an enjoyable moment for me. She has not always been a vegan, and my guess is, will not remain one for the rest of her life. Most people don’t. It gets to be too difficult when you are older. Though in modern times, I suppose that it will be easier to remain vegan with all of the food-products that are becoming popular for non-meat-eaters.
Anyway, my chicken fried chicken (I used Coconut oil instead of lard) was delicious, and my accompanying milk-gravy turned out rather well, if a little too thick and flavor lacking. It was definitely gravy this time. last time I made gravy—and my boyfriend will attest to this fact—it was just…bad… though it had more flavor, being made from I think bacon juices, it was not in fact gravy by the end….I think I failed to add enough milk to it. However, I was guessing that time, and this time I watched a YouTube video on it and had a real recipe to boot! Oh, and I mustn’t forget to mention my fried Asparagus. It too was delicious! Just heat a little olive oil in a pan, add the asparagus, et voila! it tastes perfect, although it could have gone a little while longer for more tenderness.

Chicken Fried Chicken
Chicken Fried Chicken

http://www.food.com/recipe/chicken-fried-chicken-240118?scaleto=1&mode=null&st=true