I’m honestly so sick of cooking, and it would be disingenuous to suggest otherwise this week. I’ve got one more week until I have a week off for the first time in a very long time, and the home stretch has a weird vibe. This was one of those weekends where if (in a normal world) I had planned a dinner party, I might have just ordered everyone pizza. Instead of pretending like I’ve got creative revelations for you, I’m going to keep this week relatively short and simple, and talk about some foods and restaurants that help me get through the phases of time where I’m simply burnt out, but still have to feed myself. I feel like I’m not alone in this struggle, so hopefully we can crowdsource some goodness here.
When I’m low on creative energy/ingredients/mental fortitude, there is one dish I always crave. It was from the kids menu at Figs, the only kids menu I can remember looking forward to ordering from. It was basically just orzo, peas, and bechamel. In a moment of desperation to put off grocery shopping one day last year, I decided to try preparing it with what I had on hand. For my lactose-intolerant self that doesn’t ever include a jug of milk from a cow. It somehow has worked every time since.
Orzo with Peas and Low-Lactose Bechamel
Boil some orzo, or any pasta you have, adding some frozen peas for the last few minutes of cooking.
Melt 2 tbsp of butter (I’ve tried this with 1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp olive oil and it works too) in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk. Keep whisking. The flour and fat will combine to form a paste and then that paste will bubble and brown and suddenly you have a roux.
Turn down the heat to low and slowly pour in unsweetened/unflavored oat or almond milk, whisking as you go. Don’t panic if you start adding milk and the roux doesn’t break up. Just whisk, it’ll be fine. Add and whisk until you have a cream sauce texture, then turn off the heat and throw in a handful of shredded sharp cheddar cheese if you have it. Also add a bunch of salt and pepper, as well as the tiniest pinch of nutmeg. Whisk until the cheese melts. Dump in your orzo and peas, mix it all together.
While this is one of my favorites, sometimes even easy comfort foods don’t make me want to break out the pots and pans. As a result, I’ve done a lot of experimenting the past few weeks with food not cooked by me. I put together a list of foods, drinks, and delivery services that have brought me some joy recently. I hope they might bring you some joy as well.
- Revival’s cardamom rose latte makes every winter walk warm and fuzzy.
- Pammy’s eggplant parm is such a treat. The Nature’s Candy cocktail is also a must.
- Life Alive Entree 6-Packs have made lunch time less of a hot mess. My favorites are the Winter Harvest, Autumn Falafel, and the Swami.
- I tried Cook Unity for the first time this week. So far I’ve had the beef bibimbap (very yummy) and the impossible burger (mostly yummy). It is basically really good leftovers but honestly I’ll take it. (Referral link for $50 off, they ship to most of the Northeast)
- Fire pit tables at Bow Market (The Bengali pop up on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at Nibble is superb. Still dreaming about the Paratha Kati Roll filled with Curried Chicken.)
- Mai Tais and sushi in the heated outdoor huts at Gengki Ya
- Homemade Shrimp Delight with Pork dumplings from Wang’s Fast Food (hits on the flavor profile of my frequent dim sum cravings)
- The Urban Sampler from Urban Grape ($50 for 4 bottles of wine, selected with monthly themes)
- Whole Foods Ginger Seltzer is my new obsession. It pains me to spend my grocery money with Amazon but it’s honestly so good.
On my to-do list:
- Fancy croissants from Bondir
- Happy hour delivery specials from Shy Bird
- Outdoor heated tables at Season to Taste
- Takeout cocktails and Miso Sesame Chocolate Chip Cookies from Pagu
Get some takeout from a local restaurant this week and send me a picture. They need your business, and frankly you deserve to have someone cook for you.
Sending much love and snuggly snow day vibes in your direction,
P.S. I’m looking for folks with pets to contribute to an upcoming edition of Supper Club. If you’d like to participate, please let me know and I’ll send you the instructions!