Grains, grains, and more grains

First, I finished off the kasha and quinoa.

Then the excess bread.

Now, the rice is gone too.

Here’s how it happened.

Neither kasha nor qunioa are native to my homeland – or my pantry. However, they were both called upon in recipes and had been hanging around in the back of my cupboard – far in the back, behind the sprinkles and icing – ever since. They probably thought they were getting thrown out, but I had other plans.

To clean them out of the pantry, I found a recipe that called for quinoa – more quinoa than I had on hand. So kasha filled in as excess quinoa, and no one knew it was a mixed marriage of grains. Though the combo did leave me craving Bubby’s Kashie

Quinoa & Kale Salad: Spicy, sweet, and peanut buttered

[based on a true recipe which is Thai and doesn’t involve kale]

1 c uncooked quinoa and kasha
1 3/4 c water or vegetable stock
2 carrots, sliced
1 to 2 heads of kale [the real recipe doesn’t call for kale. I thought it did and purchased some accordingly. Rather, I tried to purchase some but the signage was unclear. I might have purchased collard greens instead. However, hearty lettuces are all interchangeable. Don’t worry about it; I didn’t.]
2 scallions, minced
2 coloured peppers
3 handfuls of peanuts; ie, whatever is left in the cupboard

Dressing:
3 tsp peanut butter
3 tbsp sriracha sauce
3 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp water
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp lemon juice [there’s so much of this in the fridge, it might never get finished. Hope the new roommates enjoy a healthy dose of lemon juice]
1/2 tsp ground ginger

In a pot, combine the quinoa, kasha, water, carrots, and kale/collard greens. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

In a teflon-coated pan, melt peanut butter. Beat in the remaining dressing ingredients.

Mix grains with scallions and peppers. Pour dressing in, and integrate. Garnish with peanuts and present with pleasure.

 

As for those other grains – the bread and rice – they became Stuffing and 1-2-3 Rice Salad. Excellent as usual.

It appears that neither of those recipes have immigrated from the soon-be-defunct googlereader to the blog. Here they are – better than ever:

Bubby’s Stuffing

Old bread (half a freezer full, or thereabouts)
3 onions, chopped
7 cloves of garlic, minced
2 eggs
oil
salt
pepper
basil
oregano

soften bread in water. Squeeze out water and crumble soften bread into a bowl, mix in 2 eggs. Sautee onions and garlic with oil – use twice more than you usually would. Mix sauteed onions and garlic with bread, stir in salt, pepper, basil and oregano to taste. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

For the total Bubby treatment ball the mixture and voile – stuffing as it was meant to be eaten at Bubby’s table. 

For the rice salad that can’t be beat – also known as Dad’s Signature Dish when made with barley –

 1-2-3 Rice Salad 

Dressing:
1 tbsp tamari/soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp oil
1 clove garlic, minced

Salad:
2 cups of cooked rice
1 carrot, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tsp chives or parsley

optionally
1/4 cup of nuts, chopped
1/2 can chickpeas

Mix the dressing and allow to sit for 1/2 hour.

Mix the rest of the salad and dress.

Dad’s Note: The salad is flexible, and adaptable to all sorts of ingredients. Also great for green salads and as sauce for fish. 

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Eating Up the Pantry

At T minus 20 days till the move my pantry was bursting. All two shelves were overflowing – cans would fall every time I opened the cabinet door. And aside from those shelves, I had bags of flour and cans of beans stashed around the kitchen.  and under my bed. There was a lot of food. Including:

Dried and canned beans

Whole-wheat flour

White flour

Molasses

Brown sugar and Powered sugar

Oats

Kashi

Quinoa

Bread, bread, and more bread

3 kinds of vinegar

etc.

Flash forward to T minus 7 days and the pantry is 2/3 gone. Vanished. Eaten. Making a dish out of disparate ingredients is a gift, and I just might have it. Though apparently there’s a website that will do that for you, so if you have an internet connection it’s probably your gift too.

I’ll tell you how I did it. But first, I should note that my food stash, eaten up, it larger than my roommates’. Which is due in small part to the fact that the roommates don’t eat much, but mainly because I shop as though the end is nigh. For me and this apartment, it is.  So now is the time to stop shopping.

Recipe Box: To pack or to pitch?

I’m moving. But before that can happen, I have to pack. I’m refuse to pack everything, so things must go. One of those things might be my Bubby’s recipe box.

To pack or to pitch?

To pack or to pitch?

Before you protest, let me explain that Bubby had double or triple copies of most of the recipes she used – and she still dictated them to me for my files. So it’s not a matter of losing her cooking. It’s an issue of figuring out which recipes in the box she used and which she kept in hopes that, one day, she’d be called upon to make Lemon Angel Halos.

This, I believe Bubby made. And maybe once I'm in the new kitchen, I will too.

This, I believe Bubby made. And maybe once I’m in the new kitchen, I will too.

I wasn’t kidding about the Lemon Angel Halos.

Given that Bubby didn't cook with sugar, I can't imagine how this got into the box.

Given that Bubby didn’t cook with sugar, I can’t imagine how this got into the box.

I have no intention of making those cookies. But that coupon at the bottom looks like it has potential –

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– except that it expired May 21, 1954. What a pity.

I need my ד אמות

Being short comes with a variety of problems. I can’t change lighbulbs. On subway cars with hanging straps, I can’t be a proper strap hanger. Even worse, some people interpret my height to mean I don’t need any personal space, and crowd in on me. And of course, people make fun of me.

Last week a coworker who does respect my personal space, if not my time, was busy coming up with short-people nicknames for me. He wandered from his desk still talking it out, and then returned and eyed me suspiciously. “I shouldn’t expect a call from HR, should I?” And I suddenly remembered what my mother told me.

At the local library, where I worked in highschool, a fellow staffer was the worst offender to my personal space policy. When he wanted to speak to me he’d come so close that he was practically standing on me. Our conversations – rather, his rants – were punctuated by me swiveling a book cart to block him, and him pivoting around it. When that didn’t work I’d suggested that the biographies were looking overrun or that the paperbacks were threatening to overflow. Usually, that did the trick.

Thankfully, I got a break from all that during holidays. When I came back after Peasch, I was hoping that my personal space would be restored. I managed to load my cart with books and started shelving before my coworker realized I’d returned. He saw me sitting on the floor in the business section, and came over to greet my joyously. He crouched down next to me and asked how I’d been – draping himself over me in a hug. I grimaced. Then he sat down, and proceeded to ask me about my life and tell me about his until I convinced him that Miss Susan in the Children’s Room really needed his help. Finally, he left me and the business books in peace.

A while later, the incident came up in a conversation with my mom; she asked why I hadn’t filed a harassment complain. I’d assumed that my preference for a football field-sized personal space wasn’t enough to validate a complain of any sort. “Any unwanted touch is harassment,” she replied.

I filed that away for later use. Which was last week.

When my current coworker started asking about my ability to take a joke, I smiled. “As long as you don’t hug me, I have no complaint.”

“What?” he replied in confusion.

Uninterested in explaining, I summarized “I don’t like hugs.”

“What?” he asked, this time offended.

“I don’t like hugs,” I enunciated clearly.

“What are you?” he asked. “A cyborg? A robot? Everyone likes hugs.”

I laughed for so long at his interpretation that he was gone – off to share the gossip that I don’t like hugs – by the time I could breath enough to explain. So it looks like I better started learning to dance the robot because I just earned myself a reputation as a cyborg.

Precedence

A classic case of precedence:
Rock crushes scissors.
Scissors cuts paper.
Paper cover rock.
Not a classic case of precedence:
Wedding Shower
Wedding
Baby Shower
What to do? Follow me.
Deal Breaker: Weddings.
Weddings trump shower, as active participation rather than mailable gifts is the reason for your presence. Also, weddings are the perfect excuse. Those who invited you to the bridal shower would unquestionably prefer that you attend their wedding than someone else’s bridal shower; presumably those pregnant have the same fond hope and/or recollection of their own nuptials.
Now the point of contention – the showers. Baby shower beats bridal shower. This is when external factors come into play: when your invitation was received, with whom you share more friends, which might miss your presence, who will need you to create the illusion of a large and vibrant crowd. Most importantly, which is more fun.
Rule of thumb: baby showers are fun, and filled with people who don’t know a thing about child care. These are people who need your help. Once they and their friends have had a few kids, the parties tapper off – in the meanwhile enjoy the goofy gifts from others and make sure the first-time mom has a starter kit of diapers and pacifiers.
Alternatively, there is a solution which involves no thought at all – close the blinds, lock the door, and stay home.

Trust the Hairdresser

My coworkers are a quiet bunch. But when something big happens – someone stars on a game-show, has a baby, or gets an extreme hair-cut – you compliment them. So recently, I expressed admiration for someone’s newly shingled haircut. My coworkerly duty complete, I started to walk away. She launched into a story.

Her: Yeah, I just got it cut. But then I went back and my hairdresser asked if I wanted to cut it short, and I said yeah.

Me, surprised that a conversation just started: Well, it came out well.

Her, brushing aside her bangs: I had the same cut three years ago. This time, when she was cutting it, I thought she was cutting it too short. So I started yelling at her ‘No! It’s too short!’

I tried to look sympathetic. She continued, embarrassed: She told me to stop talking and let her do her job. The coworker played with the tips of she hair and admitted: She was right.

Me: Wow. You must have a lot of faith in her.

Her: I’ve been seeing her since…I’ve known her longer than my husband.

Now that was an unexpected conversation.