Beast: What’s that?
Foodie: What’s what?
Beast: That vibrating thing I found in MY sock drawer.
Foodie: Oh, fuuuuuuucccccck. I forgot to hide it back in my sock drawer.
Beast: Where did you get it?
Foodie: Jason gave it to me.
Beast: Jason gave it to you?
Foodie: Well, kind of; Jason got it in some sort of gift bag around Christmas time and he didn’t want it and he was trying to give it away to one of us on the soccer team after a game and nobody wanted it so I finally took it.
Foodie: It’s just a back massager. It’s for sore backs. You know how I get that knot in my left shoulder? Well it helps. Just for that. That’s it.
Beast: I know what you do with that thing.
Foodie: (Pause) What do you want me to say, man?
Busted! Oh well. Sometimes you have to look out for numero uno. That’s why on Sunday I made a big batch of quinoa with snow peas and broccoli, a dish I know the Beast won’t touch and therefore I’m safe leaving it in the fridge for my work week lunches. It’s a recipe that I adapted from Mireille Guiliano’s French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook that keeps really well and tastes nice if you just pop it into the microwave at work for a minute or two.
I also made two Swedish visiting cakes. We have friends staying with us this weekend so, knowing that I won’t have time during the week to do a damn thing, I baked the cakes on Sunday and I’m crossing my fingers that one of them freezes well. It’s from a recipe my friend Paula introduced me to and I’ve made it a few times now, often not paying much heed to the instructions. Do you really need to fold and whisk when you could just plop everything in and mix on high? Turns out, yes, you do. And the difference was astounding. This time the cakes turned less brick-like and more light and fluffy.
I suppose sometimes you just have to play by the rules. And other times, you have to take a hand-held back massager that looks like a Japanese robot toy and get creative.
Quinoa Lunch Thing
This recipe can be halved if it sounds like too much; I just wanted a week’s worth of lunches!)
2 cups quinoa
2 cups snow peas
1 head of broccoli
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper
Cook your quinoa according to instructions. Take a little bowl and mix up the cumin, coriander and the olive oil. Set aside. Meanwhile, get some olive oil good and hot in a big pan and add some chili flakes. Then add the broccoli florets. Toss them until they get a bit browned. Add the snow peas. Add some salt and pepper. When the quinoa is cooked, add the butter and mix it up in there. Add the spiced up olive oil. Add the vegetables. Mix that up. Eat it for lunch. And if cooking the vegetables sounds like too much work, why not add in a generous amount of baby arugula and edamame or other green things?
Swedish Visiting Cake (adapted from Baking, From My Home to Yours)
(I usually double this recipe because why make one when you can have two?)
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Grated zest of 1 lemon (I used a Meyer lemon, plus a little juice for good measure)
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
About 1/4 cup sliced almonds (blanched or not)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan or even a pie pan. Pour the sugar into a medium bowl. Add the zest and blend the zest and sugar together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Whisk in the salt and the extracts. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour. Finally, fold in the melted butter. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Scatter the sliced almonds over the top and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is golden and a little crisp on the outside; the inside will remain moist. Eat it after it cools down a bit. Why not with a cup of tea?