Meals with Friends: Cause your job’s a joke, you’re broke…?

29 Jun

Monday evening. Far, far south of here, at 16th and Guerrero to be exact, I have to imagine that the Chinese man with whom I share a weekly struggle  to communicate through a fairly significant language barrier and the far more maddening craptastic hunk of plastic that calls itself my Blackberry, is bewildered.

No sweet and sour meatless chicken? No basil meatless chicken? Not even cold sesame NOODLE?!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen (all three of you), it’s true. I’ve put my foot down. If on the hands-down worst day of the week I’m going to go so far as to brave poring myself into a sports bra and spandex only to spot the only two people on the planet who make me want to rip out my own hair and feed it to them (another story for another day), then I can absolutely find the strength to dig deep within the depths of my willpower, my freezer and Jenn’s pantry to make a nutritious, delicious meal on which I spend not one additional dollar. Certainly not the customary $27, including two Diet Cokes, plus tip, my roommate and I fork over weekly to Big Lantern.

<Mini-Review Tangent: Big Lantern is by far my favorite Chinese take-out in the city. The sesame cold noodles, though deceptively simple enough to trick you into thinking you can take a trip to Richmond for supplies and make them yourself (oops), are delicious. Just enough tang, with sweet shreds of carrot and crunchy wisps of bitter lettuce nestled into the thick, floury noodles. Spinach dumplings are crunchy without being greasy. The basil meatless chicken is the best entree I’ve had, with spicy red pepper dotting a dense but never syrupy garlic sauce, big green broccoli chunks and crisp green pepper slices. Of course, it comes with enough to stuff your face with half while watching Friends reruns in your bathrobe, then finish the rest for breakfast. I mean, eww, who eats cold Chinese food for breakfast?! Lunch, I meant lunch. I’m lying. It’s absolutely breakfast. Deal with it.>

Anyhoo, the new and improved healthy, affordable options comes about with a little help from my real-live friends, of course. The contents of the fridge she has to clear out by Wednesday in tow, The Lovely Ms. Rosen, Future Esq., arrives, and after a glass of wine – details to follow Wednesday – we set to cooking the most simple, cheapest feast of nutritional value to happily feed six I’ve yet found.

Thanks to the one, the only, Telanor Kousman for your unwavering inspiration. Keep it raw, my friend. Keep it raw.

schexy schweat in schports bra

The Monday Medley

  • 2 avocados (or however many you have)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 lemon (or lime)
  • a few garlic cloves
  • about 1 cup (cooked; about 5 oz. uncooked) of brown rice per person – we used 1 whole package of Trader Joe’s organic brown frozen rice ($3.49), but you could use any kind
  • lotsa spinach (however much you got), chopped
  • some red onion (we used probably 1/6 of a giant weird one. so giant you have to wonder. but no matter. i already ate it.)
  • can of beans (we used giant white beans in tomato sauce from TJ’s. In the past, the Kousman used drained black beans. I’m sure whatever you paid 89 cents for currently collecting dust in your cabinet will do just fine.)
  • optional: cheese, whatever type you’ve got (we used cheddar and gouda. feta would be great.)
  • Salt and pepper, obv. Do I really have to specify this? I think from now on we’ll dispense this step. Thanks.
  1. Make gaucamole. Cut each avocado in half, slice it still in the shell across both ways, and use a spoon to scoop the good stuff into a bowl. Dice a quarter of the tomato and throw that in. Chop up a garlic clove very finely and toss that in too. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze it on top, salt and pepper that ish (avocado loves salt) then mash everything together with a fork and your spoon. Very fun. Eat some with your fingers (I won’t tell) and then stick it in the fridge.
  2. Cook ya rice. Ya know, follow the package. Although I’ll admit – I find brown rice very tough to make well. I’m going to invest in a rice cooker one of those days. In the meantime, I’d highly recommend dumping your frozen TJ’s brown rice into a saucepan (a term I find confusing – it’s the spaghetti pot, yes?) with a sliver or butter or two or some olive oil if you want, putting your burner on medium-low, covering, and stirring every so often. It will probably take about 15 minutes.
  3. Chop yer fixins. Dice up the remaining tomato. Chop up your spinach. Dice a bit of onion and a couple cloves of garlic.
  4. Milk a cow. Just kidding. But if you want to, grate some cheese.
  5. Shake it like a polaroid picture. Top off your wine glass. Dance it out a li’l. When the rice is ready, toss in your tomato, spinach, garlic and onion. Empty out that can of beans. Squeeze the remaining lemon half over the top. Salt and pepper to taste (a tricky topic: more on this to come).
  6. Serve yourself. Make those bastards line up in your kitchen and let them add their own gauc and cheese. Offer them red wine and Bud Light. They’ll love you forever.

NOTES: This could easily be served with a simple salad or tomato soup for an indisputably complete meal. Because we were also playing kitchen clean-out, we served with TJ’s frozen chicken dumplings for those partaking in animal. On the other hand, this meal can easily, and with complete satisfaction, be completely vegan – a rarity for yours truly.

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12 Responses to “Meals with Friends: Cause your job’s a joke, you’re broke…?”

  1. Jennifer Parnell June 29, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

    Very entertaining post! I especially love the part about milking the cow. Perhaps I will make this one day – you should put up photos! And, yes, a rice cooker is a great buy. You should check out CL.

    • More Dough than Dollars June 29, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

      Good call on CL! Do you have one?

      Yes, photos are definitely in order. I only at the moment have my aforementioned crappy bberry camera but I think a better device is another worthy investment!

      And thanks for the post. I would love some Southern Style perspective whenever you like!!

  2. Jennifer G. June 30, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    Love the blog! KMM if you’d like to meet or milk a cow, I have an “in” with the bovines. Kisses!

    • More Dough than Dollars June 30, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

      um i hope you’re serious because I am!! I’m all over the place for the next couple weeks but perhaps an August field trip?! I would love love love that… and of course, am fully expecting the Dairy Diva to guest-post whenever she likes.

      • Unsinkable M June 30, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

        Do you have ANY idea how much I want to see KMM milk a cow? Jen G – if you set it up, I’ll drive and take photos.

  3. Bria June 30, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    Don’t feel bad, I use BBerry photos on my blog from time to time when a case of the lazies hits, or I forget my camera.

    Fun post. I eat like this often, actually. Love to put olives and sundried tomato bits in my brown rice.

    • More Dough than Dollars June 30, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

      Thanks for the encouragement, Bria! You’ve got a great thing going – I’m adding you to my inspiration roll!

      And yes, it’s always shocking to me how actually easy and delicious it is to eat healthfully with just a small mindshift. Sundried tomato is a favorite of mine – I will absolutely try that!

  4. Kirsten July 14, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    Great blog!

    I have made a lot of crappy brown rice – including in a rice cooker – until I learned this method:

    http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Perfect-Brown-Rice

    You basically boil it like pasta in lots of water, drain it, and let it steam in the strainer covered. Fluffy plump rice without being sticky.

    This calls for 30 minutes of boiling, but I don’t usually boil it quite that long … I start tasting around 20 minutes. Anyway, hope you don’t mind a nosy nose bit of advice from someone you don’t even know.

    • More Dough than Dollars July 15, 2010 at 8:28 am #

      Mind it? Relish it!

      Thanks for the advice – life-changing would be a stretch, but certainly meal-changing! I’ve always thought there had to be a better way, and though the TJ’s a lifesaver you can’t get much cheaper than a bag of brown brice. I’m determined to master it – this should definitely help.

      And mostly, thanks for the compliment and for reading, Kristen! Keep the suggestions coming!

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