[Originally posted on Trimmings, my now-abandoned Tumblr blog]
My kitchen and I are on the outs.
I suppose the trouble began when my dishwasher stopped draining and left a pool of vinegary water across the floor. I don’t mind washing dishes by hand, although it does add on to the total time it takes to cook and clean up. I do mind that the pipes beneath the dishwasher gurgle and splash up another puddle of water every few days. I’ve been leaving a towel tucked up against the machine and changing it periodically, like a bandage. Building maintenance says they’ll come fix the dishwasher Wednesday, a full month after it first broke down, and they think they’ll relocate it to a different cabinet–one that is actually two inches shorter than the dishwasher itself, so I anticipate chaos.
Also, I haven’t been able to grocery shop the way I like to, rounding up bags upon bags of veggies at the market. My new job doesn’t let out early enough to swing by the Reading Terminal, and on my days off my legs ache and I like to stay close to home. I’ve pieced together a few decent meals but I’ve also picked up some to-go, which is a strain on my wallet.
Finally, I was cleaning up a fridge mess–spilled iced tea–and dropped the glass shelf that covers the crisper. Did you know fridge shelves are made of shatter glass? Now I do, having picked out lentil-sized fragments from between the kitchen tiles, Cinderella-style.
I had today off and decided to cook everything I could so that I didn’t have to touch anything but the microwave for a few days.
I had some ancient leeks and artichokes that were still in surprisingly good condition, so first I set the artichokes to steam and toasted some of the leeks and some breadcrumbs in butter. While those pieces were in motion, I diced a couple of potatoes and thawed some frozen spinach. I also started boiling a pot of water for a couple quarts of black tea with rose hips.
Once the leeks and breadcrumbs were cooling and the artichokes draining, I started browning the potato cubes. Cleared them from the skillet, then sauteed the rest of the leeks and the frozen spinach until the water cooked off. All of those things went into bowls to cool. The rose tea was ready, so I poured it into a pitcher with lemon juice, sugar, and a couple tablespoons of rose water–a nostalgic drink I learned to love in New Orleans, just for pleasure since I had all the ingredients.
I thawed some frozen peas and diced some carrots; threw those into a bigger skillet, then added whole jar of kimchi (which I made a few weeks ago) and some rice I’d cooked the day before. The outcome wasn’t as amazing as this looks, but it was spicy and savory and eggy (I added eggs in lieu of pork) and I can’t complain.
The artichokes were quite cool, so I scooped out their chokes and stuffed them with the buttery leeks, breadcrumbs, and parmesan. I wrapped them up individually in foil. I’ve only ever made stuffed artichokes for company–for boyfriends, usually, and once for a couple of friends when one was recovering from a breakup. How indulgent to have them to myself. I can see myself throwing one in the oven when I get home from work tomorrow, sipping wine while I wait for it to warm and soften.
It may seem like a lot, but all of this was done slowly over the length of the whole afternoon, with lots of breaks. I had no other plans today, so I cooked and sat down and blogged a bit and cooked some more, several cycles before I bothered making quiche. There wasn’t much left to be done once the spinach and potato were cooked; just whip up some eggs, yogurt, and cheese, and mix the greens and stuff in. I don’t care to make my own crust–Pillsbury is good enough for me–so I filled up a couple premade shells. They came out great. I like a denser quiche, where the egg is mostly binding together more substantial ingredients, and the potatoes give a satisfying heft to what would normally be a light lunch. I may wrap some pieces in foil and take some to work, where there is a toaster oven.
I cleaned as I went and now my counters are starting to look clear, but I’ll have some time to tidy up before Wednesday. The kitchen chaos is a temporary setback. It will be May soon, and the neighborhood market will open up and my CSA will start delivering every other week. Then I’ll have plenty of fresh food and my blog will be full of humblebrags about how easy it is to sautee some kale with white beans and to top it with a fried egg and enjoy a light spring dinner for one.