Sitting here in my apartment on yet another 98 degree day, waiting until the sun goes down and work is over so I can get out for walk. I had an entire entry written, including a recipe and all, but my 2015 piece of shit Chromebook refused to let me publish it when I tried hitting “Publish,” and then also deleted the entire entry, even though I had repeatedly saved it as I worked on it. So here I am, retyping it all… convinced the first version was the best and this won’t be as good as what I originally composed, since I am now angry and hurried. I make more money than I used to, and still can’t seem to justify buying a new $1,500 MacBook. So, I will continue to use this ChromeBook, a relic of 2015, a piece of technology that does me dirty every time I use it.
I am on a mission to lose 10 lbs. over the next five weeks, prior to my vacation. I WILL WEAR SHORTS and I WILL WEAR SUNDRESSES like a normal human – like a normal, average American woman – if it is the last thing I do. I am tired of hiding my lower body in black jeans on hot summer days, and I am taking action and holding myself personally accountable. I will reduce the size of my legs, and I will wear shorts with confidence.
I choose to focus on this seemingly attainable goal, since I am unable to control the political climate of this country, global warming, all of the helpless, homeless and sick animals I see on the streets of my neighborhood, and the out-of-control shootings and stabbings that happen daily here in NYC and also throughout the nation. I can only control myself. And so, I help sick animals when I see them, try not to buy single-use plastics, recycle, and try my hardest not to eat meat, which is easy to do here, but impossible to do when I visit my parents upstate, and now, I will try to lose 10 lbs. I can’t control the war raging in Ukraine, I cannot control the crimes committed in Myanmar by the national army (which I made the mistake of reading about yesterday), but by God I can call for help if I see a sick cat suffering on the street, and I can control the circumference of these thighs.
My neighborhood is trash… literally. Covered in trash and the people are trash. They get pets they don’t spay/neuter and then kick them to the curb when they get pregnant or, in the case of a male cat, start spraying. I wish I could abuse people the way they abuse animals. The sidewalks are a mean place around these parts, and the summer heat makes the psychos that walk these streets even more psychotic. I worry that I will die at the hands of a psycho due to gun violence or stabbing before I have the chance to get out of this God forsaken city. It is a legitimate fear. My fear of climate change that I cannot control is a daily undercurrent to all of my other activities and thoughts. Even when I am working or busy these days, I cannot stop thinking about how fucked the future of this planet is. There is nothing I can do though, apart from hold myself accountable for my own actions. I cannot control the people I encounter on the street though – and there are more crazies than ever before.
I want to leave this country, but mostly, I want to leave this city forever. I fantasize about going to Italy and not returning. Maybe we can buy a small property in Tuscany, and I can work remotely from another time-zone. Who has to know? Better yet, I would quit my job and just work on restoring the property and promoting it as a retreat and establishing a small farm-to-table restaurant. I can’t stay here any longer. Me and NYC are done. It has nothing left to offer me.
I wrote a recipe in my last entry that was deleted before I could publish, and now, I am too lazy to re-write it. Sorry. Here is a picture of the ingredients that I bought at Eataly though, and also a picture of my finished pasta dish:
You can use your imagination and the picture of my ingredients above as a reference point if you want to make something similar.
Apparently I can’t add captions to photos anymore… either that or the ChromeBook from 2015 that I use to write these posts hasn’t allowed for whatever updates I need to write captions, due to a software upgrade. Just another aspect of my existence that’s fallen behind the times and cannot be updated due to lack of funds. It’s whatever… I’ll spend the rest of my life using my discretionary income to buy birthday presents, help street cats, and buy wedding shower gifts for people while I remain struggling and wearing clothes from Poshmark and Forever21 (remember when I vowed to stop buying fast fashion? Yeah… If I made more money, maybe I could have kept that vow). It’s a fate I’ve come to accept. This is my purpose on life… to stay poor and serve others.
I’ll never own a house, I’ll never have kids (largely because I don’t want kids, but I also can’t afford them), and probably never get married at this rate. If I do get married, I’ll be so old that I won’t even be able to wear the sexy wedding dress I always imagined myself wearing – I’ll also need a “The Swan” level makeover prior to my wedding, because in addition to already needing botox and fillers (but not being able to afford them), I’ll also most likely require a breast lift and lipo by that point in my life. I’m fucked. Fucked financially, fucked in the head… you name it.
The only things I’m currently looking forward to are a Korn concert in August, and a trip to Italy and France that we are planning for September. I will finally see my boyfriend’s parents and his friends for the first time since 2018, and I will finally see the South of France, which I’ve wanted to visit for basically forever. I’m enjoying planning this vacation… however, it means I have to be even more careful with my already-limited discretionary income. I mean I don’t go out much, but when I do it somehow ends up being a $100-$200 evening… EVERY TIME. This is probably why I now only go out once a month…. Fucking Uber prices are out of control these days. I should honestly just delete the app and take my chances being assaulted as a drunk woman on the subway next time I’m out. I spent fucking $57 on an Uber from midtown Manhattan back to Williamsburg last Saturday. I could buy a week’s groceries with that.
Can you tell I’m in a great mood today? 😀
The other thing which has become the bane of my fucking existential existence, is that I am still helping the stray cats that I already busted my ass to raise money for and help off the streets. There is literally only so much I can do as one person, without extra cash to spend on two extra cats. I hate promoting the GoFundMe I created… it feels like begging, and that is the last thing I ever wanted to do. I basically spent 9 months of my life starving (legit… starving) because I didn’t want to ask my parents for help when I was working as a server and not even making enough money to pay my rent (which was only $650 back then….). Like, if I’m not even OK asking for help when I need it myself, how do you expect me to keep asking for help for two cats that everyone now thinks are “all good” just because they’re off the streets and in homes? I do what I can… but what I can do never feels like enough. I really thought my part would be done after the cats were off the street, in homes, and had their initial vet visits… now I get daily texts about one peeing outside of the litter box and the other one hiding under the bed. I sometimes think I did more harm then good. I guess this is why you shouldn’t meddle in other people’s business. Maybe these cats were better off on the street, and for my own selfish reasons, I couldn’t bare to walk by and see them living like that. Maybe they were happier… I don’t know.
Seriously though… I’m only living for this Korn concert and trip to Europe right now. I don’t care about dinners out, parties, drinks with friends… I just need this trip to Europe with the boyfriend I basically see one day a week. I’m over everything. I need a legit vacation, and I need time off with my boyfriend and no one else.
I’ve given up on the goal of finding a new job before July 6th, when I have to start going back to my office in midtown 2-3 days a week, but my new goal is to have a new job lined up when I get back from my vacation in late September. I think it’s doable – I just need to find the motivation to do it. I mean, more money is my primary motivation… but it’s so hard to find time and willpower when you’re already in front of a computer for 8 hours a day for work.
Speaking of work, I had to run a collateral errand for the first time in over a year and a few months, and it was kind of nice. The client was so desperate to have someone sign pages in front of me, that they paid for a car service to pick me up in Brooklyn, drive me to two towns in Long Island, and then back to the office in Midtown. I was bitching about the absurdity of it all the night before, but it was really nice sitting in a luxury SUV for three hours, and getting paid to just ride around collecting and dropping off signature pages. I think I could do it more often….
It has been hotter than hell in NYC this past week – about 90-91 degrees every day for the last four days with 82% humidity… absolutely foul. I know people always bitch about how they can’t wait for Summer to come when we are in Winter here. I am not one of those people. Winters here are not even that brutal, but summers sure as hell are… especially in the last several years. Global warming is increasingly evident here. Since it has been so damn hot, I have been avoiding cooking anything that involves the oven or multiple sauce pans of boiling water on the range.
Before the heatwave arrived last week, I decided to take advantage of a nice 78 degree evening we had, and make gnocchi, since it involves the oven and I wanted to make one good meal before I swore off the oven for the next five days. I based the dish I made on one that a little, Italian restaurant in Alphabet City (East Village) had, once upon a time, when they were still open.
My sister was the one who introduced me to this restaurant – I remember going when I was a student at FIT, with my sister and mom and brother-in-law. I think I also went a couple of times after that. I just looked the restaurant up, and they opened in 2000! Apparently, they’re still open and they are now located in Tribeca! Who knew!
I remember they moved to Williamsburg for a brief time in 2013 after the lower East Side location closed, and I took my boyfriend to have dinner there after raving about the place for months. Sadly, when Max existed in Williamsburg, it was not as good as I’d remembered it to be. The food was mega salty and their was a lack of ambiance and coziness that the restaurant in Manhattan had had. Anyhow, they had this amazing gnocchi dish with roasted eggplant, and their marinara sauce was to die for! I feel like I ordered that dish every time I went to the lower East Side Max. And so, having picked up two nice eggplants from the deli last week, and needing a plan for them that was NOT eggplant parm (I was not about to bread and fry shit that night… that requires a very particular mood), I decided to recreate this dish!
1 large eggplant (or two smaller ones)
1 jar of quality marinara sauce (Rao’s isVictoria brand)
grated Parmigiano to top the dish, and for the gnocchi
fresh basil to garnish
FOR THE GNOCCHI:
2 large Idaho potatoes
2 cups flour ( 1.5 will go directly into the gnocchi mix and rest is for kneading and dusting the counter top, etc)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano
1 large egg (beaten)
1 tsp. salt
Set oven to 400 degrees
Wash your potatoes and pierce them with a fork in several locations around the potato, rub in oil, and set on baking tray
Wash eggplant and cut into small cubes
arrange eggplant on same tray as potatoes, coat in olive oil and sprinkle with salt
put tray of potatoes/eggplant into oven to bake: the eggplant can come out after 20 minutes, and go into a saucepan, the potatoes need to bake about 45-50 minutes (total), so they will go back into the over after you move the eggplant to the saucepan
After 20 minutes at 400 degrees, the eggplant will be transferred to a large saucepan on the stove, over low-medium heat (make sure the saucepan is coated with olive oil!)
Cook the eggplant over low heat for another 4 minutes or so, and then add in the entire jar of sauce, along with maybe 1/4 cup extra water, and continue to cook over low heat until the eggplant is very soft (it should already be fairly soft after the oven)
Once the potatoes are done baking (you should test by sticking a knife into the potato), slice the potatoes open length wise and let cool for a minute, or just until you’re able to handle them without burning your hands
once you are able to handle the hot potatoes, use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the potato into a large mixing bowl (you want to make sure you avoid getting the skin into the gnocchi mix)
Add in about 1/4 cup grated Parm, 1.5 cups flour, salt, and the beaten egg and mix away! (you can also add a couple tablespoons of olive oil, or even cold water, if needed!)
Mix all of the ingredients together to form a soft dough
add more flour if necessary (a bit at a time) – the dough should not be sticky or tacky
lightly flour the surface on which you will be rolling out the dough, flour the dough lightly and cut into four, equal sections
working with one section at a time, roll the dough into a rope that is about as thick as your thumb
Next, take a sharp knife and cute the rope into 1 inch sections that should look like little pillows
I like to lightly flour the gnocchi at this pint, before I make the fork imprints
after the gnocchi has been cut into these little pillows, you will use the tongs of a fork to gently imprint the top … this helps sauce stick on them, although this step can probably be skipped if you’re in a rush for time or just not feeling the extra effort
Set aside the finished gnocchi, onto a plate or board, where they can later easily be transferred to a pot of boiling water
complete these steps with the remaining three pieces of dough (don’t say I didn’t warn you – it literally takes FOREVER… this is definitely a dish to impress or show your love to someone)
now that your gnocchi are waiting, start a pot of heavily salted water on high heat and bring to a boil
You should also turn the oven back on, to 380 degrees (you’re going to finish the dish in the oven after all ingredients have been added)
add in the fresh gnocchi once the water is boiling – because they are fresh, they will only take a minute or two to cook
you’ll know they are done, once they float to the surface of the pot
using a slatted spoon, scoop the gnocchi from the surface up and into the saucepan with the sauce and eggplant
Once the gnocchi has been added to the sauce/eggplant, you’ll want to throw in a handful of the little mozzarella balls, transfer the saucepan (as long as it doesn’t have any plastic!) directly into the oven, and bake for about 6 minutes, or until mozzarella is melted
Serve in a bowl and top with freshly grated parm and fresh basil for garnish
It’s true what they say, New York is dead. It’s not just dead… it’s a dirty, dangerous, ghost town, where crime is rampant, garbage is everywhere, and storefronts and restaurants are empty. Everyone with money left – they went to their houses in the Hamptons, or bought a house upstate. Others, who are not rich, but lost their jobs in the pandemic and couldn’t possibly continue to pay NYC rent, also left. They went back to whatever hometown they originally came from – either to live rent free with their family for a while, or if they could afford to do so, they made the move to another city or town somewhere other than here – perhaps to a city that is still alive with a hospitality industry that hasn’t been totally SHIT ON by the Governor. I’m still here, because I can’t afford to move (yet), and also because my job is based here (even though I work remotely, and pray we will be able to continue to do so for the rest of eternity). My boyfriend’s job is also here, and sadly his is a job that cannot be done remotely (restaurant/hospitality industry). If I had the money or option to just pick up and leave, believe me, I would have done so years ago… I’ve wanted to leave NYC for the last three years, but these past 10 months have been the nail in the coffin, my friend.
I’ve lived here since 2012, and before that, I did two years of college here from 2006-2008. I can honestly say, I’ve never seen the city so dirty, run-down, dangerous, or deserted as it is right now. Everyday, random people are getting slashed on sidewalks, pushed into oncoming subway trains, randomly attacked at subway stations IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, etc.. I’ve never been scared to ride the subway alone – especially during rush hour or in broad daylight (apart from when a terrorist attack happened elsewhere and made me dwell on an attack happening on the subway…). Now? I avoid the subway at all costs unless I’m with my boyfriend. I had to take it the other day to run an errand for work, and during rush hour, RUSH HOUR (8:30am) the train was totally deserted and the stations were totally deserted, save for a few homeless people. It’s eerie, and straight up dangerous. There’s not a soul around to see you if you get attacked or hear you scream for help. All of Chambers St. station in lower Manhattan was TOTALLY empty.
In the past 6 months or so, the times I do ride the train, what I see is tragic. There are more homeless people than ever before – also a lot of criminals and mentally ill homeless people, and also criminals that have been released from prison due to COVID. People who commit violent crimes are being released back onto the streets… and it shows. I’m not saying that the homeless people are the issue – although it’s clear HOMELESSNESS itself, IS an issue. It’s the violent, psychopaths starting fights and carrying knives that I’m talking about. The shit I’ve seen in the last few months, I have never ever seen before in my years in NYC… and believe me, as someone who rode the subway everyday and used it at night… I’ve seen some shit in my years (a guy masturbating into his coat, had my ass grabbed on a crowded train, people riding the train in underwear, people having psychotic breakdowns on the train, a fight on the platform… the list goes on).
A month ago, I was traveling back to Brooklyn from Manhattan with my boyfriend and I saw what appeared to be a homeless man, robbing another homeless man, who was either dead or hopefully just knocked out on drugs and in a wheelchair. I have seen junkies shooting up heroin on the stairs of subway stations at 5pm, making no effort to hide what they’re doing and had to step around them to exit the station. There are no cops to be seen anywhere these days. There used to be officers randomly patrolling the subway stations at all hours of the day – but especially the busy stations (Union Square, 34th Street, 42nd Street/Times Square) and especially during rush hour. Now? I never see a single officer. Like who would I even report what I saw to (in the case of the dead/drugged up homeless guy)? Who would I scream to for help if someone tried to assault me?
I’m not even scared to ride the subways because of COVID. I’m scared because of the lack of people, and the growing increase of subway violence. Just a couple of weeks ago, some guy was punching/beating up women at a subway station in Bushwick, not too far from my house. The attacks were happening around 8pm… a perfectly acceptable time for a woman to be riding the subway alone. Not that that should even be a FUCKING THING – “an acceptable time” for a woman to ride the subway….. Women should be able to safely ride the subway at any time of the day or night by themselves and be and feel safe. What I’m trying to say, is that it’s not like the attacks happened at an off-hour, like 2am. After six different women got attacked by the same dude and at the same station, they finally caught this asshole. I hope he stays in jail for a long time and doesn’t get released back onto the streets because of COVID. I never thought I’d have to anxiously wait up for my boyfriend every weekend when he comes home from work, alone, at 11pm and on the train. But I do worry – it’s fucking dangerous out there. We both have pepper spray key chains now, but I’m not sure what good that will do if a psycho with a machete shows up in your subway care and no one else is there but you and him.
There are straight-up tent cities/homeless compounds sprouting up everywhere – under the BQE (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway), on sidewalks, wherever. The trash removal and city cleaners have all experienced cutbacks, so there are just piles of trash and litter EVERYWHERE. I’m honestly not sure how the MTA is even going to survive since no one is riding it, apart from a few essential workers. The city is in legit shambles. SoHo, the mecca of tourist shopping, is also ghost town USA. More than half the stores are gone and the spaces remain empty with “For Rent” signs in them. I honestly don’t know how the city will ever recover from this. I don’t think it can.
And if all of what I’m saying here has you thinking about the rebuke Jerry Seinfeld wrote in the NYTimes regarding New York NOT being dead, I’m pretty sure that mega rich asshole wrote that think-piece from his multi-million dollar estate in the Hamptons… not sitting inside his NYC townhouse while trash bags piled up on the side walk and a homeless person took a dump on the sidewalk. Furthermore, unless you currently still live here, you have no fucking say.
I’m convinced all of the people who left have most likely realized they’re much happier wherever they went to – paying less rent, lower prices for groceries, people are pretty much nicer and more friendly everywhere else, and enjoying all that fresh air and more space. The only reason I ever came to NYC was for the job opportunities, culture, and nightlife. Now, that’s all gone. Why would I continue to live here as long as I can keep working remotely for the same company? Why would I choose to pay $2,350 a month for a 1 bdrm. apartment in a crappy neighborhood, when I could be putting that down on a mortgage for what is essentially a mini-mansion anywhere else in the country? Paying $20 for a fucking cocktail I can get for $9 anywhere else in the country? So I can have bragging rights that I live in NYC? I don’t think so….
Anyhow, darling, this blog has totally evolved from the food blog it was once supposed to be. So, on that note, here is my recipe for mushroom carbonara (vegetarian, but not vegan):
1/3 cup olive oil (plus 2 TBS. more to finish)
3 Portobello mushrooms
3 eggs (I try to buy my eggs directly from a farm where I can see the chickens in action – I know this isn’t a possibility if you don’t live near any small farms, but please splurge on your eggs, and at the very least please make sure they come from cage-free, free-range, humanely raised chickens)
Linguini or spaghetti
Fresh basil (finely chopped)
Fresh parsley (finely chopped)
1/2 small white or yellow onion (finely minced)
4 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
1 cup of good-quality Parmigiano-Reggiano (finely grated)
1-2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. Smoked paprika (*optional* – adds a nice smokey flavor, similar to bacon)
Salt and black pepper
1/3 cup pasta water (taken from the pot of boiling pasta, when it’s almost finished cooking)
Wash and chop your mushrooms and set aside; finely chop onion and garlic
Heat olive oil over low heat in a medium-sized sauce pan, and add in finely chopped onion; stir occasionally over low heat until soft and translucent
Once onion is soft and starting to yellow, add in the garlic and cook for another minute or so, being careful garlic does not burn
Add in the chopped mushrooms, dried oregano, salt, pepper, a generous pinch of smoked paprika, and cook over low-medium heat for about 10-12 minutes or until mushrooms are thoroughly cooked
Add in the chopped basil, cover, and turn heat to lowest setting (or off if your stove runs hot and will continue to cook)
Prepare large pot of water (heavily salted) for pasta, but setting on high-heat and bringing to a boil
While you wait for the pasta water to boil, beat together the three eggs, 1/2 cup Parmigiano, and juice from 1 lemon until you have a thick, rich “sauce”. Set aside
Once the water is boiling, cook your pasta per the timing directions on the box (you’ll want it to be al dente)
While the pasta is cooking, I will usually turn the heat back onto low (if I turned it off) to make sure the mushroom mixture stays warm; this is also when you want to use a ladle or measuring cup to extract and set aside 1/3 cup of the pasta water
Drain pasta once it is done cooking, and then add it back into pot along with some extra olive oil, egg mixture, 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water, an additional 1/3 cup of grated Parmigiano, and the chopped parsley
You’ll want to taste-test now, to see if more pepper, salt, or fresh lemon might be necessary
Mix together until the pasta is well coated and mushroom mix is uniformly distributed, and serve topped with an extra sprinkle of parm and fresh parsley!
Can you believe I started writing this blog a month ago and never finished? I sure as hell can. It’s been forever (what’s new?). This year is almost over, and the sad reality of a COVID Christmas season is upon us. I know I thought I had corona virus back in March, but I guess I was mistaken, because I actually tested positive for Corona last month, in October. Cheers fam. I survived unscathed… apart from the fact that four weeks later, I can still barely taste or smell. But if that’s the small price to pay for not being critically ill, well by God I’ll take it! So yeah, if you follow me on Instagram and wonder why I haven’t been cooking as much, it’s because for the last few weeks I haven’t been able to taste or smell ANYTHING. You could have held dog shit or the world’s most expensive perfume under my nose a couple of weeks ago, and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference because I wouldn’t have smelled either. As far as taste, that is also coming back. Two weeks ago I could only taste extreme salt or sugar. I couldn’t taste spicy though or sour. I could eat chocolate or Nutella and it would just taste sweet, but not chocolaty. I still can’t really smell or taste coffee. Thankfully, my sense of smell of taste and smell are slowly coming back… SLOWLY.
Leading up to my positive diagnoses, I had a slightly elevated temperature and felt a bit “off” for about a week prior, but I thought it was the change of seasons. Honestly, a common cold would normally include worse symptoms than what I experienced. My throat didn’t hurt, but felt a little “tight.” Kind of like when you first turn the A.C. on when summer hits. I had no body aches, no cough, no real fever (my temp was like 100 degrees one day, but I thought it was because I was hungover). I knew that I needed to go get tested though, when I lost my sense of smell and taste one night… since normally I have the sensory capabilities of a bloodhound (I can usually smell if someone had one drink 6 hours ago and what the neighbor two floors down is cooking). I went to a walk in clinic knowing I was going to test positive, and sure enough I did.
Needless to say, I wasn’t very hungry for the first couple of weeks that I couldn’t smell or taste, and much to my entertainment, I lost a few pounds. This was the only upside. Sadly, after I tested negative, I went home to watch my sister’s kids for five days (like all day and overnight… not just “babysitting”), on top of also working from home. The stress of this arrangement caused me to senselessly binge eat for five days straight and gain back all the weight I’d lost plus some. I can never win. I am honestly just thankful that I didn’t pass the virus onto my sister or to my niece and nephew, because they are the only people that I hung out with (other than my live-in boyfriend) for the week leading up to my diagnosis. I am also thankful that I lost my sense of smell and taste, otherwise I might have never gotten tested and unknowingly passed it onto my parents.
SIDE NOTE (after watching kids and basically being a single mom for 5 days):
If you are reading this and you are a mom, I applaud you. Legit props to any mothers out there, especially working moms. I don’t know how you do it, because I was ready to off myself numerous times throughout each day that I watched two kids, and I was so damn tired each night that it was honestly all I could do just to scroll through Instagram after the kids were finally asleep. Kids and motherhood are a beautiful thing for some people, but I’ve decided I am NOT cut out for that life. Furthermore, we all know that moms do like 90+ percent of the work when it comes to child-rearing and keeping the house clean and running functionally, so like, extra extra props to all of you.
Anyhow, despite this last month that is both a total blur and a total shit-show, I’ve still been cooking (just not regularly posting what I cook). Because I have been cooking for so long now, I know how much of and which seasonings and ingredients to add, regardless of whether or not I can actually taste/enjoy the finished meal. It’s a true gift…. possibly the only thing I was gifted with in this life, besides my twisted sense of humor.
I don’t think that we are going home for Thanksgiving this year do to COVID cases picking back up and my boyfriend’s work schedule (and mine). It’s honestly not that tragic for me. Having worked a few years of retail in the past, I’ve missed a couple of Thanksgivings in my life, and I can honestly say that there are some upsides. I won’t have to dodge questions about why I don’t have any turkey on my plate. I also won’t end up binge eating for 4-days straight, which is usually what happens on any given weekend spent home (the stress of being with family, coupled with the availability of my favorite snacks, paired with the boredom of being in a rural town always sends me into a tailspin…). Honestly, missing Christmas is much more tragic… I’m hoping that doesn’t happen.
Also, my sister and her family will be overseas, so that really takes away from the joy and excitement (kids really do make holidays better…my mom wasn’t lying). I think I’ll do a vegetarian or pescatarian Thanksgiving for just me and my boyfriend here in the city. I will plan to make all of the sides (mashed potatoes, *mushroom* gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, etc.) and then do either a fo-turkey, or lobster or scallops as the main dish. I mean, you can’t pour mushroom gravy over seafood, but l’ll improvise and adjust all the dishes once I know for sure what the game plan is. My favorite Thanksgiving dishes were always stuffing and green bean casserole – both of which I have perfected in the art of making vegan, so that’s a done deal.
As the pandemic drags on into the 10th month, and winter is fully upon us, the outlook seems bleak. The days are shorter, and we have complete night by 4:30pm each day. The impending doom of another shutdown/lock-down is also making anxiety and stress levels go up across the world. With everything being so dismal, it is important to take time out (when we can) and take care of ourselves (to the extent we can). I mean, if I was really taking care of myself, I’d probably need to see a therapist weekly, start hitting the gym, and stop drinking wine. But, alas… since these things aren’t possible in the time being, I resort to long baths and painting my nails. One of the worst things about the entire last ten months has been the fact that none of us (most of us) don’t really have anything to look forward to (or so it seems).
It’s hard finding motivation to take care of yourself when you aren’t regularly seeing people or socializing. I find myself asking “what is the point?” more often than not. I miss being able to have future plans that I looked forward to – concerts, travel, parties, etc.. I know that these will come back one day (hopefully sooner than later), but in the meantime, I honestly don’t know what to look forward to, because even weekends kind of suck now.
Anyhow. The way things are going, I am prepared for a very emo holiday season. Christmas is normally my favorite time of the year. This year is not looking so bright or merry with cases picking up all over the globe and everything shutting down again. Things were so promising for a few months – why the fuck couldn’t we keep it that way?! I’ll tell you why – because we got careless and sloppy and now we are all paying the price (myself included in this demographic).
I am scared about getting laid-off if things haven’t improved by early next year. I am also scared about another shutdown of restaurants/bars here in NYC, since my boyfriend and most of my friends are working in the hospitality industry, and have either been out of work for months, or will be out of work again. Scary fucking times ‘yo. But honestly, what can we do? I guess all we can do is take it day by day and to appreciate the little things in this life. Or, rather, appreciate the important things.
If you have a roof over your head (even if you’re scared of losing it in a couple of months), food in your fridge and in your belly, a small network of friends or a family who you know will help you out when times are tough, and if you are healthy, you are doing better than most of the world. Be thankful for all of these things that you might regularly take for granted. The worse this world gets, and the more uncertain my future is, the more thankful I am for even the things I used to take for granted (my health, my *sometimes dysfunctional* family, the people who love me unconditionally, having food to eat, etc.).
Got a bit derailed there for a while, regarding the last several blogs… but hey – isn’t that how life goes? What fun would life be if you never derailed a bit? Good to stay on your toes and take the punches as they come… or something like that.
I am finally back to write about food/cooking after writing about my personal life, the quarantine, fictional characters by the name of Indigo, and whatever else I felt like writing about for the last several blogs.
It’s not that I haven’t been cooking – I have been… it’s just that I don’t ever use precise measurements when I cook, and so when I think about trying to transpose the recipe as into written word, it’s a bit daunting trying to mentally compute the measurements of each and every ingredient I used. In other words, I’m fucking lazy sometimes and it’s difficult to transmit what’s in my head into words after another long day of being me.
If you know me, you also probably know that I’m obsessed with soups, both making them and eating them. Split pea is one of my favorites, and the one I make is vegetarian, but would otherwise be entirely vegan, if not for the finishing touch of crème fraîche! I also want to apologize for the lack of ‘process’ photos for this – I actually made it for lunch while I was “working” (aka working from home, aka my laptop is open and minimal work is coming in)… so I failed to take or post any pics and videos for the ‘gram.
1 and 1/4 cups of dried, split peas
2 medium-sized carrots (chopped)
1/2 of a large white/yellow onion (finely chopped)
4 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
2 stalks of celery (diced)
1 medium potato (Idaho or russet)
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of your pot)
4 cups (one 32 oz. carton) of vegetable stock (**can use chicken stock if you’re not opposed)
2-3 cups water (depends on how thick you want your soup to be!)
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp granulated/powdered onion
1 tsp granulated/powdered garlic
a generous pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
YOU WILL NEED A BLENDER OR IMMERSION BLENDER FOR THIS RECIPE
TO FINISH (OPTIONAL):
Small dollop (a generous teaspoon) of crème fraîche or sour cream
Crackers, croutons, or a side of toasted baguette… I used the below bruschetta toasts, which I’ve really been digging lately:
Prep the veggies – potato, carrots, celery should be washed; carrots should be chopped (relatively small pieces), onion finely chopped, garlic finely minced, potato chopped into cubes, and celery chopped.
In a large pot, heat olive oil over low heat, add in the onions stirring occasionally and cooking over low-heat until translucent and yellow.
Add in the garlic and continue to cook over low heat for another minute or two.
Add in the split peas, all of the veggie stock, and a cup of water – raise temperature and bring to a gentle boil.
Cook until the split peas are almost tender – about 25-30 minutes (I think?)… occasionally sample a pea or two to see how tender they are..
Once the peas are almost tender, add in all of the other veggies (chopped carrots, celery, and potato), and then add in another cup of water.
At this point, I add in my spices – add in the granulated (or powdered) onion and garlic, celery salt, a generous pinch of cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, black pepper and some salt.
A TIP: Taste-test to see if anything more is needed spice/seasoning-wise. I honestly never measure my spices or salt/pepper when cooking – I start with a reasonable amount and add more as I go along. This way you can achieve your desired taste, spiciness, level of salt, etc…. it’s always better to start with too little than too much!
Continue to cook over medium heat (or at a low boil) for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check to see that vegetables are thoroughly cooked (soft) by sampling. Once the potatoes, carrots, celery and split peas are all soft, it is time to blend!
Using an immersion blender or a ladle to move soup into an actual blender, blend around 2/3 of the contents of the pot of soup. This creates a rich, thick puree, but also leaves some chunks of veggies for texture and aesthetic. When blending the split-pea soup, I try to avoid ladling the carrot pieces into the blender (some are obviously fine), in order to achieve added color and texture to the finished soup.
Continue to keep soup over low heat once fully blended, add in more seasonings if necessary.
Serve hot, with a small dollop of crème fraîche and some crumbled crackers/croutons/toasted bread.
And now for the pasta dish! This one was a hit – I topped with bacon for the BF and ate mine without, but it was every bit as flavorful!
Pasta of your choice (I prefer an egg noodle fettuccine for this dish, since it is lighter and holds the sauce well)
3-4 strips of bacon, roughly chopped into bits (*this is optional)
1 bundle of asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces (make sure to chop off the ends of the stalks and discard, as the base is very woody/fibrous)
3 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of your saute pan)
2 Tbs. butter (***if you opt not to use the leftover bacon grease)
1 cup half and half
1/4 cup water (*more or less depending on how thick your sauce is)
generous pinch of grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
freshly shaved/grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to finish
For the pasta: fill a large pot with water, add a generous amount of salt, and set on high heat to bring to a boil.
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over low heat, and add in the chopped bacon. Cook over low-medium heat until desired level of crispiness. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside in separate bowl.
You can use the bacon-grease/olive oil in the saute pan as it is, if you’re OK with eating bacon – it will add more flavor to the sauce. If you’re not OK with eating bacon, you’ll have to start with a fresh saute pan and olive oil.
Add the chopped asparagus to the saute pan, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. You’ll want to cook the asparagus like this until it is fairly tender, but not mushy. Add in the minced garlic after the asparagus has been cooking for about 6 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Once the asparagus has cooked for about 10 minutes in the saute pan, add in the half and half and the water and bring to a low, rolling boil. Cook for an additional 10 minutes in the liquid, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is very tender.
Add in the nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
Now that the asparagus is tender, you can either pour the contents of the saute pan into a blender, and blend on low, or, you can manually mash with a fork or masher (this is what I did). Mashing by hand leaves more texture and visible bits of asparagus so sauce is not a complete puree.
Once you’ve mashed down the asparagus, you may find the sauce is too thick and you need to add a bit more water or half and half! You should also taste test to see if more seasoning is needed.
Once you’ve achieved your desired level of thickness and taste, add in the butter, and stir until dissolved. Leave the sauce on the lowest heat setting, so that it remains warm once pasta is done.
Once your pot of pasta water is boiling, add in pasta and cook according to time suggested on pasta box.
Drain the pasta once finished, and add to sauce, gently stirring/tossing to thoroughly coat the noodles.
Serve on plate with freshly grated parm, and top with bacon (if desired)
PHEW! Writing these recipes really does take a lot more brain power and work than actually cooking them!
I’m thankful that it’s Friday, so I don’t have to be on high alert watching my emails or glued to my laptop for the next couple of days. I think the rest of the weekend is going to be cold and shitty, but honestly I don’t care… I’m kind of happy. I’m definitely not feeling confident enough to wear summer clothes at this point, following almost 8 weeks of quarantine (aka binge-eating), so the cold and rain is a welcome relief… not like I could go out looking like a THOT anyhow since all bars, restaurants and clubs are still closed until further notice. You hear that? I’ve got a few more weeks to shape up… literally. LOL.
In other news, I was tired of all of the white hairs springing up around my temples, and couldn’t possibly wait another month (or longer) to have a professional cover them. I’ve never used dye at home before, and usually only get lowlights/highlights once every 4-5 months. I was really overdue for some lowlights, and couldn’t bare the sight of the whites any longer, so I took a bold step and purchased custom dye from eSalon. I was always scared to try anything with my hair at home because of lack of experience, but also I have a fear of burning off/chemically frying my hair to the point of no return. My boyfriend assisted, and the result is pretty decent, in my opinion.
What else can I say… not much is new, if you know what I mean. I’ve got my daily routine down pretty pat at this point. Work, walk, work, car ride, cook, TV time, sleep. Sometimes I’ll throw in a walk before work to spice things up, or if work is slow, cook in the middle of the day.
I hope you’re all still staying safe and sane at this point. I’m running out of inspiration for recipes since I’m kind of just over everything. If there’s anything you want to see me cook or try my hand at, feel free to email me or DM on Instagram. I’m always excited to try cooking new things (preferably without meat – but open to seafood)! #Cheers
Annndddd … I just spilled hot coffee on this keyboard…. #WINNING!!!! <— This actually just about sums up my last two months, if not my entire life…
Despite the title of this blog, there isn’t really much to catch up on to be honest… the last two months have flown by at lightning speed, as all months tend to do once you’re over a certain age. I never believed my parents or grandparents regarding ‘how fast time goes the older you grow.’ It wasn’t until I hit about 25 that I began to experience this strange phenomenon first-hand. The last seven years are a blur, punctuated only by precious moments and mental stills – both good and bad – nights, sunrises, people, lessons learned, the highs and the lows; experiences and memories that I wouldn’t trade-in for anything else. I feel like the last seven years basically happened in the span of one or two.
I think we finally become our “true self” around the age of 25-26. Before this age, you’re still a kid and don’t really know what’s up, because you just haven’t lived long enough or experienced enough or even met enough people to shape you yet. I think our personality kind of solidifies by the time we hit 26 or so…. I still feel like the same person inside at the age of 32 that I did when I was 26. I guess this is also the sad reason that elderly people look in the mirror and are shocked by the reflection they see once they hit a certain age – because even though their body is betraying them by aging physically, they still feel not a day over 26 on the inside. Such is life. My mom always says that ‘youth is wasted on the young’, and she’s not wrong.
This is 32. I figure I’ve only got a few decent years left in me before I start resorting to fillers (**if I can ever even afford them) and healthy living (i.e. green juices, yoga, no more partying, actual work-outs…). I’ve been wearing SPF all these years and avoiding the sun, so at least I have that going for me. It’s definitely hard being a woman and getting older though. I know we hear female celebrities saying this all the time… but it is SO SO true, and I’m not even technically “middle-aged” yet. There is so much pressure to not only stay young (literally impossible to do), but also to stay looking young (which takes effort and possibly money, if you have enough to spend on treatments, the best skin care, etc.).
Despite society telling us that as women, we are only valuable when we’re still young and attractive (and given how shitty that can make you feel inside once you start getting white hairs and fine lines), getting older is a blessing. I feel more confident and more grounded than ever. I know who I am and who I want to be, and I am less selfish and foolish than I was in my twenties. To grow older is a gift and an opportunity that many people will never have. So remember that next time you bitch about turning 30, or whatever age. Some of your peers didn’t get a chance to turn 30.
We all have this idea in our head when we’re younger, of where we will be at a certain age. When I was 25, I definitely thought I’d be married by my current age, possibly a home owner, and definitely working at a more fulfilling and creative job. Even if I am not where I once thought I’d be, I am happy to be where I am. Even with the outside pressure that is put upon me by others and by society, I am OK with where I am right now in this time and place. I sometimes feel like it is easier to grow older in a major city like NYC (at least up until a certain point), especially when you have failed to meet the stereotypical “milestones” set by society. If I were this age and living upstate right now (or in any small, rural town in America), I think I would be bored out of my mind, since almost everyone I know or went to school with is married and has kids now. I don’t think I’d have any friends to go out with or who share the same interests as me at this stage in life given the fact that I am unmarried and child free. I also feel like it would also be 10x harder to live in a small/rural town and be single at this age, since everyone is either married or divorced with three kids. Slim pickings for singletons for sure. Not really sure where this train of thought was going….
I think that what I’m saying, is that even though I ‘hate’ this city and want to move out someday sooner than later, this city has allowed me a chance to flourish as an individual and come into myself fully. This city does not put same pressures to marry and have kids on me that life in a small town might. I guess turning another year older has had me thinking of all of this recently….
I had a relatively low-key birthday this year – stayed in our favorite Airbnb in Woodstock and a nice dinner with my sister on my actual birthday. Tuna also celebrated his birthday (1st birthday, to be precise!) the day after mine. Here we are, together, basking in that birthday glory and, in my case, basking in copious amounts of sugar.
I was also spoiled with sweets at work – cupcakes and macarons. I am not being sarcastic when I say that I feel so loved when people go out of their way to get me food or presents for my birthday. I never feel like I deserve these things or the effort or thought that goes into them … it literally made my entire day, even if my skin paid the price for a full two weeks (major acne flair-up thanks to my diet of Cadbury creme eggs for breakfast, cupcakes and macarons for lunch, and funfetti cake for dinner for a whole week straight).
It’s been so long since I posted that I haven’t even posted this amazing dress/robe I got on sale at Victoria’s Secret. Who knew that one of my favorite brands, For Love and Lemons, did a special line of lingerie and clothing just for VS? I know VS is tres gauche these days, but fuck it. I get a gift certificate for VS every Christmas and it’s just about the only time of year I treat myself to overpriced underwear, etc.
As per usual, one of the only things that gets me through each work day or lonely weekend where my BF works a 12-hour shift on a Saturday, is planning what I will cook for dinner and then executing it. I’ve cooked some really time-consuming things in the last couple of months, including, but not limited to: homemade pasta, homemade gnocchi, Focaccia and French-style baguettes from scratch, and recreated the amazing shrimp etouffee dish that I had on my birthday at Maison Premiere.
I truly hope that Maison Premiere never closes their doors. They’re a Williamsburg institution at this point, serving oysters, cocktails, and a variety of raw-bar foods and plates in a cozy and cool atmosphere. If you live in the greater NYC area, I would highly recommend for a nice date or intimate dinner or drinks with a good friend/couple of friends.
Anyhow, I’m too fucking lazy to write out any recipes, but here is some food porn…. use your imagination and go wild:
I’ve been so bad at finding/making time to write food posts here these past couple of months. If you want to see the process and ingredients behind my recipes/meals, feel free to follow my Instagram (instagram.com/lilywhitedaydream). I usually post stories to my IG while I am cooking, as long as what I’m cooking seems note-worthy enough to warrant as such. I mean, if you’re even reading this blog, you probably already follow me on Instagram… since that’s the only way I think anyone can find this blog ;p Anyhow, I digress…
[Insert long rant here about the current state of world affairs, animal liberation v animal subjugation, why humans need to go extinct, why I want to get the coronavirus, etc.]
[Delete long rant, after realizing I sound like one of the preachy types of A-holes that I hate and realizing no one gives a shit… ]
Side note: I am a work in progress and actively working on my anger management skills.
90 degrees on the first day of Fall… global warming is a real bitch…. I finally bought some sweaters and tights and I’m still wearing sleeveless button-ups. I remember when I was young, we were lucky if it was 65 degrees this time of year!
I want to plan a world-wide work strike against climate change – I’m just not sure how to get started. Imagine the reduction in carbon emissions even if only just for one day, if the majority of people (or ideally all people) took the day off of work and didn’t use their car, and if factories couldn’t operate because they had no workers?! I should take some tips from Greta Thunberg and just start solo-striking all alone… I’m pretty sure I’ll lose my job in the first week…
I was home this past weekend (well, Thursday-Saturday…) to get Tuna neutered. The cost of the vet upstate is about 1/3 of what it is in the greater NYC area. Totally work taking a couple of days off of work (I mean, what isn’t worth taking days off work???). It was also nice to be home with just my parents and to enjoy some end-of-summer weather.
I’m so happy I finally bit the bullet and took the days off to make the trip home and get Tuna neutered. At least it’s done and over with now and he is pretty much back to normal.
Pictures never do real life or lighting justice sadly. I cleaned out my closet a couple of weeks ago and found so many things that I bought with every intention of wearing in a specific outfit, and which have never seen the light of day. The below tutu skirt is one of them…. I know tutu skirts are very SJP circa 2000’s Sex in the City, but It makes for some pretty fun outfits:
I made a really good vegetarian Bolognese with lentils last week, the recipe of which is based directly on my classic Bolognese recipe:
Here is the recipe:
3 cups of cooked lentils (brown or French) (roughly 1 and 1/2 cups dry lentils cooked in 3-4 cups of veggie stock, for flavor)
1 box pasta of your choice (rigatoni, spaghetti, penne, linguini all work great)
1/3 cup olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of a large sauce-pan)
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/2 of a white or yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup dry, white wine (Pinot Grigio works well!)
1 cup freshly shaved Parmesan (plus more to sprinkle over finished pasta)
1 large can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs. dried basil
1 Tbs. dried oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. granulated garlic
Salt and pepper (add to desired taste)
Pre-cook your lentils, boiling in veggie stock until tender (but not over-cooked or mushy, since they will finish cooking in the sauce!)
Set aside the lentils once cooked, and heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over a low-medium heat
Add in onions and cook until a yellow-y translucent color (about 6 minutes), stirring occasionally
Add in carrots and celery and continue to cook over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally for another 5 min.
Add in garlic and continue to cook and stir, being careful not to burn garlic
Add in the already cooked lentils and cook for a minute over low-medium heat.
Add in the white wine and simmer for about 3 minutes
Add in the can of crushed tomatoes along with the granulated garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, dried basil and oregano, and crushed red pepper; stir together and reduce to low heat
Add in the small can of tomato paste and stir in thoroughly; continue to stir and cook over a low heat.
After cooking over low heat for another 10 minutes or so, add in the heavy cream and stir
Add in the Parmesan cheese and continue to stir and cook, making sure cheese is incorporated into the sauce
Add in the fresh chopped parsley and stir
I advise taste-testing as you go along to ensure the sauce has a good balance – feel free to add more salt, pepper, pepper flakes, oregano/basil, or sugar if needed
Let the sauce continue to simmer over minimum heat and boil a large pot of heavily salted water for the pasta
Cook pasta according to cook time advised on packaging; once pasta is cooked to al dente, drain and either add to sauce pan, if large enough, or back to pot and then add the Bolognese sauce into the pot of pasta – stir well
Serve in bowls with freshly grated Parmesan over-top and a garnish of fresh parsley or fresh basil!
This dish is perfect for fall… super hearty, tasty, comforting and high in fiber (if you know what I’m saying….)
I am back from my “grand” vacation of the year… a week in Maine with my family and boyfriend. It was relaxing, as was to be expected, way too full of eating (also to be expected) and not nearly a long enough escape from the hell that is my job and this wretched city (also, to be expected…). What vacation would be long enough though? Apart from a permanent vacation….
I didn’t do as much physical activity as I had hoped to do prior to embarking on my vacation. The hotel had bikes to take out, but the roads surrounding the hotel were not at all conducive to biking as there was no shoulder on the road at all. I also thought the hotel would have kayaks, but sadly all they had were some pitiful rowboats, which I conned my boyfriend into taking out with me one afternoon. We didn’t last more than 40 minutes in the row boat, as the waves around the island we were attempting to skirt around got very choppy on one end, and the oars kept slipping out from the oar holders.
Boothbay Harbor itself is a sleepy little town with not much to do besides eat, drink, and relax… or go boating. Which is precisely what we did. We took a chartered sail boat out one day as a family which was really nice. We also walked around the little town and explored the shops and restaurants. I’d have to say, my favorite meal of the week was honestly at the local Italian restaurant, Ports of Italy. Who would have thought that a coastal town in Maine would have such a good Italian restaurant?! Not me. I had the frutti di mare, and this amazing cold seafood salad as an appetizer. Everything was awesome, including the wine. My second favorite meal, was probably at the hotel’s dining room on the last night of our stay.
There was also an alpaca farm near the hotel, where my niece, my sister and myself got a lovely tour from one of the owners and learned a whole lot about alpacas and agriculture! They also had some beautiful chickens that I was obsessed with spotting each and every time we passed their farm in the car.
We made a day trip to Freeport to hit up L.L. Bean’s and the outlets… I got some sweet plaid pants from Calvin Klein that I am VERY excited to wear this fall. I’ve been looking for plaid pants for the last year, and these are JUST what I was looking for. My other “big” purchase for myself was a copy of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, which I cannot put down once I pick up to start reading. Sadly, my work schedule and demanding cats have been preventing me from picking it up more than I would like this week….
My boyfriend and I also took a drive to downtown Portland to explore. Portland is such a nice, clean, small city with a lot of awesome bars and restaurants. We are planning on going back for a long weekend stay this winter to do more exploring and see just how much worse winter in Maine could be than in NYC.
On our way back from Portland, we checked out a suburb called Cape Elizabeth, which had a surprisingly awesome park that we explored. I was disappointed to find there was no beach though – just a bunch of rocks. The rocks were beautiful, but I am sad to say I didn’t don a swimsuit once this vacation to either get in the pool, hot tub, or ocean. I didn’t go to the beach even once this summer… now that is sad.
I know… I know… I basically take the Instagram/fashion blog shots of others that I would hope they could take of me. Sadly, no one ever takes good candids of me. They get me when I’m looking down and have five chins, or from some weird angle where my body looks like Jabba the hutt. I just know people’s angles… what can I say? I mean, even the shot of the alpaca up above is flattering.
I milked my vacation for all it was worth, and scheduled a hair appointment when I came home for some red low lights (I’m going white in my temples, and color is now a necessity if I don’t want to look older than I am), and continued eating like a fatted calf for the remainder of the weekend spent in Bainbridge (you name it, I ate it… I did resist meat however, which I am very proud of). I cooked a mean carbonara for my parents upon returning home Friday night, and then on Saturday night, feeling inspired and not wanting to let the trend of devouring seafood die, I made a linguine with clams for family dinner.
When I came back to NYC, fatter and broker than ever on Sunday evening, I entered into a dark vortex of negative thoughts and resentment towards this city and towards my job, which I am still trying to turn around. I have to get out of this city as soon as I can… I’m just so over it. I also started resenting my choice to get low lights… I think the red is too dark and doesn’t flatter me. But that could just be me being me. I am hoping the color fades/lightens in the next couple of weeks. I’m trying to eat healthy this week, so sadly, I won’t be cooking anything fun.
Ah yes, almost forgot – the second part of this blog: while I was bored out of my mind one night on vacation (since the entire town of Boothbay Harbor shuts down after 8pm, and even the hotel bar was dead after 9pm), my boyfriend and I somehow came up with human profiles for each of our cats, which continued to escalate in absurdity until I wrote the full biographies on Sunday to post on IG. If my cats were humans, here is the type of humans they would be:
Tuna is a door man at a strip club in Queens. He isn’t allowed at his uncles or grandparents house for the holidays because he was caught stealing Christmas ornaments off the tree to sell for cash to buy meth. He spent his high school days in remedial math classes and detention. When Tuna comes home, his parents have to lock up their medications. He usually shows up to family dinners with a 6-pack of Budweiser, and a half-eaten box of Enntemmen’s powdered donuts. Tuna enjoys tailgating at high school football games, fixing dirt bikes, dabbling in psychedelics, and fights at dive bars. Tuna’s idea of a perfect vacation is a week at Water Safari. Tuna’s greatest aspiration in life is to own a worm farm and grow magic mushrooms, as well as to make it to the Trump 2020 rally in Cincinnati. Tuna is a Dooms Day prepper who keeps a stash of ammo, AK-47s and ramen noodles in his parents’ attic. Tuna has a girlfriend named Crystal, who is five months pregnant with another man’s baby… but he doesn’t care, it’s true love. Tuna prefers to be called Chip.
MEET MR. PEEPER:
Peeper is a professor of anthropology studies at University of Oxford. He has a Ph.D. in law and women’s studies from Harvard. Growing up, he was the pride and joy of his parent’s lives – he was a straight-A student, Eagle Scout, and spent his summers voluntarily de-worming orphans in underdeveloped nations. He speaks 5 languages fluently and works as a volunteer, teaching deaf children Cantonese. He enjoys wine tasting, oil painting, baking clotted cream scones, throwing elaborate dinner parties, and donating money to Harvard and Yale science departments. He was also a good friend of The late Jeffrey Epstein – for 10 years they ran a mathematics camp for underprivileged teenagers. When Peeper isn’t working or volunteering, he enjoys traveling to the Cayman Islands, South Africa, and to his winery in Provence. He is married to a woman 25 years his junior, and together they have three perfect, little globe-trotting protégées named Theodore, Eloise, and Amadeus who are all geniuses.
Once again, I’ve been negligent about writing out blogs with recipes. I find that writing out the ingredients and process is not nearly as exciting as the actual preparation and cooking of the dishes. I have, however, been invested in writing the tales of Indigo Wren. I’m sick, I know. I invented this character and I’m basically living vicariously through him, or him through me. Whichever it is.
Anyhow, I made a collaborative dish with my boyfriend this past Friday. I do the cooking 98% of the time, but I must admit, he has the golden touch when it comes to homemade pasta. If you have time to kill, and a pasta machine (*** trust me, you will need a pasta machine… I’ve tried to hand-roll and it does NOT work out), this is the perfect dish to make. It’s going to take you about 3 hours start to finish… possibly more if you’re drinking and getting distracted dancing to 90s dance music.
I’m going to post the recipe for the shrimp dish… honestly it was better. If you want to make the artichoke pesto though: 1 can of artichoke hearts (don’t fuck with raw for this pesto), juice from 1 lemon, 1/3 cup olive oil, a handful of pine nuts OR walnuts (like 1/4 a cup), 2 TBS. chopped parsley, 1 clove of finely minced garlic, some salt and pepper to taste – throw it all in a food processor or blender and blend until pureed. Voila!
INGREDIENTS FOR THE PASTA:
4 eggs, room temperature and slightly beaten
3 cups flour (preferably 1 and 1/2 cup all-purpose, and 1 and 1/2 cup Semolina… but 3 cups of all-purpose does the job)
1 Tbs. salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 Tbs. ICE COLD water
More flour to knead the dough and dust the surface you roll on, as well as to dust the noodles so they don’t stick to each other!
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE:
1 lb. fresh shrimp, peeled, shelled, and de-veined
1/4 cup olive oil
4 Tbs. butter
1/2 cup white wine (dry works better)
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp. dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tbs. freshly chopped parsley
Make sure you wear an apron and/or something light colored – you will end up with flour all over everything. If you’re OCD about the cleanliness of your kitchen/counter tops and stove, you’ve been warned.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt
Slightly beat the room temperature eggs in a smaller bowl and dump into the flour
Add in the olive oil and water
Knead the dough with your hands until the mixture is consistent… add more flour or water as necessary, but you’ll want the dough to be more dry than sticky. IF ITS STICKING TO YOUR FINGERS AND PALMS, IT NEEDS MORE FLOUR!
After kneading the dough for about 3 minutes, dust with more flour and divide into four parts. Wrap in plastic wrap or a damp cloth and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
You’re going to want to make sure whatever surface the dough touches is dusted in flour, be it the counter top, the plate you put the finished pasta on, or the machine you use to press it and cut it!
I have made pasta by hand before with a rolling pin – it’s doable, but so much more time consuming, messier, and the pasta is obviously much thicker than it is when you roll it through a pasta machine… cutting the strips also takes longer and they won’t be uniform in size
I got my pasta machine from TJ Maxx for like $15 a couple of years ago. I think we only use it twice a year so I’m happy I didn’t spend a lot of money – Amazon probably has really affordable ones too!
Once the pasta has been refrigerated, you’ll want to use a rolling pin to do the preliminary roll (again, make sure the surface you’re rolling on as well as the rolling pin are lightly floured)
Next, run the flattened slab of dough through the pasta machine several times (usually 3 times) until it reaches the desired thickness
If you’re like me, you’ll want your pasta Mary-Kate Olsen thin, so it may need to rolled through the machine upwards of 5 times
Next, you’ll run the pasta through the cutting side. Most pasta presses have a setting so you’ll be able to choose desired noodle thickness. I’d recommend fettuccine or tagliatelle thickness.
Keep repeating the process with the other slabs of dough, or you can put the dough in the fridge for another day. I like to just roll and cut it all so I don’t have to fuck with the pasta machine again… because honestly, this is a messy process and you WILL have flour all over your kitchen.
Next, put a LARGE pot of boiling water on to boil. Make sure it is heavily salted.
You’ll definitely end up refrigerating at least half of this pasta…. the ingredients listed above produce enough for like 8 servings AT LEAST.
As the water is boiling, heat up 1/4 cup olive oil and 4 Tbs. butter in a large sauce pan
Add in the finely minced garlic and cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes (being careful not to burn)
Add in the shrimp (granted they have been peeled and cleaned at this point)
Raise the heat to medium, and add in the wine and squeeze in the juice from 1/2 lemon
Add in the dried basil
Stir occasionally until shrimp turn pink; season with salt and pepper to taste
Once the water is at a full boil, add in the fresh pasta. It will take only 2 minutes or so to fully cook since it is fresh. You’ll want to taste test to make sure it’s cooked, but generally speaking, once it floats to the surface, it’s done cooking!
Drain the pasta, and add back into the pot along with a drizzle of olive oil
Toss in the shrimp/sauce mixture and mix/stir lightly (you don’t want to damage the noodles)
Serve hot and top with some freshly chopped parsley
The above salad was awesome because of the dressing. This dressing would also pair well with tofu or even a stir-fry:
1 Tbs. toasted black sesame seeds
1 clove very finely minced garlic
3 Tbs. sesame oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbs. white sugar
Add all ingredients to bowl and whisk well
FOR THE SALAD:
lightly sauteed snow peas
thinly sliced radishes
lightly sauteed yellow zucchini
In other news, I finally finished a painting I was working on, had way too much to drink on Saturday night at some random Bushwick dance bar called Jupiter Disco where I saw a clone of my brother and McLovin’, was too hungover to go hiking on Sunday like I wanted to as a result of Saturday night’s gin and tonic consumption, binge ate empanadas in my vulnerable and hungover state, and am now only living for the Korn concert and mini family vacation in Maine I’ll be taking this August. Cheers.
It’s been over a week since I last wrote… I am living in a state of perpetual exhaustion. I average about 5 hours of sleep a night, and I don’t even have anything to show for my lack of sleep – that’s the saddest part. You’d think I was up writing a novel or like, a cook book or something. Or that I was painting the next greatest masterpiece. No. Honestly, I don’t even know how I end up staying up as late as I do every night (usually until 12:30 – 1 a.m.). I’m not doing anything fun or worth while. I am actually up that late scooping cat litter, brushing cats, and/or cooking dinner for a boyfriend I see about 20 minutes of each day, and yeah… that’s about it…. by the time all my chores are done, it’s time for bed.
I don’t know where the time goes, but clearly it hasn’t been spent writing or finding a better job. I haven’t even cooked anything note worthy lately. I’ve been too fucking tired to cook and too busy tending to cats and cleaning the house, since it now gets dirty even faster (double the cat hair, double the spilled litter and food messes, etc.).
Anyhow. Another day, another dollar -am I right?
I am really proud of myself because I didn’t order delivery even once this week. Not that I order in often – usually once a week and only when I’m drained. But I’m impressed I didn’t order at all – since at some point in the week, I usually cave and use Seamless to order Chinese or Mexican food. I cooked a lot of random shit this week though, that is for sure. One of the many random things I cooked was this rat meatloaf:
I made this really delicious dish that I absolutely LOVED, and my boyfriend hated (he hates small pastas for some strange reason (orzo, italini, orrechiette)… I, on the other hand, LOVE small pastas). Anyhow, I found this sick recipe for “Orzotto” (orzo cooked like risotto) on one of my favorite food sites, “Taste Cooking.” It was really easy to make (much less time than cooking actual risotto with rice), and warranted a trip to my favorite cheese shop.
Anyhow, Campbell (aka “Lorimer”) Cheese shop is my absolute favorite. It’s basically what Bedford Cheese Shop was before they sold their soul to the devil and moved up the street into a gargantuan retail space with white everything and waitstaff that is unfriendly and probably doesn’t even eat cheese.
Campbell (Lorimer) Cheese shop is the best – they always have Gorgonzola dolce and a variety of truffle cheeses, which means I leave happy every time. The staff is friendly, and you can find all manner of jams, olives, specialty sausages, etc..
I’m too fucking lazy to write out any recipes tonight. But I made this pasta using the anchovies pictured above, and San Marzano tomatoes from a can:
Anyhow. It’s Memorial Day Weekend and I can’t fucking wait to be home (my parents house upstate). I am so over this shit hole, rat-infested, fake fuck infested city.
Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone. I hope the cats let me sleep in past 7:30 a.m. tomorrow. I look haggard.