Wednesday, March 20, 2013

celebrating spring...soba style

Had a bit of a rough day at work yesterday. It happens to all of us. A project falls behind, or someone pokes a hole in your awesome argument, someone takes their frustration out on you. Things happen.

When they happen to me, I need to do something for myself.

This something used to involve ordering delivery, sitting on my couch and watching bad romcoms. Now, its about going to the market, buying fresh, bright ingredients, and making myself a beautiful meal.

Its not only nourishing to my belly, but it gives me a sense of success. It makes me remember that I'm damn good at something that I love doing. I'm not saying I'm the best, or even better than anyone else. But its pretty great to feel a sense of accomplishment after feeling a bit down about your day.

I bought miso for the first time last week. It came in a small tub, and I only used a teaspoon (for the edamame dumpling filling). I've been searching for recipes calling for miso since. I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks early on in my search.  I kept looking, but ended up coming back to this recipe over and over again.

With recipes like this, I love that I can add any produce I want. Whatever looks good at the market hops right on top of the soba noodles and walnut miso dressing. I've always been a sucker for toppings and condiments - so I went a bit crazy.

I added straw mushrooms, bean sprouts, an egg, and black sesame seeds on top of what the recipe called for. The result was a protein packed, delicious, vegetarian(!) meal. And of course, a sense of accomplishment on the side.

Meals like this make me feel like maybe I could be vegetarian. Then I remember how much I love cheeseburgers.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

to a new life

Had the pleasure of joining an old friend and her new husband on their wedding day this weekend. They were a shining example of what true happiness is. The wedding was simple, beautiful, and true to the spirit of the couple and I couldn't be happier for them.

Today I'm returning to New York - to my life and my apartment. To leftovers from Friday night's cooking adventure, and inevitably to work tomorrow. While weddings can induce a sense of anxiety (not only for those reciting their vows, but for those seated in the audience as well) I'm surprised by a sense of peace. I feel good about where I am in my life right now. I'm happy. Happy enough to feel genuinely pleased for my friend and her future.

Here's to an increasing understanding of the person I am and a continued sense of content.

Friday, March 15, 2013

homemade thai food and a wish for spring

Walking home today all I could think about was "March, you are a bitch. Where is Spring?!" Growing up in Maryland and going to college in DC, the month of March meant many things. It's my birthday month for starters - the beginning of Spring, Spring Break, flowers, white Keds, and a sense of newness. 

Now, in New York, its just...still winter. And also my birthday month. But mostly still winter. This is a tough reality to face. Its the month after the worst month of the year (Valentine's Day, my brother's birthday month, the grayest, slushiest, most miserable month), and yet it feels the exact same. I may be acting a bit oversensitive about the weather but when you get used to something for 22 years of your life and then you MOVE and it just CHANGES and you can't DO anything about it (and you're slightly neurotic and more than a little bit of a control freak) well, its a bitter pill.

Luckily, today I had a little brightness waiting for me in the form of a brown cardboard box. It had something in it that my little kitchen-driven heart has been wanting for a long time. 

I know you must be wondering - what could possibly get her so riled up that comes in a beat up box like that?


Did you?

Here's the answer:

White. Bowls. Yes...I'm serious. White, kitchen bowls with an adorable honeycomb pattern on them. I am struck speechless by how perfect they are. Is this what its like to have a child? I love them so much I want to shout it from the rooftops. I won't, because I know how annoying it is when people post pictures of their babies on Facebook and I imagine this is the single culinary obsessed woman's equivalent (clearly not speechless). Prepare to see much more of these in my upcoming posts of aggressively colored foods.


I was struck with inspiration this afternoon - not entirely enthused by the prospect of delivery Thai food, I decided to make my own. Thai green curry with shrimp was my first foray into the land of lemongrass and it was easy enough. Expanded my adventure today to edamame dumplings. It was well worth the effort (which, honestly, was not much).

In full disclosure, one of my best friends from High School is getting married tomorrow. I am so incredibly happy for her and the life she is about to begin with her husband is sure to be a beautiful one.

That being said, feeling accomplished tonight was very important.

I also painted my nails.

a sprinkle of this, a dash of that

I've never been one to dive head first into things. This isn't to say I'm not hungry, or self motivated, or the other words people my age use to describe themselves on their LinkedIn profiles. I appreciate opportunity as much as the next 20-something, I just don't always seize it. 

I see this project as a way to push myself at something I've always found comfort in. To me, cooking is a necessity. I need it, not for the obvious reasons of sustenance and health, but for a sense of calm - to clear my head. It is the one activity/hobby/thing that I do that allows me to not THINK about anything. This is a luxury for someone who lives in their head.

And so, I suppose, here begins my diary. I invite you, invisible person (who I actually hope ISN'T reading because I always tend to get too personal in projects like this) to get into my head and onto my plate. Not in the sense that I'll be sauteing, blanching, or roasting you, but rather that you can see...what I put...on my plate. Get it?

Welcome to a mix of what I'm cooking, who I'm seeing, what I'm doing, and without fail, what I'm thinking about.

Here goes nothing (this is more terrifying than online dating).