What to Cook This Week: Stewed Stomach Ulcers?

Welcome to my premature quarter-life crisis, where everything’s made up and my anxieties really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. This trainwreck-in-motion is inspired by an angel that arrived at the end of a slack-jawed, drool-moistened nap on NJ Transit a few weeks ago and whispered to me,

“Hey. You still live at home, spend the majority of your day in this quiet car, and count going to dinner with your parents at a bistro that’s literally next to a Party City as ‘social activity’ because that’s all you have the energy to do on a Saturday night.” 

Valid points, valid points.

SO. I got off the train and the series of frenetic events that transpired over the past few weeks include but are not limited to:

  1. Signing up for every version of roommate Tinder that the internet had to offer
  2. Deciding on a partner-in-cohabitation after one IRL meeting
  3. Setting a move-in deadline less than 30 days away from aforementioned speed date without any prior experience in New York apartment hunting
  4. Viewing 6-10 listings on Sunday afternoons, three weekends in a row
  5. Wallowing in routine despair
  6. Consciously uncoupling from initial roommate on amicable terms
  7. Returning, momentarily, to square zero

#BuyPerfectDelusionOniTunes

It’s fine though because I’ve “learned so0o0o0o muchhh” and it seems that a more realistic and favorable option has come my way that will unfold in the upcoming weeks. I apologize for myself in advance and will spare you of the bullshit.

The thing that I do resent about this entire experience is how much it’s taken away from spending precious time making stuff in my kitchen. To be fair, I’ve clocked in enough hours at my island over the past two years and I haven’t had much of an appetite for much more than protein bars and chocolate thanks to stress, so maybe a break from cooking isn’t the worst thing. Of the few things that I’ve tried making in September, here are the highlights:

🍴 I made kimchi and then forgot about it (see why above). It fermented so well that I achieved a hint of mold. DM me for pix.

🍴 Funny story about this Fully Salted Roast Chicken from Bon Appétit. I put it in the oven to roast while I was working downstairs when, about a half an hour into the cook time, I smelled something not right happening in the kitchen. I ran upstairs to find that the entire second floor of our house was being hot boxed by our greasy-ass oven that hadn’t been cleaned since Jesus’s bat mitzvah. Fortunately, I have a history with making art out of grease fires and moved it to the grill to finish up. It turned out okay without the fire department getting involved.

🍴 This Ajiaco from Epicurious was a winner and made for great leftovers. I support this as a premiere soup of my heritage.

🍴 I ate pork belly for the first time at a work event and it was like eating a bacon-speckled piece of the juiciest pork chop imaginable. I’d like to try making this Grilled Pork Belly with Peach Salsa from Tasting Table again but let it crisp up more. The salsa also stretches for multiple uses throughout the week.

🍴 Ditto the salsa note for this Seared Fish with Beet Salsa from NYTimes Cooking. It’s tangy and spicy and worked as a great topping for eggs or a salad.

🍴 I tried out this recipe for Pasta with Fried Lemons and Chile Flakes because Melissa Clark is so delightful on camera and because cheese + fried citrus = a no-brainer. Two things that I would suggest and try in future iterations:

  1. Hear me out but USE WHOLE WHEAT PASTA. The nutty flavor of whole wheat linguine earthed the bright citrusy notes and acted as a solid base for a lot of cheese.
  2. Undercook the pasta by a minute as suggested by Melissa in her video because she's a queen.
  3. Over-budget on the amount of reserved pasta water that you use, especially if you’re going with whole wheat, otherwise the pasta will be dry and sad.
  4. Consider melting a few anchovies with the flavor base in Step 4. I did not think of this until after dinner and wholly regretted it.

🤔 Analyze & DiscusS 🤔

Would it be cost-effective if I only hunted for a kitchen space in Brooklyn as opposed to an entire apartment?