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It's Said That Once I'm Started on Food...

So here I am, should be hiding under my blanket for the night, but I'm not. I've been buried under translations for the last bunch of weeks. When I haven't been doing that, I've been buried under chores. It's one thing having to hold up a house built for four with just one person. It's completely another thing to do that and having to maintain, even at the surface, the same house and a garden completely overrun with organic food as well. It's not exactly my hobby here -- but I do eat that food I'm even partially helping grow, which isn't a very bad thing. Last summer, I was barely able to freeze and whirr tomatoes into gazpacho fast enough. I had parsley, chives, spring onions and mint in everything I could stick them in. There was a rapidly overripening nectarine tree that took me five hours on one of the freak cold days of summer to salvage, which landed me in bed the next day with a fever. I tried, and mostly managed, to get myself on a plan of making large amounts of simple side dishes -- mostly variegated salads built from garden produce and bought ingredients, or lightly stewed and stir-fried items, which I would refrigerate to eat over the course of a few days. Apart from the free-flowing gazpacho, I tried different kinds of soup. Possibly the most interesting of them, and the nicest surprise, was cream of pickled cabbage with sour cream. I'd been making my own pickled Chinese cabbage (it's my favourite vegetable), and trying to find new ways of using it. Now, the original pickled cabbage soup called for sauerkraut, which I find ... odiferous... but tender pickled Chinese cabbage works a treat. I should make more of it this time around.

Even when I wasn't up to making large amounts of "main course" kind of soups, it was nice to have the fridged side dishes, some rice, and a bit of miso and tea. It's very clarifying food. The idea here is that I actually eat at least one square meal a day. I'm really trying to keep up with that schedule these days. It's going to be a busy week.

Last night, I defrosted a pizza crust for dinner. We didn't have zucchini in the house, but we did have cucumber, which I shredded for one side of the crust. I added a layer of sliced mushroom on top of that. I'd made gyuudon the night before, so I used some of the stir-fried beef left over that, and sprinkled it all with spring onion. For the other side, I thinly sliced eggplant, shredded some parmesan, and topped it all with cubed Kiri cheese. I actually love Kiri cheese in cooking. It's got this nice, mellow flavour which absorbs the sauces around it, and holds its shape under decent amounts of heat. (It makes a great substitute paneer.) As cucumbers are much more watery vegetables than zucchinis, I was expecting the cucumber to soak up the crust, but though it was more moist than zucchini, the heat in the oven managed to dehydrate the shreds respectably. It did take up more of the salt from the beef than I'd have liked though, because I hadn't salted the beef very much to begin with. The eggplants were slightly chewy. All things considered, I should've probably thought of frying them before sticking them on the pizza. We're never able to find decent eggplants hereabouts. Something about the soil here just turns them into tyres. I'd also intended to add olive oil on the eggplant side, but promptly forgot before I chucked the pizza into the oven and stepped into the bath. The Kiri cheese was the saving grace here. It browned really well in the oven (an almost-crust!), melted just enough to adhere to the pizza, and yet still retained a delightfully chunky shape.

This is, of course, what happens when I decide to blog about more important things, even though I can't really think of good ones right now. I have, however, discovered that glimpses of dashingly handsome men in tuxedoes in the morning are apparently really good for me. And! And! I received the most awesome homemade hamster birthday card from eekers. It had shiny things stuck on it, and yoghurt drops. I was totally hyped about the yoghurt drops. She has the most awesome crafting skills. Go check out her Pudding present tags for Christmas. They're adorable. I actually thought they were edible until I read they were felt. (Hey, it happens.)

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
scanner_darkly
Oct. 28th, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
Eggplant? Ew. :)

I miss having a garden, though I would probably be awful for it. Still, on one of my recent trips, I found out the back yard has a lime tree that is covered with limes. Am tempted to remove a few.
vampyrichamster
Oct. 28th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Eggplant has its charm. Stewed to death, in curries. :)

When was the last time you had a garden? Lots of plants aren't as bad to care for as they sound, and many fine things come in potted sizes these days. Even miniature lime trees. I adore our limes and lemons. So awesomely useful. You should remove a bag to take home or something. It would go well with honey and hot water. *hints*
desertwolf
Oct. 28th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
"Eggplant has its charm."

Eggplant lasagna! *drools*
scanner_darkly
Oct. 28th, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC)
Ew! Ew-ew-ew!
vampyrichamster
Oct. 30th, 2007 06:08 pm (UTC)
*chuckles* Hey, I don't think I've seen your face with a beard before. It's ... pretty angry. I would have to rethink all my intentions just by running into it after dark.
vampyrichamster
Oct. 30th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
Now there's something I haven't cooked in a while! :) (And it's BOO!)
scanner_darkly
Oct. 28th, 2007 11:22 pm (UTC)
It's been since my childhood since I had a garden. Apartment-living is not always conducive to maintaining gardens.
vampyrichamster
Oct. 30th, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC)
I like having plants around, in spite of my actual lack of gardening ability. I like walking around and enjoying the garden, and I definitely adore being able to pick food from it. But I'm not all that keen on the actual gardening part. I think the only job I like doing here is pruning. There's something so calming about lopping stuff.
countlibras
Oct. 28th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
You make me want to plant and cook things!

I'm glad to see you post - it's been such awhile. :)

I was also going to say something else... but I've completely forgotten what that was.
vampyrichamster
Oct. 30th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to be posting, it's been such a while. Though I kind of wished I had better things to post about than, "This was my pizza last night." :)

Planting and cooking things is very, very good stuff though.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )