Adventures in Culinary Incompetence

Hi guys!

It's been a while - sorry about that! I survived freshman year, (perhaps "survive" is too melancholy of a word) and now I'm enjoying a relaxing summer working in the admissions office! I've been giving tours, answering phones (which might be the most challenging part of my job - there are so many buttons!), and meeting a bunch of prospective students. I will probably write a bit more about my job in the future.

Right now I'd like to tell you about something that has taken up a surprising amount of my time lately. Cooking! I've never had to cook for myself before, and it has become quite the adventure. A lot of my friends made little co-ops of people who cook for each other, but I decided to tackle this project on my own, considering that I am almost vegan (I don't drink milk, but I like cheese too much to go all the way) and very picky.

So far I have tried two new recipes, and made large amounts of both plates - my first lasted me about a week for lunch and dinner, and I just tried the second one last night.

My first was a bean and corn salad:
I used 3 different types of beans, all out of cans. There were chick peas, pinto beans, and 2 cans of black beans (yum!), as well as two tomatoes and a bag of frozen corn. I strained all the beans with my fingers because I was too lazy to go down to the kitchen and get an actual colander, and I cooked the corn in the microwave. The only thing I went to the kitchen for was to cut the tomato. The kitchens are very busy during the summer, but I figured out the secret: cook dinner at 11 pm!

I threw all of that stuff into a giant bowl, added chili powder and mixed (with my hands of course). It was that simple! I ate some and put the rest into a gallon sized Ziploc bag, and finished it off slowly over the week.

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Yay bean salad!

Last night, I decided to make tabbouleh. It was significantly more complicated than throwing a bunch of beans in a bowl. I actually had to use a pot and a stove! Cooking the barley was actually the easy part. Chopping all of the veggies was the hard part. It's a small miracle that I still have all of my fingers! Also, I discovered that crying while chopping onions doesn't just happen on television. With onion tears streaming down my face, I threw my diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and onionsĀ  into the barley, along with a garlic, olive oil, and parsley dressing and refrigerated it for a while.

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Makeshift tabbouleh

I thought that I used a HUGE onion, because onion bits seemed to have commandeered the entire plate, but it turns out that a "green onion" actually means scallions, not just an onion that looks greenish. Look! Spiral Learning*!

What I have learned so far:
It is more pleasant to cook late at night when it is not crowded. Tomato juice burns the little cuts on your hands, as does chili powder. Tabbouleh is spelled with two Bs. Green onions = scallions.

Maybe next time I'll try something with a pan!

*Spiral Learning is a term we use at Olin for trying things out and learning from our mistakes, so each time we do it again, we get a little closer to being correct. Like a spiral!

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