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Archive for the ‘Awesome stuff’ Category

Returning, slowly

I know I’ve been gone for a long time, dedicated blog readers, and I’m sure you’ve been checking back everyday just waiting with bated breath for a new post/recipe/dose of awesomeness, and I apologize for not living up to your justifiably high expectations. Turns out there have been some big changes in my world over the last few months, so cooking and posting have not been my first priority–more than anything, though, I’ve been having a good (read: hot, humid and fun) summer not doing much that’s worth blogging about. Specifically, that means going to the beach, eating tomatoes, day drinking, and watching Lost (I know, I sold out…don’t rub it in).

I have done some cooking and I do have recipes ready to post, but unfortunately I keep forgetting to upload the pictures…so, for the moment, there’s nothing new to post in the food-related world.

In the meantime, though, it’s Shark Week! Everyone’s favorite week of the year, and even though I no longer have the cable it won’t stop me from celebrating. See my post from last year in case you’re confused as to why sharks are amazing and you should have a healthy respect for them rather than a blind terror of them. They really don’t want to eat you. I could go on.

If you regularly hang out with me on weekends, you’ll know my favorite question to ask strangers is what their favorite type of cheese is. In my extremely unofficial poll (sample size: 3), the world’s favorite cheese is…(drumroll)…GOUDA! Good choice, in my opinion–maybe people have better taste than I gave them credit for.

In preparation for Cheap, Lazy, Delicious’ one-year anniversary, I promise to use some of my free time this week posting at least one, hopefully more, recipe. My parting gift to you this week is lightning, to the nth degree: Click here to watch.

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Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who commented on the blog in the last three days! I had 43 people comment, meaning I’ll be making a donation to Gulf Coast cleanup in the amount of $50 (might as well round up). Again, I encourage you to make a donation on your own to the Louisiana Gulf Response coalition at www.lagulfresponse.org.

In the meantime, I’m back in my desert homeland and most likely won’t be cooking much except salsa for the next week. Enjoy the hot weather (I’m talking to you, Chicago), play some bags, and grill some zucchinis sliced thin with lots of salt and lemon juice.

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How to cook rice

Some time ago, I bought a five pound bag of jasmine rice.  It’s taken me over half of that bag to finally get my technique down so that the rice doesn’t come out gooey or undercooked.  I have a feeling this is very specific to my location, altitude and ambient humidity, and that these rules will change if you are anywhere besides the north side of Chicago in springtime.

With that being said, here you go, in case you were wondering how to cook that rice for the delicious meal you’re making tonight:
The Rice Rules.

  • Measure one cup of rice and put into a thick-bottomed pan (this needs to be a thick metal pan to disperse the heat, not something thin and cheap–otherwise the rice will burn on the bottom). 
  • Cover with just under two cups of cold water.  Turn the heat on high. 
  • When the water has come to a full boil, turn the heat as low as it will go and cover with a tight-fitting lid.  Put 13.5 minutes on a timer.
  • DO NOT UNCOVER.  The steam is what cooks the rice–as soon as you lift up that lid, all the steam and its cooking power are released.
  • When the timer goes off, turn the heat off and move the pan off the heat.  Don’t uncover it yet!  Let sit for 5 minutes with the lid on. 
  • After five minutes, remove the lid and fluff with a fork.  If you won’t be eating all of the rice right away, loosely cover–you don’t want the steam to be completely captured or the rice will keep cooking and get mushy, but you also don’t want to leave it completely uncovered or it will dry out. 

I did a lot of research into this rice-cooking technique and tried lots of different things–adding the rice after the water boiled, washing it first, not washing it, etc etc.  After much experimentation, this is the method that gives me the best result.  Try it for yourself, but be aware that it might not come out perfect the first time.  Learning is all about trying and failing every once in a while.

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If you were to ask me, “Beth, where does the sidewalk in Indiana end?” my answer would have to be, “The parking lot, obviously!”   It’s not just an allusion to a poetry book for kids.

This post is certainly not meant to be an attack against Indiana exclusively or even entirely; rather, I am very fired up right now about the No more sidewalks = saddevelopment of non-walkable communities in all states and nations.  Part of my fired-upness may have to do with the fact that I had a few beers with my dinner.  Ignore that fact–I think I have some valid points to be upset about, sober or non.

What the hell, city planners?!  Apparently you thought the farthest I would ever need to walk safely would be to my car.  Not across the street or even down the road–in this glamorous paradise that we live in, we all drive in isolated luxury to our destinations.  Who would ever want to get out and walk to dinner?? 

Well, let me tell you, I am staying in a hotel in South Bend near a ridiculously giant mall, which happens to have several restaurants attached to it.  I stayed here for several reasons, one of which is its You can't walk without a signproximity to lots of things.  I’ve been driving all day, and I wanted to walk to dinner, which I did.  I didn’t realize that would make me look like a mentalist because I’m forced to walk alongside the road on the grass or through parking lots. 

Not only did I look crazy, but I was also in danger from traffic.  No sidewalks also means that there are no crosswalks or friendly “walk” signs to tell me when it’s safe to cross the street.  So, the lack of sidewalks actually compounds the problem of being forced to drive…if I lived here and wanted to walk somewhere (god forbid), I would probably change my mind pretty quickly because it’s inconvienent (no sidewalks) and dangerous (no crosswalks).  Let’s all spend the rest of our lives in our cars stuck in traffic!

When I talk to students about Chicago, I always mention the fact that I don’t own a car and how Walking: good for getting you placesgreat it is.  It’s one of my favorite things about the city–I can get anywhere I need to go on public transit or on my own feet, which are actually quite handy (feety? haha! I crack myself up) as far as transportation goes.  But I’m realizing that Chicago has really spoiled me, and I’ve forgotten how much the rest of the country relies on their cars to get places.  I should know this–after all, I am from Tucson, the land of The Car. 

I’m not entirely sure what the point of all this passionate anger is supposed to be…maybe that’s what happens when I write post-beer blog posts (?).  Mostly, I want people who have the misfortune to live in non-walkable communities to not let that stop them!  Get out and walk!  Walking is awesome because it’s free, you don’t get stuck in traffic, don’t have to find a parking spot, and you can drink as much as you want and still take yourself home.  Best of all, it has zero environmental impact.  Among other reasons. 

If you have the wonderfully good fortune to live in a place where walking really can take you places, feel good about that and take advantage of it.  Don’t drive when you don’t have to.

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Cartoons for Adults

SpongebobThis post could also be titled “A Defense of Spongebob.”  As anyone who has had a conversation with me about cartoons already knows, I love Spongebob.  This seemingly made just for kids cartoon has layers of hilarity built in to every episode, and should not be lightly dismissed by anyone.  You all knew it was just a matter of time until this post came, so enjoy and start watching this fabulous cartoon.  It is on all weekend, afterall. 

First of all, it takes place in a town called Bikini Bottom.  And Spongebob lives in a pineapple.  Underwater!  That’s hilarious!  One of his best friends is a squirrel who lives underwater on a research assignment in a glass dome.  He idolizes superheros that are old and have arthritis and dementia.  His neighbor is a squid who, for some reason, lives inside an Easter Island head and plays the clarinet very poorly. 

The number of absurdities in every episode is huge, and unlike “traditional” kid’s cartoons, there is not (usually) a moral at the end.  It’s a show just to be a Krabby Pattyshow, and it ends up being so funny without trying to teach its viewers any lessons, except that being friendly and loving your job is good, and being a world-domination-obsessed Plankton is bad.

One of my favorite things about Spongebob is how much he loves his job.  He works at a fast food restaurant flipping burgers all day.  Not something most of us would aspire to, or even really enjoy.  But he loves it!  Every Krabby Patty he makes is showered with love, and that’s why Krabby Patties are so delicious.  They’re made with love; Spongebob even calls them “an absolute good”. 

Spongebob pours his heart into every patty he cooks, and takes tremendous pride in making a meal that his customers love.  The implication is that the reason that our fast food is not good (McDonalds, et al) is that there is no love that goes into its making.  Not even the greed of Mr. Krabs can ruin the goodness of the Krabby Patty.   If we carry this to its logical end, it stands to reason that the problem with fast food in our world (or at least the critique the cartoon is offering) is that it has no love behind it, not that the corporations are greedy.  I don’t necessarily agree with this, as I would argue that the greed of fast food companies is the primary reason that the food is so awful. 

World domination = BAD I don’t want this to devolve into a diatribe on food policy (if you’re looking for that, it can be found here).  Mostly, I want to draw attention to how hilariously awesome Spongebob is.  If you haven’t seen it or are one of the many who automatically dismiss it because it’s kid-friendly, think again.  It’s witty, entertaining, and so funny.  After all, one of the main characters is a Plankton with an obsessive desire to rule the world.  He’s a plankton!  One of the smallest creatures in the ocean.  Don’t pretend like you’re too good to watch cartoons.

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Adventures in Indiana

So I’ll be travelling for work quite a bit over the next few months, which means I won’t be home to cook…and work will be paying for my meals (yay).  I haven’t entirely decided what will happen to my cooking posts during this time–mostly, I think I’ll be cooking as much as possible on the weekends while I’m home, and writing about some of myWhat a state it is restaurant adventures.  Because we all know there’s some serious eating adventure to be had in Indiana!  I will become one of those weirdos who takes pictures of their food at restaurants, while eating alone and occasionally knitting. 

I’m going to be looking for guest columnists even more in the next few months, so if you’ve got an idea or have a favorite recipe, take some pictures and send them my way at cheaplazydelicious@gmail.com

In the meantime, don’t despair!  The impeccable quality that you’ve come to expect from Cheap, Lazy, and Delicious will remain, whether I’m at home in Chicago or staying at one of the fabulous Hilton family of hotels in Indiana.

In other news, last night I bought a cast iron frying pan from Marshalls!  It’s my first and I’m super excited to start making crunchy breakfast potatoes, fajitas, and other fun and exciting things that I can’t make in my normal pans.  Especially because this is one of the few cast iron pans that I can actually lift with one hand.

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Lovely winter sceneAlthough it technically still is summer, here in Chicago the weather’s got a definite fall feel to it.  In order to prepare myself mentally for the brutal experience that is winter in the Windy City, every year I remind myself why I like it, besides that it’s not Tucson.  So, here’s a list of my favorite things about winter.  Except for the first one, they are in no particular order.

  • BLANKETS!!!  (Absolute best part of winter, hands down)
  • Slippers
  • Watching snow fall
  • Drinking lots of hot beverages, some of them with alcohol
  • Football instead of baseball
  • Pumpkin scented and flavored things (although this is more of a fall thing)
  • Thanksgiving (fall again, but best holiday ever)
  • Scarves
  • Taking painfully hot showers (thankfully I can this year–yay new apartment!)
  • No bugs
  • The prospect of Snow Days
  • Cooking hot things
  • Free heat from the radiators in my apartment
  • Watching the Grinch

Obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s got all of my favorites.  Am I missing something?  Let me know.  I know a lot of people prefer not to think about the winter this early in the season, but we can’t get around the fact that it’s coming, and it’s better to be prepared for it and excited to welcome all your favorite things back (blankets) than to be pissed off that you slipped on some ice while walking to work.

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