Posts tagged "cooking"

life planz

(cross-posting from my personal tumblr, apologies to people following both!)

One of my closest friends left this morning. We’ve been pretty inseparable all summer, and now she’s going back to kansas city with her fam. I cried. She tried to find a jerb in philly but didn’t succeed (yet anyway), and now is thinking about chicago. I just hope she visits for may day. 

Also, terrified about my own post-grad plans. I’d love to stay in philly for a year or so, live with friends, ~explore the city~, be a real person, but I don’t know if it’d work or if I’d like it. I think I could try to find a job in a restaurant or with a catering company, or like, some hippy grocery store (actually this would probably be my ideal employment—working at some fancy deli counter or something—WAIT LOOK THIS EXACTLY. For a year or so at least). I want to cook, probably want to eventually go to culinary school to actually learn my shit, and i think that the most intelligent thing to do if I’m serious about it would be to find a really good program back home in California at a community college (public school in CA is VERY affordable and pretty good quality). But I hate the thought of going back. I would probably never make it back east. I have almost no friends back home and I’m not good at making them, plus I feel like I don’t relate as well to people there as I do to the friends I’ve made at Bryn Mawr. And living at home would be frustrating—I have angsty high school memories associated with the house, and I’m the baby so my family has trouble realizing that I’m older than 14. But if I DID go home my parents would probably help me get a car. And I wouldn’t be paying rent or much for food. And I might actually be able to pay off loans.  

…I’m also nervous about my ability to actually be successful in the ~food world, seeing as I’m pretty timid and definitely thin-skinned. Food is basically the only thing I’m passionate about, and I’ve wanted to be a chef since I was 8, but everything I read is overtly discouraging: “you can’t do this if you’re not super assertive/an asshole/can take criticism well/don’t mind working 60 hours a week for shitty pay including weekends and holidays.” I don’t know what kind of food-job I want, but there are definitely legitimate reasons the industry appeals to me, and I think it could work. And I just feel like, if I continue working at my hospitality/food service campus job, if I write my anthro thesis on something food-y (and/or do it for my enviro studies minor project), I’m living in the vegan cooking co-op on campus, I’ve taken some academicy food classes. My resume should look pretty okay and I definitely should have options. I’ve also thought about being a camp cook—either at a kids’ summer camp or some shmancy private camp for whoever—maybe even an archaeologists’ camp? That’d combine two things I like and am good at and have experience with (food and camping).  

Shaved Cucumber Salad, 2 Ways!

(shitty pictures, but you get the idea)

So a few days ago my housemates and I acquired a bunch of zucchini, squash, and cucumbers from a friend’s garden. My friend made the zucchini but the squash and cucumbers have been sitting around unused since. I originally thought about pickling them, natural fermentation style (my favorite kinda pickle!), but decided that I didn’t have enough time and didn’t want to subject the house to a sour-smelling kitchen. (besides, the last fermentation experiment went only halfway well). 

But when we also acquired cotija cheese from a different friend, I thought it might go well with the cucumbers and got to making something useful. 

We don’t have anything that would slice the cucumbers as thin as I’d want them, so i deciced to shave off slivers with a peeler, which worked well! I left a tiny strip of skin on some of the pieces for ~texture. 

Then I couldn’t decide how to marinate them so i made two separate dishes:

Version 1: Fairly Classic 

  • dill (only had dried)
  • white wine vinegar
  • crumbled cotija cheese (feta would work too, but is softer so you might want to wait and add it before serving)
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • salt
  • pepper

Version 2: White-Girl Kimchi? ish.

  • sesame oil
  • chili-garlic sauce
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • soy sauce (i wanted to use salt but we were out!)

let em sit in the fridge for an hour before partaking. both good, chile/sesame one a bit too spicy. I added a little vinegar to it, and more sesame oil, which was also good.

Definitely refreshing on a high-90s day :)


Why aren’t there more women chefs in New York? Is it harder to raise money as a woman? 
Anita Lo: I kind of get the feeling that there are boys out there who have people running after them giving them money. 
Patricia Yeo: Because they play golf together or they play poker together. Maybe we should go play poker with them, I don’t know. 
RC: It’s the boys’ club. It’s incredible, and I never used to buy into stuff like that. 
AG: I have colleagues—male colleagues—who say to me, “Yeah, I just met with a big group of investors to open a restaurant.” I’m looking at them, trying to sip my coffee, like, “Yeah, bro, that must be rough.” And I go home and trade in the coffee for tequila. Did I do something wrong?

Are there “women’s jobs” in professional kitchens?
RC: Pastry chef has always been the traditional one, and I think that’s still true today. 
April Bloomfield: It’s an easy option for the girls to go into pastry. 
RC: You’re not on the hot line. 
SJ: You don’t have to compete with everybody else.

Is there a media bias against women chefs? Is it harder for women to get their names out there? 
AG: You have to put on a pair of fishnet stockings, and you have to get yourself on television. I find myself hoping I can get on a TV show and then people from Oklahoma will come to my restaurant. Then I’ll be able to make enough money to open my own place. 
JW: If you’re overenthusiastic, though, you’re a schoolgirl. I think that was printed about me.



I was trying to search for food-related grad programs/careers/what have you. Google’s suggestion got right to the point. Also, recent searches are pretty cute. 

Really good day in the kitchen at work

I got there late, and I was the only student prepper there today, but I was really competent and got tons of shit done, including baking and traying ~550 cookies and coming away with what might be a really cool scar:

I guess this is why chef’s coats have sleeves.

I never really cared about having tattoos or piercings on myself, but have always thought scars are really cool.

ookay time to shower and change to catering uniform to serve people all the stuff I just made. 

also look what I got today for five bucks in the Border’s bargain bin:

(whoa, alliteration)

20 dollars on amazon, 35 brand new. Seems like a good reference and a lot of useful tips. Excited to read it! but so busy and exhausted for the next few days. 

Janky Jambalaya

I made this a few days ago, and tried to post about it then, but tumblr was being difficult. Anyway, I made a big batch and have been eating it all week (having more right now), so thought I should finally post. 

After I wrote about the southern dinner I made with my friends, I started thinking about the bag of cut okra that has been in my freezer (and previously belonged to a housemate) for waaay too long. I also realized that I had a good handful of leftover pepperoni from a sandwich bar we catered at work, an onion, beef bouillon cubes, leftover tomato paste, and a ton of rice. I decided the only appropriate course of action would be to make something resembling Jambalaya. My dad used to make a lot of Jambalaya—he’s not actually from Louisana or anything, but it’s one of the only things he knows how to cook and his was always delicious. 

Things that traditional Jambalaya has that I had to do without:

  • chicken
  • bell pepper
  • celery

Questionable substitutions:

  • pepperoni for andouille sausage (tasted great, athough there was a lack of nice big chunks)
  • pre-cooked japanese sticky rice for uncooked long-grain rice (made the dish pretty congealed and sticky—but not horrible)
  • about a tablespoon of tomato paste for chopped tomatoes
  • beef bouillon cubes for fresh stock/broth

I made the cajun seasoning, (this post) thawed the okra, cut up the onion, crushed some garlic, chopped up the pepperoni slices, and made some rice in the little rice cooker on the counter (plus some I had leftover), and dissolved 4 bouillon cubes in a good 3ish cups of hot water

heat oil in big pot>add onion and garlic, cook>add okra>add tomato paste>add pepperoni>add cajun seasoning, reconstituted broth, and rice. cook a bit until okra is cooked and everything is delicious. 

I ended up adding some louisiana hot sauce while eating. 

This recipe is INCREDIBLY filling! after one small bowl I can’t eat anything else for a while. Even now I’m looking at my half-eaten bowl trying to decide if I will finish it. 


This is kind of a not-so-good photo. But look! Our oft-overlooked campus garden is beautiful. There are blueberry bushes, carrots, tomatoes, green beans, snap peas, lavender, an apple tree, chard, basil, mint, corn… lots of stuff! Bryn Mawr students are welcome to eat from it, and the food is sometimes used in the dining halls. It was planted and maintained by the BMC Greens (y’all are the best). Me and some friends picked a few string beans and a bit of chard to cook with. Nom. 

that’s my chard on the top! I just stir fried it with some oil, sesame, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce, but it didn’t turn out very well. Maybe a better application for other vegetables. 


This is kind of a not-so-good photo. But look! Our oft-overlooked campus garden is beautiful. There are blueberry bushes, carrots, tomatoes, green beans, snap peas, lavender, an apple tree, chard, basil, mint, corn… lots of stuff! Bryn Mawr students are welcome to eat from it, and the food is sometimes used in the dining halls. It was planted and maintained by the BMC Greens (y’all are the best). Me and some friends picked a few string beans and a bit of chard to cook with. Nom. 

that’s my chard on the top! I just stir fried it with some oil, sesame, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce, but it didn’t turn out very well. Maybe a better application for other vegetables. 

Southern Feast

a few days ago my friend/frosh year roommate decided we were going to make southern food (she is from NC). Ended up with a beautiful dinner for five of us. 

The spread (all photos documented with NC friend’s camera): 

shrimp and cheesy grits, fried okra, fried (but not green) tomatoes, sweet mango-flavored tea, and spring mix salad with goat cheese, craisins, walnuts, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil (uh. not southern). 


grits were fantastic. They involved cheddar cheese, butter? half and half… the roommate was in charge of the grits. I did the shrimp with butter, parsley, lots of garlic. It was fine but would have been much better if the shrimp hadn’t been bought precooked (but I tried not to overcook them too much more), and if we had lemon (other friend convinced me to use an orange, but i wasn’t super happy with the results). 

sweet tea and very messy kitchen:

we used a looseleaf mango-flavored black tea, with lots of sugar. 

no closeup of the okra!! but here it is frying (with a lot of cornmeal falling into the oil):

we cut up fresh okra, dipped it in kefir (yankee-yuppy buttermilk substitute) then coated in seasoned cornmeal and fried in shallow oil (Paula Deen’s recipe, more or less). They turned out perfectly!! At least, I assume so, although I’d never had fried okra before. Then we used the same method for thick tomato slices, with just okay results. I ate the fried things with louisiana-style hot sauce; other people went for ketchup.

After we ate I ended up bringing a plate to my friend who is from Georgia and was doing a receptionist shift at our work. She seemed to approve, but claimed she could make “cum-in-your-pants-worthy” shrimp and grits. Hers involve bacon. 

Fried Rice!

I learned how to make fried rice while watching Yan Can Cook one lazy weekend morning in my adolescence, and have been all about it ever since. 

It’s easy, delicious, fast, cheap, super healthy, balanced/complete (rice+veg+protein), uses up leftovers, and is totally adaptable to different diets (gluten-free vegan with a nut allergy who doesn’t like spicy food? You can still make delicious fried rice, and put out chile sauce/animaly ingredients/whatever for those who want it).

You need:

  • cooked rice (great use for leftover rice!)
  • a few different vegetables: I like grated carrot and something green: green beans, kale, asparagus, broccoli, peas, cabbage, mushrooms, green onions… whatever you have, really. everything should be chopped into pretty small pieces, and you may want to par-cook something like asparagus.
  • one or more protein: beaten egg is a necessity for me but I’ve made vegan versions without. you also can add tofu, ham, bacon, chicken, shrimp, or cooked lentils. everything except egg works best if pre-cooked.
  • seasoning: my go-to is soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame (oil and/or seeds), and chile. You can be creative if you have other ideas. Fresh or dried is fine for everything. 

I usually:

  • heat a frying pan or wok to medium, add oil (peanut, canola, olive are all fine).
  • pour in beaten egg if using, scramble until *almost* done (don’t overcook—should still be wet in places).
  • put egg in bowl and set aside. wipe out pan if there are eggy bits.
  • put more oil and sesame oil in pan, put in garlic, ginger, chile, cook but don’t let burn! if using ham or tofu, add now to brown them. 
  • add vegetables. saute until cooked. adding some soy sauce at this point adds moisture to help them steam while seasoning. you can also put a lid on the pan for a couple minutes if you’re worried about something like kale or cabbage getting cooked enough.
  • add rice. mix everything together completely. add beaten egg and chop up  in the pan (free free to hack at it a lot with whatever implement you’re using—I like silicone scrapers or those wooden rice paddle thangs), then mix again. 
  • add other protein if using. add sesame seeds if using. 
  • let fry for a few minutes, tasting/adjusting soy sauce or other seasoning if necessary, and stirring occasionally. 
  • serve! i usually add sriracha or garlic chili sauce or louisiana-style hot sauce to mine. 
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