Therapeutic Housework and self examination
October 5, 2013
Yes, we just watched Star Trek Into Darkness.
How many ways can one procrastinate? Today alone I’ve: designed new address labels unnecessarily, read personal emails and wrote a few back, tried 2 new recipes (roasted beets and braised baby bok choy), activated a new credit card, organized and labeled files in my Administrative Stuff box, started planning Thanksgiving dinner (we’re hosting for the first time!). Then ate 2 ice cream cones and pondered what was for dinner.
Hence, the beets. They are surprisingly gorgeous when cut and peeled. I’ve only ever seen them a solid red, and this makes me wonder whether I did something wrong, bought the wrong kind, or how the beets I’ve eaten before were prepared. On the other hand, baby bok choy is a much-loved vegetable so that’s familiar at least, even if I failed to learn how to cook it well into adulthood. This recipe was a-ma-zing.
Also I did a lot of work, but I’m avoiding the Big Important Thing. Wait, there are 2 Big Important Things. It would be nice if I snapped out of this silly avoidance of things I don’t feel like working on. Still these moods are good reminders that I’m only human and can’t take on everything in the world. It’s a good thing I didn’t go back to school though, I can make myself be productive and check things off a list but studying would be a dismal failure.
To be perfectly honest, part of my restlessness has nothing to do with not wanting to work – I’m perfectly happy with my work and work situation. It’s just that, at the moment, my spirit wants to be doing something else. Creating. Making things that are pretty or useful or interesting … odd for me, really. I’m not a creative person. I’m not an artist and with my slightly shaky hands I’m not crafty. (Not like Janelle’s decorating and neat nail tutorials.) So there are really only a few ways I can channel this desire for creation: on the computer or in the kitchen.
I’ve had a long run of making address labels for the wedding invitations but I think we all know you can only have so many address labels before it’s ridiculous.
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced*
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar*
Juice of 1 large orange*
*Skipped ingredients. They were still good.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the tops and the roots of the beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets in 1 1/2-inch chunks. (Small beets can be halved, medium ones cut in quarters, and large beets cut in eighths.)
Place the cut beets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once or twice with a spatula, until the beets are tender. Remove from the oven and immediately toss with the vinegar and orange juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve warm.
Braised Baby Bok Choy
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 lb baby bok choy, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
Bring broth and butter to a simmer in a deep large heavy skillet. Arrange bok choy evenly in skillet and simmer, covered, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer bok choy with tongs to a serving dish and keep warm, covered.
Boil broth mixture until reduced to about 1/4 cup, then stir in sesame oil and pepper to taste. Pour mixture over bok choy.
Beet Greens with BACON
1 pound beet greens
1 strip of thick cut bacon, chopped (or a tablespoon of bacon fat)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup of water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/6 cup of cider vinegar
As I cooked these, I wondered, am I going to hate this? I have no idea how much my beet greens weighed (maybe half a pound?) since I bought them atop the beets I really intended to cook but when in doubt, use bacon. I doubled the bacon and onions since I love them and just winged it. Wung it? I shouldn’t have worried. It was amazing!
1 Wash the greens in a sink filled with cold water. Drain greens and wash a second time. Drain greens and cut away any heavy stems. Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
2 In a large skillet or 3-qt saucepan, cook bacon until lightly browned on medium heat (or heat 1 Tbsp of bacon fat). Add onions, cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occassionally, until onions soften and start to brown. Stir in garlic. Add water to the hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan. Stir in sugar and red pepper. Bring mixture to a boil.
3 Add the beet greens, gently toss in the onion mixture so the greens are well coated. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-15 minutes until the greens are tender. Stir in vinegar. (For kale or collard greens continue cooking additional 20 to 25 minutes or until desired tenderness.)
This is all well and good of course, but there comes a time you just have to get your lazy butt in gear. This comes after having spent a whole other day running errands with the burst of energy I got from sleeping a whole lot of hours and not rushing into work…..
Aiy, alright, to work!