What I’m Cooking: January

Well, I guess it is time to get back to work.

I’ve been experiencing the same malaise that many of my peers have felt since November, and feeling sort of hopeless, fatigued, and sad. I think I’ve also been in a slump since I defended, honestly. I didn’t know that post-defense malaise was a thing, but after talking about it with a few other PhDs, I think it is a thing. And so I have been writing little and cooking by rote.

But I’ve promised myself that I will spend more time on things that energize and satisfy me, so here we go. Back to routine.

What I’ve cooked recently:

  • A big old Southern dinner for the New Year: collard greens, hoppin’ john, biscuits. Grapes for sweetness. Pickles and cheese and popcorn for fun. Bottles and bottles of champagne (mostly brought by friends). New Year’s Eve turned out to be a really lovely and satisfying evening for me, and reminded me that I love feeding my friends and filling up my home with their laughter.
  • A spicy, hearty chicken and lentil stew that I will totally make again. I happen to keep berbere from Penzey’s in my cabinet but this stew would totally be fine with a substitution.
  • I had a friend in town earlier this month who showed me how to use my broiling pan to make steaks, and my mind was blown. I just used it again to make pork chops. Why haven’t I been broiling things all my life?
  • A variation of this kimchi soup with beef instead of pork. I made five pints of kimchi last week (using this recipe) and am looking forward to this hot, sour soup for as long as it’s cold.

What I’m looking forward to cooking:

  • I’ve been seeing a nutritionist because my insurance covers a few free sessions (and because I feel that need to present detailed and immaculate records to my doctor if I’m going to ask about changing my thyroid medication). Most of what we’ve discussed comes as no surprise to me, but one thing we’ve been working on together is increasing the protein in my diet. This doesn’t come naturally with my usual cooking habits, which involve buying up cheap market veggies when my CSA isn’t in season and purchasing whole grains in bulk. Now I am trying to think of ways to incorporate meat into my go-to recipes, or build meals around a protein-rich grain or legume. I’m making progress and I do feel less anemic after a few months of this, but it’s work and I’d love to hear your favorite protein-rich recipes. Give me your chickpea stews, your favorite preparations for fish or tofu, your uses for nuts and eggs that I have not yet imagined.
  • I’m low on chicken broth, so I am planning to roast a chicken to supply the carcass I need to make my own stock. It’s a good excuse to invite some friends over.

What I’m writing:

  • My personal writing just dried up for a few months. I skipped some deadlines for anthologies I really wanted to be a part of. I didn’t blog. I didn’t journal. I did write a lot for my workplace, though. I contribute occasionally to the blog for Philadelphia’s library system. I also have recently taken over my own workplace’s blog. You should follow if you’re into reading nerdy things about books, art, and history, although you may also want to wait until we’re off blogspot (we’ll be launching a new website in a few weeks).  If you like nerdy things about books, art, and history but don’t want to read 1k words each time, consider following our Instagram instead.
  • I drafted an article for a local food magazine which I will post when it is online. My piece is a tour of the food art in my local art museum, arranged around a few different themes. It was so much fun to write, and reminded me how much pleasure I’ve gotten out of this little blog over the years. It’s one of the reasons I made a promise to myself to come back.

You?

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One response to “What I’m Cooking: January

  1. I’ve been in the same sad dismal state since the day of my thyroidectomy, which will now and forever be ‘the night I stayed up reading Ted Chiang short stories, becoming increasingly panicked about the election results, getting gross stuff on my hospital gown from my neck drains, and then finding out a nasty little toad was going to be president.’ It was a lot all at once.
    I got excited because I haven’t seen you post in forever, and it reminded me how behind I am on emailing you, and then I got excited because I can talk protein. Protein! I have three suggestions that may or may not be helpful.

    * Chicken breasts go with ANYTHING. Sometimes, I want nachos. So I add chicken. Sometimes I want a bagel and cream cheese, and chicken can go with that too. Or in soups! Or in an omelette! Boneless skinless chicken is the classy black shoes of recipes.

    * Also, and this might or might not be your style, but when I was trying to work towards semi-visible muscles (this did not happen at all), I found that Optimum Nutrition Double Rich Chocolate is really tasty and kind of healthy. Okay, it is absolutely NOT as versatile as the chicken. But it does go well in smoothies or along with some almond milk.

    * TOFU: this is it for my house. Nobody doesn’t like fried tofu.

    http://chefinyou.com/2011/10/06/fried-tofu-sweet-chille-sauce/

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