Sunday, January 2, 2011

well, at least i know my smoke detector is in working order...

happy new year!! how fantast is that PICTURE, right?!? that was what i woke up to on 1/1/2011. okay, i wake up to it everyday (it's My View from My Apartment) but this late morning, it looked even more spectacular than ever... so fresh and so clean... a new start... a new year... maybe it also had to do with the fact that this masterpiece of a view was shrouded in clouds and fog for the past couple of days, but whatever. the whole "fresh, clean start to a new year" sounds a lot deeper, doesn't it? and if there's one thing that the maliyacular is, it is deep. hahaha i cant even say that without giggling to myself.

so i think new years resolutions are kind of ridiculous. primarily because i think you should be constantly working to achieve a "better" you every day of the year... how oprah does THAT sound. but whatever, i can understand where people are coming from... it's like a new start and all that.

in an effort to continue to conform to societal norms, ive taken the liberty of jotting down a few new years goals for myself (doesn't "goal" sound so much more reasonable to achieve than "resolution"?)... and i already have a ridiculous story about one of them. one of my goals was to become a better cook. and by "a better cook" i mean... just learn to start cooking. here's the deal. it's not like eating turkey sandwiches or hummus and pita chips all day every day is un-fulfilling for me. however, if im going to start eating vegetables on a regular basis (oh yeah, another new years goal of mine, because quite frankly, i cant remember the last time i ate a vegetable... that wasn't tomatoes on a pizza, at least), im going to have to learn to start concocting some tasty dishes with them because you KNOW im not going to be choking down veggies raw. they disgust me. and no, i dont EVER crave veggies, thank you very much (i never understood "those" kinds of people. haha.)

alrighty, so ive had some quinoa sitting in my cupboard for MONTHS. ive had quinoa at restaurants and think it's quite delicious, so on a whim when i was in cincinnati, i had my parents pack some up for me. yeah, it's taken me this long to actually get down to making it, primarily because i had no idea where to begin. the last thing i wanted to do was go to the grocery store and stock up on all these spices and stuff to stick in the quinoa, knowing that i would never use these spices again (because, dude, spices are EXPENSIVE. i dont want to be wasting my money!)... so thanks to the glories of google and, i came across a rather simplistic recipe. who knew that making quinoa could be so EASY? you just boil a bunch of water and the quinoa (and a pinch of salt, dont forget!) and let it go for like 20 minutes! i couldnt believe how easy that part was.

but then came the whole "adding a bunch of stuff" to the quinoa, because you cant really eat it on its own (it's pretty bland). anyway, so per the recipe, i went ahead and started simmering some olive oil. the recipe then calls for you to add three cloves of garlic. when i was at trader joes shopping for this recipe, i deliberately picked up a little bag of three garlic bulbs (they were selling little bags of two garlic bulbs as well), to ensure that i had enough for what the recipe called. so there i was, quinoa/water boiling in one pot, olive oil simmering in another pan, and im chop chopping my garlic bulbs. it was at this point that i stopped short and literally drew a blank as to what was considered a clove. i mean, i was literally about to dump in all three garlic BULBS when the recipe only called for three garlic cloves. thank god i used some sort of instinct and just googled "what is a clove of garlic?" in order to clarify what in the world i was supposed to be doing. thank goodness i did google that, however. i mean, can you IMAGINE how this dish would be tasting if i'd just dumped in my three bulbs of garlic? sigh, whatever, you live, you learn. and i have now learned what the heck is the difference between a bulb and a clove, thank you very much.

so anyway, crisis number one was averted. so i dump in my three (weakly chopped- i got kind of bored) garlic cloves and let that olive oil keep simmering away. this was actually going along quite nicely. i was happy enough to have caught my mistake (regarding the clove vs. bulb fiasco) before the dish was entirely ruined. anyway, so i was to let those garlic cloves simmer for about five minutes before dumping in whatever chopped veggies i wanted. the recipe called for you to chop some fresh veggies yourself. please. when i was at trader joes, i totally saw ready-made carrots/onions/celery... all chopped up already! since this was just the first of my cooking adventures, i justified this shortcut as fair and reasonable.

okay, so anyway, there i was literally just watching the cloves of garlic work with that olive oil, thinking about how peaceful my sunday had been when my peaceful thoughts were so rudely interrupted by an awfully shrill beeping.

at least i can now rest assured that my smoke detector is in full and working order.

of course, right? i mean, why WOULDN'T this happen to me? and the worst part is... it's not like i was leaving anything unattended! i was literally standing at the stove, just watching the garlic cloves simmer and my quinoa complete its boiling! what the F! ugh. whatever. i just immediately turned everything on that stove OFF (since i had no idea what was burning) and grabbed a kitchen towel and raced over to the smoke detector and started waving that kitchen towel in front of the detector, hoping against hope that that was going to work because, quite frankly, i had no idea what else i could/should be doing in this kind of an event. sigh. anyway, thankfully that did the trick and all was back to peace and merriment in just a few short minutes.

well, after THAT, you KNOW i didnt want to turn anything on my stove back on! i was scared! but whatever. i had come this far, i had to keep going, right? so, literally cringing to myself, i turned the burner feeding the olive oil/garlic clove saucepan back on (ever so gently), bracing myself for the detector to go off again. thank GOD it did not. but i didn't want to take any more chances... i just wanted to get this over and done with so i started dumping everything in all at once, stirring away as quickly as possible, certainly hoping against hope that things were getting fully cooked.

and it actually turned out okay! i mean, granted the dish is kind of bland (i guess the recipe wasn't kidding when they mentioned that whole adding some salt and pepper for taste... whoops. one shortcut i won't ever neglect again.) but whatever. it's nothing that (several) heaping teaspoons of sriracha sauce cant drown out, right? right. and now i have lunch AND dinner ready for like the next two weeks because MAN, do you KNOW how much quinoa expands when it's boiled?

anyway, here's what my dish looks like. can you see the remnants of the burning that caused the smoke detector to go off? i guess while i was just obliviously watching my garlic simmer in the olive oil, it over-simmered or whatever. anyway, you live, you learn... i guess.

with that... HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!! i hope you all had wonderful and safe holidays!


  1. Hi Christie

    Greetings from Australia!

    Further to your message above about smoke alarms, PLEASE check out how Chicagoans have been grossly misled:

    . . . and PLEASE spread the word.

    Thanks Christie.
    Adrian Butler
    The World Fire Safety Foundation
    Qld, Australia

  2. Thanks, Adrian! I appreciate your feedback and the helpful link. I will certainly keep this link in mind and spread the word as best I can :)