Dating and Food

katie cooking

I’ve seen it all. My friends always joke that I need to start a journal of all the interesting males I’ve encountered during my 11-year dating career. I wish that I started one years ago because I tend to press the delete button on anything that causes me grief. It’s a shame because I’m sure there are a lot of funny stories and writing material that I’ve put in a mental vault. It’s been a series of ups and downs, laughs and strange moments, and most importantly- lessons learned. You might be wondering why I’m talking about failed relationships on a food blog. It sounds funny, but I can very vividly associate food with certain phases in my dating history.

The Disappearing Man

DC is quite possibly the worst city on earth for dating. You see, it tends to be a transient city and when people are here they are usually focused on one thing—getting ahead. You have the stereotypical Hill staffer, The Georgetown frat boy, or the “I’m too busy” type TRIPLE A attorney. Oh and then sometimes you have a wildcard (don’t get me started on that one). I’ve given them all a chance. Success rate? Zero.

So the first recipe I’d like to share is called the Kiss of Death a’la Shrimp Scampi. This recipe alone has caused three DC men to vanish into thin air. The main ingredient is cyanide. Just kidding. In all honesty though, I am the toughest critic of my own recipes and I consider this one to be excellent. It’s the kind of dish that I make for company or when I want to impress someone.  So how could it be that it caused three gents to run away and never speak to me again? Who knows, maybe I had parsley in my teeth. I promise you this recipe is amazing. Just maybe think twice before making it for that special someone.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb linguini ($1.50)
  • 4 tbs butter ($.50)
  • 4 tbs olive oil ($.20)
  • 2 shallots, minced ($.50)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($.25)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined ($7.00)
  • Juice of 1 lemon ($1.00)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 C dry white wine ($2.00)
  • 1/4 C chopped parsley ($.25)

Total: $13.20

Instructions

Bring water to boil and cook linguini. While pasta is cooking, melt 2 tbs of butter and 2 tbs olive oil. Cook shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper-seasoned shrimp and cook until pink. Remove from pan and set aside. Add wine, lemon juice and tbs butter and tbs olive oil. Bring to a boil then simmer 2 minutes. Add shrimp and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add in cooked linguini then serve, with grated parmesan if desired.

Cheese Therapy

Rejection. We’ve all been there and it sucks. Everyone handles it differently and clings to different coping mechanisms- exercising, talking WAY too much about it, sleeping, drinking, and not eating. Well for me, it’s cooking an excess amount of food. For myself. I don’t necessarily cook anything in particular when I have the blues, but I can remember the time I made two trays of Mac and Cheese from scratch for little ‘ol me. I didn’t eat it in one sitting but over the course of seven days. And after those seven days guess what? I was over it! The guy that is. This is comfort food at its finest, ladies.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz box macaroni ($1.50)
  • 4 tbs butter ($.50)
  • 4 tbs flour ($.05)
  • 1 C milk ($1.00)
  • 1 C cream ($1.00)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 C cheddar cheese, shredded ($3.00)
  • 1/2 C breadcrumbs, buttered ($1.00)

Total: $8.05

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook and drain macaroni ; set aside. In a large saucepan melt butter. Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, whisk until well blended. Pour milk and cream in gradually, stirring constantly. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly). Reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly) for 8 minutes. Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts. Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce. Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake 18 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Instructions

Silent Salad

So one time I offered to make dinner for my 3-week boyfriend before we went out to see Jersey Boys in DC. Now, typically when you go to shows you dress up a little. At least that’s what I always thought. I actually really liked this boy so I broke out one of my go-to date dresses and I even made the extra effort to get my hair blown out. Now when this fellow knocks on my door I look in the peep hole and couldn’t believe my left eye. I really wish I had a picture, but let me just give you a mental image: slicked back hair, Wrangler jeans and white sneakers. Now here’s the worst part:  a black MOCK NECK, Long-sleeved, moisture wicking Underarmor turtleneck! Like the kind of shirt football players wear under their jerseys. WTF? Are we like going on a run?

So anyway, I made one of my favorites: Caribbean Cobb Salad but as we sat at the dinner table I didn’t know what to do. Instead of being a nice person and letting the wardrobe choice slide, I said something like “you have something to change into right?” And then I took it a step further and asked if he got dressed in the dark. Apparently this really offended him. Not one word was uttered during the rest of the meal and maybe three or four the rest of the night. Needless to say we did not continue our relationship. Sigh.

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Breasts ($3.50)
  • 1 Tbs Jerk Chicken Seasoning ($.10)
  • 1 Head Bibb Lettuce, chopped ($2.00)
  • 1 Head Romaine Lettuce, chopped ($2.00)
  • 1/2 Cup Pine Nuts ($1.00)
  • 1 Mango – Cut in chunks ($1.00)
  • 1 Avocado – Diced ($2.00)
  • 1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes ($2.00)
  • 1 Can Hearts of Palm – Cut into 1″ pieces ($1.50)
  • 3/4 Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles ($1.50)
  • Citrus Vinaigrette or Balsamic ($.40)

Total: $17.00

Instructions

Grill chicken, combine all ingredients and serve.

Mexican Aficionados

This post would be incomplete without a throwback. My college boyfriend, who will undoubtedly read this, has an obsession with Mexican food. I will never forget our first date. He picked me up (didn’t come to door, just beeped the horn) and I opened the passenger car door in horror. The horn beep was one thing but his outfit crossed the line. Not to sound completely judgmental but I asked him what on EARTH he was wearing. The poor kid had on a teal horizontal striped polo (two sizes too small), brown and red plaid shorts and Nike sneakers. After two hours of primping, trying on every outfit I own and hoping to be whisked away by prince charming…let’s just say I was a bit let down. So anyway, he made a solid comeback by taking me to the BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT ON THE PLANET, Las Margaritas in Gainesville, FL. I really hope that place still exists.

Over the course of our 2.5-year …ok maybe 3-year relationship we visit Las Margs at least 50 times. Not joking. The place was putting a dent in our college student wallets, so we started cooking and making fajitas on the reg. He manned the beef, peppers and onions while I did all the rest. This of course included my all-time famous guacamole. As corny as it sounds, there’s not one time I pull out my molcajete and don’t think of him. Funny how you can associate avocados with a person huh? Back then I was dealing with the connoisseur of all things Mexican so I can assure this recipe has been tested and approved.

Ingredients

  • Two ripe avocados ($4.00)
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped ($.50)
  • 1/4 C chopped white onion ($.25)
  • 2 tbs chopped cilantro ($.10)
  • Juice of 1 lime ($.40)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder ($.03)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced ($.10)

Total: $5.38

Instructions

Seed both avocados and remove the edible part, cut into chunks before scooping it out. Add all other ingredients, mix in molcajete or use a bowl and mash with the back of a fork to desired consistency.

Japanese Avocado and Ginger Salad

AvocadoSalad

I’ve been to Japan four times in the last six months and racked up more frequent flyer miles than I know what to do with. I’d love to say it was for vacation, but I have to travel there often for work (my day job– I wish it was for something cooking related). If you have never been to Japan I suggest you go immediately. I’ve traveled quite frequently in the past few years, both domestically and internationally, and I can say that Tokyo is without a doubt one of the most incredible cities I’ve ever been to. It’s one of those places that can really change your entire perspective of the world. The people are so driven and career oriented, the city so fast paced, yet the Japanese culture of being kind, respectful and trustworthy is not forgotten. People will go out of their way to help you and make you feel welcome, and you never have to worry about your personal safety as a tourist . In Tokyo, you can ride the metro at 3 pm on any given weekday and see dozens of 5-year-old children riding the train home– by themselves!

tokyo

This post would be incomplete if I didn’t mention the cuisine in Japan. It’s incredible. My favorite sushi joint, Sushi Zanmai, is open 24 hours and serves the most amazing, yet simple, sushi ever. Most of it arrives every morning from Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, the largest seafood market in the world. Below is a photo of me exploring the market at 6 in the morning, right before I had tuna sashimi for breakfast at Zanmai.

fishmarket

Some of the traditional dishes in Japan are quite…interesting. Each time I go I try expanding my horizons a little, but to be honest there are just some things I will never eat. Things like horse meat, grasshoppers and fermented soy beans. No thank you! It’s funny when I go to Japanese restaurants in America now. Those Teppanyaki places are a total rip off! There is no such thing as white sauce in Japan. There is no fried rice either. With that said I did have an amazing ginger salad the last time I went to Tokyo. It was a little different than the standard kind you get in the states. They added avocado, used butter lettuce and the salad tasted much fresher than normal. Below is my take on ginger salad!

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small shallot, peeled chopped
  • 2.5 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 head of bibb lettuce or spring mix
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Sesame seeds

Instructions:

In a food processor, blend, carrot, shallot, ginger. Add white miso and sesame oil. While the machine is running, slowly add canola oil and water. Blend until it reaches desired consistency. Toss with bibb lettuce, onion and avocado. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

sushi