Saturday, February 26, 2011

What is a Girl to Do? Blog Crisis!

OK, so I got another new apartment, which will start next month.  It's in Bloomfield, and that leaves me with a super-serious problem.  Super-serious.  What the heck and I going to call this blog?  "Food and Loathing in Bloomfield" really doesn't sound as awesome as "Food and Loathing in Lawrenceville," and it also doesn't sound as much like "Phoenixville," which, I believe, would lend the blog some nice continuity.  Maybe just "Food and Loathing in Pittsburgh?"  Or drop all this "Food and Loathing" stuff?  I mean, I wouldn't stop the food, and, frankly, I don't think I could stop the loathing if I tried, but the name.  THE NAME!  I really need help here.  All suggestions are welcome.

So here's what's up.  I was only unemployed for two weeks before I found and started a new job.  A much better job at a law firm that pays the same as my last job, but it also offers fully paid medical benefits, 401k, regular raises, and all that jazz.  That is a huge step up for me, even if, at first, it's going to feel the same.  I really feel like I'm a lucky person.  Lucky to be smart, capable, someone who will work things out.  Someone who gets every single job she's ever interviewed for.  Why did I get to have these gifts, and others don't?  It's really not fair or right, but I hope that I live the kind of life that does good for the world instead of bad so that my luck is not wasted on a bad person.  I really work hard to try and do right.  But I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get so deep on you. Here's a picture taken from outside the window of the lobby where I sit and answer phones:

One of the things this job offers is free lunch on Thursdays, which, you know, doesn't really work for me.  It's a nice perk for a non-vegan, but when I call in the lunches, it absolutely drives me crazy to get the tuna and salmon that my office-mates have ordered.  The first week, I got the only vegan option -- a fruit salad with balsamic vinaigrette, which was actually a green salad with a whole lot of fruit on top.  Perfect, actually, I liked that.  The second week, I got a portobello burger sans cheese.  Also enjoyable.  But the truth is, I'd rather not order my lunch from places, get all this to-go wrapping, and so forth.  I mean, the only reason I eat vegan is for sustainability.  I'm not altogether concerned with animal rights -- I mean, of course, like any moral being, I am bothered by factory farming, but I really do not take issue with people, for instance, raising their own hens for eggs.  Or having a pet goat they milk.  In any case, once I have my own place and get to cooking, I think I'll stop ordering lunch on Thursdays, especially because I think I'll get pretty sick of the usual vegan fare for all these downtown restaurants.  They really don't even have ethnic restaurants, and my co-workers wouldn't go for that anyway.

Most of my stuff is in storage, but I did bring to Steph's house six boxes of all my foodstuff, so I could get to eating without having to buy all kinds of stuff I already have somewhere.  Still, it's very disorganized, and I totally couldn't find my sage when making what I made last night, which was the classic, simple Mushroom Gravy from Veganomicon and also found after the Vegan with a Vengeance recipe for the Black-eyed Pea and Quinoa Croquettes.  I should have made it with Quinoa, but I was too lazy to strain, so I made it with pasta.
I also made my old standby cookie, knowing I had all ingredients on hand, and also that I had Veganomicon out already, Chewy Chocolate-Raspberry Cookies.  Actually, I made them with blueberry preserves, not raspberry, because I had that around.  Also, I didn't take pictures of them, so here is a picture I took of them when I made them a while back:

It makes me feel good to have cookies on hand to feed to Steph, because she has been so kind letting me stay here, and so supportive.  Plus, I like to eat them myself!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Eating Kitchen Sink Curry in the 'Burgh

I don't have a new place quite yet in Pittsburgh.  I've been staying with a friend.  But, I'm about to sign a lease!  To a kinda crappy-looking but huge place. A full house!  With two bedrooms!  And a finished basement!  And one and a half bathrooms!  And the best part -- a backyard where I can finally learn to garden.  It allows cats, lets me start my lease when I wanted to (February 15), costs EXACTLY the same rent as my studio in Phoenixville, and is located in the very neighborhood where I wanted to live: Lawrenceville.  Actually, a big part of the reason I wanted to move to Lawrenceville was for the sake of this blog.  Now I can change the name to "Food and Loathing in Lawrenceville."  Not bad, right?

UPDATE: I lost the house in Pittsburgh, basically because of miscommunication between's owner and the realtor.  I have to start all over looking.  It is a real tragedy, and to say that I'm upset about it would be an understatement.

I've barely cooked at my friend's house.  Mostly, I've been living off of spaghetti with garlic cooked in olive oil and steamed broccoli -- an old stand-by of mine.  Also, I've been eating super-expensive health foody cereal with organic bananas (and some sugar, ha!) and coconut milk beverage.  Did you know they make that coconut milk beverage in those non-refrigerated packages like they do soy and rice milk?  That was never carried at my local groceries, but they've got it at the many organic markets of Pittsburgh.

Also, my friend Stephanie, who has so graciously allowed me to stay in her house, cooks for me sometimes.  She's not a vegetarian or a vegan, but when she cooks, she tends to cook vegan without even thinking about it.  She doesn't cook from recipes at all, and one of her favorite things to do is to make what she calls "Kitchen Sink Curries" -- so named because she puts everything in there but the kitchen sink.
Let's see, we got lentils, carrots, onions, eggplant, lots of ginger, green curry paste, and I'm not really sure what else.  Actually, I'd call it "Eggplant Lentil Ginger Kitchen Sink Curry."  A bit unusual, but it hit the spot.  I liked watching Steph do it, floating around her kitchen, adding this and that, occasionally asking me something like, "You don't have to soak lentils, do you?" or "How do you feel about eggplant?"  So sweet.  She also has three of the cutest, sweetest cats ever! 

Just think: soon I'll be back to my old tricks.  Cooking, meeting people, living it up.  Right now is a time for anxieties.  Like packing.  Like moving.  Like affording a U-Haul.  Like finding work.  But I know it'll be OK.  I always work it out, and I always will.  It's weird, not having much to do in Pittsburgh.  I read the entirety of the V.C. Andrews book "Flowers in the Attic," which I took off Steph's shelf.  That book is scandalous!  I can't believe I never read it as a youngster, I would've loved it.  Now I think I'm gonna hit up some Pittsburgh library to read the sequel because, oh my god!  What happens next?
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