Archive for the ‘Eating Vegetables’ Category

Thai on My Mind: Spicy Thai Coconut and Ginger Soup

Spicy Thai coconut-ginger soup (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

I’ve been thinking about Thai food for weeks – ever since I had a bowl of relatively mediocre soup on my lunch break at work. For some reason, Thai soup has never really been on my radar. I’m more of a spicy green curry or peanut sauce girl. But even through the blasé of my work break soup, purchased from one of Berlin’s ubiquitous pan-Asian fast food chains, I could taste the intriguing combination of sweet and sour, creamy coconut and spice. It got me thinking. Or rather, it got me craving – and craving got me cooking.

Even at the most worldly (read: expensive) grocery stores here, non-standard ingredients are hard to come by. There are no corn tortillas, for instance. And good luck getting your hands on a bag of brown sugar. (Also, there’s no corn syrup, which is not exotic and probably better for your body, but hey, when you’re trying to bake like an American, it can be a bummer.) So gathering the ingredients for this simple soup was a bit more time consuming than I’d imagined.

I went to a Turkish shop for dried lemon leaves (forget fresh), spent a fortune on lime (one lime is a fortune here – oh, how I miss the ten-limes-for-a-dollar days in Brooklyn), and had to traipse into the high-end market for Thai chiles and lemongrass. It took three separate trips to the grocery store before they’d re-stocked the cilantro.

sweating the garlic and shallots (Eat me. Drink Me.)

I made the soup after a long day at work, which was both good and bad. Good, because I enjoy a multi-process cooking session to unwind after a long day, and bad, because it had been a long day, and I was hungry.

It’s beautiful to build something cohesive out of so many different parts. With one  hand, you’re making a chicken stock and tearing shreds of meat from the bone. » Continue reading this post…

If on a Winter’s Night: Easy Winter Lentil Stew

easy winter lentil stew recipe (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

I haven’t taken my hat off for days. I’m beginning to wonder if I still have hair, and if I do, whether or not it matters. I’m supposed to be working. Instead, I’m chipping the nail polish from my fingers, staring outside at the falling leaves, debating whether or not to buy a monthly metro pass. (At the end of the story, I will end up buying one. I will not regret it.)

Some days it rains and in the coffee shops the crowds grow a low murmur. Outside, the smell of damp leaves and everywhere, I swear, I smell a roasting turkey. I’m reading a book of short stories by Italo Calvino and at the same time a Harper’s magazine from May I’ve been working on for months. In the news, it’s a blur of politics and hurricanes and I wonder what I’d be doing in New York if I were still there. I think of my McKibbin apartment, where I didn’t close up the three-inch hole in the window with duct tape until winter.

sliced peppers for lentil stew (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

garlic for lentil stew (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

What I most look forward to are afternoons wrapped up in a blanket and my love, a movie laughing in the background and sleep in my limbs.

Don’t tell anyone, but I like these days. The damp, the leaves, the candles lined up on the windowsill. The snuggled in slippers, the garish green hat.

chopped vegetables for winter lentil stew (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

When I cook on nights like these, I cook for comfort. I want the seeping smell of garlic and spice. I want to feel the thin skin of a tomato crack beneath my knife and hear the familiar sound of a peeler’s swish against a carrot. And when I eat my stew, I want it to mean the day is done. The shutters can be let down and soon, soon, I can go to bed. » Continue reading this post…

Soup Time/Winter Time: Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup with Lemon-Parsley Drizzle

Lentil soup with lemon-parsley drizzle (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Let’s not get technical. I know it’s fall. But unless you too are living in Berlin – waking up every morning moaning about having to leave the comfort of your covers, wearing your winter coat inside, and wishing the heater went up just a few more notches – and want to argue with me, it’s winter.

It’s winter and I’m cold and all I want is a giant, warm bowl of soup. (And a new pair of glasses, pumpkin muffins, and a pedicure – but these are totally unrelated things.)

The great thing about soup is that it’s a totally addressable need. It requires very little energy to make – and make masses of. In mere minutes of work, you have a pot contentedly bubbling filling your living space with the warm aroma of – what is the aroma of soup? It might be a feeling, like saying, “I feel like soup smells.”

Bacon (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Chopped onion (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

I made my first soup of the season the other night. A lentil stew sweetened with carrot and sweet potato and brightened with a touch of curry and berbere. I might have gone a little overboard with the lentils. By the time I’d added everything to the soup, it filled the pot. I will be eating lentil soup for years, I thought.

Berbere (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Lentils and carrots (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

What I forgot is that it’s winter, and that in winter, everyone is craving soup. That night, a few friends met at my apartment before heading to a party, and when I checked the soup pot the next morning, everything was gone. » Continue reading this post…

Biscuits & Blogging: Sweet Corn & Pepper Biscuits

homemade biscuits (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

When Ellie and I get together, we talk. About lots of things. Like work and men and crazy people we know. We do things like make cocktails and Instagram photos of them, then drink them and make another round, which we do not Instagram. But really, when we get together, what we do is bake.

The baking, of course, might just be an excuse for the gossiping and the cocktails, but then again, it might be because there’s something really rewarding about sitting around chatting and drinking and ending up with yeasty donuts covered in pink gloss, or red velvet cupcakes topped with an icing that involves very. specific. instructions. and slightly strange ingredients.

Because of all the baking and the eating, I think Ellie has made more appearances in this blog than anyone else. There was Thanksgiving (we’re already getting ready to order the turkey for this year…), the plätzchen-baking extravaganza, an ancient Easter, and of course that time we decided to eat in the dark. And probably because of all the appearances she’s made here, she’s spent a lot of time listening to me talk about the blog – why I’m even still writing it and where I’d like for it to go. Or maybe that’s because of the cocktails.

toppings for biscuits (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

We talk about the big plans I have. I want to redesign the site so that it’s easier to navigate. I want an index of recipes and photos. I want to write a book…

And then sometimes I want to pretend that there’s not a place where I have been, more – or less – regularly, recording my edible thoughts for over three years. What a long time to throw words into the sometimes uncommunicative interwebs. There are times when I don’t know why I’m still writing it, but there you go – I’m still writing it. » Continue reading this post…

What I Learned in Brooklyn: Chicken Tacos with Habanero Salsa and Red Cabbage & Pepper Slaw

tacos with roast chicken and habanero salsa recipe (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

They may not be authentic or conventional. But as long as they’re made with 100% corn tortillas (preferably pressed in the back of a tortilla factory in Brooklyn), they’re real.

When my friend Akiko asked what I wanted her to bring me from America, the only thing I could think of was real tortillas. Not big, floppy flour mats, but small, imperfectly round discs with traces of char.

I’m not a taco Nazi, and I think there are many ways to build a beautiful taco. Often, I don’t even think it’s necessary to include traditional taco ingredients. In Germany this is hard to do anyway, since The Great Cilantro Hunt is a time-consuming task and limes are not, as they were in Brooklyn, ten for $1. But we make do with what we have – and though the tacos I made a few weeks ago on burrito wraps were good, these tacos, with the Brooklyn tortillas Akiko brought me, were great.

spicy habaneros (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

non-traditional tacos (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

roast chicken and vegetables (Eat Me. Drink Me.) » Continue reading this post…

Anger Cooking/Comfort Eating

potatoes and chili (Eat Me. Drink Me.)
potatoes and eggplant (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Don’t even ask me how my day was. Don’t do it.

My roommates asked – and twenty minutes of ranting later they said, “Well, look how… peeled those potatoes are.

And it’s true. They were quite thoroughly peeled and then quite thoroughly chopped. And the onion made me cry. And the eggplant never saw it coming. And I beat the yogurt and lemon juice until it never knew it had been two separate things.

I threw the pan in the oven and sat down. We talked about not me. I took a breath.

My vegetables took an hour to roast (in the way things never really go exactly like you had in mind), but my roommates and I sat in the kitchen. We talked it out. And the aroma of roasting vegetables crept into the kitchen. Soothing.

I heaped the vegetables onto my plate because being angry makes you hungry and sat down to eat, even though I wasn’t even very angry anymore. Just a little bit exhausted.

It took one bit to realize I’d confused the paprika for chili. My mouth burned. A just on the cusp of too much burning, there with the sweetness of onions and rich eggplant, the homey, comforting potatoes. Like the residue of my anger, not overwhelming, not too much for me to bear – just present, just persistent.

roast potatoes (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

roast vegetables with tzaziki (Eat Me. Drink Me.) » Continue reading this post…

Every Kitchen Gets a Post: Ethiopian Lentils

fresh lemons (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

In my new home, we have a tablecloth. It is a dusty pink tablecloth and on top of it are placemats upon which we eat. Our china is rimmed with roses. Our mugs match. At last, I think, I have arrived.

In the last three years I’ve had five different kitchens, and I’ve written about most of them. First there was the Davidson kitchen where this blog began, and my ever-recurring ancestral home’s blue-walled affair. There was the first kitchen in New York, which was tiny – enough counter space only for the mice. Then there was my second kitchen in New York, which stood unused for a long time while we were too busy battling bed bugs to cook. There was the kitchen in Berlin, shower beside the stove. And now there is my new kitchen. Where we use tablecloths.

We are three women in my new kitchen, and of course the tablecloth may have something to do with that. Which is not to say that men don’t care for tablecloths. Just that, well, I don’t think they do.

The Neukölln kitchen (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Normally I’d balk at the idea of living with only women. There’s too much estrogen. Too much makeup, too much body lotion, too much bickering and gossip about boys. But my new little Neukölln apartment is different. It has a good feeling, something I sensed the first time I went to see the place – calm, relaxed, communal.

The kitchen is our shared space. There’s always someone in it – reading the newspaper, doing the dishes, cooking something. It’s also the first time I’ve lived somewhere where there’s an absolutely effortless attitude about food and sharing it. Whoever’s cooked, cooks for whoever else is home. But it’s not as stressful as being required to cook for everyone. It goes more like this: someone cooks, someone walks into the kitchen, food is shared. » Continue reading this post…

The Not All At Once Approach: Pasta with Tomatoes & Arugula

tortellini with arugula and tomato recipe (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

I’m not good at change. Anyone who’s ever asked me to make a decision quickly knows this.

It takes me time to think things through. Not necessarily to weigh the pros and cons of a new course of action – but just to get used to the idea of something different.

As a human, I am a huge proponent of the not all at once approach.

Tell me something new, but don’t tell me all at once.

This is also the way I cook. I believe ingredients need time to understand themselves as they melt into a hot skillet – an onion doesn’t want an eggplant until it’s ready. And when they meet, they need time to get to know each other. To feel comfortable as a unit before tomato comes along.

Cooking like this takes longer. But it makes sense to me. One at a time, piece by piece until the composition of the pan has changed. Until it is a full pan, not an empty one.

tortellini with arugula and tomato (Eat Me. Drink Me.) » Continue reading this post…

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