I promise every time I don’t write something for a bit I’m not going to start it off with some trite been a long time since I rapped at ya bullshit, but fuck. I got my second Pfizer vaccine on Monday AM and by Monday night I was in bed, fever, chills and totally laid up for a good 36 hours, so this week has been entirely dedicated to make-up from missing a day and a half of it.
Still, totally fucking worth it. 100% effective against severe cases of Coronavirus? Sign. Me. The. Fuck. Up. (Oh wait I did, SO SHOULD YOU.)
Ok, enough of this preaching from the bully pulpit of this low-rent “cooking” blog.
JUST GET TO THE COOKING ALREADY JESUS FUCKING CHRIST ON A CRUTCH.
With the amazingly nice weather we’ve had over the past few days we had some friends over to our backyard for dinner. They’re mostly vegetarian which is what I used to say when I was vegetarian but going over to a friends house and wanted to be polite so I just made an almost entirely vegan meal. Jokes on them right? (Don’t worry I drank a cup of gravy this morning to offset the two vegan meals.)
Although, to be quite honest, there are few things I like more than grilled eggplant (or, really, eggplant in general), especially when paired with lemon juice, garlic and tahini. I wanted something chunkier than babaganoush (mostly because I can’t ever really sell my wife on babaganoush no matter how many times I try though.)
I ended up quartering three small eggplants (the smaller and firmer the eggplant, the less seeds it has, and the less seeds it has the less bitter is) and brushing them with olive oil and salt and putting them on a very hot grill, rotating them to get those “oh you grilled this?” hash marks, but generally letting the eggplant cook until it was real well done a bit burnt on the edges. I then cut it into medium sized chunks and tossed it in a “dressing” of tahini, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, pepper, chopped parsley (remember: curly parsley is a tool of the 1% designed to keep us in servitude, so use flat-leaf) and some torn mint. And before someone is all “WELL AHCKSHULLY TORN MINT TASTES DIFFERENT” no it doesn’t. I tore it because I was lazy and forgot the mint until I had already cleaned the cutting board and knife and put it away.
Fun fact, burnt eggplant is delicious. In fact, there’s a wide range of vegetables that taste really much better when they’ve gotten some char: eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, scallions, onions, carrots, radishes just off the top of my head. (I mean something has to be there to replace all the hair that’s fallen out, right? Something something about how matter is never created or destroyed?)
I also made a riff on the cauliflower salad I made a few weeks ago. Instead of roasting the cauliflower in the oven, I quartered it and grilled it (grill was on and I wasn’t gonna be inside sweating over the stove for this meal except for the bit where I made all the kids grilled cheeses because I’m either a horrible or fantastic host and father but then totally was inside making four goddamn grilled cheese sandwiches. Four of them? Well I was making them for my kids because as you might have read my kids are horrible, loveable monsters who hate everything I do for them, and I didn’t want to make the other kids who came over with their parents jealous that my kids got grilled cheeses on challah so I made them grilled cheeses too, but like one of those kids ALSO had some asparagus, so like, they’re all right by me. Also like american cheese and sharp cheddar melted between grilled challah? I kind of wanted one too.)
So I grilled the cauliflower, and then life handed me lemons (actually it was one of my kids who I made go food shopping with me to see if I could pique their curiosity about food and ask to try something new but fucking fat chance there) so I made a lemon vinaigrette with some olive oil, and chopped up some celery (if you can get celery leaves on them, the leaves are really my favorite part), roasted chopped hazelnuts and golden raisins. I grilled the cauliflower over high heat for a good thirty minutes probably which made the outside bits super charred and nutty and the inside bits a little soft and steamy. (Side note: you really can’t over good cauliflower like you can broccoli or other green vegetables. It’ll get soft but then it’s like even better?)
The last thing I made was asparagus. Well, I attempted to make asparagus. I guess I made some of the asparagus. I made the paragus, because I certainly didn’t make the ass.
See what happened was I had prepped the asparagus (for anything other than long stalks I just cut off the last inch – if you do that snapping thing you’ll lose a ton of very edible asparagus; for large stalks, I still cut the ends off, but then I use peeler to take off the outer woody layers) and had gotten then covered in oil and salt and pepper and on a quarter sheet-pan and put them next to the grill, and then not more than 30 seconds later the were on the deck having been knocked over a kid with a huge inflatable burrito.
Despite the number of times said child was told to not go near the grill with the burrito.
Despite it having been said to them not a minute earlier.
Despite the fact that OH MY FUCKING GOD ARE YOU GODDAMN KIDDING ME YOU KNOCKED OVER THE GODDAMN ASPARAGUS WHAT THE FUCK IS FUCKING WRONG WITH YOU.
(Also as a parent you learn that there are questions you really want to ask but you’ll never get a satisfying answer from so you have to not ask them because the answer is so not what you wanted to hear that it can make the situation even more annoying. “What were you thinking” is really the top of the list, because the actual answer is “I wasn’t”, but there’s really no answer that fits that question that makes the situation better.)
So I cooked what was salvageable. Which was like maybe 1/3 of what I had prepped, and put it on the plate I had prepared with a layer of labneh cheese, and then sprinkled with smoked sea salt, lemon zest, olive oil and some zataar.
Next week should prove to be interesting. Said kid is making dinner for all us to make up for it. I can’t wait to see the look on their face when I take the tray of meatballs and throw it on the ground, giggling with sheer glee. (No, really, I would never do that. Mistakes happen. It sucks, but mistakes happen, and they’re still my lovable little kids.)