Archive for the ‘Eating Vegetables’ Category

Seven Second Lunch: Chickpea Salad with Dill and Red Onions

chickpea salad (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Sometimes, you don’t want to stop watching television on the internet at the same time as you want something delicious to eat. You’re lying on your bed, foetally-curled into a blanket, thinking about how far away the kitchen is, how arduous the effort to open the drawer and draw out the knives. You want someone to magically turn up at your door with a tin of cookies. You want the delivery guy you didn’t order to end up at your apartment and not realize he dropped a fragrant tikka masala off at the wrong door. You want someone to cook for you. You want a maid. And that is almost certainly something that you are not going to get.

Some days, you just want so many things. And while most things you may want, might just be out of your reach, some are not. Lunch is not. Especially when you’ve got a not-completely-empty pantry and the knowledge that lemons and garlic and shredded parmesan can make you feel like all of your dreams really have come true.

It might not be a maid, but a can of chickpeas could save your life. Or at least give you the strength to hit the play button on the next episode, while you lie, foetally-curled up in bed, snuggling a bowl of fresh chickpea salad, soothed by the verdant smell of dill.

dill-icious (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Easy weekday lunch (Eat Me. Drink Me.) » Continue reading this post...

Cooking the Russian Way: Vegetarian Pelmeny & Cauliflower Fritters with Onion Sauce

Vegetarian Pelmeny & Cauliflower Fritters with Onion Sauce (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

I’ve been cleaning out my room in the ancestral home, sorting through old clothes and bad books, school reports and chemistry notes, rock collections and hardware odds and ends to determine what’s worth storing and what can make the trip to the great green Goodwill in the sky. In the process, I’ve realized that I’ve made quite the habit of collecting old cookbooks – complete with yellowed pages, ripped binding, and strange drawings.

And yet, I love to think of all the hands that have held a cookbook before it gets to me. I love the way old recipes reflect the culture in which they were written as much as the taste of the times. Since I’d just been to St. Petersburg, I paused during my cleaning frenzy before the spine of a book covered with torn paper, Cooking the Russian Way by Musia Soper and straight out of 1961. The book opened stiffly, its browned pages smelling like a dusty library.

Cooking the Russian Way (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Inside, I found the kinds of hearty meals to see you through a cold Russian winter, where rich broths, sour cream, potatoes, cream sauces, butter, and fried onions abounded. These aren’t the kinds of recipes that are featured in your newest food magazine, but the basics handed down from mother to daughter for generations. They’re written for housewives who already know how to cook and who are feeding a family of four. The ingredient list rarely tops ten items and more often runs something like that in this recipe for “Potatoes Stuffed with Meat”: Potatoes, tomatoes, butter, egg, minced meat, sour cream, flour, chopped dill, salt, and pepper.

The book is filled with fascinating recipes, like that for “Moscow Rassolink,” a salted cucumber soup made with ox kidneys, sorrel, soup vegetables, and sour cream. Or “Egg And Wine Sauce” made with eggs, white wine, lemon juice, and castor sugar. » Continue reading this post...

How to Make Your Co-Workers Jealous, the Salad Edition: Roasted Sweet Potato and Salmon Salad

Roasted sweet potato and salmon salad (Eat Me. Drink Me)

Pre-packaged salad sucks. I know, because I work in a part of town where the lunch options are neither pretty nor cheap and very rarely healthy. A pre-packaged salad from the grocery store looks sad with its already wilting lettuce, mealy tomatoes, uniformly cubed cheese, and waxy kernels of corn recently freed from a canned prison. And a good-looking salad from that organic café down the street will set you back a whole 10€. So I’ve taken to bringing my own salad to work.

I think we often get stuck in a salad-is-boring state of mind. It’s just lettuce and vegetables. But a finely crafted salad can be as interesting as any other entrée. What about a salad that balances fruits and nuts, pecans and sweet pear with tangy blue cheese – or a salad that substitutes stale bread for lettuce, but is softened with olive oil and feta and tomato. Or what about a salad made from strips of bologna, spiced up with cracked kernels of black pepper and pepperoncini?

And even if you don’t have much to stuff your salad with, you surely have the ingredients on hand to create myriad salad dressings. » Continue reading this post...

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...