Looks like a lesson has been learned! Pull up your chairs, open a can of honey roasted peanuts, and let’s get to the bottom of this.
On Sunday morning, I, Brynne, awoke at 8am to check on the black beans I had soaking overnight for a pasta salad for the LAST BRUNCH of the summer. It was a solo brunch, so a lot was riding on my shoulders: the coffee (I don’t drink it! How do I brew it!), the baked goods (bake more scones! worry about scone count!), and the protein source: black beans.
These friendly creatures had been soaked and now it was time to get to a low simmer. The bag said it would take an hour. I was disappointed. I wanted these beans, and I wanted them now!
I waited the simmering out for a good while as I was preparing other parts of brunch and the other elements of the pasta salad (chard, tomatoes, the pasta itself). Finally, I checked them. Not done yet. Waited a while, checked again. Still no cigar. The third check I got two beans that were pretty soft, so I said, “hey, let’s go with it!”
Overall, these beans could have used a few more minutes in the simmering pot. In the pasta salad, they were fine, but problems occurred when I made dinner that night, carrot and black bean veggie burgers, a great innovation you can replicate if you also have lots of carrots and leftover beans in your fridge.
The beans were too tough to mash up, but I did my best. I used the masher, but it wasn’t mashing, so I got my hands in these beans and tried to make them see reason: becoming a black bean burger was their next calling! Loosen up a little!
They kind of listened. I was able to assemble the patties, made with everything just like the recipe, but sub a red onion for yellow or white. Turns out the yellow onions were rotting and juicy in their plastic bag in the cupboard. Eep!
fun & flirty
serious & smoldering
Freezing the patties for thirty minutes was key. Without having that step, we would have been in real trouble. We being me and these patties. If the beans had been fully mashed, I probably wouldn’t have had the spillage I experience. But you live, you learn.
Topped with some yellow tomatoes, spinach, and avocado, these were a good Sunday meal. Levi came over to partake, and Joey even got to eat the leftovers. Dacie Moses truly is all about generosity these days.
Just wanted to give you a quick heads up that this blog experience is going to be less spicy/fun/funky without Lynn here. in case you hadn’t already been worried about that.
I’m worried because when I googled “vegetarian meals for one,” I was met with a lot of “one-pot” meal recipes that feed about 20 people. I’m alone, Pinterest! Let me have my small return meals in peace!
So two things have happened since we last spoke:
1. Ellie brought Brynne to a leftovers dinner on Friday, but Brynne didn’t have any leftovers she felt comfortable sharing with the party (bc she was nervous about inducing food poisoning with the leftover quinoa mix Lynn left in the fridge). Instead of leftovers, Ellie and Brynne created new-overs, a sweet potato and black bean “salad.” Salad should be taken lightly here–there were no greens involved! What makes a salad a salad? You can’t just throw that term around!
All the photographic evidence there is to share of this salad is below, not to be confused with a crime scene. (I couldn’t find the can opener! I looked in every drawer! Except for the top one, which is where it was!)
bean juice splattered everywhere
can opener comes to the scene
The salad was good! Needed more sweet potato, but we were happy to have our veggie protein through beans.
2. I ate alone for the first time in a long time. It was a harrowing experience. I baked scones while eating and treated myself to a limonata (sparkling lemonade, so good!!!) to make the time fly. Podcasts followed. I read an article on Jane Eyre’s racism that was really thought-provoking and well-written. (Thanks again Maya for sending my way!) More podcasts and baking followed.
The meal in question was loosely based on this recipe for zucchini boats. Note that this is ANOTHER white woman making food she calls “Mexican” and says the recipe is “full of Mexican flavor.” What does she know about Mexican flavor? Why does she feel she can claim an entire country’s food as something she created/created with?
I did not follow her recipe except for the scooping out the insides of the tomato and making it kind of like a boat and baking it for the time and at the temperature she suggested.
The filling: Lynn’s quinoa, black bean, corn mix from more than a week ago. It smelled not super great. I scooped as much as I could into these green boats and then said “bye!” to the rest and composted it all. I knew I was walking the line between health and food-induced health trouble, but so far I’m in the clear. No trouble.
Are you impressed? Because I wasn’t!!!! The zucchini was only slightly tender and my cheese had gone completely crusty! Thanks for nothing, Sarah!!! (author of the post that told me how to bake it)
It’s tough to be a zucchini-loving, solo cook out here. Hopefully my next adventures will be more fruitful. I love fruit. Fruit never fails me. I’m going to go buy some now.
So I’m trying to get to the bottom of this whole Felix & Oscar thing. Who are they? What are they from? Are their character traits really as Lynn has described them?
My research thus far has led me to the Wikipedia page for a play called The Odd Couple. So far, so good.
According to the ole wiki, Oscar is a “slovenly, recently divorced sportswriter.” According to Lynn, Oscar is the more rigid, hesitant, rule-following one of the pair. I’m Oscar. I guess I’m slovenly yet rigid, hesitant and recently divorced, rule-following and sports-loving.
Felix, on the other hand, is “a fastidious, hypochondriac news-writer (photographer in the television series) whose marriage is ending.” Hmm. Lynn’s idea of Felix is that Felix is a roll with the punches innovator who says “Nah, we can do this,” a lot. Hmm. I guess Lynn is fastidious! And she sees relationships dissolving in our futures! Huh!
Well, when Felix goes home for the summer, Oscar starts to realize that she’s learned a lot from Felix. So much, in fact, that she’s ready to fly by the seat of her pants when it comes to her first meal without Felix.
Wrong. This rec calls for vegetable broth and heavy cream. Brynne/Oscar thought they had some vegetable broth at the DM, but she was wrong. Heavy cream was also MIA.
Time to innovate!
While Ellie peeled (there she peels! there she peels again!) the sweet potato and chopped half of it up, Brynn gathered rosemary from the garden and pondered how to amend the lack of ingredients in her life. Spinach was added to wilt in the pan.
As the sweet potatoes were popped into the pan to cook up, Brynne gathered up the various dairy products to replace heavy cream and settled on three spoonfuls of plain yogurt plus a dash of milk. That should do the trick!
Vegetable broth was completely eliminated. You can make your own, but these ladies didn’t have that kind of time and, surprisingly, not enough spices either!
far away: EW!
up close: eh?
The combination looked really quite gross when all was said and done. Brynne/Oscar was nervous and convinced she should never free-ball a recipe like this again. Ellie/Murray (“A NYPD policeman, one of Oscar and Felix’s poker buddies” according to Wiki) assured Brynne/Oscar that it would be ok.
And guess what? It was ok! Tasty! Maybe we should have skipped the dairy additions altogether now that I think about it, but hey, it’s ok! We did it!
Where is she?
Is she in there?
looking for Lynn!
Thanks to Lynn/Felix for teaching Brynne/Oscar how to free-ball food, and to Ellie/Murray for forcing her to follow through with these zany cooking substitutions. Thanks to the food for not giving us food poisoning. That was really nice of food.
Once upon a time there were three young women. There names were Lynn, Brynne, and Ellie. They hadn’t seen each other in a whole week!!!!! Which is Too Long. Emphasis.
On a Sunday afternoon, Lynn and Brynne came home to find Ellie in their room and they squealed with delight, unloaded the groceries they bought at Cub, and swapped stories of the weeks they’d had. Drama, gasps, and laughter ensued.
They spent most of the afternoon in this way, until the clock struck 6:00pm. That’s dinner time, ladies. We got cracking. On deck: leftovers plus a brand new friend we’d like to call Fruity Spinach Goat Cheese Salad.
The leftovers included pad thai from a week and a day ago that Brynne felt obligated to eat because #wastenotwantnot was the lesson she learned from her favorite American Girl Doll, Kitt Kitterdge. Brynne and Kitt looked a lot alike when Brynne was a young girl with a bob-style haircut and dreamt about making dresses out of old flower-patterned flour sacks in the Depression era.
Lynn and Ellie dug into the pasta and veg meatball creation from the night before (see previous post, duh!) and Brynne had a little on the side as well.
The real star of the show was our spinach and berry salad. Easy enough to assemble: bed of spinach greens, chop some strawberries and lay those on, add blueberries (aka bluebs aka boobs), garnish with some walnuts and GOAT CHEESE!!!!!! Lynn and Brynne had gone all summer without eating goat cheese until this point, and I wonder, how the heck did we manage to do that??? Goat cheese is so important to me. The recipe called for feta but I’m glad I could redirect our attentions to this most valuable cheese. We also skipped the red onion because that’s unnecessary and would ruin this salad. [Lynn’s note: I really like red onion. Brynne was like “we could do it without” and I cringed and said “okay.”]
Lynn did the real work here by assembling the dressing for this salad. Yeah, we used a food processor to make this baby. No, we don’t have a blender, so don’t ask for one! Follow the recipe for this dressing and you will be pleasantly surprised, but it won’t be what we made. Bc we are #galsonabudget, Lynn blended up strawberries, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder (instead of real garlic), and, yeah, that’s it. It was delicious.
Cut to: The ladies have parted ways and are in separate locations. Brynne receives a text message from Lynn that says “WE FORGOT TO ADD THE APPLE.” Brynne chuckles and puts her phone down. She thought the salad was great without the apple. [Lynn’s note: And the red onion, apparently.]
Back to this: Don’t ever underestimate the power of spinach, goat cheese, and strawberries. Thank you, BuzzFeed, for inspiring Lynn to make this salad. It really was a refreshing summer salad that left us feeling so good. To top it all off, Ellie brought some TJ’s (Trader Joe’s) Italian breadsticks. I’m sorry, it’s actually Trader Giotto’s. My bad. Thanks, Beth, for treating Ellie to a TJ’s run! Does Beth read our blog, do we think? Does her son? He should. He’ll be friends with Brynne soon enough–and she sounds like fun! [Brynne’s note: Lynn wrote the above sentences. Brynne’s face ] These breadsticks made all of our salad and crunchy bread dreams come true. (I started to sing Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” and now we are bopping our heads along to the beat in the kitchen. Good bop.)
Betcha never thought I’d leave Northfield. Well, here’s the deal: I did. And it was painful to say goodbye to Lynn, but I made it through this vacation and thought of her all the while and how much we like to eat food together.
Day one of break:
Connor and Cian really only wanted to go to Lion’s Tap, which is a restaurant in Eden Prairie that only sells burgers and fries and beers. This was a troubling prospect to me as a newly minted almost-vegetarian. I thought, “Hey, maybe, just maybe, they’ll have a veggie burger and I can swing it.” Nope, they didn’t. Cian desperately wanted to try this restaurant and so I did the supportive big sister thing and went to the restaurant and ate a burger. It knocked me out of vegetarian world but it was worth it to sing along to Drake songs and travel the suburban/rural roads with my brothers. Plus, I didn’t have to make any of this food on my own, which was a plus. (++!)
The trip to Duluth commences. A family unit of 5 drives 3 hours to get to this northern town and makes a pit stop on the way to climb some rocks and see some running water. We later leave said rocks and water to reach different rocks and water: Lake Superior. Which is the coolest lake. Hands-down. Reach them down and feel that cool cool water which is the nicest water you will ever feel.
Leave the waterfront to head to Fitger’s, a one-stop shop for trail/hiking gear, kitchen supplies, clogs, and food. (Mabel and Maya, if you’re reading this, I got clogs. They were on sale and I’m really excited to wear them but I don’t know what socks to get so if you have any recommendations, let me know!)
This meal was a chance to redeem myself as a vegetarian wannabe. I ordered a wild rice burger. Which, wow, was not a cow’s meat! It was rice! In a circular shape! Fun! With sprouts, tomato, garlic mayo, and a side of sweet potato fries, this meal could not be beat.
The only minus: Seen below, the beer-cheese dip we got with pretzel appetizers. Gross! Thumbs-down!
Let’s not let the beer cheese dip distract from the main win of the night.
We’re in a rainy summer haven aka Duluth in August. We walk around in the rain, and I’m glad I brought my raincoat and rain boots! This girl loves to step in puddles. Our lunch is a stop at Amazing Grace Bakery and Cafe. We wait a long time for a table to open up and I’m glaring at all the people parked at their tables who don’t show signs of moving but are clearly done eating. I get it, the rain is gross, but I’d like to sit to eat my TLT! Which is a tempeh-lettuce-tomato sandwich if you wanted to know. It was served on a cranberry walnut store-baked bread if I remember correctly? Yum! Tempeh: good. Vegetarian status: secure. Protein: consumed.
Dinner is a whole other story. We geared up to go to Burrito Union, which, if you’re from Duluth, can you let me know what the marketing strategy is? Is it playing with the idea of socialism/capitalism? Or is it focused on 1930s football? Unclear.
Aside from the confusion, the food was delicious. I ordered a shrimp salad, which involved shrimp (duh!), lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion (ew), and some secret spicy sauce I was unsure of where to locate. It was great, and I liked the shrimp; does this make me a pescetarian?
We went to a malt shop/ice cream shop that I didn’t mention earlier but this was our second night going there and the second night I got a peanut butter cup ice cream with hot fudge, which was a great decision.
Garret’s Birthday! He’s 17! How and when did this happen, that all of my siblings and myself are entering late teens/young adulthood?
To celebrate, we went to brunch at Amazing Grace Bakery and Cafe. Yup, again. It is amazing! It’s in the name, and name’s don’t lie! I got a plate with veggies, scrambled eggs, sourdough toast (Mabel, I learned to rekindle my love for sourdough through you fyi) and home-made jam. The plates all around looked great, and I’m glad to say I was able to steal from everyone’s, except for Garret’s. You don’t have to share food on your b-day.
Then we went on our big adventure day up to Split Rock Lighthouse, Gooseberry Falls, and Betty’s Pies for a b-day dinner. Deirdre and I split a spinach-tomato-pesto-cheese grilled cheese and a blueberry salad. As Lynn would say, mwah! *kisses fingers and flicks them out to share the delicious-ness with the world*
The pies: Smore’s, bumble berry (which I always thought was just one berry that I’d never seen, but is actually just a blend of all the berries), and Deirdre and I shared again. Thanks for sharing, Mom!
Continental breakfast with the brothers! Oatmeal is on deck. Don’t forget eggs and lemon poppyseed muffin on the side. Don’t forget that check out is at 11! Don’t forget anything in the room!
We didn’t forget anything! We went out to a beach where you can swim in Lake Superior on our way out of town, and that was when I fell truly in love with the lake water. So good. We wistfully drove back to Chanhassen/Minnetonka, made it home, and I went through stressful mail before driving my mom to return the rental car and get back on the road to Nofo and to Lynn and the lovely meal she had prepared for me.
That’s all! What a break from the kitchen! Thanks for all the food, Mom!
We’re getting down to it. The wire, that is. Not the name of that one TV show bois always make references to to show that they’re hip. We’re talking HAIM songs here, ladyzs.
We’re also talking the wire as in time, that construct that brings us through the passing of the seasons and closer to the socially conceptualized dates that our friends choose to depart from us on. (August 10 is now my least favorite day. Don’t leave me, Lynn!!!!) [Lynn’s note: Now the Feds know when I’m leaving, Brynne!]
And with that time comes a dearth of ingredients. And with such a dearth comes spontaneous quesadillas. Lynn taught Brynne all about the fold-over method (works with belly fat and sprouted grain tortillas!).
Here’s how it works:
Heat up a pan over a flame and spray some pam on that pan.
Place a quesadilla [Lynn’s note: r u kidding me? it’s not a quesadilla until the stuff is in it and it’s cooked. has my student learned nothing?!] on the pan and arrange some toppings atop your base ques [Lynn’s note: Also known as a tortilla]. Note: only arrange your toppings on half of the side of the ques, otherwise you will run into some issues later.
Watch as the cheese melts and becomes so yummy.
Decided it’s probably done and turn it out onto a plate.
Fold the un-toppinged side of the quesadilla onto the toppinged side.
Eat up, losers.
After folding. Magic.
Special note: It is oh-so important that you fold your tortilla quick quick quick after you take it off the pan because that shit is going to Get Hard Fast [Lynn’s note: 😉 ] and then it will break right in two! Then it’s a sandwich! So put little oven mitts on each individual finger and hope for the best!! We luv u!!
Taking a brief hiatus from cooking together while Brynne goes on vacation and Lynn goes to bed. Likely, some updates will occur from each lady about her respective meal–Brynne will probably eat fresh crab on a bed of greens, and Lynn will probably eat the watery stuff at the bottom of the tub of greek yogurt. Check it.
Here’s what I, Brynne, know so far about being an Adult.
Tupperware is an essential. Small kinds, square kinds, circular kinds, rectangular kinds, mason jars–all of it.
Making your own food is very cheap and fun to do with your lovely friend.
Never get sick. We don’t have a nationalized healthcare system and you will pay lots of Money for your Wellness and you will feel Stressed.
Be aware of the architecture of your bathroom surroundings at all times.
Follow the flow of traffic. Especially when on a bike. This one is taken from the mouth of an angry old lady who yelled at us from her window “You’re supposed to wait for the cars to go before crossing the street!”
Learn the name of your yoga instructor. She will be happy when you show up to class and give you a “gold star” even though you suck at working out. These gold stars will mean a lot to you even though they are just words, because Words Matter.
If you make too much food, you will eat that food for lunches 5 days in a row and feel Sad. [Lynn’s note: My b, Brynne. I haven’t been helping much with the leftovers because I eat yogurt and cookies for lunch ;)]
This list is not exhaustive, but it is exhausting at times to be an adult human in this world.
And when you’re exhausted, what is there left to do but make a quinoa risotto?
Here’s what you do. Take out that quinoa you bought a while ago while a peer is making sausage in a pan and oil is flying everywhere and hope you don’t get burned for trying to access your ancient grains. Put a cup of quinoa in a pot with water, turn it on to boil and then to medium, then run away!!! Hide in your room while the quinoa cooks.
When 15 minutes have passed, your quinoa is likely done and you have to go back out to the kitchen and start chopping and dicing the following: tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, basil. Get a food processor to make the sauce. Lynn will say “Wow that smells sooooo good,” and you will say “Uh yeah it’s just tomato and basil.” Throwback to when this same thing happened when you were making the mac&cheese roux. Then when it’s all blended you will say “Wow that smells sooooo good” and Lynn will give you a Look like “Really? I just said that and you disparaged me!” and you will say “I’m sorry!!”
No but so tired omg
Then you combine sauce and quinoa, tomatoes, zucchini, arugula. Place in a bowl and add some cheese and more arugula. [Lynn’s note: I actually made a bed of arugula and put the risotto on top. Can’t believe Brynne forgot that we called hers an arugula canopy.] You can never have too much arugula. Eat in a dramatically lit corner again because there are so many people in every good seating space in your home. Enjoy.
Above, note the two options for arugula and cheese: on bottom, on top, or vice versa. Also useful for spicy sex. The arugula and cheese part, we mean.
Do you ever feel like you’ve finally made the transition to being an extrovert only to get hit by a solid wall of introverted needs slam into your small, freckled face? Well, if you want to know what that’s like, ask me, Brynne. I’ll tell you all about it. That was my experience of this past weekend, and super extra big cheers to Lynn who stood by my side the whole time. Gosh she’s a keeper. My Sister’s Keeper.
I know the biggest question you have right now: what do fake extroverts eat? Well, it’s a rainbow sweet potato salad. Nutritious and delicious. Easy and peasy. Sweet and sour. Here’s a sneak peak:
Let’s dive in to this recipe: Scavenge a 1/4 of a red onion from the fridge. “Thaw” some corn (leave it out for 15 minutes while doing other parts of the recipe and call it good). Peel and chop some sweet potatoes. Bake at 425 instead of 350 because no one has that kind of time to wait for these sweet ‘tates to roast. Un-can and rinse a can of black beans, question whether or not you can eat them straight from the can. You can. Chop and re-chop your red bell pepper and onion because you don’t think you did a good enough job. Add some cilantro.
Don’t forget the “lime crema”! Which is literally just sour cream and lime zest and juice! But ok!
There was a nice balance of sour cream and other food materials. Try to achieve balance, people.
Did you think I had forgotten the surprise? Nope! Look at her! It’s Tina! The queen! Read to dig ynn and dine ynn! What a surprise. She surprised Lynn during brunch and Lynn was so smiley and it was great.
Who else is going to surprise us? You never know! Mabel surprised us by bringing us SPINACH when she came to So. MN. And not the baby kind–this was big girl spinach. Thanks so much, Mabel! [Lynn’s note: Mabel told us “I better get a fucking shoutout.”]