consuelacooks

cooking, poetry, and unapologetic intense moments in a life

Category: vegan

Deer Tick in the Morning

So the lovely New England beats on. 

  • Birthday Parties
  • Lots of Cooking
  • Checking the Crazy card for a few days
  • A lovely day off
  • An audition (surprise, Carmen!)
  • Two days until move in

We will go in reverse order:

The Day off: Around these parts at Shakespeare & Company (http://www.shakespeare.org/)  we have what is called THE day off. We call it THE day off because largely there is only one of them in any seven day cycle for contract employees. Contract employees are those who do not have a managerial, administrative or director (of) position. This means all of the education artists, production designers and craftspeople, the Food Services staff, the ticketing staff, the interns, the training faculty, and basically anyone else who isn’t maintenance, housekeeping or in a place we call the Miller Building. The Miller building is where the big stuff happens- Artistic decisions  financial decisions, marketing decisions,communication decisions, training and education decisions- all decisions- all important stuff. It’s a bee hive of trying to make art happen 11 months out of the year in the Berkshires. It’s a modern think tank. It’s a slightly dilapidated and beautiful shell of a building that holds the future of more than just the people we are, but also all of the future thousands of young artists and actors we will teach, the shows we will produce, the festivals we will satellite, the money we will raise in order to keep making art in this time, the lives we will continue to try to change, and the hearts we will continue to move.

So. With that being said, It is one day off. In that day I got a lot done. Sleeping an uncommonly long 10 hours (after making a fun old hip hop mix on Spotify the night before), spending three hours talking-fitting a sweater- pulling things for the house with a good friend, doing financial things, grocery shopping, starting laundry and then betting a message that (Surprise!!!!) I have an AUDITION in 20 minutes, finding a pair of nice pants in the laundry, throwing them on, zooming to the company- auditioning (doing Come civil night (Juliet)), doing pretty well and feeling ok about it (I didn’t have time to get too nervous), starting laundry, driving wayward not-warmly-dressed workshop participants home from Laundromat  coming back to said laundry establishment, talking to a lovely guy named Tim for a bit, retrieving my red-headed buddy, zooming to the best pizza place in the world (http://www.babalouiespizza.com/), heading to a fun little wonderful place that seems to be home for us so often (http://www.yelp.com/biz/rumpys-tavern-at-the-village-inn-lenox) and then checking on a friend’s house, getting stuck on the sheet of ice driveway, getting pushed all of the way out, then sleeping by midnight. I would have loved one of those lay-about-all-day-and -just-rest days, but I honestly think I would get bored. Maybe I’ll grow into that some day. For now I have had two people whom I love call me a ‘Funny Creature’ in two day’s time. I’ll take that.

Preparing to pull away from the Berkshires– drive to my Raleigh, spend some stress-free time with lovely Caitlin, see folks who mean the world to me, see some bands, get my stuff… yada, yada, yada. Perhaps squander some Bojangles sweet tea. I love me some sweet tea. And if you know sweet tea, you know it doesn’t get sweeter than Bojangles. An offensively named establishment that does teeth-rotting tea right.

Checking the crazy card: I am pretty sure some seasonal depression has kicked in. This means a couple of things. Drink less, sleep more, avoid new relationships, avoid heartbreak, nuture, nuture, nuture, and then if all of that doesn’t work- go to the doctor and get some assistance (a means to move the boulder away). A wonderful friend left me prayer beads on my pillow last night. Maybe I’ll resume praying. It can never hurt. So- I’ve been feeling that lack of clarity- that cloud- as it begins. That persistent lack of laughter (And I can laugh, I tell you), the excessive sleeping, the lack of patience, the getting-the-feelings-hurt-more-often thing, the eating-less thing. Pretty textbook. It’s not terrible yet. It can get pretty terrible. I think it’s been happening since late November. So–ACTION NOW! Noone likes a sad bastard.

A birthday party! Let me be clear. Meeting new people is painful for me. I live on nerves at parties. But I did ok! Just like the audition I didn’t have time to prepare, so I just went as I was and celebrated the Great Travis Daly. I adore him, so it was easy. He’s such a happy guy and does so much for the Berkshires and kids. So, there was a party. He turned 30, so I made terrible jokes about his back going out every time he bent over. I have very seldom, if ever seen him frown. Inspirational, he is. Wonderful. I really like working for him.

Food. Yes. Pretty in Pink soup, Chicken and Dumplings, Parsnips, Squishy on the Inside Soup and more. For now I will just talk about these. Let me be straight. I don’t like cooking complex carbs for people who have extreme issues with appearance, health, and sustainability in a 14 hour workday. They will crash two hours after the meal, get hungry hours before dinner, overeat at Dinner, crash during the evening in a horrible food coma and not enjoy the work. So- knowing they had an easy night on Elizabethan World Picture Day- I WENT FOR IT with Caitlin. I made a carby feast. It was the night before THE day off.

Chicken and Dumplings from scratch. We made those Chicken and Dumplings our bitch. And they are easier than you think. Time consuming, but easy. Get some Bisquick ready, essentially cut Chicken into large chunks, make a yummy broth with sauteed carrots, celery, and onion- add CUMIN, salt. pepper, Chipoltle, GARLIC, pepper, add a crap ton of veggie stock, add chicken, simmer for 12 minutes, drop each teaspoon of dumpling batter into simmering concoction, let simmer for another 15 or so (BEWARE! Dumplings will BLOW UP like the Stay-Puft marshmallow man! Use a BIG pot!) What you will have is a yummy gooey feast for any potential Southerner. We heard screams of joy from the food line. ALSO- Caitlin made Gingerbread from scratch. This is no joke. It took forever, but Holy God was it good. She also whipped cream to go on top. Yes, she is single. You are welcome.

Pretty in Pink Soup– Roasted Beets, Parsnips, Rosemary, Chipoltle, Garlic, Salt, Brown Sugar, Cloves, Nutmeg, Pepper, throw it in the Cuisinart, and it is FUCHSIA! And Yummy.

Parsnips! Chop 25 pounds of them up! Put them in two hotel pans! Add a concoction of Honey, Maple Syrup, Cranberry Juice, Orange Juice, Basil, Salt and Garlic. Roast for 50 minutes. Voila! Yum!

AND THE DRUM BEATS ON. Life has happened, death has happened, I will continue to try to love in earnest, check the crazy card, pile high the joy and come to the table with all of those whom I love.

Not a whit, we defy augury. There is special providence in
the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to
come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come—the
readiness is all. Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows what is’t
to leave betimes, let be.

-Hamlet

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And flowers in her hair…

” I think I need to say to you that your aggressive nature when it comes to Ginger is powerful.”

-workshop participant.

I know there are a lot of extraordinary people out there who don’t choose to dumb things down or be careful with truths. I’d like to think the folks I surround myself with these days and in days past don’t care for that much either. We would all rather feel or taste or live extremely. Every kitchen I’ve cooked in or stage I’ve been on or actors I’ve directed or love affair I’ve entrenched myself in has changed me. It seems as if things won’t change much in that arena. Not at all.

Recent culinary efforts:

Fire soup: Roasted red peppers stuffed with garlic cloves and basil, drenched in lemon. Wait until they are black. Throw in simmer pot with five large diced onions and a ton of chipoltle. Throw in the Cuisinart. Serve (preferably) with grated asiago. By the way- Asiago spellchecks as Iago. That makes me happy.

Spicy Cilantro, Tomato and Mozzarella Quesadilla with Spicy Bean dip. Bean dip- Black beans, Garlic, Cilantro (fresh), Basil, Cumin, Chiopoltle powder. Black Pepper. Salt.

Easy Pico- Diced Onions, Diced Tomatoes, Cilantro (Fresh), Salt, Pepper, a bit of Apple Cider Vinegar, Cumin, Parsley, Chipoltle, Jalapenos (If you are not deathly allergic to them as I am)

Image

Loch Ness Pork Loin: Two whole pork loins, trim the fat off and leave a little and then put fatty side down. Cut a divet in the middle of each about an inch. Cuisinart a Ton of Cilantro, Basil, Thyme, Maple Syrup, Olive Oil, Salt, Cumin and Lime and then pour first into the divet and then a generous coating on the rest. Stick a garlic clove in every 2 inches (Into the divet), sprinkle with bacon bits. 450 for 10 minutes, then 350 for 40. Let rest (It will be rare) keep in an oven at 250 for 20 minutes. It will be prefect. Moist and yummy.

I have to mention Caitlin’s Cilantro and Cheddar biscuits that adorned and fulfilled the Mexican meal and also her Cinnamon cheesecake which literally made me cry. Real tears. Maybe it was the push to get a Mexican feast of Tacos, Quesadillas, 2 Soups, Mex Veggies, Biscuits, and cheesecake (all from scratch mind you) ready for 80, but I don’t think so. I think it was the cheesecake.

I’m working on a Cassius speech for auditions. And also Juliet. Neither of them are careful with words. I’m pretty happy about that. I am trying to

a. Figure out what I want to do this summer

b. Move into a new apartment

c. Fall out of love

d. Cook for 80 in a spontaneous and beautiful understanding way

e. get ready for Sweeny Todd

f. Get ready to see twenty old friends who have known me forever and have seen me at my worst for the first time in two years

g. Go on a well deserved road trip with a cool girl

h. Take care of my body and try and get over this damn flu

i. Not fall into my pattern of believing I’m not enough.

j. still be in love with the world

That about sums it up.

I’m a lucky girl.

I love you.

Good Night.

Grace in her heart

Recap of days. 16 days until road trip. 8 days until apartment move in. 3 days until the flu is over. One more day of getting over things or not. One day more I get to spend with people I love. 14 more days of the workshop. 18 more seconds before I actually begin writing this blobbloahhg.Image

Flu, flu, ping pong, Seas of laundry. Pork loins. Pictures. Laughing. Missing. Strawberries. Getting accosted by workshop participants a bit. Loving. and loving. getting a sweater knitted for me. having hard talks. Missing people. Talking to far away friends. Laughing. Making epic mistakes. Fixing them. Eating Caravaggio cheese. Watching half a movie and then chucking the movie for a good conversation. Having pizza. Coughing a lot. Wondering if I’m doing the right thing. Knowing I am. Hating it. Really liking and disliking myself simultaneously. Wondering where all of the time went. Feeling 14. Flirting. Getting caught flirting. Getting extraordinary news that made me feel really valued. Getting passed over. Cooking my brains out and feeling really good about it. Having incredible girls around me. Spending time with people who make me want to be a better person. Have peace in my heart for the first time in two months. Missing the past two months. Loving.

Pork loin, awesome style– Two huge pork loins, create paste of fresh basil, cilantro, honey, lime and cumin, stuff with garlic cloves. add cinnamon, crank to 450 for 10 minutes to seal paste, cook at 350 for 45. Then salivate.

Orange chicken– cut that poultry up, throw some fresh thyme and oranges and cranberry juice with some currants into a cuis with some olive oil and a double shot of cayenne. slather, add fresh oranges to the top. 350 for a bit. yum.

Fresh roasted beets with shredded carrots, ginger, and radishes with garlic. Yum. Roast for a long time. Don’t get disheartened when it all turns purple. That’s the charm of beets, I guess.

Sitting under the yum yum tree soup (Named by Steffan the workshop participant)- Sweet potatoes with garlic, apples, oranges and ginger. Cook for 2 hours at a simmer. Add heavy cream, another 30 minutes, add butter, another 15. Cinnamon  nutmeg, clove, salt and a little pepper. Puree. add dry paprika. Salivate.

Buddha called, he found Nirvana soup. (Also named by Steffan) – Use a ton of Butternut squash and use above recipe. Better with Butternut. Not quite so sweet and better consistency. Make sure the ginger is fresh. And make sure you have enough for everyone. They get snarky if you don’t.

Gluten free Baby it’s cold outside soup– Quinoa, Sweet ground sausage, Diced tomatoes, Spinach, a few sweet potatoes, A little butter, fresh basil at the last moment. If gluten is not an issue this is really good with large barley. But must be fresh.

I will think of more of these later. Also the broccoli slaw recipe should go up soon. We did a birthday the other night for one of the lovely participants and she cried. It was beautiful Caitlin outdid herself with an earl grey frosting on a vanilla cake and I made roses out of the rinds of oranges and lemons. It was pretty special.

I make the wrong folks priorities sometimes. I should just focus on what is in front of me, i imagine. I have a lot to love that gives back always. It was very foggy today and I thought of the idea of home.

Home is people for me. Home is touch and taste and eyes. I am home.Image

BS

Let’s talk about Brussel Sprouts.

They are one of my favorite veggies, if not my absolute. Why do people cringe at the very thought of them?

Because our youthful and naive families believed that the only way to cook them was to boil them. AWFUL TRUTH.

The Brussel sprout is a lot like the sign of Cancer. It wears its heart on it’s sleeve. It doesn’t want to fool around with going back to the water. It’s loving and full and beautiful. It doesn’t want conflict. It’s a lover. Not a fighter.

When I make these beauties I chop them in half, throw some garlic and olive oil on them, salt and pepper them and saute them right until they get a little crispy, throw a dash of balsamic on them and remove from heat. Eat them immediately so’s ya get a little bit of the crunch   and sit back and taste the vegan earth (or whatever). For those who dare: throw bacon in with that shit. That’s the real yum. For those a little more daring? Throw a bit of cream cheese in after the balsamic WITH the bacon and you will have what the French call la petite mort.

And never shall have length of life enough
To rain upon remembrance with mine eyes
that it may grow and sprout as high as Heaven
-Henry Iv, Part II
la petite mort

la petite mort

Icarus had it made.

I work in a crazy wonderful place

For today there was a wide variety of lovely foods. Also laughing. There was a lot of laughing. The Intensive participants are on their 11th day of training and the days just seem to get longer and longer. There are a certain number of them you have to love a little. Endearing and beautiful. Always grateful. Even when sad. I adore this group. I sure do.

Cooking for 80 is no slouch. In particular when everything needs to be fresh, Vegetarian, Vegan, Kosher, or Gluten Free. We don’t succeed at all of these, but we sure try. It’s a very fun challenge.

LUNCH!

Soups-

Vegan Spinach and Potato, Lemon Basil Chicken with Tomato

Main Fare

Chef Ron’s Mac-n-Cheese

Basil Balsamic Orange Chicken

Roasted Beets with Carrots, Radishes and Ginger

Cilantro Pesto Squash and Zucchini

3 Bean Balsamic and Orange Spinach Salad

DINNER

Chef Ron’s Meatloaf

Garlic Balsamic Sauteed Brussel Sprouts

Vegan Mashed Potatoes (Cait’s beautiful creation)

Salads: 3 Bean Balsamic and Orange Spinach, Brussel Sprout Shred with Strawberries, Apples and Honey Cream dressing, Tangy Chicken with Oranges and Strawberries

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I was able to avoid those down times where I get very blue today by taking a wonderful trip out to Mount Everett High to recruit goobers for Sweeny Todd’s Tech team. It was really good to see them all again. I adore the school. And the kids. It was like a hug. Also the pace of the kitch today did not lend itself to being thoughtful. Mindful, yes. But not thoughtful.

I spoke to Pop today and his spirits are stellar. I miss him.

I talked to Raleigh today and I cannot wait to fold it in my arms for 3 days. And I can’t wait to show it off to Caitlin. I am replacing one thing with another, and I realize it every step of the way… But isn’t that what humans do? They make themselves feel better? I am not fond of misery. I like fun. I like love. I like loving. And above all, I am not angry. Not about the past two months. I am elated, and so, so thankful.

It was the best time I’ve had since I came back to life. And with the best of people. And now I’m ready to take it forward and give it away.

I’ve been doing this photo thing this month. The subject is the bizarre and the beautiful. I find some knockout beautiful thing in every photo I post. I get comments like, “Creepy…” and “GROSS!”, but I don’t see it that way.

My friend Andrew once said to me as I looked wistful and opened my mouth to speak, ” You’re going to say something about the beauty of the world or humanity or raw sexuality now, aren’t you?” I think it was a joke.

But I was.

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