day three: markets, monographs, & miso (GF)

Now that the fridge has been aggressively scrubbed down, I’ve turned my attention to the storage closet-pantry. It’s primarily cluttered with stacks of shoe boxes (unsurprising), but a good deal of canned and dried foods have accumulated there over the years. Thus far, I have taken stock of about 15 cans of beans that need to be eaten sometime in the next three weeks. That’ll be fun.

I also randomly stumbled upon 4 boxes of half-used pancake mixes, which to me is rather suspect because: a) I haven’t used real pancake mix in about 2 years, and b) I certainly do not remember eating all that many pancakes before then. For the moment, I’ve stacked them up on my dining table, and my apartment now looks like the beginning of an in-house IHOP.

Another work in progress.

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day two: quinoa salad with peas & asparagus (vegan & GF)

Last week I spent a few hours clearing out my closet of clothing items I will never wear again. By this, I mean it was high time for me to donate all those dresses and cardigans in size XS that have never seen the light of day in the 6 years I’ve owned them. (I am also 5’8 with man-shoulders, so I’m not quite sure what possessed me to believe I would ever fit into a size XS anything.) It was one of those terrible things that girls do, buying clothes that are too small in the belief that it will motivate them to get their ass on a treadmill.

Incidentally, I hate the gym. And running. So, the cardigans were never worn.

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day one: operation floppy hat

…or: my dream to look classically vogue while wearing a sundress in a Scottish field.

Noosh very sadly moved out of the apartment yesterday morning, so when I got home from work in the evening I opened the door to a half-empty living room and the realization that most of that crap was actually mine and dear God how am I going to get rid of all of it before I leave next month. Feeling the nausea that was rapidly transforming into borderline hysteria at the thought, I turned my attention to the refrigerator.

Aim low. Start small. I can do this.

I then spent the next hour and a half cleaning out my fridge. And when I say cleaning, I mean I took a vacuum cleaner to the floor while the shelves lay in heaps strewn about the living room. Of course, there was much produce to be thrown. Carrots hidden in drawers for so long they had decayed into some sort of orange mass (not pleasant), grenadine stains on door shelves that really should not have been left unattended for two years as they were (even more unpleasant), wasabi paste that I did not even know we owned. It was like bargain hunting in thrift store bins for treasures, if ‘treasures’ meant ‘I cannot believe you let yourself keep this crap for so damn long.’

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It was also while I was cleaning that I really thought about food for the first time in a while. And not just what am I going to make for dinner thoughts, but food.

(I’m not quite sure when or why the food blog turned into an online diary, but I’ll run with it.)

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rhubarb-strawberry jam

Rhubarb is, technically, a vegetable, but its strong, tangy flavor pairs beautifully with heapings of sugar and berries. Commonly, rhubarb stalks are chopped and used in fruit pies, but their flavor and color lend themselves just as wonderfully in a simple, tart jam.

Here, I’ve added comparatively few strawberries than you’d find in a typical rhubarb-strawberry jam, as I wanted to focus on the rhubarb, but you are welcome to alter the proportions as desired. Keep in mind the ratio of sugar and lemon juice needed if you do so.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam
Yields about 2.5 pints of jam

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup hulled, chopped strawberries
  • 2.5 cups sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup water

Method:

Place the fruit, sugar, lemon zest, juice, and water in a large bowl and stir so all the fruit is well-coated. Let sit for about an hour. Have 2-3 pint-size mason jars prepared. I myself do not can for long-term preservation, but if you plan to do so, sterilize your mason jars and prep them as appropriate.

Heat a large pot over medium-high flame. Add all the contents of the bowl to the pot and bring to the boil. Cook, stirring the jam constantly, for about 15 mins until fruit has softened. Take care to remove any scum from the surface of the jam. Once cooked, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally so the jam doesn’t burn at the bottom of the pot. Cook for an additional 10-15 mins.

At this point, you can take an immersion blender to the jam to puree it (as I like to do for a smooth, almost-compote), otherwise remove the jam from the heat, allow to cool for 10-15 mins, and pour into the mason jars. Continue on to processing the jars in a water bath if you plan on preserving them.

Jams stay good refrigerated for up to 10 days, or preserved for up to 12 months.