I have developed a serious eating out addiction, internet. It’s really bad. I’d guesstimate that out of the last two, maybe three months, I’ve either ordered in or gotten takeout about 15-20 days out of every month.
I could technically look and figure it out, but I’m a little scared to.
If you consider an average cost of 15 bucks a meal (which, let’s be honest, is probably less than what it actually is), I’m spending anywhere from $225 to $300 every month on takeaway. On top of that, I go grocery shopping for snacks and things about every week, so I’m probably spending…
You know what? Let’s not. I have a problem, I’ve identified the problem. Let’s not overanalyze the problem.
The top culprit here has been Asian food. Any type. Sushi, Thai, Chinese. We have a killer new Szechuan type restaurant that makes this amazing fried rice and I. Crave. It.
But it needs to stop. So I’m making a list of new recipes and forcing myself to bring lunch to work. Even if it’s a ham sandwich.
The sad thing is I love to cook, but I’ve become very good at telling myself I don’t have time to cook.
Which, given the amount of time I spend on Buzzfeed these days, is technically true.
Any good recipe ideas, internet?
So yesterday I kind of… failed.
I blame Captain Apollo for offering to drive me home and everyone else for making me finish their drinks because they were driving home. No harm done, however, as I had today off and just woke up from a five hour post-turkey-sandwich nap / coma / hangover cure.
Drinking is bad, kids. Don’t do it.
At any rate, last night Mi Madre and I had a random hodgepodge of people over for the best holiday in the land (aka Thanksgiving), including but not limited to several coworkers, Captain Apollo, a Random Canadian Friend, and another dog. Because three animals in one household is not enough animals. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get any particularly competent pictures of the food, because wine is a thing, however, my mother made us a heroic feast including basically eighty different dishes (okay, seven), and we ended up with four (!!!) different pies (which is, frankly, just an irresponsible number of pies).
And then today I just put all of it together on a sandwich, because Thanksgiving leftovers are the best part.
Om nom nom.
My manager K asked me to write a blog for work today about eating locally, and since I haven’t written anything else / am lazy / haven’t specifically been told not to, I’m posting it up here for you, internet.
With the nation’s recent push to eat healthy, organic, and local food, there have been a lot of questions popping up about why and how to begin eating better.
Eating locally on a regular basis can initially seem daunting, but for those who are interested in investing in the local economy, reaping the nutritional benefits of fresh food, and enjoying the incredible variety that local farms often experiment with, there are a couple easy ways to get started.
The easiest way to eat locally is to find a local restaurant that sources from farms in the area. A lot of these restaurants have the producers they use listed either on the menu or in the restaurant somewhere. Some even break down every menu item by where the ingredients come from. By eating at a restaurant that uses local ingredients, you know you’re not only getting the best produce available, but you’re supporting the local economy.
Looking for something even more committed? Try thinking of five items in your pantry you can swap out with local products every week. Love lettuces? Instead of buying a bag from the supermarket, grab a fresh bunch from a farmer’s market or farm stand. Even if it’s winter, you can still source eggs, dairy, meats, honey and bread locally, as well as preserved foods like jams and garlic braids. If you start looking around, you’d be surprised how many things you find right in your neighborhood!
For the hardcore local lovers, a CSA is absolutely the way to go, but you should do a little shopping around before you buy. There are generally a ton of different options, from U-pick CSAs to pay-as-you-go plans, so you should think about what best serves your needs before you put down $200 on a giant haul you’ll never finish.
Whatever your plans and goals are for eating locally, every little bit counts! Try fitting local products into your lifestyle and see what works for you!
In the beginning of September, I signed myself up for a month-long Locavore challenge and pledged to eat only local food for all of September.
Yesterday, I almost succeeded in eating an entire meal made of local things.
Baby steps, people.
Varenka and I went apple picking yesterday, and it was amazing.
Look at this butternut squash:
Look at these apples:
Look at me artistically frolicking in the sunflowers:
Whilst at the farm, Varenka and I stumbled on some adorable little eggplants, and we decided to eat local for dinner.
Had we not found hummus and artichoke hearts in the fridge, we would have made it, too.
This is what we made:
The (Mostly) Locavorian
Goat cheese (optional)
1. Either grill the eggplant rounds or brown in a pan with a little olive oil until soft and semi-transluscent with a brown sear. Drizzle with olive oil.
2. Grill or toast the ciabatta.
3. Cut the tomatoes into rounds.
4. Spread hummus onto the ciabatta and put the other stuff on it and eat it. I don’t need to babysit you guys. You can build a damn sandwich.
5. Serve with mulled hot cider spiked with Jameson. Or whatever you’re into.
7. Live life and prosper.
I don’t think I can stress enough how stunningly beautiful the wine country in Niagara is. I mean, wine country in general is stunningly beautiful, but seriously, it’s glorious here (although perhaps I’m a bit biased, being Canadian and all).
The fun thing about the Niagara region as compared to Napa or the Fingerlakes or Spain or whatever is that Niagara just sort of plopped a bunch of cineyards and orchards smack in the middle of a residential neighbourhood. There’s a few areas of long, sprawling rows of grapes, but a lot of the time you’ll see vines that are straddling a typical Canadian house with a front yard full of statuary.
(I did try to take a picture, but at that point I was already several glasses of wine deep and we were in the car. Google it or something).
Strewn Winery is sort of in the middle of this chaos, and mi familia and I ended up there at 10 in the morning to take a cooking class.
As it turns out, although mi familia is composed of excellent cooks, we are collectively pretty awful at cooking school.
Well no, that’s not fair. The women in my family are rebel troublemakers.
We made it well enough through the plum platz cake, besides the fact that apparently I mixed the dough wrong and you’re supposed to smush it instead of kneading it (although to be honest I couldn’t tell the difference), and my dear grandpere added about half a bottle of maple syrup to it instead of half a cup.
The trouble started when we attempted to make veggie fresh rolls with rice paper wrap. The poor cooking lady held up a limp wet rice wrapper and asked us what we thought it looked like, and my gran went into hysterics because she thought it looked like a condom (it was supposed to look like a wet paper towel so she could make a lame joke about wringing it out. It did not).
Then our timer went off for our cake, and when Mamma Mia went to check on it, she got a stern talking to about opening the oven.
When we made our mint dressing for our salads, my gran cut too much mint.
I apparently turned the chicken over too many times.
Honestly, we are rabblerousers.
Things luckily smoothed out as everyone drank more wine, but not before I snuck some contraband mint into our sweet potatoes.
Rebellion is apparently in my blood.
It’s understood within the tourism business that you are supposed to give your unbiased opinion on restaurants, hotels, and wineries. You’re supposed to share the love equally. Sure, if someone asks for an expensive upscale bed and breakfast in such and such a location, you can narrow it down. If they want duck confit served with herbed mashed potatoes and their’s only one restaurant in town that serves that, you’re allowed to direct them there.
But good gracious it’s hard.
I was recently allocated the task of refreshing the listings on the website. All quadrillion of them. No biggie (kind of a biggie. Actually, a huge biggie. But whatever).
I’m currently working on the pizzerias in town and IT IS SO HARD not to have an option on them. My close friends and family know that in the real world, outside of work, I do have a very biased opinion about the pizza in town. Very biased. As in I only go to one pizza place in town, because it is so clearly superior to the other ones that frankly, the fact that there is even a modicum of doubt as to which is the best pizzeria in town is, frankly, shocking.
(Okay, full disclosure, there are two pizza places I really like in town, but one of them has the extreme advantage of me not having worked there ever, so when I go in to get a slice I don’t have to make awkward small talk with the owner about how much better my life is now).
Anyways, I just finished a very neutral-positive review of my favorite pizzeria, and I’m feeling incredibly unfulfilled. So here’s the review I’d have liked to write them.
THE PIZZERIA IN THE-PLACE-THAT-I-LIVE
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A TASTE EXPLOSION?
WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR MOUTH PARTS TO BE FILLED WITH THE SENSORY DELIGHT THAT SOME PIONS WOULD DESCRIBE AS ‘PIZZA’?
Are you trying to have an experience that will leave you craving this pizza for the rest of all time?
Because this fucking pizza right here is not fucking around.
Are you into sauce? Are you into cheese? Are you into a crust so thin and crispy that you could shank somebody with flavor?
Visit the pizzeria that the angels sing about. Octo-beyonce will figuratively sing you a love ballad about this pizza as you eat it. The fresh, flavorful sauce will caress your tongue with a tomato lullaby. The delicately melted cheese might give you a back massage and get rid of some of the tension in your shoulders.
Get some, you fool. Time travel your ass back to the past and eat this pizza as a child because you have been missing out for way too long.
I’m using a writing prompt today from this randomness I found online: 501 Writing Prompts.
Describe a vegetable that you truly dislike.
(A little backstory – I’m sitting out on Gallifrey’s porch with Varenka and reading from this list of prompts aloud and when I read that one she said “Oh god, do that one and write about your love-hate relationship with asparagus” and I went “Love-hate?” and she went “Hate-hate.”)
I loathe asparagus.
Okay, maybe not loathe. I loathe Hitler and Stalin and people who starve puppies.
I have, at best, a complicated relationship with asparagus.
When I was a small child, I was very gullible (okay, I’m still very gullible, but slightly less so).
My aunt once told me sharks lived in Lake Erie and I didn’t go swimming for a week. My aunt also once told me that if I hung upside down from my closet rod, I’d grow faster. Also that your ears bleed a lot when you get them pierced.
Actually, come to think about it, it was mostly my aunt who preyed upon my naiveté.
However, in this particular story, it was my American Grandfather who told me that asparagus spears were so named because if you ate them at the wrong angle they would stick in your throat and you would die a horrible painful death.
My family, ladies and gentlemen.
Anyways, since then I haven’t touched the stuff. I think partly because my grandfather psychologically scarred me and partly because asparagus is the devil.