The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Ringing in the New Year with a Day of Cooking

Today one of my friends mentioned that this blog is feeling less like "The Girl Who Ate Everything" and more like "The Girl Who Ate Nothing." Yes, I fail. I've reached the point of eating so much that I haven't had the time to blog any of it, a dilemma I hope to correct soon. To see all my eats, remember to check out my Flickr page or read my Twitter. You can't escape the Boppy. Ever. Please enjoy this prison I have created for you.

"What did you do for New Year's Eve, Robyn?"

Short answer: A friend and I cooked all day and along with my roommate watched TV all night, unable to turn away from the awkward Dick Clark moments (I know he had a stroke, and it completely sucks, but it's still awkward) and only mildly less awkward cookie-cutter comebacks from Ryan Seacrest.

Here's the longer answer.

the pans, they are being a-flamed Why are brussels sprouts so cute? hot salad
Sweet sweet veg.

Ken accompanied me to my neighborhood Foodtown so we could cook up a New Year's Eve feast of vegetables and more vegetables, making my last meal of 2008 unintentionally vegetarian-friendly and possibly the healthiest meal I had eaten all year. It's not often I can say a meal turned my digestive system into a raging flume of fiber. And by "not often" I mean "pretty much never." There were no simple carbohydrates, just various kinds of non-animal-derived substances, aside from the honey because we just had to include bee exploitation.

chickpeas and chickpea skins

We started by de-skinning a can of chickpeas. The process was rather calming: pick up chickpea between thumb and index finger, gently squeeze to pop the naked-er chickpea out of its slimy, semi-translucent skin. Repeat 500 times.

mashing chickpeas
MASH, mash like never before.

Ken mashed the chickpeas with honey to form...a honey chickpea mash, later to be mashed with sautéed garlic. This mash would later be turned into chickpea patties. You will see.

I chopped a lot of garlic.
Garlic, so much garlic.

I minced a buttload of garlic cloves, so much that I swear I can still smell it in my fingers a week later. Phantom garlic smells just won't leave me the fuck alone. My body is probably enveloped in a subcutaneous layer of garlic.

But it's worth it because having garlic in everything makes everything taste awesome. And we did put it in nearly everything.

collard greens, leaves and stems collard greens and garlic
Greens! Chlorophyll!

Like collard greens. I like hearty, leafy greens, although the chopped stems may have tasted even better. I forgot how Ken cooked the stems. The leaves were probably just cooked with oil and balsamic vinegar, which, like the garlic, was used in just about everything we cooked.

A huge ass carrot huge ass carrots and balsamic vinegar
Huge ass carrots.

Huge ass mutant carrots, specifically procured from a bodega-like market and not the fancy Foodtown, were diagonally sliced at a shallow angle to make the original carrot look even more unnaturally huge. Lots of balsamic vinegar went into these babies. The final result was less tender and more carroty than what Ken was going for. TASTED GOOD TO ME!!

shrooms, marinating shrooms!

Sliced portobello mushrooms were marinated can probably figure it out. And then cooked can probably figure it out. The resulting shroom matter was pleasantly sweet and tart with a nice substantial meaty texture.

Why are brussels sprouts so cute?
Oh, little blobs of cute.

And, oh man, oh man, there were Brussels sprouts. If you don't like Brussels sprouts, you probably just haven't eaten a good version yet. Why would anyone object to bite sized (or two-bite sized) globs of mildly sweet, densely cronchy vegetable matter? It's good for you! And even better when cooked with garlic and balsamic vinegar.

asparagus is ready for broiling broiled asparagus

Aside from during the cooking classes I took at NYU, I've never used the broiler in an oven before. And then I made the glorious discovery (and by that I mean, "Ken did it") that if you stick a layer of asparagus spears (seasoned with salt, pepper, and GARLIC) just inches (or was it centimeters?) beneath the broiler, you end up with "buttery-soft inside, slightly crunchy outside" sticks of awesome. I'll have to use my broiler more often. Also, I like seeing the parallel line of blue flames shoot out.

chickea patties with honey HAHAHA OH SWEET JESUS
Uh, ok.

The creation of the honey chickpea patties was almost completely improvised. I spread the patties into malformed circles, plopped on my thick raw honey to the best of my ability, and popped it in the oven under the broiler while hoping for the best. Worry first set in when the top layers of honey turned into aggressively bubbling vats of viscous goo, but in the end it turned out fine. Just...a bit more spread out than we predicted. The power of the flames caused the six patties to conjoined into a sextuple-blob mass and turned the pale yellow to a darker yellow brown with flecks of carbon around the edges.

Despite all the honey I dumped on top, the patties tasted only a touch sweet. We weren't won over by the first loose, crumbly bites, but the more we ate, the more we liked it. It was...pleasant: a little chewy, a little crunchy. Would've made a nice semi-crunchy base or topping for something, but we couldn't figure out what.

tomato butts. tasty tomatoes
Haha, they look like butts. Well, the first picture. Um.

And then there were cherry tomato butts. Yeah, we're not supposed to eat tomatoes in the winter...whatever. Ken plopped the balsamic vinegar-doused tomatoes cut side-down to make them char-y, resulting in soft half-spheres that exploded with hot tomato juice and goo with every bite.

hot salad
Hot salad, also known as, "lots of vegetables in a bowl."

We mixed a bunch of the vegetables together to make hot salads. Better than cold salads? More satisfying, at least. Actually, a mix of cold and hot could br nice, maybe add in sprouts and avocado, two things that I picked for no other reason besides that I love them a lot.

Although our marathon Day of Cooking and Non-Stop Snacking on Vegetables was fun and resulted in way more food than we could eat in one sitting, or two, the unavoidable downside was having to clean a buttload of dishes...and wipe down the stove...and the counter tops...and mop the floor. Alas, the non-fun parts of cooking. If I cooked every other day, they would definitely outweigh the fun parts of cooking for me. But when someone else is suffering with you and you don't have any work to do, it's rather fun. Perhaps I now have a new New Year's Eve tradition.

Related (previous New Year's celebrations):

Charlottesville, Day 5: Happy New Year, Vietnamese Dinner Explosion, and Back to Jersey
A belly full of Virginia love


Multiple locations, of course, but here's the closest one to me in Bed-Stuy:
420 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11216


jesi / January 8, 2009 2:34 AM

>>"I've reached the point of eating so much that I haven't had the time to blog any of it, a dilemma I hope to correct soon."
doesnt sound like a terrible problem to have... for you. its bad for the rest of us, who have to live without food porn of pork fat and such.
yay post :)

Mahar / January 8, 2009 2:36 AM

Robyn! New Year fun!

I like roasted tomatoes with melted cheese on top. Just had to say it.

Julie / January 8, 2009 10:06 AM

I had to skin the canned garbanzo beans when I was a kid, and I agree, it was hypnotic. Now, I usually just dump the whole bean into whatever I'm using the beans for (hummus!). My NYE was very not vegetarian, with carne asada chimichangas the night before and salmon with collard greens and black-eyed peas braised with ham hocks the day after.

Also, I finally tried Korean tofu soup last night. Oh. My. Yum. All these posts, you've been so, so, so very right.

Molly / January 8, 2009 1:02 PM

oooh i want all those vegetables NOW! i wish i had taken advantage of my time off and taken a whole day to cook veggies. i'll have to try that genius asparagus-broiling method.

Rose / January 8, 2009 4:54 PM

I have read that if you wash your hands and touch the metal of your kitchen sink faucet, that is supposed to help the garlic smell dissipate. Myself, I love the smell of garlic, but I can understand that it might be too much after several days of it.

SuperChomp / January 8, 2009 7:44 PM

Those tomatoes look rather good. I'm not usually a fan of tomato, but the crispings are appealing.

The chickpeas might have been good in fatter patties and (carefully) fried in the pan. (and then put in a pitta? Mmmm. Falafelly).

I must say, I do love all the food groups equally. There is joy to be found in the healthy portion of a balanced diet too!

roboppy / January 8, 2009 11:16 PM

Jesi: The reason I eat so much is to write about it! Waah!...okay that's just part of the reason. SUCH A TERRIBLE PROBLEM I HAVE.

Mahar: I haven't had roasted tomatoes with cheese on top! Oooh.

Julie: I'm glad you have discovered the joy of tofu soup. Don't you feel awesomer now? Yes.

Danny: I ATE IT ALL (finished it today)! It's gone. I feel too healthy now. I shall eat some pork.

Rose: After several days, the smell was just freaking me out. I couldn't tell if I was leaking garlic goo out of my pores or something.

SuperChomp: Ah yes, careful frying may have worked. The chickpea patties splodged all over in the baking pan, haha...oops.

Marie / January 8, 2009 11:16 PM

That is one of the healthiest meals I've ever seen that also look super appetizing. I think I am most impressed by the fact that you mopped your floor after cooking, though. I guess I am no one's idea of a domestic goddess! Happy New Year!

roboppy / January 9, 2009 11:02 AM

Marie: The floor had bits of oil and vinegar on gross stuff. Oops. Trust me, I'm no domestic goddess! Ken is more cleanliness-minded than I am.

Jane: If only I had had the Slap Chop. It would've been so much easier to cut!

Su-Lin: Happy new year to you too!

wonders / January 9, 2009 2:34 PM

After I dabble with garlic, I rinse my hand with soap then rub my clean hands all over the faucet -=X Sort of like molesting it lols Seriously though? No more garli smell afterwards.

At least the vampies wont come and get you! -=D

It's almost a vegan meal! I had brussell sprouts for the first time a few weeks ago...I need to try it again to figure out if I truly like it or not. But I do want to try it again..-=D

Lesley / January 9, 2009 3:32 PM

Rubbing your hands on stainless steel gets the garlic smell out immediately. Don't forget to rub it under your nails too.

carolyn / January 9, 2009 4:36 PM

mmm your NYE sounds delicious. the chickpea mashy things are intriguing! maybe a some kind of creamy adornment would have gone well, a dollop of thick plain yogurt with more swirly honey goodness on top? nomnom.

roboppy / January 10, 2009 1:38 AM

wonders and Lesley: "Molest faucet after cutting garlic"...GOT IT!

Carolyn: That's not a bad idea! I LOVE THICK PLAIN YOGURT. With honey.

Mila / January 10, 2009 4:28 AM

I did something similar for NY Eve here, cooked all day, watched tv marathons till NY day (30 rock marathon followed by a grey's anatomy marathon, I feel bloated from all that boobtube viewing); made chocolate chip cookies, and messed up two loaves of no knead bread, ate more cookies while mourning my bad bread skills. Nothing as healthy as your feast, do you guys have a recipe for the chickpea patties?

Foodista / January 10, 2009 5:16 AM

Lots of great food and it sounded like you had a great time making them as well! I wouldn't mind cooking up a storm if made with family and friends :)

louanne / January 10, 2009 11:50 PM

i've never heard of this stainless steel rubbing to get garlic smells out.. must try it sometime.

but lemon works well, and i heard somewhere that if you rub with salt and wash, it'll go away too.

and garlic does come out of your pores, so that's probably what you're smelling :)

roboppy / January 11, 2009 12:38 AM

Mila: I think the chickpea patties were fairly..improvised. Mash a can of chickpeas with some amount of garlic and some amount of honey. ;) But I'll inquire for more specific instructions!

Man, I love making cookies. I should've done that too.

Foodista: Same here; I enjoy cooking if it's with other people. On my own, I'm like, "Pack of ramen and some kale; there's dinner."

Louanne: Thanks for the lemon tip! I think all the garlic has left my pores..finally.

Joanne / January 11, 2009 4:08 AM

aww, it's okay robyn. You can has life (outside of blogging) too. Btw, I landed a job as a food editor in Shanghai (and to think, only 2? 3? years ago I was tremulously offering you phantom muffins!!) and now have my own backlog of food-ing experiences. Alas, I eat out almost every day and am still too inept to create my own blog :(

Kate / January 11, 2009 6:33 PM

Vegetables! Mmm, those vegetables look delicious!!

Hmm...I betcha those chickpea UFO's would work extremely well with some sort of curry over the top. The spicy on top, and then you'd have all sorts of slightly sweet chickpea goodness on the bottom.

Kinda like a casserole or somethin...

roboppy / January 11, 2009 11:05 PM

Chickpea patty instructions:

- Ingredients: hickpeas, garlic, salt, pepper, and honey. All to taste. No broiler (like what we did); pan fry in a well-greased pan or in a little vegetable oil.

Joanne: Sweet jesus you got a..sweet job! Congrats! YAAY! START A BLOOOG, SO I CAN READ IT!!! Pwease?

Kate: That's not a bad idea. Although i am a big fan of eating my curry with rice. Or I can put rice..on top of the well. I LOVE RICE.

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