I get back from class and I am exhausted. The last thing I want to do is stare at more words, and exercise my brain after the three hours of mind-numbing lecture I just went through. What to do? Nap? I’m trying to break the habit. Eat? I just ate lunch. And then I knew what had to be done.
Whip up some homemade bread, that’s what. Retrieving my copy of Marcella Hazan’s “Essentials of Italian Cooking” I found the recipe for Foccaccia, a traditional type of bread. So, in a break between classes I was kneading flour, yeast, water, and a touch of olive oil into a ball. I let it rise while I was in class, and when I returned it was ready to throw in the oven.
The bread was pretty tasty in my opinioin, and it will supply some great sandwich bread for the next week, but more than anything it was a wonderful catharsis. For a few minutes I could take my mind of the responsibilities of my final semester at Butler University and slap a wad of dough against a table (it’s part of the kneading process, fer serial).
It was a long awaited dream, but I battled against the odds and strove through the hardship and finally, after weeks of labor it became a reality. I. Made. Sushi.
Not saying that it all went well, or that the sushi tasted exactly as I would have liked it by the end. But hey, we’re not splitting grains of rice here. I had (most of) the necessary ingredients, and put those ingredients (in more or less the appropriate quantities) into the sushi. I coincidentally learned the difference between (the asked for) teaspoon and the (misread) tablespoon, and how big a difference this makes when concerning salt.
I didn’t do it all alone of course. I had help from the video above, which not only gave me a history lesson of how sushi and its fast food counterpart Nigiri came about, but also important tips on how to prepare the sushi. All in all it was a fantastic experience, and one that I hope to repeat and improve upon in the future. I may also invest in a sharper knife, because at some point it’s no longer cutting if the blade has to smash through the sushi roll.
In one of my rushes through Aldi, the stored famed for its prices (and not even on the map when it comes to quality) I picked up a can of chicken noodle soup. Not paying attention all that much to the various brands, I got the one that looked the largest and made a dash for the check out.
To my horror, it turned out to be condensed chicken noodle (a qualifier that never bodes for food). Rather than throwing out a meal I thought I’d spice it up a bit. The can itself had plenty of noodles, a good amount of broth, and only a dash of chicken.
What I added:
1 Baked Potato
1 Handful Chopped Carrots
1/2 of a Polska Kielbasa
Dash of Basil Herbs
A few dashes of Chili Powder
What I ended up with was anything but bland or condensed. My meal turned out excellently, leaving me ready to face the afternoon without the fear of becoming drowsy.
Me and the Head Chef
Remember how I told you that I’d joined Sangam, the Indian Cultural Club on campus? Well, we finally did something. And can I just say, this culture ROCKS, as does its culinary tradition. Per my request, we agreed to meet up and take a stab at cooking Indian food. What I didn’t realize is that there would be a professional.
The entire clan came to my humble abode, as well as the mother of one of our members. With her came pots, pans, and enough food to feed 10 people (with enough leftovers for a week). She brought a curry (the secrets of which I still must unlock), the makings of a chick-pea soup, rice and cilantro, and yogurt–I didn’t get this last one, but it worked.
The big finish came when she busted out dough and the equipment necessary to make bread. Which we did! (See picture below). We had a number of botched attempts, but also some great ones. Overall it was a fantastic experience, and one that I hope can be repeated in the future. Unfortunately, this won’t be possible on my own, what with my spice rack being in the state that it is…nonexistent.
Yesterday, after a full day of working in the library (as you may have read about) and class that only allowed me to return home around 6 PM, I had some options: either I could throw something cheap into the microwave and lie down for the rest of the evening-thus succumbing to my exhaustion-or I could do something totally rad.
I opted for the latter.
It just makes me hungry thinking about it...
I immediately set about cooking some rice, throwing frozen Edamame into a pot, and chopping up various vegetables and chicken. What I ended up with was a feast: fried rice with chicken, carrots, bell pepper, corn, and chicken served next to Edamame and a glass of iced green tea. Needless to say, I’ll be having plenty of leftovers for a while.
It also represents a struggle of most students: when should you take time to relax? If one takes their studies seriously, there would easily be enough work to consumer the hours between rising and going to sleep. In this case, I felt my day had been relatively accomplished so I didn’t feel bad throwing 2 hours into the preparation, consumption, and cleaning of the meal.
Tagged: Andrew Erlandson, asian, Butler, cooking, cuisine, edamame, fried, meal, off campus, rice, yum