A recipe for people who can’t follow directions.

I had to make a dish for a staff potluck, and one of my coworkers is vegetarian so I decided to look for something new to try. Because it felt wrong to make something with loads of meat in and then be like “SORRY NONE FOR YOU.”

It would also be decidedly less funny the next time she was handing out paychecks and was like “SORRY NONE FOR YOU.”

Although to be fair, it would probably be hilarious for everyone else.

I’m getting off-topic.

Anyhow, everyone loved it and demanded the recipe so I promised I’d share. Then I was asked if I’d followed the recipe exactly, and of course I did because being exact is very, very important to me of course I didn’t, so I also promised to add notes with my variations.

And the notes turned out to be funny, so I’m sharing the whole thing with you too.

Here’s a photo I took to send to my sisters because when I make things I sometimes like to take photos of it in order to pretend that I have my life together. I call it The Instagram Illusion:

It’s actually delicious.

Vegan West African Peanut Soup

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • If it isn’t obvious, my notes are in italics.
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: African

 

Ingredients

  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped (I used a super large one cause that’s what I had.)
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger (I used pre-minced ginger cause ain’t nobody got time for that shit. Have you ever actually tried to grate ginger? It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (Again, I used a pre-mined garlic. There was a time I really enjoyed mincing my own garlic but those days are behind me now. I guessed at how many tablespoons would equate to 4 cloves then doubled it cause I like garlic. But then I had to use less because I ran out. The moral of the story is no one really knows how much garlic I used in the making of this soup.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I used a pink Himalayan salt here, and cause it’s in a grinder I just ground out a little pile that looked like it might be a teaspoon. You might notice my cooking style is very relaxed. The only necessity is music played at a high decibel level. It relaxes the vegetables before they’re cooked, resulting in a sweeter taste. At least, that’s what I yell over the music when my roommate asks me to turn it down.)
  • 1 bunch collard greens (or kale), ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch strips (I used kale. I did remove the ribs, but I didn’t ‘1-inch strip’ it. I just chopped it up. The 1-inch thing felt a little demanding and ain’t NO recipe gonna tell me what to do.)
  • ¾ cup unsalted peanut butter (chunky or smooth) (I went smooth, cause that’s the only peanut butter that makes sense. Also, I used a little more – see why below – so… like… 4 giant heaping spoonfuls. Whatever amount that is.)
  • ½ cup tomato paste* (I picked up little cans of compliments tomato paste. ½ a cup 118ml and my little can was 152ml and there’s totally no way I was save a tiny little bit of this tiny little can so it all went in. I just added more peanut butter to balance it out).
  • Hot sauce, like sriracha (AKA rooster sauce) (three generous swirls, added to the pot in ½ inch concentric circles because I’m not a monster.)
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish (I have no idea how much I used – garnishes literally do no matter. I used a mortar pestle to crush. Actually, more accurately, I WOULD HAVE used my mortar pestle except I can’t find it in my moving boxes at the moment so I just used a shot glass and bowl to crush the peanuts, realizing as I did so how much I was ripped off when I bought my mortar pestle. But this recipe is not the right place for a cultural commentary on consumerism through the lens of mortar pestles, so I’ll leave that for another day. You’re welcome.)

Instructions

  1. In a medium Dutch oven or stock pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes. (I just used a large pot, cause who actually has a Dutch oven? No one living on a not-for-profit salary, that’s who.)
  2. In a medium-sized, heat-safe mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and tomato paste, then transfer 1 to 2 cups of the hot stock to the bowl. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, then pour the peanut mixture back into the soup and mix well. Stir in the collard greens (or kale) and season the soup with hot sauce. (I just kept adding swirls and tasting until I liked it. I wanted it to have a little heat but not so much it would cause anyone to throw up, like last soup* I made, should they try it.)
  3. Simmer for about 15 more minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often. Serve over cooked brown rice if you’d like, and top with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts. (I used Basmati rice, cause no other rice matters. Also, I probably simmered for closer to 20 minutes as I thought the kale could use some more softening up.)

Notes

  • Adapted from Cookie and Kate as well as Local Bounty: Vegan Seasonal Recipes by Devra Gartenstein.
  • *The cookbook author suggested that 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes is a suitable substitution for the tomato paste, but commenters report that the crushed tomatoes produce a runny soup (unlike the thick soup shown here). I highly recommend using tomato paste if you can find it. I also recommend Muir Glen‘s organic tomato products—they come in BPA-free cans and seem to be readily available.
  • Most African peanut soup recipes include sweet potatoes. I suppose you could toss in a chopped sweet potato when you bring the stock to a boil, but I liked the soup as is.

 

*The last soup I made really did make someone throw up, but they have terrible indigestion but love spicy stuff and the soup was really spicy. I’d like to point out in my defense, that they said it was delicious on the way down. I didn’t ask how it was on the way back up.

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Ermergerd!

I found a new place! Yay for not being homeless!

Also, it’s gorgeous. Totes gorge, if you will. It’s actually a little too fancy for me. I haven’t figured out how to operate the dishwasher. But honestly? I think that’s the dishwasher’s fault and not mine. When I press buttons the dishwasher refuses to respond in any way that makes sense.

I’m naming the dishwasher Scrooge cause it’s so difficult to work with.

In other moving news, I can finally (almost) fit all books onto one giant bookshelf. IT’S MY NEW FAVOURITE THING. I feel like Belle.Today is also a super exciting day! First – this blog right here was mentioned by CBC. I like that they warned people in advance about my cursing. Fair move, CBC. I feel ya.

The other fun thing happening today is that I have a performance as an introductory storyteller for the internationally award-winning Small Halls festival. It’s crazy, I don’t even know how it happened – but sometimes the universe gives you opportunities and you gotta follow them. I’m excited, and nervous. I’ve been rehearsing HARD, and I think it’s gonna be great. I think when my feet hit that stage, as the great Neil Gaiman and Jenny Lawson say, I’m just going to pretend to be somebody who’s good at it.

I’m IN this!

Wish me luck!

PS – I have helicopter stories, falconry stories, and ‘how Domino’s pretty much saved my life on moving day’ stories coming up for you on the blog roll this summer. Stay tuned!

PPS – If you like this blog, don’t forget to subscribe (you can find that in the sidebar —>) so that I can stalk your inbox keep up with you.

I’ll take that Premium D…

***Bonus post for my other post this week just being me posting about how I can’t post and the posting is f’ked up.***

***I may have just created a blogging black hole. Also, if you followed that, congratulations! You get a sucker.***

***This is that post I was having trouble with, I wanted to add a bunch of Beauty and the Beast GIFS but WordPress won’t let me because they hate me. Or you. Probably you.***

***I’ve since found out that it has something to do with the capabilities of WordPress.org over WordPress.com. I have to import my whole blog over to .org and find hosting and a bunch of other stuff to add GIFS. The moral of the story is no GIFs for you.***

***For now at least. No one knows what the future holds.***

I’ve been pulling some crazy days lately. All my days seem to be 18 hour days, but I’m working on super fun, creative projects so it’s okay.

One of the things I’m doing is launching a Podcast with one of my best friends (I’ll tell you about it soon!) and we actually have an event booked already, which has really put the pressure on our deadlines.

Instead of our weekly meeting last night, we decided to take a break from all the hard work over the last couple of months and go see Beauty and the Beast. It was…

AH-MUH-ZING.

And not just the movie. Or the soundtrack. Which I will be singing for a week.

But the tickets… we sprung for the “Premium D-Box Seats” and could. not. stop. giggling. Because we have the emotional maturity of 12-year-olds. (For those that don’t know, the Premium D seats are the ones that move and shake and shit.)

I didn’t realize the seat could be turned up or down, and for realz, the next time I go I’m going to ‘jack up the intensity of that Premium D’.

THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!!! What?!?!?!

I’m fairly certain at this point they didn’t get named Premium D by accident.

What’s your best Premium D pun?

PS – Oh, and it’s Good Friday. Can anyone tell me what resurrection has to do with Easter Eggs, and why do they come from bunnies? It’s like religion was designed to make you stop asking questions. #zombiejesus

PPS –

 

The most glorious sports you will ever see.

Remember when I posted about this comedy gold? Well..

The man. The legend. The commentary. It’s back!

PS – My favourite part was the stretcher that said “Reserved for Sterling”. I’m dying.

I’m gonna be a millionaire…

Or responsible for the apocalypse.

Let me explain.

So I was at an event and having a lengthy conversation with a person I didn’t actually know. She knew me though. By name. And I am often too polite to ask “Who are you?” so I just pretend my way through the conversation.

Afterwards my friend came up to me and said, “Who was that?”

I don’t know,” I replied. “But she seems nice.”

That’s when we came up with a new invention. It’s like Shazam, an app you launch on your phone that listens to music and then tells you who it’s by, but for faces. You would discreetly launch it and point it at somebody and it would tell you who that person is.

We’re going to call it Whozami.

PS -The apocalypse because dozens of dystopian novels start with this type of software.

PPS – The only drawback is I can’t figure out how to discreetly point it at someone’s face. “Are you taking a picture of me?” “No! Shut up. I mean, just keep talking. Nothing weird happening here. You were talking about Bob from the general store? Can you keep your face still?”

PPPS – This sorta thing might already exist and they’re just not letting us pleebs use it.

PPPPS – The government is ruining my social life.

What’s up, Pinterest?

I’M BACK BITCHES!

Sorry for the extended absence. Life got pretty unsettled, but it’s calmed down. For a hot minute (a couple of days) I was working six jobs trying to make ends meet. SIX. Like some kind of masochistic psychopath. They say there’s no jobs. A job recession. Why?

BECAUSE I HAVE ALL THE JOBS.

Not anymore though! Now I’m just working one, super-awesome job and making a decent living. Also, they have my same twisted sense of humour. More on that later.

So today I got a notification from Pinterest:

WTF Pinterest?

WTF Pinterest?

What? Why?

Usually Pinterest is like:

“We’ve got new boards for you in tattoos.”

Or,

“We’ve got new boards for you in art.”

Which makes sense, cause I’ve pinned a bunch of those things. But my love affair with Pinterest ended and I pretty much stopped using it. So it’s been awhile since I responded.

And now I think I’ve unsettled Pinterest’s confidence, and it’s just taking stabs in the dark. Like:

“We’ve got recommended boards for you in, oh I don’t know, chicken?”

Get your shit together Pinterest. This is embarrassing for all of us.

 

Comment of the Day:

“Pinterest is really bad a working out what I actually want to see. I pinned one or two things to do with writing amid a bunch of art and books and knitting and other pins, and then it flooded me with ALL THE WRITING AND NOTHING ELSE. And they’re all the really negative articles (“10 mistakes writers make right before they get stabbed on the street by readers who hate them so much they’re willing to go to jail for the rest of their lives just to get rid of the writer and then also the writer goes to hell to be tortured for all eternity because the universe unanimously voted that they deserved it and apparently this overrides the writer’s belief that hell isn’t actually a thing”) that give me super writer’s block. And I can’t seem to re-train Pinterest to just show me art and books and weird nerdy knitting patterns and leave the writing alone.”

This is from Silence Killed the Dinosaurs. If you haven’t read that blog yet, you should. It’s hilarious. And awesome. Hilariously awesome. That’s like the highest level of blogging.

 

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It’s a wonder my family still talks to me…

Had the following conversation with my sister:

Running away to Mexico

It’s a wonder my friends and family still talk to me, considering my propensity for wandering far off-topic very quickly in weird and unexpected ways.

They deserve medals.

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Apparently I’m not maternal, pt. 2

Remember when I wrote about that hilarious conversation I had with a seven-year-old in which everybody concluded I’m not maternal?

If you didn’t read that, go read it now because otherwise this won’t make sense at all. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Ready?

I saw that kid the very next day and he said “Come here, I have something to tell you. It’s a secret.”

Then he whispered in my ear, in the creepiest kid voice (that somehow only kids under 10 do really well)

“I’m with the government.”

Touchè, kid, touchè.

That kid is going to grow up to have the greatest sense of humour ever. I like to think when historians look back on it, they’ll give me a little credit.

Me: 1      Kid: 1

PS – I’m working crazy hours right now, but I have some great stuff coming up for you. I can’t tell you more or I’ll give it all away.

An open letter to fortune cookies.

Dear Fortune Cookies,

Last week I got one of those cookies with the generic piece of advice fortune inside.

IMG_8282

The fortune says “It is quality rather than quantity that matters. Do a good job.” Firstly, you can’t tell me what to do, cookie. I do what I want.

Secondly, I would like to say this is not a fortune. A fortune is “You will have much luck in your future.”

Or “You’re going to win the lottery next week. Be careful not to blow it all on a life-size statue of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump dueling to the death. Or tequila shots. You have a 50/50 chance of going broke again.”

Or “Don’t visit Louisiana. You will surely get eaten by alligators.”

My point is, there are a lot of fortune options. ‘Quality over quantity’ is not one of them. It’s a cliche dressed up as wisdom.

Thirdly, the ‘Do a good job’ part of the fortune really bugs me. As if I can’t simply deduce for myself that quality over quantity means ‘do a good job’. It’s condescending. In case you were frantically googling the definitions of quality and quantity, fret not, you have the cliff notes summary at the end to help you out.

Fourthly, sometimes it IS quantity over quality. Ironically, I’d like to point out that you yourself, cookie, are a prime example of this. I believe it’s the entire basis for your creation. I imagine people sitting around a table at your taste-test, and it went something like this:

Jim: “This is worst cookie I’ve ever eaten. It’s as dry as the Sahara. Does anybody have any water? That glass of water is not big enough Judy, did you not just hear me say the Sahara? That’s a desert in case you didn’t know. Get it together Judy.” (Editor’s note: I’m sorry, that Jim is a real asshole. I don’t know what’s up his butt. It’s probably the terrible cookie.)

Ted: “Well, we can send it back to product development, but that’ll be another $10,000.”

Don Draper: “Everybody calm down. It doesn’t matter what the cookie tastes like. People will eat it just because of the tacky piece of paper inside. Let’s move forward.”

Ted: “It’s comprised of 60% cardboard. Are you sure you want to move forward?”

Don Draper: “Will it kill people?”

Ted: “Just their taste buds.”

Don Draper: “I’d call that a success. Somebody light the cigars.”

And you know what? People do eat you. In fact, my mom told me as a child that if I didn’t eat the whole cookie before reading the fortune that it wouldn’t come true and to this day my OCD makes me eat the entire damn cookie first, and if you’re going to make me suffer through that I’d like the fortune inside to the worth the pain.

Sincerely,

Everybody.

Or probably just me.

One of those.

PS – I’d like to get into the fortune-cookie-writing game. I think I may have a knack for it.

PPS – If anyone wins the lottery with the numbers listed at the bottom of the fortune, I want half. This blog post is a contractual obligation to split your winnings with me.

PPPS – We’ll go into the fortune-cookie making business together. We’ll make obscene fortune cookies. They’ll sell like hotcakes.

PPPPS – We’re gonna be supes rich.

PPPPPS – What are hotcakes?

UPDATE: Also, if you do the whole ‘in bed’ bit the fortune reads: “It is quality over quantity that matters. Do a good job in bed.” I can’t disagree with that last part, but is it really quality over quantity? I think the quantity part is pretty important to a healthy sex life too. This is one of those situations where one shouldn’t be forced to choose between quantity and quality.

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Apparently I’m not maternal.

Conversation I had with a 7-year-old:

Him (about a key on my necklace): Is that a real key?

Me: Yes. It opens a very small safe.

Him: What’s in the safe?

Me: A microchip containing government secrets. Mention it to no one, it could put your entire family in danger. You need to pretend you don’t know about it.

Him: I’m gonna tell everyone.

Me: It’s your life.

Him: Can it come off your necklace?

Me: It doesn’t come off.

Him: I’m gonna bring scissors and cut it off the next time I see you.

Me: If you do that, I’ll murder you in your sleep. I don’t love you like your parents do.

His father: You can’t hide maternal instincts like that.

Strangely, these kids actually like me. They think I’m hilarious. They and I have that in common.

IMG_8152

The key in question.