If adulting as a freelancer in your 20s is regularly cooking your own meals, then adulting as a consultant in your 30s is keeping the kitchen clean right after cooking. I’m still in the “everything needs to soak” phase for cleaning, but I’ve come a long way when it comes to cooking. It’s possibly the only thing in my adulting portfolio.
There’s an enduring stereotype about lesbians being foodies, doing some great home cooking, and hosting potluck parties. And I do have friends who fulfill these stereotypes. Lucky for me, they invite me into their homes for food.
I’m pretty shy about sharing my cooking and feeding people, I mostly only feed my housemates. I think it’s because I wing it in the kitchen. I don’t know any recipes, but I have enough of a grasp on basics to rustle up something, and I do groceries frequently enough. However, I’m terrible at following recipes, frequently forget to season food, and nearly never taste what I’m cooking. Still, by and large, the food turns out okay…
Sometimes I wonder if the path to adulting is as different as it looks to me for my more “corporate, heterosexual, starting a family” type of friend. I feel they have to stabilise a lot sooner, whereas it’s not unusual for me to be eating fried instant noodles for supper with friends. I didn’t really notice this in my 20s, but now, as more straight friends my age conform in that particular way, I’m slowly edging to being older than most of the kids smoking shishas at the mamak past midnight. Heck, even my friends who used to have shisha stalls can no longer keep up with the hours that used to come naturally. Then again, the friends I hang out with these days are usually older, so maybe I should shut it with the age thing. I like looking at other people in mamaks and eavesdropping, I guess as I get used to getting older I notice it more.
Anyway, since I’m procrastinating from a pretty important work thing: this is a recipe for my simple 15-minute, 3-part pasta dinner tonight (5mins prep, 10mins cook).
Cook linguine in a shallow pan of water, with salt and oil. If you don’t like linguine, find any other pasta that comes in strands.
In a separate pan, fry some optional toppings for your pasta. In my case:
Fry some tempeh in coconut oil. Set aside.
Fry some sliced mushrooms (I used shitake), lightly seasoned. Set aside.
Fry lil bits of cottage cheese, just enough to brown the sides. Set aside.
(The pan I use is tiny, feel free to combine the frying in a larger pan, or change the toppings.)
Am I supposed to call this dressing? Sauce? Anyway. The oil is cooked last, after the toppings, because you want it to finish cooking about the same time as your pasta.
Heat up some olive oil, infuse with some herbs you like (mine had a shake of dried rosemary and thyme), generous amount of diced garlic, and plenty of freshly-ground black and white pepper. Think of this as a great time to get rid of garlic and onions and whatever in the pantry, if need be.
Optional: a dab of butter (use less oil if you’re adding butter). I also added some puréed shallots and chillies I had on the side (pantry clearing, yay!). Once everything gets nice and toasted in the oil, the garlic is browned, the herbs are fragrant, then shave in some Parmesan cheese. Get the cheese all melted.
Kinda carelessly/inefficiently drain the cooked pasta, and toss in the oil. With about 1 spoonful of the pasta water in the dressing, everything should be gooey and cling to the pasta. Put the toppings where they belong. Figure it out, it’s not rocket science.
This is a pantry-cleaning pasta, which is why there is no ingredient list. These are the staples I generally have and need to make a pasta olio with some tweaks, and whatever is available for the toppings. Possibly the only thing I have to watch out for is not having Parmesan cheese, but I usually keep a block around. Likewise garlic and herbs and pasta.
You can subtract or add as you please, but simple is good. Sometimes I throw in some edamame if I feel guilty about the lack of greens. This dish doesn’t really need the additional flavour of meat, in fact I find it gets in the way. Usually I forget to salt it, so it’s not in the recipe. It’s a good habit for me to salt the pasta when it’s boiling, I find it quite effective in flavouring the pasta. Parmesan cheese kinda takes care of the rest of it. I don’t mind that there isn’t anything to cut through the richness, if I do, I’ll usually to add heat via chillies (and rarely, a lil bit of lime).
First time even blogging about cooking where it’s not a disaster story. No cooking apparatuses melted, nothing burned, I’m not poisoned so far, I will totally, really, probably wash the dishes like close to right now. I’m an adult!