February 4, 2010, 11:39 am
Filed under: Life

Over the past month, I was interning in DC again. Unlike the summer when I was in a dorm, this time I had a room in a condo with a real kitchen. That made the eating situation marginally better, but still not great. Not a lot of spices to work with, no pantry stash, and cooking for one. I basically cooked 4 times while I was there – one big meal that I would eat leftovers from all week long. And because I couldn’t make anything too complicated, the meals were really boring:

– Pasta w/sauce of tomatoes, onion, garlic, spinach, blue cheese
– broccoli chicken rice casserole thing
– pasta w/jar sauce
– frozen veggie burgers w/turkey bacon & the rest of the blue cheese

Breakfast was cereal or toast, lunch was always boring homemade sandwiches. The rest of the dinners were filled in by eating out, or my bosses taking me out for happy hour and I’d fill up on the cheap happy hour food.

By the time I got home, I just wanted to be back in my own kitchen and make a real dinner. But I was home for almost a week before I got that chance. Groceries were low and we were eating out for the first few days*. My palate was tired from over a month of restaurants and processed foods. (We were traveling around in December as well) When Brian asked me where I wanted to go for dinner the other night, I really just wanted a home cooked meal.

Finally made it to the grocery store. Last night’s dinner, my first self-cooked, real meal of 2010. It wasn’t very elaborate: frozen cheese tortellini w/lima bean sauce, roasted carrots. The lima bean sauce is interesting – lima (or fava) beans simmered w/stock, thyme, and a few spoonfuls of cooked rice. Then pureed and grated parm is stirred in. Recipe is from Food 2.0, a cookbook that I love in theory, but for some reason never cook from.

I served it with roasted carrots. This was the first time I ever tried roasting carrots. Probably the first time even serving carrots as a side dish because I used to think I hated cooked carrots. (But I always ate them if they were covered in demiglace next to a steak, lol) Anyway these were awesome. They were farmers’ market carrots, so they were already very sweet – they made the kitchen smell all sweet when I was cutting them. I just cut them into chunks, tossed them in a tiny bit of oil, roasted for 15 mins while I cooked the rest of the dinner, and sprinkled parsley & sea salt on top. SO good.

Tonight, I have a craving for bibimbap but I can’t find that sauce anywhere – you know, that magical smoky stuff  they give you on the side that transforms a bowl of rice & vegetables into the best hangover cure ever. I’m going to marinate tofu in some bottled “Korean BBQ Sauce” that I found from Whole Foods, throw it together with the last of the carrots and frozen spinach for a korean-inspired rice bowl. I’m so happy to be back!

** One of our regular Providence restaurants had a special: head cheese tacos. A rectangle of head cheese, battered & deep-fried, in a taco. Brian ordered it and I had a few bites, but only after I worked myself up. It was actually good. (good thing it’s dark in there so you can’t see what the head cheese looks likes) We found out that the place made the headcheese themselves.
** Also, we visited my mom the day after I got back and she made a Lao chicken soup with thick udon-type noodles. The noodles (homemade; my job was to slice them) are made with starchy tapioca and rice flour. When you cook them in the soup, the starch from the noodles turns the clear chicken broth into a thick porridgy stew. (oh look, found a picture)


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