I just had my first midterm this semester and I think I bombed it, which is depressing. I had a nice lunch with my girlfriend afterward though and now I’m in my room relaxing before I pick her up to go to Trader Joe’s. A Trader Joe’s just opened in the area and we went once already a couple of weeks ago but we’re going to go again today. After that, I’m going to do some work around the apartment like do laundry, sanitize my room, finalize my resume and apply for some jobs, and study for my last midterm on Friday. I’m less stressed about it but I have a ton of preparation to do still.
Anyway…I’m considering seeing my therapist again because I’ve been feeling a little depressed. I’ve unfortunately been taking it out on my girlfriend a lot as well as my family…but she suffers more because I’m around her more frequently than I am with my family. It’s not fair to her and I don’t like constantly picking fights with her because I’m in a bad mood. I’ve been doing several things to take care of myself such as yoga, cooking, and writing…perhaps I don’t need more outlets though…perhaps I need to do more professional and future plan-related development. I’ve done a ton of that but I feel like it’s been futile so…I feel stuck.
Anyway…let’s talk about food!
The first dish I made with my girlfriend, and it’s pizza! We made this over the summer, in late August. We made several errors here…one is that we used way too much dough for the small pizza tray we had, and ended up with deep-dish style pizza. I don’t quite remember what we put on the pizza…she did most of the work. I was doing a puzzle but she added mushrooms, jalapenos, three or four different cheeses, pepperoni…spinach probably…onions…yeah it was intense. The toppings were great but because she added so many of them and because there was too much dough, the toppings all fell into the center. I think the pizza would’ve been better if we executed the dough part better.
The next two pictures are two different adaptations of tomato sandwiches. My family friend’s mom grows tomatoes so he brought some over and my mom decided to make tomato sandwiches to really savor the freshness of them. Tomato sandwiches consist of toasted bread, a thin layer of mayo on both sides, fresh torn basil, and then the tomatoes! it’s super easy and it really highlights the deliciousness of the tomatoes. The first version is with Italian bread, which is great but cuz it was so crusty, the tomatoes slipped out. The sliced bread was better because the tomatoes stayed inside. When I went back to my apartment, I made another variation (not pictured here) with sliced and toasted wheat bread, butter, dried basil, and then the tomatoes. It was good but it’s definitely better with at least fresh basil.
The other pizza photo is a grilled pizza my mom makes on the grill. Making pizza this way has become popular but my family swears she came up with it first. But yeah…it’s super delicious.
The first pasta dish is penne with butternut squash from the In the Kitchen Food Network app. I never cooked with butternut squash before so I was excited to try it, especially because I know I enjoy butternut squash.
I had to peel and cut the butternut squash, which was kinda difficult because it’s hard like cutting a raw potato. I won’t be making butternut squash a regular part of my diet just because the preparation takes too long. Anyway…this dish includes the butternut squash, cremini mushrooms, black pepper, fresh garlic, red onion, red pepper flakes, parmesan, and oregano.
My mistake here was using shitake mushrooms instead of cremini. Shitake mushrooms, which I’ve never cooked with before, are super smelly and cooking them was incredibly unpleasant. I feel like if I used a less stinky mushroom, such as the one they suggested, I would’ve enjoyed this dish more. Otherwise, I loved this dish because it’s seasonal and overall, pretty simple. I served this dish with a side of fresh tomatoes and sauteed spinach.
I didn’t make the next plate that I pictured. It’s actually from an organic made-to-order cafeteria on campus. They use a ton of vegetables, lean meats, and different sauces. One of my favorite sauces is raspberry jalapeno. The one pictured here is papaya lime.
The next two pictures are of an omelet I made. I really enjoyed the flavors so I took a photo. Plus, I’ve been making perfectly round omelets! The omelet ingredients I chose were pepperoni (leftover from the pizza), red onions (leftover from the penne dish), and the stinky shitake mushrooms, also leftover from the penne dish. The odor was unpleasant but it tasted delicious, especially when topped with feta which melted a bit, so good!
Some of the next dishes were brought to you by the local farmer’s market that comes to campus! Unfortunately, last week was the last week of the farmer’s market. I love the farmer’s market because it entices me to try new vegetables and I like supporting local farmers.
The first meal I made with ingredients from the market was simple and also from the app. I got okra and sauteed it with fresh tomatoes I still had from my mom’s friend, garlic, salt and pepper, and a splash of cider vinegar. I put it over pasta to make it a meal and damn, it was tasty. I love okra because it’s slimy, but I don’t eat it as frequently anymore. I will definitely have to change that because it’s easy to prepare and cook, and it’s healthy too!
The waffle ice cream is a dessert I made with my girlfriend in the dining hall. I just thought it looked nice.
The next dish in the pan is white eggplant I got from the farmer’s market sauteed with fresh tomatoes. (I had a ton of tomatoes for awhile). I splashed some balsamic vinegar in there and it was good…white eggplant didn’t seem incredibly different to me than purple eggplant except the skin is tougher.
There is another waffle ice cream….lol they’re soooo good!
The dish after that is pho I prepared in the dining hall at school. I love pho and there’s an authentic place down the street that makes it but I never go…but the dining hall does a pretty decent job. I get chicken and chicken broth and either sweet potato noodles or some other type of noodle…and then I season it with lime wedges, fresh jalapeno, lots of bean sprouts, and whatever else they have. I enjoy the crunch of bean sprouts and the contrasting flavors of jalapeno and lime…it’s so damn tasty.
The next meal I made included banana peppers from the farmer’s market which I stuffed with sausage, bread crumbs, egg, parmesan, and seasonings. I then cooked it until golden and served with homemade tomato sauce I made probably a couple of months ago.
My mom made homemade mac and cheese and then baked it at the end…so delicious. I shall make it myself one day but experiment with cheeses and flavors.
The next meal is a sweet potato I seasoned with honey, olive oil, salt and pepper, cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg. I baked it until it was soft.
The last photos pertain to an old family classic dessert my mom makes for me, but this time I made it myself! As you can see, my girlfriend and I have hoarded many apples from the dining hall. The dessert I made with the apples is called apple crisp. I made it by peeling the apples, slicing them thinly, and then seasoning them in a bowl with cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. Then I put the mixture in a glass baking pan. Next, I made the topping which consists of brown sugar, raw oats, flour, and tons of butter. After I mixed it up, I spread it over the apples and then put the entire thing into the oven to bake. Then you eat it when it’s warm and serve it with ice cream!
The next couple of things I’m going to make are from the farmer’s market too! I am going to make a dish with celeriac and poblano peppers. I’m also going to try making ginger tea with fresh ginger. I’ve learned that I greatly enjoy ginger but I’ve never really had it fresh, so I’m excited to try it!
Below are four recipes I made this summer as part of my self-care journey. I enjoy trying new recipes because it’s such a therapeutic process and the results are delicious!
All of my recipes have turned out well with the exception of the time I tried to cook with cauliflower. I didn’t take a photo of the product; I ended up discarding it altogether. I tried to make mashed cauliflower and the recipe had called for about a cup of chicken broth but instead, I had mistakenly added all of the chicken broth I had heated up. The cauliflower became incredibly salty and super unpleasant to eat. I was frustrated because I spent a long time making it, especially because I had never cooked or chopped cauliflower before. It sucked to have the final product be so disastrous but…what matters is that I tried something new to begin with!
Whenever I think about cauliflower now, I start tasting the salty-nastiness of my failed recipe. I will have to try the recipe again though so I can master it!
Anyway…the recipes below turned out really well. I found them on either the Food Network’s In the Kitchen app, on Delish.com, or in People Magazine.