An Afternoon of (Almost) Writing, or How to Make Pumpkin Chili

At the start of this post, I have one completed article, three new article pitches, and a slow cooker full of pumpkin chili.  What I do not have, my dear friends, is a single additional word of either my book outline or actual book that I set the past four hours aside to work on.  Nope.  Not a word. Instead, my big day of writing went like this:

It’s 11am, and I finish and submit my article to an editor–this my paid “day job” writing.  This particular article addresses meditating during your workday.

Since I now feel like a hypocrite–sitting in pajamas while doing work, NOT having meditated–I sit on down and meditate for about 15 minutes, all the while thinking about how to keep my cat from scratching up the decorative baskets I keep next to my meditation area.

11:30: I clean up all the scraps from the ripped-up baskets, realize the rest of the room is covered in a mountain of fuzz, and continue to clean.  Cleaning is important!

It is now noon.  I should sit and finish my book outline.

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Lazy Sunday Recipe: Corn and Summer Veggie Beer Sauté

This week’s recipe is brought to you by lack of sleep, beer, and the letter B.  For beer!

 

Photo credit- frugal-cafe.com

Cooking when you’re tired and punchy can be tricky.  But you still have to eat.  There are plenty of days when getting in the car and safely reaching the store for any special ingredients in just not an option.  So as I said last week, start with what you have.  Or in this case, look at what you have and figure out how the heck it could become meal.

Corn and Summer Veggie Beer Sauté

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Servings: 4

Prep/Cook Time: Less than 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Corn from two fresh ears, kernels cut off before cooking
  • 3-4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • Hefty handful of green beans, chopped
  • Four stalks of celery, halved and chopped
  • 1 zucchini, you guessed it, chopped
  • 1 clove of diced garlic
  • 1/8 can of lager beer- I used Yuengling
  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • Sriracha to taste
  • One tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, dash of chili powder
  • 1 cup (uncooked) rice of choice
  • 1 secret ingredient (reveled below!)

Alternate Recipe List

  • Corn
  • Beans
  • Whatever veggies you have in the fridge
  • Beer
  • Spicy things

“I just want to fill my mouth with tastes”

After a three hour brunch in our college cafeteria senior year, a wise friend once announced to the group, “I’m no longer hungry, I just want to fill my mouth with tastes.”  Minus the “no longer hungry” part, this is how I approach cooking when I am tired.  I look at things and think, what is my basic human reaction for how I want all these ingredients to come together?  Often, things are pretty delicious when I take this approach.  Other times, I make hot dog lentil soup that sits in the fridge for three weeks.  Sorry, Ben.

As always, start by sautéing garlic in olive oil, it’s a very good place to start.  While you are doing this, chop the tomatoes, occasionally checking that the garlic bits are not turning too brown.  Golden is great, brown is not.  Garlic goes from delicious aromatic pieces of delight to evils burnt bits of coal in seconds, so keep your eye peeled.

Add the tomatoes and toss around.  Grab a bowl and stand each husked corn cob to slice kernels off the ear.  This way, they don’t completely fly around the kitchen.  Add corn to pan.

Chop ends off green beans and chop into small pieces.  The key to a sauté like this, is keeping everything a similar size.  Otherwise, everything will cook at different speeds.  Slice the celery in half longways and chop to similar size pieces as the beans, throw them in the pan.  Do the same thing with the zucchini.

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At this point, just add about a tablespoon of sriracha (depending how spicy you like it), along with the honey, salt, pepper, and chili powder.

Toss around and allow to cook uncovered for about as long as it takes to clean up spilling half your beer behind the coffee maker and sugar tins. Let’s say, 5 minutes.  Husking corn is dangerous, friends, use caution.  After this, add the beans.

Here’s where the magic happens.  Add about a two-count of beer, and watch it do that delicious foamy pan-beer thing.  Stir gently, and cover.  Simmer on low for about 10 minutes.

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Now is a good time to get your rice going.  Ben and I acquired a rice cooker  three years ago, and therefore never learned how to make rice like regular humans.  It takes almost exactly 15 minutes, a little more time than you need for the deliciousness to simmer.

When you return from NOT almost falling asleep with the cat on the couch, check out your veggies and taste how it’s doing.  Always taste!  It’s fun AND necessary.  If you want it heavier on the chili power, add more!  If it tastes too much like beer, add a tad more honey.  You got this.  If something went terribly wrong and you’re really not sure what it was, there’s always butter.

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When in doubt, add an egg

At this point, I was irrationally sad that we didn’t have cheese.  I was tired, and no, we didn’t need cheese in the dish, but it sure would make it perfect.  So I needed to substitute.

Once the mixture is the consistency and spiciness that you like, pour the mixture into a nearby bowl.  Not any bowl, preferably one you’ve set aside for this purpose.

Photo credit: properpet.com

Inappropriate bowl.

Keep the heat on low so that your pan will continue to heat.  Since it is covered in leftover amazingness, FRY AN EGG ON IT.  Grab the number of eggs for the amount of servings you are preparing and pop them in the hot pan.  I made mine sunny side up, since successful flipping seemed improbable.  If you take this path, put a lid on it.  Wait until it doesn’t look like a raw egg.

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Build a pretty plate

Here’s the fun part!  Even if you’re tired, some simple tricks can make you look oh-so-fancy.  Because it’s always more fun to eat fancy looking food.  Grab a small dish of any interesting shape, even if it’s shot glass.  This is kind of like making a small sandcastle, but with rice.  I used a small ramequin, which may I point out, is one of my favorite words.  Scoop the rice into the container and flip over onto the plate (like a sandcastle!)

Scoop veggie/corn/beer mixture onto rice castle and don’t worry if it collapses a bit.  It’s still pretty.

Pick up the egg, and lay it across the whole darn thing, like the picture of the pancake in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

pancake

Last but not least, grab your sriracha and drizzle it over the top of the egg, making it look beautiful and delicious.  Serve, enjoy, and then go get some sleep.

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