Iris the Idiot’s Kitchen: Samantha Irby FTW.

Samantha Irby, proprietress of the gut-bustingly (literally) hilarious bitches gotta eat, is a chef after my own heart. Also: she is a much better person than I am, because she licenses her work under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-ND 3.0). This means I am perfectly free to steal her latest for the Palace and its Many Tens of Loyal Readers™ to enjoy. Thanks, Sam!

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easy human meals to make in your tiny joke kitchen.

samanthakitchenyesterday morning i had a lunchable for breakfast. don’t worry, it was the bologna and cheese kind so it was v v healthy. here’s the thing, though: I REALLY LIKE TO COOK. the problem is that 1 cooking for myself is kind of boring and 2 it kind of sucks when you threaten to knock mixing bowls and shit off the counters of your miniscule galley kitchen every time you turn a goddamned hip. i used to housesit all the time for wealthy people and their snooty purebred dogs and the best part of that life, hands down, was spending a week or two in a big ass top chef kitchen. i’m talking: gleaming pasta makers, towering walk-in pantries, every tool to be found in the sur la table catalog. it was like living in a tv show, but without a red-faced british dude yelling about what a donkey i am because i accidentally double-dipped my tasting spoon. (lol “accidentally.”) THIS IS MY WEALTH OF COUNTER SPACE, Y’ALL. well, half of it. the other half is across from it and has a dish drain and all my tax documents and shit i gotta return to zappos and boxes from nutrisystem piled on top of it. i don’t have room to make a goddamned thing. except for a mess.

i keep trying, though. ugh it’s still kind of the beginning of a new year, which means we all gotta pretend we care about ourselves until it’s warm enough to wear a bathing suit in public then realize it’s not worth it anyway and go back to eating cheetos for dinner because fuck it. and nothing goes with a brand new maybe this is the year i get skinny gym membership like trying to cook your own balanced meals. at the end of every december i start feeling bad about having spent the eleven months prior getting 99% of my calories from carbohydrates, and this guilt propels me into relatively-healthy eating for at least the first three months of the year. but 1 i’m kind of lazy 2 i hate grocery shopping and 3 i work all the goddamn time and just want to watch tv with my water-logged ankles propped up on a wedge pillow when i get home, not burn calories chopping vegetables for a wholesome dinner. but in case i drop dead i want whoever finds my body to know that sometimes i go to whole foods. i mean, they’ll have to kick a lot of dusty slim-fast boxes out of the way first, but once they do? EXEMPLAR OF HEALTH.

so every now and again some humorless drone is all WHY YOU AIN’T GOT NO FOOD ON A BLOG ABOUT BITCHES EATING and i’m like, uh well i sometimes do? but it’s more about the jokes and stuff? and then we stand around awkwardly shifting feet without making eye contact while trying to figure out a way to gracefully end this painful interaction, after which i go crawl into a guilty little hole to rethink my life choices. so this is a post about food. all made in my tiny-ass kitchen while i texted fools and kept leaving the room to watch tv.

nutritious, grownup ramen-type bowl.
cooking oriental foods is always terrifying to me because, other than a couple raggedy old packets of soy sauce left over from delicious takeout meals, i don’t keep a lot of asian spices and shit around the casa. occasionally i’ll buy calrose rice in case i throw together a ghetto stir fry or whatever, but i don’t regularly have turmeric or kaffir leaves just lying around in case i all of a sudden become inspired. i have a general idea of how much basil is too much basil or when to lay off the cumin, but i don’t really know shit about star anise. (wtf is that even.) this noodle pot is an easy way to feel learned and cultured without the danger of seriously fucking your tastebuds up if you measure incorrectly or fall asleep while the shit is cooking.

you need:
miso paste
tom yum paste
chili paste
solid chicken bouillon paste
soy sauce
sriracha
noodles of your choosing (i use medium-sized flat noodles)
assorted vegetables (i used pre-cut trader joe’s broccoli carrot slaw and pea shoots because i’m fucking careless and don’t want shaved-off bits of my fingertips in my broth. you could also use shelled edamame, napa cabbage, baby corn, spinach, or whatever you have the patience for.)
tiny frozen shrimp (or: cooked shredded chicken, cooked sliced sausage, fried tofu, whatevs)

here’s what to do with it:
bring some water to a boil in a both a saucepan and a kettle.
while you wait, scoop a teaspoon of each of the pastes+bouillon+soy sauce+sriracha into a little bowl, add a splash of hot water and mix it together with a little whisk.
the pot noodles i use cook in two minutes, so i drop them into the water once it’s boiling, hover impatiently while shifting anxiously from foot to foot, then dump them out under cold water and drain them. once they’re mostly dry i put the noodles in a mason jar BECAUSE I AM ADORABLE, add my defrosted shrimp (to defrost: rinse under cold water until rubbery then pat dry), pour over the paste/soy sauce mix, and top with vegetables. then i pour water from the kettle i set to boil at the beginning of this whole thing (remember that?) over all of it, stir a couple times, then let it sit for a few minutes with the lid on before maxing all the noodles and meat then getting mad at myself when all i have left is salty broth and bits of cabbage.

egg muffins.
i don’t always love eggs? but they’re cheap and they last for-fucking-ever and you can’t make cookie dough to eat straight from the mixing bowl without them, so i always have a couple hanging out in the back of my refrigerator. breakfast for me is always the hardest because i need to leave my crib at 645, IN THE FUCKING MORNING, and i can barely get a stretch and a shower in between the alarm clock and the train which means i definitely am not cooking shit before work. i envy you coffee and newspaper in the comfort of your own home people. the last time i ate breakfast in my own crib was never. when i still had the taurus i was that bitch trying to smash a bowl of milk and cereal at every red light, but now with no ride i have to, like, be prepared. or spend $17 every day at starbucks.

so these aren’t really muffins as much as they are portable egg clumps with cheese and shit in them, but they are easy and delicious and you make them in a muffin tin so whatever. i just throw in whatever old meats, cheeses, and vegetables i have dying a slow death in my produce drawer, then bake and freeze them. and since you make a bunch in advance you have ready to go breakfast options all week.

you need:
assorted chopped vegetables. i am partial to: spinach, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini, corn, green onions, and broccoli. but for real you can use whatever tastes good to you.
chopped tomatoes
grated or crumbled cheese, whatever you got
green chilies or jalapenos
fresh coriander, whatever herbal shit you’re into
you can add chicken or other lean meats or tofu
6 eggs beaten with 2 tbsp milk, black pepper to taste

here’s what to do with it:
preheat the oven to 400 and grease your goddamned muffin tin. (i use pam, the coconut oil kind) add vegetables of your choice along with cheese (if you choose, and why wouldn’t you?) to each cup, then pour the beaten egg mixture into each cup.

place the muffin pan on the center rack of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffins are light brown, puffy, and the eggs are set. let those bitches cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan. loosen gently with a butter knife if they seem to be sticking. eat immediately or let cool completely before storing them in plastic bag in refrigerator or freezer. they can be reheated in the oven or microwave and eaten in the shower while trying to catch another depressing weather report on the morning news. or so i’ve heard.

curried tofu.
i adapted this one from the homie martha stewart. i don’t like to cook a lot of meat at home because it’s messy and a ton of work, also because achieving the perfect sear on an expensive cut of grass-fed beef is not what i want to come home and do on a random fucking wednesday. there are basically fifty-eight minutes between the time i peel off my eight layers of winter outwear and the time empire starts, and i refuse to spend a single one of them tying up a fucking chicken.

you need:
1 container (14 ounces) firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon curry powder
coarse salt and ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
1 box (10 ounces) frozen green beans, defrosted
4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (3 cups)
cooked calrose rice, for serving (optional)

here’s what to do with it:
halve tofu horizontally; then crosswise. (GOD I HATE GEOMETRY; also, you should have 4 equal squares). cut each square diagonally into 2 triangles. arrange tofu in one layer on a baking sheet lined with 3 layers of paper towels; cover with three more layers. place another baking sheet and a bottle of wine or something heavy on top. let tofu drain until towels are soaked, about 20 minutes. so this part is kind of irritating on paper but it really isn’t as hard as it looks. you can slice your onions and mince your garlic while the tofu is draining to save time.

heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. add tofu and cook, turning once, until golden-brown, maybe 10 minutes. remove from pan to a plate then reduce heat to medium. add remaining tablespoon oil, onion, and curry powder. season generously with salt and pepper. cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. add garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

reduce heat to medium-low. add coconut milk and 1/2 cup water; bring to a gentle simmer. return tofu to skillet. add green beans and tomatoes, cover, and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. serve over rice if desired. (true story: i always desire the rice.)

sausage and kale stew.
soup is kind of depressing to me. like if i order a cheeseburger at a restaurant and my companion across the table orders a bowl of soup for dinner it’s like, “bro…? are you sick or something? should we leave? why aren’t you getting any goddamned food!?” and then you gotta sit there and watch that motherfucker eat SOUP, one of the least appealing to foods to watch being consumed. insult to injury: pretending that that gross, wet slurping isn’t killing you a little bit on the inside. especially since most soups taste like the flu. but at home you can make stew, which is the perfect remedy to both bullshit ass weather and the gaping hole of starvation left in your gut when you try to pass off soup as a real goddamned meal.

you need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 12-ounce package fully cooked chicken sausage links, sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 box of low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bunch kale leaves, torn into 2-inch pieces
kosher salt and black pepper

here’s what you do with it:
heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. add the sausage and cook, stirring once, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. stir in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. try not to eat handfuls of sausage directly from the pot.

add the beans, broth, and tomatoes (including the liquid) and bring to a boil. then lower the heat and add the kale and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. simmer, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. THEN IT’S DONE. super quick, right? i like to eat mine in a bowl the size of a cauldron with a heap of shaved parmesan on top, but i am a human with minimal self-control. seriously, every time i make this i can barely get it all cooked before i start “tasting” the hell out of it. eat yours how you see fit. i wouldn’t judge you if you just got in bed with the pot.

!!!BONUS!!!
i get rul tired of people talking to me about water. snoozapalooza. it’s boring and it tastes like crushed dreams, but bitches is always trying to tell me about their supple, luminous skin and hydrated muscles and healthy kidneys. YAWN. but i will drink it if there’s vegetables and fancy grass floating in the shit. bottle of evian? no thank you. glass of filthy tap water with a withered sprig of mint and half of a decrepit old lime? JESUS GOD MORE PLEASE. every time i take a sip of water my dry ass hair whispers “thank you” while praying for rain, yet i only drink it because michelle obama told me to. and even then there better be some dandelions floating in it.

here are some delicious flavor combinations you can try, according to people who get paid to think about that kind of thing:
strawberry, basil, and lemon.
blackberry and sage.
pineapple orange and mint.
grapefruit and rosemary.
pear and ginger.

i am on day three of the 96oz of water a day challenge. i cannot stop peeing. my skin looks the goddamned same.

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