Tag Archives: food

noodles

Yesterday was my husband’s first day back at school, so even though nothing really changed for me, it felt a little different — like I was officially a (temporary) SAHM.

He has been craving a good bowl of noodles since we watched this on Netflix, and who am I to deny him what he wants? This was a good one to do while taking care of Cayenne because I was able to do it in several short spurts throughout the day instead of having to find a whole block of time to cook.

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For the broth:

  • 4 cups dashi
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • soy sauce to taste
  • black pepper

Everything else:

  • Hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • Thinly sliced cooked pork (I cooked a couple of boneless pork chops in about a T each of sesame oil and vegetable oil)
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Cooked sliced mushrooms*
  • Cooked noodles (I used thin Chinese egg noodles)
  • Steamed spinach

Prepare the dashi,** pork, mushrooms, eggs, and scallions ahead of time.

Combine all broth ingredients and bring to a boil slowly; simmer, covered, until ready to serve.

Just before dinnertime, cook the noodles and lightly steam the spinach.

Fill each bowl with noodles, pour broth over them, and top with pork, egg, vegetables, and freshly ground black pepper.

* Because I live in the Wonderbread Belt I can’t usually get shiitake mushrooms, which is what I really wanted. I steamed some plain button mushrooms. This didn’t really work; next time I will saute them in sesame oil or leave them out altogether.

** This is the method I used to make the dashi; there are lots of ways to do it, but they all basically involve soaking the kombu then adding the katsuo bushi and straining it.

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breakfast

I made this months ago and am just getting around to posting it; it was the first breakfast I cooked after my nausea subsided enough for me to get back into the kitchen. It was a beautiful thing.

sandwich

It’s melted cheese, sauteed spinach (cooked in olive oil with chopped habanero and a little salt), 2 fried eggs (if I wasn’t pregnant they would have been over easy), and salted sliced tomatoes on toast.

This has been your daily offering of food porn.

I can’t even describe how happy this sandwich made me after three months of saltines-and-club-soda.

the worst pregnant lady ever — a sordid confession

I had to go on a little internet diet for a while there due to Reasons. (Explanation below, but first the short version for those who were worried.)

Still pregnant. 10w4d. Still shocked every day that I wake up and it hasn’t all gone to hell.

Last week I was a featured artist at a music festival. I committed to this almost a year ago, before we had even done the IUIs, and it never occurred to me that I might show up pregnant. Let me tell you, it was HARD. I did lots and lots of bad-pregnant-lady stuff to get through it. In fact I think I may be the Worst Pregnant Lady Ever, and if there is a live baby in my future I am quite sure he or she will come out shaking his or her tiny adorable fist at me.

If you’re still trying, be warned — there is some Ungrateful Pregnant Bitching and Moaning ahead. Were I in your shoes I would either click away or start pre-emptively rolling my eyes.

I have the easiest job in the world, which consists of sitting in a cubicle and making shit up.* So work isn’t super stressful, but while I was preparing to do the festival it was just about all I could handle to get my sorry ass to work, come home and practice. I think I said it in a previous post, but I didn’t know tired like this existed. I will be very interested to see (presuming we get there) how tired-because-newborn compares to tired-because-pregnant. I suspect they are quite different. So. Work, then lying on the couch trying to get up enough energy to practice, then bed. I was a Fun, Fun Lady for a few weeks there.

I did exactly what I needed to do to get through it, which included giving in to cravings and aversions, and eating things that I would not have believed possible a few months ago. Like, for instance, did you know that food comes in cans? As in, you don’t have to stand in the kitchen smelling all the food smells that used to be amazing and now are terrible, but can instead just tell your husband to open said can and heat up the contents? And did you know that sugar exists? Because for a few weeks there I was eating sweets like they were a new invention. This is deeply weird for me. I’m one of those sanctimonious make-it-from-scratch whole foods assholes, and that all went to hell when my nausea got bad. I couldn’t stand to be in the kitchen and I let a lot of perfectly good food spoil because I couldn’t bring myself to cook or eat it. So I sent my husband to the grocery store and he came back with things I would have rejected SO HARD before.

The Wise Internet says that the proper response to nausea is to ease into the day, not getting up too early, then to eat a wholesome breakfast consisting of whole grains and fresh fruit. After my lovely breakfast I am to do some appropriate low-impact exercise (yoga, or walking, or swimming). Either before or after the exercise I am to spend at least ten minutes quietly thinking about, or talking to, the fetus. Only after I have accomplished these things am I to go to work, where I am to take a walk at least once an hour.

Yeah, I didn’t do any of that.

I stayed in bed as much as possible, then ate frozen french fries and canned soup and apple slices and popsicles and cookies (so many cookies). For weeks. I am apparently four years old.

And that’s where the Bad Pregnant Lady stuff comes in.

  • Rolling out of bed for work? Check.
  • Processed food? Check.
  • Too much sugar? Check.
  • Not enough (OK, any) exercise? Check.
  • Inability to believe there is a live fetus in my uterus? Check.

And then I got to the festival.

Shockingly, my nausea did not magically go away just because I had to be on stage six times over the course of three days. (I know, right?)

So what did I do? I POUNDED diet ginger ale. Lovely fizzy gingery chemicals, settling my stomach right the fuck down and likely poisoning my fetus.

Then we got home and I felt a lot better. I’m hoping the worst of the nausea is over, and I even cooked twice this week (yay!), but then The Craving hit. It needs to be capitalized because it goes so far beyond any desire for food I’ve ever felt before.

All I could think about was Japanese food.

A Japanese restaurant just opened in our town,** which is amazing and delightful (“ethnic” food here means homestyle Italian and truly appalling “Chinese” buffet), and I want so much for them to NOT CLOSE DOWN. I have brought this up at least daily over the last week, and I know my husband is really ready for me to stop talking about cold soba and seaweed salad and pickled ginger. And sushi.

Lovely fresh clean delicious cool sushi.

I think you can see where this is going. We decided to go to dinner at said Japanese restaurant last night, and I called my doctor’s office to check on The Sushi Question. It seems people are divided on this, and of course no one in Japan stops eating sushi just because they’re pregnant (or so went my rationalization), so I thought it was worth a try to see what they would say. The nurse was frank: “We don’t recommend that you eat that.”

And we got to the restaurant and I ate it anyway.

I had two lovely, melt-in-your-mouth pieces of salmon sushi.*** It was quite possibly the most amazing thing I have ever eaten.

And now guilt has overtaken me. I am not sure if I am looking to be reassured, judged, or both — but these (the cookies, the processed food, the diet pop, the sushi) are the things I have done to get through the first 10 weeks.

Maybe I will be able to do better starting in week 11.

* Seriously. It’s totally bizarre. I got promoted from data-entry land to something more creative, and every once in a while I look up and say, “They’re paying me for this?”

** Strangely, the craving started before I knew about the restaurant. I got a flyer in the mail for this new place that was promising exactly what I wanted SO MUCH, and it was like mailing drugs to an addict.

*** I did check on mercury levels — salmon is supposedly one of the better ones.

protein

The other day when my doctor told me my follicles had stopped growing, they said I should eat lots of protein over the next few days. I have trouble with this — I hit my limit on meat* very quickly, and much prefer to eat a plate full of veggies with a little protein added rather than the other way around. So when I got home I put together this soup (triple protein: meat, eggs, and tofu!) in the hope of upping my protein without feeling gross. As it turned out I was too anxious to eat much for most of the weekend, but I did eat a little and while it doesn’t look like much, it sure does taste good. Lots of packaged/canned ingredients, so this went together really fast. The silken tofu mixed with the ground turkey gives a really nice texture.

Triple Protein Soup

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 package silken tofu
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • a whole lot of grated fresh ginger
  • 1 can water chestnuts, chopped
  • 2 t cayenne
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 c soy sauce

Mix the first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl. Brown the mixture in a large skillet. While the turkey mixture is browning, combine the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.

When the broth is just about to boil, add the turkey mixture to the pot and simmer 1 hour.

* I’m the same way with beans. I can only eat a little at a time.

chawan mushi

I tried something new today. Ever since I saw my chef-crush Paul Qui make it on Top Chef I have wanted to try making chawan mushi. This weekend I finally had time for some kitchen play, so I gave it a shot.

First I had to make the dashi. This is the amazingly savory stock that goes into miso soup and lots of other Japanese food. It’s made with water, dried seaweed, and dried tuna.

First you simmer the seaweed (kombu) in some water:

Then you remove the seaweed and put in the dried bonito flakes:

After a few minutes of simmering the fish sinks to the bottom — like bizarro reverse dumplings. Then it’s time to strain it through cheesecloth, and that’s it. Dashi.

To make the chawan mushi (recipe here), the dashi gets beaten in with eggs, rice wine, soy sauce, scallions, ginger, sugar, and salt.

This mixture gets poured over cooked shrimp (recipe calls for crab but sadly, that ain’t happening here) in custard cups, then steamed.

It’s supposed to steam for 8-10 minutes but it took me nearly half an hour; I assume I had the heat too low. The finished product:

 

comfort food

homemade bread with bunny chow, avocado, and cilantro pesto

IUI #2 was this morning.

The sperm numbers were good — 18 million post-wash with 31% motility.  That’s by far the best motility number we’ve ever gotten.  I had 2 follicles each measuring 19 or 19.1 when I was monitored on Friday, so this is the best chance we have ever had.  Let me say that again.  This is the best chance we have ever had.

So why do I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck?  I’m not hopeful.  I’m not joyous.  Instead I find myself perversely in need of comfort, and as always that means heading into the kitchen.*

My wonderful husband made the bread (I don’t bake at all but he is fantastic), and I did the rest.  The bunny chow recipe is one I’ve already shared, though this time we sliced the bread instead of scooping out the insides and filling it up.  The cilantro pesto is just regular old pesto with cilantro instead of basil — just olive oil, parmesan, and the cilantro all mashed together in the food processor.

* And that, dear friends, is why I am no longer and will never again be a size 6.  Or 8.  Or 10. 

 

fancy ramen

This started as a way to use up whatever vegetables were left in the fridge at the end of the week, but it has evolved into a more-or-less static set of ingredients.

Fancy Ramen

  • 2-3 c chicken broth (homemade is best, but canned will do in a pinch)
  • a hunk of fresh ginger, very thinly sliced
  • 2 or 3 mushrooms
  • 2 eggs if you’re sharing, 1 if you’re not
  • a big handful of some kind of leafy greens (baby pak choi is my favorite but I can’t get it here so I use spinach)
  • 1 package of ramen noodles
  • fresh hot peppers (I use Thai chillies when I can get them, but here I substitute serranos)
  • 1 scallion
  • half a tomato
  • soy sauce
  • lime wedges

Put the broth on to boil with the ginger.  While it is heating, slice the mushrooms.  Chop the hot peppers, slice the scallion very thin, and cut the tomato into thin wedges.  If you don’t always have lime wedges in your fridge like I do, cut some.

When the broth is boiling, add the mushrooms, noodles, and greens.  Stir as needed to get the noodles totally immersed.  (Throw away the nasty seasoning packet.)

Crack the egg and gently slip it into the soup to poach; reduce the heat and cook according to noodle package directions.

Ladle each serving into a bowl and top with tomato wedges, scallions, hot peppers, and a dash of soy sauce.  Squeeze a lime on top and eat immediately (while the egg yolk is still soft).