Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Frozen Peas

I am, unfortunately, not at all surprised by my lack of updates on this blog. This inevitably happens with just about every project I start. Take my diary from grade 2. Or grade 3. Yeah, 3. After recounting the fascinating tale of Sesso, the spider plant, which I had acquired from a neighbour (a plant which I also later abandoned. I think my mother adopted it. Or it died.) and several incidents at Pony School (with real ponies, okay, I'm not making this shit up) and then some angry angst from grade 7, it was discarded in earnest. I think I wrote six entries in total, covering that entire period. Even taking into account the brief period of inspiration I had after reading Harriet the Spy, it was pretty much guaranteed to fail from the start.

I even tried starting other diaries in this period - the classic red and black hardcover notebook lost its charm against the fuzzy, lockable diary I bought (I think it was from a book sale - yes, a book sale). It was so awesome I HAD to write in it. Right? Maybe if I tried poetry it would catch on. Like that time I wrote about winter when I was six or seven and my parents just about jizzed themselves reading it to my grandmother over the phone. I was totally talented - gifted, even. The fuzzy diary was my route to famous authorhood. Years after my death, fans would discover my childhood diary. My fuzzy, yellow with mulit-coloured spots, cheap, junk shit diary that came with keys. They'd find it, be amazed by my child prodigy-ness, and sell it on ebay. Total pwn.

Or not. I can't remember what happened to that thing. I probably threw it out or shoved it in the closet or the basement during one of my cleaning frenzies.

And then there was that time I made a livejournal account. Which I definitely updated almost never. But for a while I even had friends. We meme'd. We commented on each others' posts. It was like AA only without alcohol or debilitating addictions. But posting took time. Suffice to say, as you can no doubt see from the lack of posts in that journal (I definitely deleted them all, like a boss) that journal also failed.

And so here I am. I thought if I made it about food it would stick. It would continue; I would inspire people. Maybe somebody would make a movie about it. Or not.

But then I thought...hey, I can post anything I want on here. (Except maybe child porn.) This could be my rant box. Or my anything box. Which could include food stuff, or stuff about food. In keeping with the overall theme. Like living through exam period and not dying or becoming malnourished. Although this post seems rather pointless given it's after the fact. So I will give you my two words of advice for in future: frozen peas. Seriously people. They're cheap, easy to cook, and green (which means they're healthy - this is a fact. I swear. I think I read it somewhere). Also did I mention they're cheap? And FAST to cook? Like a child with one hand could cook frozen peas in less than ten minutes. Get a steamer, people. It will change your life. Frozen vegetables = win.

So here is the recipe for what I survived on during exam week, which was a week of pain, almost-tears (I'm still shocked that I barely cried - I'm talking less than trickles here), and stress. Stresstressstress. Fuck I love school.

Liz's Exam Period Dish
Note: I don't measure anything when I cook - or almost never. So this is guesstimating. Use your own discretion.

1/2 cup Whole Grain Pasta (I used Kamut)
A shitload of Frozen Peas (about 1 - 2 cups - peas aren't going to make you fat, okay)

1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 - 2 tsp Dried Thyme
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/4 - 1/3 cup Pasta Water
Salt, Pepper & Garlic Powder to taste

1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, add pasta and cook according to directions. You could also used rice or - what I recommend - bulgur wheat in its place (BULGUR WHEAT IS AWESOME IT'S LIKE NUTTY RICE so cool). If cooking bulgur, read the fucking directions, you're literate or you wouldn't have gotten this far. That was harsh. I didn't mean that. With bulgur, it varies, depending on what kind you get. It doesn't take much more than 15 minutes, though, which is what's great about it. Also it's good for you. BONUS.

2. About 5 minutes before your pasta is done cooking, steam your frozen peas. If you don't know how to steam vegetables, just get out. Get out. Get out and get a steamer - and not some stupid retard thing like this, I mean an actual steamer that you use on the stovetop, that doesn't create a multitude of dishes and take up excessive cupboard space; you want something like this . (If you have never met a steamer basket before, you may feel very confused at first. You may wonder what your parents were thinking when they bought it for you, and maybe if it's for displaying cupcakes.) fill your pot with a little water - barely an inch. Unfold the basket fully and just stick it in the pot - the sides will fold up and you will be amazed by its genius. Fill it with frozen veggies, put the lid on, turn the element on high heat. Wait for magic to happen. It won't take long. If you pot sputters and threatens to throw the lid off, turn your heat down to medium high.

3. In the meantime, make your sauce. Just put everything in the bowl you'll be eating from. I do. Scoop out the mustard, squirt in the lemon juice, add the thyme, salt, pepper and garlic powder - don't put a lot in - you can always add more after you've added the peas and pasta. Before draining your pasta, scoop some of the hot pasta water and add it to your sauce.

4. When the pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse with hot water, add to your serving bowl. Add the steamed peas. Mix everything together, making sure to coat everything evenly with the sauce. Taste and adjust your seasonings if necessary. EAT.

And that's it. This whole dish doesn't take more than 20 minutes. And I know there are days when you don't even have time for that. And it's okay. Bagels and coffee are affordable for this reason. I also tend to live at Tim Horton's during exam period. Actually, I tend to live there quite a lot. It's only times of desperation when I start buying their bagels though. Times which signal that I should have made more granola bars. (That's a recipe I'll have to share with you later though.)

To tell you the truth, if I weren't in a city in the midst of Christmas insanity, where Tim Horton's are not relatively peaceful places where one can read or write essays (although in a city at least I wouldn't be befriend by small towns, many people spend their lives at Timmy's. And they talk to you. And introduce themselves. And sit down with you. And start telling you their life stories.), I would probably be spending a good deal of my time there this "holiday". I must now think of another location at which to while away the hours, poring over overly intellectual articles and books in an attempt to inspire my doomed thesis (just don't do it kids, it will hurt you) and my SSHRC application (although if I write it well enough they give me money - this should be an incentive). Oh and grad school applications. What the FUCK am I doing to myself.

So I'll probably be hanging out at some Chapters Starbucks this week, surrounded by thirty-dollar caffeinated beverages, downing "grande" after "grande" of some ludicrous beverage, with a price so insane you'd think the ingredients were made by a fair-trade company that employs armless mothers with a minimum of three children each, at least one of which is dying or suffering from some incurable disease. I'll be there, sucking back fake-fair-trade drinks, probably yelling "SANTA ISN'T REAL" at random children, and poking any old people who sit near me with straws and coffee stir sticks.

Merry Christmas everyone! Please be happy. And don't write a thesis or apply to grad schools. They taste of sadness and disappointment from the start.

And because I have no food pictures, here's me and a kitty. Look, we're happy! And smiling!


  1. You're back on. Maybe I can connect with you here as I feel I missed you at Christmas. Next time you're home it's just you and us and drinks by the fire.

  2. OK, You? Are hilarious.

    Maybe partly because I can totally relate to the school stress = eat peas connection. My go-to college (and, if I'm honest, Master's of Social Work) meal on a stressed-out night was frozen peas, served alongside some Annie's natural mac and cheese from a box.

    It will probably make me seem like a crazy person with no boundaries (not really true) or that person who compulsively shares pictures of her cat (OK, maybe sometimes true), but seeing your joyful "here's me and a kitty" picture has inspired me to share this:

    Your recipes look great and your commentary is really stinking funny. Also, one of your posts inspired gratitude in me today - gratitude that I do not live next door to a daycare. Yikes.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!


    1. Thank you so much! Sorry for responding so late - I only just saw this. I am glad my general weirdness can bring joy to others in its own way.

      And hey, there is nothing wrong with compulsive pet-picture sharing. (When I'm at home, 75% of the pictures I take are of my dog.) If you sent me a picture of your baby (hypothetically speaking), then I might be a bit weirded out. So yay for cats! Thanks for sharing. :)