I’m working at home for the time being. One of the awesome things about that is that you can make a lovely lunch feast like this, instead of relying on leftovers, easily totable items like salads or sandwiches, or a scrounged convenient store lunch. My lunch, pictured below, is delicious, and took about 20 minutes to make. And all without a recipe, too–as you might have guessed.
Rice: Boiled with butter and tarragon.
Broccoli and potatoes: Sauteed in butter and canola oil. Seasoned with pepper, salt, and turmeric.
Chicken: My masterpiece. Quick, pan-made tandoori chicken. Such a vibrant coral-y, orange-red. Apparently this is the color all our lips should be for spring, if you listen to the fashion sites. If you’re interested in how i made this, leave me a comment and I’ll do a post focusing on it.
With all the oil and butter, this might not be the healthiest meal ever, but it does include vegetables and is fairly balanced, so what do I care. I’m enjoying myself. Bonus: leftovers so I can eat this delicious concoction again sometime in the next few days!
Let’s not think about how much I could have done over the weekend and didn’t. How far behind I am on everything I want to have done already. How much my apartment needs a good cleaning… Let’s talk instead about my favorite independent cafe.
My favorite food to order at Cafenation, for as many years as I’ve known about its existence (about three), has been the blackcurrant scone. Its buttery flavor and dense, rich texture made it, in my mind, the perfect scone. I would get one sometimes when I wasn’t even hungry, because they were so good and I knew I’d be hungry at some point.
In my memory (which has been wrong at times, but we’ll just go with it), the first time I got it was a morning when I was interviewing someone for a short biographical article. I got up early, walked down to the cafe, ordered a coffee and one of these scones, and brought them back home. I ate it as I set up my things for the phone interview, and it was probably the most satisfying breakfast I’d had for some time. The interview and article writing both went fairly well, but that’s not really relevant to this story.
Over the past three years–or, the parts of those years that have taken me near the cafe–I have bought one of these scones more often than any other food at this cafe. Suddenly, a few weeks ago, I stopped seeing it. Since I had only been a few times, always later in the afternoon, I assumed they had sold out… but then, they usually had a few left at that time. So I asked while I was ordering a coffee, whether they were just out of them momentarily, and I was informed that they had to switch to another bakery.
Ok, that’s out of my system now. I ordered a blueberry scone to try the new ones, and it was good. But not as good as my favorite, my love, the blackcurrant scone. I was disappointed. This is long ago enough now that I have moved on, but there will be times when I think of that one scone that I crave and I will regret that I can’t get it anymore. But hell, it’s just a scone, right? There are other things I would be much more devastated to lose.
Earlier this year, Cafenation had decided to close their kitchen at 3pm every day. I assumed they just weren’t selling enough kitchen-prepared orders in the later hours to keep the kitchen open, and since I rarely ordered from the kitchen anyway, it didn’t actually affect me very much. Still, I like having the option, so it always felt slightly disappointing. Now, they’re keeping the kitchen open later, but the cafe closes at 6 now, instead of 7 or 8, when they used to be open. Once again, this doesn’t really change anything for me, except that I don’t like going to restaurants or cafes in the last half hour before they close, which will have to happen from time to time, as I frequently leave work at 5:30.
I am the very first to admit that these are not real problems. The point is that people do not react well to change. I’m trying to get to a point where I can more quickly shake off that first disorientation of finding something to which I’m accustomed suddenly changing and move more quickly to filing away the new information and adjusting accordingly. Particularly when the change will have very little (if any) impact on my life.
Doesn’t that seem enlightened?
As I may have already mentioned, all my birthday plans got ruined and/or postponed by that damned
gimpy fish snowstorm. I ended up staying in all weekend after I got home Friday afternoon and not doing anything particularly productive. I did manage to cook a nice feast, however, which I shared with my roommate because I had made quite a lot of food.
The lineup: baked shrimp skewers, pan-steamed broccoli, and herb and lemon jasmine rice (the tomatoes were just an extra thing because my tomatoes had to get used up, they were going bad…)
I heated the oven to 350, having skimmed over some instructions somewhere online about baking shrimp. You’ll rarely want to put the temp very high for cooking seafood, at least, that’s the impression I get. If I’d planned ahead more I might have marinated the shrimp, but I did not plan ahead more. I tossed it with some olive oil (the good olive oil), sea salt, and pepper, and possibly some other herbs, I don’t know. It was over a week ago now. My memory isn’t that good anymore. Soon I’ll be a stooped old lady with no teeth.
(For perspective, for those who don’t know me, I just turned 26, so… yeah.)
Anyway, back to the shrimp. I grabbed a few bamboo skewers and started sticking the shrimp on them. Only about five fit on each skewer, since I didn’t want to crowd them too much. I got a package of bamboo skewers for like $1, of which I have barely used any at all, so a recipe like this isn’t going to require lots of money to buy the materials. Just the shrimp. Although I just bought a big bag of frozen shrimp when it was on sale, and it was a really good deal. …So, shopping and preparing aside — Once the oven was heated up I just stuck the skewers in the oven, on a foil-lined baking sheet, and they only cooked for 10 minutes at the most. Turning them once is recommended, and I finally had a reason to use my plastic metal-handled tongs. Yay. Make sure you pay attention and take them out of the oven once they’re opaque and pink. Otherwise, they’ll be overcooked and dry and that’s just gross.
Alternatively, you could cook them on a grill instead, which would probably give them that delicious smoky flavor that’s really the point of anything vaguely kabob-related. I don’t own a grill, so I didn’t get to do that. So what.
My shrimp were mild but quite tasty and juicy.
Here is a close-up of the shrimp, just because:
My rice was nothing complicated, just made the way you usually cook rice. I hope you wouldn’t need me to tell you how to do that. I added at least one tablespoon of butter, a whole bunch of thyme, and some other herb, like basil, or something. Like I said, it was over a week ago, I don’t really remember. Once the water was done cooking off I poured in some lemon juice. You probably don’t want to squeeze a lemon right into the rice unless you really like eating lemon seeds… which I don’t. I used approximately half a lemon. I don’t know what that is in actual measurements. It ended up tasting quite lemony, which I believe was a result of adding the lemon juice after it was cooked. I’m sure if you put in the lemon before it was done cooking, it would be a little more subdued. Not sure though, so don’t take my word for it.
And not even ten minutes after I’d started eating:
So yeah. It was really good.
Mmmm, looks delicious! I’m reblogging this because I need a homemade mac and cheese recipe I can come back to. Don’t you just want to eat that whole pan? I do.
If we took a survey and asked people to name their favorite comfort food, I’d bet mac n cheese would be at the top of the list. (That or maybe ice cream.) And there really is just something homey about gooey, cheesy, unhealthy goodness.
Now for me, I grew up on the Kraft blue box mac n cheese. It was my absolutely favorite thing to eat at dinner. When I was little, my mom wanted to really surprise me and make me some homemade mac n cheese (ya know, the kind that doesn’t come from a powder). And guess what…I didn’t like it. I mean…I liked it….just not as much as the blue box. The real cheese just didn’t have as much delicious artificial flavor as the powder! And I’m sure I loudly expressed my opinions and made her feel real great about spending all that extra time on a…
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