Octopuscarwash's Gourmet Adventures

I live to eat. Yes, I am an Asian Jew. My favorite meal is breakfast (oatmeal in particular). I'm only in high school, so I am a complete amateur. Some of my favorite cuisines are Middle Eastern, Moroccan, Japanese and Korean. I eat so much Chinese food that it's hard to say whether I like it or not... all I know is that I don't like what most of America seems to think of as Chinese food, Panda Express. I'm a pescetarian and love coming up with my own healthy fusion food.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and it will be strange! For the first time, I'm basically cooking an entire dinner myself :) so I'll have to get cracking early. I'm planning on getting up and enjoying a leisurely breakfast, getting started on prep work, and writing my paper, then meeting up with some people for a run, having lunch, and I guess cooking for the rest of the day. Finally, an excuse to cook for enough people to make something special!
By the way, it turned out that the Autumn Millet bake needed way more cooking time than the recipe said, so I'm going to serve that tomorrow night as well, although it does seem a little redundant.
Anyways, Breakfast:
Not to be boring, but we really did have to get rid of that banana bread, and with my dad's help, it is ALL GONE! I had two pieces with peanut butter and grapes, but no hot chocolate.
I did work and stuff in the morning, and really regretted not having done any exercise... I really didn't feel like running because I had that long run with friends the day before, so I did the unthinkable... I went swimming.
It felt so strange to be in the water again, and yet not strange at all! In fact, it was comforting to me, like the rhythm of the turns and arm motions brought back tons of my memories (both good and bad). The problem is that the pool downstairs is tiny and almost too shallow in the shallow end for flip turns, but it feels amazing to have the ENTIRE pool to yourself! I had so much room that I really felt myself moving forward in my fly!
I swam for about 45 minutes-- enough for a good workout, but not enough that I was no longer having fun (yes, this workout was really FUN). This wasn't even half a swim practice...
Warmup-- 10 laps (once again, no idea how long this pool was, but I was betting that the 10 laps were maybe 300-400 yds? not even, maybe)
Then I did the normal warmup we do for meets:
Fly-- kick down, swim back, drill down, swim back
Same thing for Back
Same thing for Breast
Same thing for Free
Only I did this cycle 4 times, with 10 seconds of rest between each lap, so it wasn't terrible.
This was actually pretty time consuming, considering each "cycle" is 8 laps.
After that, I decided to do a fast IM, going at a fast pace: a lap each of fly, back, breast, and then free.
Then I did another 10 laps cool down, and my dad came down to tell me he was going to a meeting. I got all excited about swimming and did a fast lap of fly for him. That's the thing-- sometimes I get in the water and I can't move and other times it's just so fun.
Lunch-- for some reason I've gotten addicted to wraps! Also, they're too messy to take to school, so I might as well enjoy them while I can.
This wrap was stuffed to the brim and really strange... basically, I'm just trying to clear out the fridge:
Pumpkin (already mixed with some cinnamon and maple syrup)
Red pepper hummus
Portobella mushroom
Leftover Chinese grilled green peppers (with a lot of vinegar)
Black beans
Baby spinach
Weird, huh? The pumpkin got a little weird at the end... it was definitely the odd one out, but it also worked.
I also had a carrot with some more hummus and a bowl of yogurt, cottage cheese, berries and some cereal. Of course, this bowl soon became bottomless. I refilled it, then refilled it again with milk, then promptly threw it away because the milk was so sour it was disgusting. Ugh. But I still wanted more so I got a new bowl and had some cereal with soymilk. THIS IS THE PROBLEM OF CEREAL. IT NEVER ENDS. That's why it seems like having two big pieces of banana bread is fattening, but really it isn't because you know exactly how much you're eating. Maybe I should make Thanksgiving resolutions instead of New Years ones... If so, mine would be COOL IT ON THE CEREAL/yogurt/cottage cheese.
After lunch, I met up with my friend Gauri for a heart-to-heart by school. I was originally going to see Twilight AGAIN, but plans didn't work out. After I left Gauri, I went to the bookstore and sat there for a while, browsing (mostly cookbooks...).
My dad picked me up and we went grocery shopping at Treasure Island. I HATE THIS PLACE. It's so badly organized, and everybody seemed to be moving so SLOWLY... you could hardly move without crashing into somebody. This is why we do most of our shopping downtown. Also, I needed buttermilk for the cornbread, and the only kind I could find was this really suspicious-looking stuff that had a long-ish ingredients list.
When I got home, I was kind of hungry, but didn't want to eat too much in anticipation of dinner... I also didn't want to overdo it on the hot chocolate, so I made carob instead-- skim milk with a spoonful of carob, brown sugar, cinnamon, and 2 mini marshmallows. If it weren't for the marshmallows I probably would have thought it was gross.
As for dinner, we got there an hour later but we were still among the earliest. The food spread wasn't that great or vegetarian-friendly, but I managed, and it was mainly the atmosphere that I liked. I love the grad students. One guy is awesome and was playing the banjo and harmonica at the same time... he also said that I should write a book on the history of Russian-French cuisine, since the Russian aristocracy all spoke French. A bunch of people also think that if I start eating meat, I should do a section on my blog that talks about the changes that I feel physically and mentally when I start again. He said, "I bet you'll be more aggressive."
The food:
-Turkey from Whole Foods (apparently this was really good)
-Our AMAZING cranberry sauce. This was probably the only thing I ate tonight that was really worth eating, and I ate more of it than I should, since it's not too good for the stomach. Basically, it has orange zest, walnuts, and blueberries in it. Truely gourmet.
-Stuffing that came with the turkey was vegetarian and had mushrooms and a lot of rosemary in it
-homemade stuffing with sausage, wild rice, and vegetables (I would really have liked to try this....)
-Stuffed tofu skins with sesame seeds, which I LOVE
-One of our foodie friends who is awesome and has a black belt in martial arts and is from Malaysia made brandade, which she said actually took 3 days! She got the salt cod at a little Italian place by Randolph.
-Brussel sprouts
-American-style greenbeans (I think came with the turkey)-- very bland
-Some generic Asian stir-fried vegetables. I thought they were homemade, given all the Asians, and took a lot, but they were actually gloopy and probably from Noodles.
-Mashed potatoes, which I took but didn't eat because I don't really like them.
-Shepherd's pie
-Duck from Chinatown
And then our Italian foodie friend Paola showed up with cauliflower croquettes and a loaf of homemade sourdough hot from the oven!!! Unfortunately I was full by this point, but we took the croquettes and the entire loaf home! Paola has also invited me to come make pizza with her Saturday, so I'm pretty excited.
I had seconds on stuffing and cranberry sauce.

Dessert: I actually passed on dessert. I just didn't feel like I needed it. I did have bites and sips of various things.

Green tea/lemon sorbet-- this was really more like granita, and just like eating ice with a drizzle of green tea. It was palate-cleansing and made my stomach feel better.
There were also 2 sweet Korean drinks-- one was the cinnamon I like so much and one was with brown rice. I had a sip of each and decided they were way too sweet.
Other desserts: only 2 were homemade-- orange cake and pumpkin cheesecake. It doesn't like like it has pumpkin b/c it's yellow, but this student is SERIOUSLY talented. Last party she made tiramisu and it tasted just like it was from a bakery. She also manages to produce these bakery boxes and gilded stands for the cake, and decorates it perfectly. Koreans are known for being good bakers, but she hasn't even had any training... what??
I didn't have the cake, but I did have a bite of my dad's... it was amazing. It's hard to make cheesecake really delicious and not too heavy, but this was perfect. It had an oreo crust and was perfectly light and creamy.
All in all, I didn't eat that much, although most of what I ate I didn't have to. I think I am under a misapprehension that I don't get enough vegetables, so whenever I see them at a party I take way more than I should and I get full really fast. And next time pass on the cornstarch baby corn dishes... please.

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