Tuesday, January 25, 2011

reality bites

Sometimes our lives sort of resemble more really good dreams than reality- an enjoyable blur of romantic candlelit dinners and wandering around holding hands.

And then reality snaps back and you go SELF LET’S GET ON THIS.

To that end- perhaps you noticed the abundance of hanging out with Steve at my house on this blog. Almost like no one else was at my house.

Well, that was because my mother was in Antarctica. Well, actually, HILARIOUSLY, she was in Antarctica for a work trip, worked for about a day, headed to the airstrip for a flight to the South Pole, went back to the van that was dangerously high above the ice to get altitude-sickness pills for SOMEONE ELSE, and broke her pelvis.

My Mom Broke Her Pelvis in Antarctica. Word, Erin, it really would be a great name for a band.

And then she was airlifted out, and was stranded in a New Zealand hospital for a week or so.

Seriously.

So she is home, and I do the best I can for her singlehandedly hauling a queen sized mattress around (go, self!), fetching things she needs, and, of course, making her comfort food the best way I know how.

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I entirely have my cousin Rachel to thank for this recipe. We were talking about macaroni and cheese (because what better topic of conversation is there, quite frankly?) and she said “there’s a Moosewood recipe that involves a lot of cabbage and cottage cheese and it’s really nothing like macaroni and cheese but it’s delicious.”

I take recommendations for food from Rachel VERY VERY VERY SERIOUSLY, as she is one of the best cooks and THE best baker, bar none, that I know.

Also, Rachel, should update her blog more.

I pulled out my Moosewood (which was in all likelihood purchased by my mother back in the day when everyone had Birkenstocks and a Moosewood cookbook) and as usual admired the adorable layout and design elements.

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Then got to prepping and was overjoyed at the quantity of vegetables involved.

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And, to add to the joy, then you sauteed them in butter.

Literally all they said was saute them in butter. Bit vague. So I used about a tablespoon? And a butter-canola oil blend, for your heart dontcha know. For seasoning, caraway seeds. LOVE THOSE!

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In went cabbage, shredded; carrots, sliced; and half a pound of mushrooms, sliced. Cooked til nice ‘n tender.

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Meanwhile I whipped up the cheese mixture: cottage cheese (lots), sour cream (not as much as it called for- I was finishing off a small tub- but still plenty!), a shredded Swiss-Gouda blend (what I had, I”m sure anything would be good), minced scallion, chopped red onion, chopped green pepper.

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My pasta (the recipe actually CALLED FOR whole wheat macaroni, and now that I”ve tasted it I’ve gotta say it probably wouldn’t have even been GOOD with the white kind of pasta. Yay!) was done early, so you were supposed to butter it but instead I just threw it in with the buttery veggies, thus infusing it with flavor and keeping it from sticking together.

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All together, it barely fit in my big baking dish!

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Baked at 350 and it made the whoooooole houuuuuuuuuuuse smell soooooooooo gooooood!

And out it came wonderfully brown and bubbly (though in the interests of honestly, it was also kind of wet. Which makes sense. A lotta water-rich vegetables in this bad boy).

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And then I made myself up a bowl and sat admiring the beautiful coloration.

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AND THEN MY EYES SPUN BACK IN MY HEAD CAUSE LORDY LORDY IT IS JUST SO DELICIOUS. No it really isn’t even remotely like mac n cheese. But man oh man oh man Whole Wheat Macaroni Russian-Style from Moosewood, you are entering my rotation. You are entering my LIFE. And you have brought OH SO MUCH JOY TO IT!

There are just SO MANY GOOD THINGS IN IT and there is just SO MUCH AWESOME FLAVOR IN EVERY BITE. Caveat: if you don’t like onions, don’t make this. There are many onions, in many forms. But Godddddddd they just get so sweet and amazing and flaaaaaaaaaavorful!

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So I am notoriously lazy about baking recipes that I bookmark- I have roughly 3000, about 4 of which I have actually made.

However, I read this recipe for cranberry oatmeal beer bread in Food for Laughter (which in case you are not a longtime reader is what I want my blog to be when it grows up).

I read it on Wednesday and I made it on Saturday.

OH EM GEE IT IS GOOD.

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Following substitutions:

1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour instead of 2 cups whole wheat flour+1/2 cup white flour
Stevia baking mix (because I, er, remembered I’d had it sitting in my pantry for six months) instead of turbinado sugar. Thus, used less- 1/4 cup- cause stevia is STRONG.
Mix of dried and fresh cranberries cause I didn’t have enough dried

Sweet, earthy, moist and crumby bliss. Lady, you are a PRO!

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And so we return to routine. Bosses are mean to us, the weather is cold, the Bears lose the playoffs, we spend too much on almond milk because we forget to bring our coupons to the grocery store.

Reality bites.

But we persevere, and we make things to feed those we love because it means something to keep someone alive, quite literally with your food, but also to nourish them in the more metaphysical sense. To say “it takes you ten minutes to scoot down the stairs to the kitchen, but when you get there your firstborn will be waiting with a hot dish and encouraging words!”

To end on a sweet(er) note, my mom’s convalescence meant a delivery of an Edible Arrangement from her coworkers.

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Those chocolate covered bananas are DANGER!

Edible Arrangement, I wish I knew how to quit you.

5 comments:

Tamara Marnell said...

Best wishes to your mother. I hope workers comp covered that New Zealand hospital stay...my boyfriend's father was in the hospital for like three days and was charged more than fifty thousand dollars for it. He doesn't have health insurance either. Oy vey.

Jess said...

Thinking/praying for your mother!!

That meal looks super yummy!!

All Things Yummy said...

Wow, Antartica, really? I didn't even know people really went there. So sorry your mom was injured. Glad you are there to take care of her.
Your dishes look delicious.
I'm sad the Bears lost too.

Jess@atasteofconfidence said...

Hope your mother feels better!

MelindaRD said...

Oh my, I wish your mom a speedy recovery and I hope she is not in too much pain. My next comment is OMG in Antarctica. Not too many people can say that they have been there, much less broke their pelvis there. That is just nuts. I am glad she is home with you now. That pasta dish looks great!