Tight Ass Tuesday: Everything but the kitchen sink. And that slimy chard.

I’m just going to throw this out there, and you can throw it right back: The Duggar Family creeps me out, and I dislike TLC for encouraging America to embrace them. So there.

Of course this post, thankfully does not concern the Duggars and the birth of Mrs. Duggar’s thirty-seventh child and subsequent: “A Very Special Episode: The Duggar Uterine Prolapse.” It’s about the stir-fry I made tonight with all the crap from my fridge and garden plus a cabbage grown just for me by the lovely people at PathMark because the chard, as previously mentioned, was slimy. To make it sound more interesting than “stir fry” I like to call it “Inside-Out Potstickers.”

I also like to make myself more interesting by eschewing “Michelle” and calling myself “The Queen of Pain…and Balloon Animals!” Unfortunately, this name is not as apropos as the name of this dish because balloon animals freak me the fuck out. I do it anyway, just to see how well it will catch on.*

I had peppers**, onion, garlic and multi-colored carrots from the CSA, basil and Thai chiles from the yard, cabbage from PathMark and ginger and pork from Garden of Eden. Have you ever been in that store? It is aptly named, and I have to go in with a list or else. Which I did not do today, which is why I spent $45 on ginger and pork and lychees and blueberries and fancy butter and San Pellegrino Limonata and ten other things that were not (1) ginger or (2) pork. Also the very, very French butcher suggested I swap out my spouse for a new one because he dared to second guess my pork choice by asking the butcher his opinion. Or as they say in France, ‘eez ohpeenyeeon.

*Not well.

*Purple! I couldn’t shake the feeling that the purple pepper was a lesbian, and I cannot tell you why it occurred to me to dwell on the pepper’s sexual orientation in the first place. I merely report on what happened.

Luckily, I was on enough of a high from all the other local/cheap/free ingredients I’d be using and the Garden of Eden trip didn’t bring me down or convince me to get a divorce. Plus, have you ever had San Pellegrino Limonata or Aranciata? That shit is like liquid crack. Big Gulps have always weirded me out – should the human stomach be able to take in that much liquid? – but if you gave me one filled with aranciata it would be gone before you get the wrapper off your own straw. (Obviously, you’d also be drinking one.)

The Inside-Out Potsticker consisted of purple and green bell peppers; yellow, orange and red carrots; white wax beans; onion, garlic and ginger and pork over garlic and ginger-flecked wilted cabbage. Basically, what the dog’s vomit looked like after he got the whole Carvel cake off the kitchen counter and ate the tub of sprinkles and marachino cherries for the ice cream sundae bar.

In case you didn’t understand, sprinkles = jimmies. But they’re really called sprinkles. Get with the program.

The cabbage was supposed to be chard but The Slime Issue forced my hand and required me to make Brian go to PathMark for the cabbage, which I started cooking upon which we instantly found another, non-slimy bunch of chard in the fridge behind a half-eaten apple pie. Farmer John loves his rainbow chard. It was okay though, because I feel like I haven’t been firing off enough A-quality farts lately, so the cabbage was really a win.

After I’d wilted the cabbage down I wiped the hot pan down at great personal risk to myself and re-used it for the stir fry. I also used the by-product water the portable air conditioner generates to flush the toilet just now. Between those two things, the CSA and the home grown veg it’s like fucking Ed Begley junior up in here.

I got the pan hotter than I had for the cabbage, gave some more garlic and ginger a minute to make the house smell gorgeous, gave some diced onion a one-minute head start and then chucked all the pork (finely diced boneless loin chops; Garden of Eden had fresh currants and Scandinavian orange and coriander yogurt, but no ground pork) and veg in together. The goal: cook the pork through without overcooking and keep all the veg crisp. Don’t think I didn’t think things through before I just threw everything in the pan.

Okay, I didn’t. Here’s the problem with blogs: people read them, and then they get to know you and you can no longer lie with abandon. I actually didn’t know what would happen and wondered if I should have separated the pork and veg and, if so, which I would have put in first. It all worked out in the end though, so I let that thorny problem go.

Near the end of what I judged to be the correct cooking time, going mostly on the colors of the various elements, I tossed in the stir-fry flavor…is there a word like “trifecta” that you use when you’re talking about more than three things? If there is, I apparently, don’t know what it is, so I’ll call this the “hat trick” instead: sesame oil, soy sauce, hoisin, chile garlic paste and a little plum sauce to boost the sweetness. I added a little stock and some arrowroot to thicken and ended up with a nice little brown sauce to coated everything . I didn’t bother to taste for seasoning, assuming that the soy would add enough salt, the chile enough heat, and also I forgot.

Doesn’t it look like there are peanuts in this? I know, right?

I made a little cabbage mountain in each bowl while I thought back to the halcyon days of my youth…

“Where the ass cheeks swing while the big farts sing
On the little cabbage mountain.”

What, no one else had to sing “The Little Cabbage Mountain”* in 4th grade music class? Granted, my memory of everything pre-1998 is fairly hazy and I could be mis-remembering the song. There were definitely bluebirds, that much I can tell you. Maybe they were like the canaries in the coal mine, but for human gas? Though this is all sounding a bit grim for 9-year-olds. Forget I mentioned it.

I made a little cabbage mountain and spooned some pseudo-potsticker filling over each; a squeeze of lime, some torn up cilantro and the dinner bell was a’rung.

My method totally worked – IN YOUR FACE, FORETHOUGHT. The pork was cooked just right, and all the veg were crisp-tender; the beans especially still had some nice snap to them. The sauce was a little sweet, a little salty and a lot spicy and coated the cabbage as though it were noodles.

I could give you a cost breakdown, but since so much was pre-existing it seems silly; let this instead be a testament to (1) growing your own and (2) using up all the crap in your fridge. I could also give you a recipe but that also seems silly; let this instead be a testament to the power of soy, hoisin and chile garlic paste. (Yes, I know I paid for the CSA vegetables, but since I paid for them in February I’ve since forgotten so they seem free to me.)

*Actual song: “The Big Rock Candy Mountain,” a bowdlerized version of an old song about what Hobo Heaven would look like. Hint: There’re a lot of cigs and booze.

18 thoughts on “Tight Ass Tuesday: Everything but the kitchen sink. And that slimy chard.

  1. I too find the Duggers creepy, a cult of their very own. (actually it is a creepy religious thing, really, and that makes it MORE scary!)I kind of wish you hadn’t put them in my head so early in the morning, might be tough to shake… ewwww…
    anyway… food looks good, inspires me to clean out my ‘frig!

  2. My friend on Michelle Duggar: “The last thing she tucks in each night is her uterus.”

    Stir fry looks wonderful!

  3. goodness knows i don’t want to knock anyone’s religion, but think of the resources consumed by this one family! stunning. also, the kids using power tools to build the house is troubling.

    heather, i’m scared to follow those links at work. because, y’know, you scare me.

  4. I agree that they’re terrifying, and also pretty selfish to shit out so many kids and expect world resources to just keep up with overbreeding.

    That said, I do kind of envy them. And mormons. The very-religious-large-family-God-lovin’-humble-pie sort of families always seem really happy and at peace. Mrs. Duggar has fantastic skin for her age and child-birthing-history. And the children seem helpful and sensible, rather than sullen and ADHD. I dunno, I just wish I had that kind of bitterness-free myopic vision of the world sometimes. It’d seriously damage my sense of humor, but if I were that myopic, I’d hardly notice, right? Right??

  5. I know that above a trifecta is a superfecta, which is a word I like to try to work into daily conversation as much as possible. Since both words officially come from horse racing, I don’t know if there is a word that refers to a set of 5 (like the # of your ingredients), so I move that we all just start using superfecta as 4 or more and no one will likely know the difference.

  6. I bought a purple pepper once, but once I cooked it, the color was gone and I was sad.

    Yes, those SP drinks are to die for. I never thought of a Big Gulp full of one, but it’s not a bad idea.

    When you mentioned the Duggars, I thought you were going to make Tater Tot Casserole. Don’t worry about dissing them to me. I think they’re creepy. I also think a family that needs to go on TV just to show everyone how wonderful and normal they are, can possibly be wonderful and normal. I wonder what goes on when the cameras are rolling. I’m waiting for one of those kids to write a tell-all book in 10 years. I want to shear off all of that hair and donate it to Locks of Love. I love how the prodcuers try to make them seem like a normal Good Christian Family and downplays the fact that they’re creationist nuts who are obsessed with the end of days.

  7. I just want to point one thing out there concerning Mrs. Duggar, my friends and I were hypnotically watching the show, and we figured out that she has been pregnant for about 12 years of her life.

    Also, I am a sucker for anything Thai food related, and this just looks damn amazing. Curse my cheap, no kitchen college life…

  8. kristie, you wouldn’t notice. but i don’t trust that they’re all as happy-go-lucky as they seem. there’s got be a rotten bit in there somewhere.

    adrienne, i concur! hear that, everyone? superfecta!

    way fun to say AND to type.

    rachel, yeah, the purple pepper did not live up to its hype. (please note that this is not a comment on actual lesbians, who TOTALLY live up to the hype.)

    WORD to TLC never, ever, ever coming close to touching the whole quiverfull, rapture shit that’s all tied up with them. that’s my second issue, after the whole overpopulation thing.

    and the tater tot casserole. it gives me paula deen flashbacks. deenbacks.

    sarah, throw anything in a pan with hoisin and chile-garlic paste, and you’re set. do you have a hot plate? you can do it.

    also, re the 12 years: my god.

    christie, they are. the lighting i have to deal with still sucks ass and i’m going a little overboard with the whole depth-of-field thing, but i’m learning to use it slowly but surely!

    i can’t answer that. it’s like a zen koan. enlightenment through purple lesbian pepper.

  9. I grew up with the Duggars, kinda (different schools). I can tell you that they both went to the school (Shiloh Christian, in Springdale, Arkansas) that parents at the more “normal” schools would threaten to send their kids to if they misbehaved much in the way parents in the previous generation would threaten to send a kid to military academy.

    But the type of Christianity promoted at Shiloh Christian is downright atheist compared to the belief system they’ve taken on now.

  10. Those Duggars…I just know they sleep in the rafters and tuck their wings firmly around them.

    That is quite the fart-fest you cooked up there! Congrats! Did you sleep in separate beds or decide to pollute the room together?

  11. i totally grew up with “Big Rock Candy Mountain” as a child and knew exactly what you were referencing when you put the quote in. it made me happy.

    also, the duggars are creepy.

  12. You are all making me glad I don’t watch tv. The Duggars sound very disturbing. Also, a hat trick is a set of three, so I second what adrienne said about using superfecta from now on.

  13. My beef with the Duggars? They say they won’t let their kids watch tv, yet have no problem putting them ON tv.

    Say what?

    And the stir fry looks delicious, like most things you make (not including the aspic obviously. I only knew of the tomato kind – I was happy in my ignorance)

  14. sean, whoa, and also why am i not surprised in any way?

    witch, i fell asleep before he got home from band practice and assume i’d poisoned myself into a sound coma before his toot parade started.

    natalie, yay! thank god it wasn’t all for naught.

    barb, superfecta it is!

    forkful, i had a few days to spend with the pepper before this, so i feel fairly confident.

    upnorth, WORD. and sorry again about the aspic. i feel like i can’t apologize enough.

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