Recipe post!

1546085_10152121413308926_871113375_nIt’s Vegetarian Week 2, and apparently I can’t get through a vegetarian week without quinoa raising its unpronounceable grainy face somewhere.  Plus since I was the only one who didn’t have to go to work today, dinner was obviously going to be on me.

“Peruvian” Quinoa Stew

“Peruvian” is in quotation marks because I somewhat doubt the provenance of the recipe.  First, acquire and chop up all of the following:

  • About two cups’ worth of onions; I used four little ones
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Two small zucchini or one really big one
  • Tomatoes (I used a can of diced; you can chop the hell out of a fresh one or a couple of fresh ones if you like; it won’t matter)
  • A bell pepper
  • A stalk or two of celery
  • A carrot or two

I generally do a mise en place setup; in other words, get all my shit chopped up and in little bowls before I start actually cooking anything.  Put the onions and garlic together, the carrots and celery together, and the zucchini and bell pepper together.

Before you start sautéing anything, get the quinoa going: boil about a cup of water in a small pot, and once it’s boiling put in half a cup of rinsed (RINSED!!! TRUST ME!!!) quinoa.  Cover it and leave it alone for ten to twelve minutes; basically pretend it’s rice.  You can start cooking everything else once the quinoa is in the water; the timing will work out nicely.

Get a big flat-bottomed wok or Dutch oven and put a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in it.  Sauté the onions and the garlic together for about five minutes on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, then toss in the celery and carrots and put a lid on the Dutch oven.  The celery and carrots should cook for about five more minutes; take the lid off and stir a couple of times while that’s happening.  Check the quinoa at this point and see if it’s absorbed all the water.  If it has, keep it covered, fluff it like it’s rice, and pull it off the heat; if not, add everything in the next part and then pull the quinoa after you’ve got the pot covered:

Add the following to your vegetables:

  • Your tomatoes;
  • A cup of vegetable stock;
  • two teaspoons of ground cumin;
  • a teaspoon of ground coriander;
  • half a teaspoon of chili powder;
  • a teaspoon of dried oregano;
  • a few shakes of cayenne pepper

Stir it up, cover the pot, turn down the heat a bit, and let it simmer for another ten or twelve minutes.  If the veggies are soft by then, toss the quinoa into the wok and stir everything up.  You’re done.

Add a bit of cheddar cheese and maybe some sour cream once it’s in a bowl.  Delish.

In praise of maligned foods

IMG_1045Here’s my policy on trying new foods:  If you can adequately demonstrate to me that any given food is eaten by any community of actual humans, anywhere in the world, on purpose, I’ll try it.  I’m specifying “on purpose” so that I can avoid eating foods that are clearly only considered “food” by necessity.  If something is only eaten because the people who eat it can’t afford to eat anything better or because they live in some sun- or ice-blasted hellhole and there is literally no other food anywhere, I reserve the right to refuse to try it.  But if you take those people and move them somewhere with a McDonald’s and a subscription to the Pie of the Month club and a generation later they’re still eating Grandma’s famous recipe for fried boar nuts, then I’m gonna try me some fried boar nuts if you put ’em in front of me.

There are really not a whole lot of foods that I’ve tried and won’t eat.  I don’t like raw onions under most circumstances (guacamole being a rare exception); cook them at all and I’m all good.  I’m not fond of peas if they’re mushy; peas that are cooked so that they sorta “pop” when you bite into them are fine.  Green beans, baked beans.  And I’ve reaffirmed this week that parsnips aren’t food.

(I’m doing the vegetarian thing again this week, in case you haven’t figured this out yet.  I accidentally ate a piece of sausage and pepperoni pizza yesterday, so I’m doing a bad job.  But dinners have been consistent.)

Let’s talk about Brussels sprouts.  Brussels sprouts, quite possibly the least popular vegetable known to American culture.

I’ve had Brussels sprouts once.  My wife made them.  She is also not fond of Brussels sprouts, so we were both experimenting.  They were boiled.  (EDIT:  My wife claims my mom made them.  This is odd; my mother never made Brussels sprouts when I was a kid.)

spit the damn thing out.  I don’t do that with food, guys.  I don’t care how bad I think something is, I’m gonna finish at least a bite of it before I punch you and refuse to have any more.  My mouth sent me an immediate and unambiguous “this is not food WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING” message and I spit it out as authoritatively as if some miscreant had placed a live bee into my mouth.  I’m not sure it was even in my mouth long enough to register the taste.  Nope.  Not food.  Gone.

Here’s the thing, though:  I can’t always trust myself.  I spent the first year of our marriage saying things like “I don’t usually like shrimp, but…” every month or so until my wife pointed out that maybe I actually did like shrimp.  So when she found a recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts and wanted to incorporate them into Vegetarian Week 2, I decided to roll with it.

They smelled good while they were roasting.  Good sign, I thought.

“They’re not bad,” she told me as I was sitting down at the table.  “Maybe a little bitter.”  She doesn’t like these things either, remember, so I inspected her face carefully for signs of deception.  She was quite entertained when I’d spit the previous attempt out, so this could have all been a ruse.

I speared one with a fork.  Did my best Joe Bastianich impression as I lifted it to my nose, stared at it disdainfully, and smelled it.

And tasted it.


Why the fuck is boiling Brussels sprouts even a thing Jesus they’re goddamn delicious roasted WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?

I know the picture above doesn’t look like much.  Here’s the recipe:  Brussels sprouts, apples, pears, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, a little olive oil, cinnamon, sea salt.  Mix and roast.  Serve over brown rice.

By the end of the meal I was literally using my hands to pack more food onto my fork.  I could eat this forever.  Same vegetable I spit out when it was served to me boiled.  Delicious, delicious, delicious, go eat some right now.  There’s a teeny bit of bitterness if you eat one solo but they’ve got this awesome nutty flavor to them and combining them with fruit and a bit of cinnamon is bananas good.  Apparently there were supposed to be some (unroasted) cranberries scattered over the top as a last step; I can only imagine that making things better.

Seriously go eat some Brussels sprouts right now.  Just don’t boil them. Why the hell would you boil them?  You clearly already have heat and that’s the only thing you need to roast stuff.

Somebody bring me some lutefisk; I’m on a roll.

In which I wish that was my family

enhanced-buzz-18681-1389804623-12A few random things:

  • I am, hopefully, at work right now preparing my students for their math test tomorrow.  I can imagine a couple of reasons why I might not be; there is another polar vortex heading our way and if it’s colder than we’re expecting or if the massive storm that’s supposed to hit a county over shifts to the east, it’s not inconceivable that school is going to be cancelled again.  Plus, the boy’s been a bit poorly all day today (Monday) and while I suspect he’ll be okay by tomorrow morning, you never know.
  • I know there are a bunch of writers of varying levels of professional status who read this blog; how many of you guys use Scrivener?  I know Taylor Grace has mentioned it; anybody else?  I’m doing most of my writing in Pages these days because iCloud lets me pick up whatever device is handy and work on the newest version without thinking about it, but Scrivener seems like it would be useful as a way to put together a sort of series bible for the Benevolence Archives– I’m already jumping between five documents whenever I write anything trying to keep stuff consistent, and I’d like some way to formalize that process.  Long story short, I have questions if you’re willing to provide answers.
  • I am offended that I have to have an opinion about sports; I’ve usually done my best to make sure to have no idea who is in the Super Bowl by now, but nonetheless:  lay the hell off Richard Sherman, Internet.  Newsflash: athletes are sometimes loud and sometimes they are not entirely polite, especially when they are requested to be interviewed six seconds after a career-changing play.  Get the hell off your damn high horses.
  • Probably starting another vegetarian week tomorrow at dinnertime.  Why dinnertime? There’s still chili left and I plan to finish it for lunch.  It’s time to go back into weight-losing mode for a bit, I think.
  • Spent a few minutes staring intently at the last wall I have to put cement board on a bit ago.  It does not make me happy.  I’m going to have to add some blocking to put the cement board up at the very least and I think I may very well have to redo some of the existing structure– which I didn’t have to do for either of the walls today, as big of a pain as they were.


In which TMI for serious


Do not read this post.

I repeat: do not read this post.  You don’t want to know anything I’m going to talk about in this post.

I’m not kidding.


You’re still reading.  You understand that I’m not kidding and you’ve been warned four fucking times now if I don’t count this warning which is technically the fifth if I’m allowed to count the word “seriously” as a warning which I can because this is my blog and I make the rules.  Plus, like, the title of the post.  And the picture.


Here, I’ll put a line so that you can have a place to stop:

So I was a vegetarian for a week, right?  One of the unexpected awesome things about being a vegetarian was the awesome bowel movements.


Seriously.  Pooing as a vegetarian is the absolute best kind of pooing.  I’ve never been this damn regular in my life, and some of the stuff that was coming out of me was the kind of bowel movement that you want to take a picture of so that you can reflect on how proud of it you were later.  (Shut up; you all know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.) And, like, high enough in quantity that you feel pleasantly emptied-out after each bowel movement, as opposed to pooing and then feeling like you still need to poo five minutes later, which I believe is known as the “Chinese food poo” across most of the Western world.

For a week, I was a poo king.  Like, Count Poo of Happyshit Mountain, the Grand Regent of Poo, the Magnate of Meconium (you clicked, didn’t you?), His Majesty the Lord Superior of the Seven Heavenly Principalities of Poo.  It was amazing.  This ought to be in the vegetarian brochure, people.

(Mental note: write the vegetarian brochure.  Make millions of both brochures and dollars.)

I had three meals today, and all three involved meat.  This was intentional, obviously; I usually don’t eat meat at every meal but I missed it.  Breakfast involved sausage, there were hot dogs and some beef soup at lunch, and dinner was a Triple Coronary with a side of clogged arteries at Culver’s.  Delicious.

And I’m gonna have to sleep on the fucking couch tonight because of the beef farts.  My nose hairs are singed. Jesus.  My wife’s gonna kill me if I hotbox the comforter tonight.

And by “if” I mean “when.”

If I never post again, you know why.

On denialism

I would like it noted for the record that my final meal as a vegematarian contained, to the best of my knowledge, no vegetables whatsoever, since tomatoes are a fruit.

Next week, I shall eat nothing but meat. The following week, I will exist solely on gluten. Then a week on Vegemite. That ought to kill me, ending the experiment.

Busy night, so that may be all for today.