10 Important Things That Entered My Mouth in August

Being an independent adult is fun! You get to carry a checkbook, worry about things like bathroom tile grout, and spend money on family-size packs of paper towels that occupy half of your modest little pantry in your modest little kitchen that's partially funded by your modest little paycheck. You also get to cook meals for yourself after work at 9 PM, which is an art form that I’m actively trying to master. 

If you’re just tuning into my content (hello, welcome), you should know that I just moved from New York to New Jersey after living at home for the first 25 years of my life. I discovered cooking as an unemployed college graduate and soon became the chef de cuisine at Maison Lardashian (our kitchen), preparing nightly family-style meals to be served no later than 6:30 PM for fear that my mother might faint due to starvation. She eats lunch (a Lean Cuisine, “none of the spicy kinds”) at 11:30 AM with her preschool students, which I think is tacky. She argues that it’s “nice.”

In other words, I’m meal planning and cooking for one person rather than 4, which equates to 12 gracious servings in Lardashian HQ, where the dinner motto is Leftovers or It Doesn’t Count™.

I’ve made the mistake of ignoring how many servings one recipe yields, in which case I get stuck eating the same thing several days in a row for lunch and dinner (sometimes breakfast), but these mishaps have helped me assemble a small arsenal of recipes that can stand as stretch meals throughout the week.

Stretch meal | noun |

A recipe containing budget-friendly ingredients (grains, legumes, veggies, alliums) that can be assembled on a Sunday and be repurposed throughout the week as grain bowl or salad components.

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The most successful stretch meals I’ve made in August have been The Kitchn’s Brown Rice Bowl with Lentils with Caramelized Onions (it stuck with me for 6 days), Smitten Kitchen’s broccoli rubble farro salad, Food52’s Farro Risotto with Greens and Feta (I recommend adding diced pancetta to the mirepoix and dumping in a can of rinsed white cannellini beans in the last 15 minutes of step two), and this Grilled Corn & Barley Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette (if you don't have a grill either, you can cut off the kernels and sautée them in a cas iron skillet with olive oil or butter). 

Apart from stretch meals, this Shaved Vegetable Salad with Apples and Lemony Tahini Dressing was a disappointment, but this fattoush was delicious. Too bad I can’t access the recipe now that it’s hiding behind the NY Times’s’s paywall.

Outside of my new digs, I highly recommend the Spicy Baby Octopus at De Maria and the gnocchi at Thursday Kitchen. It’s an instant orgasm for your mouth and its surrounding body parts. Warn your mother if she is your dinner date.

Finally, I enjoyed a mind-blowing three-course dining experience with my friend Taylor at Stella Artois' "Food For Thought" event with Dutch eating designer Marije Vogelzang in collaboration with The New York Times Company's T Brand Studio. We were tagged with ribbon wristbands upon entering the space and later, after sipping on buzzy cocktails handed to us by male models, we were called to a small podium in groups by the color of our wristbands. There, we were met with a web of Stella Artois chalices that were tied together with a long piece of ribbon. We were instructed to take one each and walk to our table in unison, like The Blob. The chic adult camp vibe was intensified when we arrived at our table that was covered in fresh spring vegetables, deviled eggs, various dips and flatbreads and was enclosed by a tent of ribbons suspended from the ceiling. This is a highlight reel of the dinner components that followed:

  • A professional chef making hand-pulled noodles
  • Ramen served with the most aesthetically pleasing egg I've encountered
  • A dessert menu containing an assortment of truffles, fresh fruit with two kinds of dipping chocolate, and fresh donuts and pastries

After you check out these photos, look out your window to see a weeping woman waving a bridal gown on a stick. That's me and my wedding reception surrendering to the drama that occurred at this feast.


ANALYZE & DISCUSS

If you could choose any designer to custom-make your wedding surrender piece, who would it be and why?

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