Friday, August 6, 2010


Last night, I didn't post because we ended up going out to dinner at Charlie's Kitchen with some quizbowl acquaintences, where I had a vegetarian reuben. The concept sounds off-putting, but it turns out that when you combine high-quality fake meat--none of this Boca Burger dross, if you please!--with the awesomeness that is grilled rye (with, I suspect, a lot of butter), cheese, sauerkraut, and mustard, you get a delicious sandwich. Plus, there were fries on the side. I haven't had a meal so unhealthful and greasy in a long time. It felt really good and really bad all at once to chow down on that sandwich.

Earlier in the day, I had made, for said acquaintances, two varieties of cookie: chocolate with peanut butter chips and matcha shortbreads. The chocolate with peanut butter chips were good--although the dough, annoyingly, was so runny that it had to be refrigerated before baking, so I think I'll choose a different dough to spruce up with peanut butter chips next time--and the matcha shortbreads were as well, but I was disappointed because the latter had the potential to be great. They were a little too strong in the matcha department. While making the cookies, I saw that they called for two tablespoons of matcha (to a two-sticks-of-butter recipe) and was dubious, but since it was the first time I'd made matcha cookies, I didn't try to change things right away. Shortbread relies on a dominant buttery flavor for its goodness, and it treads a fine line between crumbly and chalky. The matcha was both so strong and so powdery that it both eclipsed the buttery flavor to an unreasonable degree and put the cookies a little too close to chalky. I'd reduce the matcha by as much as half next time in order to restore this balance.

Now, all unknowing that we'd be eating out, I prepared a marinated (in red wine vinegar with a bit of sugar, salt and pepper, and a squirt of lemon juice) salad of chopped Swiss chard, kidney beans, and thinly sliced red onions and baked Andy's rosemary garlic bread. We had most of that for lunch today, and Andy is making good headway on polishing off the loaf (now it's gone. I did not photograph it or the salad, which I assure you was quite pretty.). For dinner, in the interests of cook-this-before-the-produce-spoils, I made Ethiopian green beans and potatoes with misr wat, or lentil stew. Berbere is one of my favorite spice blends, and one of the few that I'm committed to buying instead of making. This is eminently good, wholesome food. I swear, if the bread-salad-cheese option were removed, I could live on lentils, potatoes, and green beans.

The last of the tomatoes we bought spoiled Wednesday (after just four days, which seems odd to me), and all I had was a very large can of tomatoes, so I just used tomato paste, of which I had an appropriate amount, for both dishes, to no discernible ill effects.

I would now like to note that after either tomorrow or Sunday, I'm no longer going to be making planned meals, since I'll be busy packing for medical school and trying to get rid of ingredients rather than pursue new ones. The blog may suffer accordingly.

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