The Laziness of the Freelancer

I am not the cook at Fangs and Clause Central. Nope, that would be the man in the disreputable pajamas who cooked me a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich a few hours ago, and decided on a whim to put some rosemary in the olive oil so the eggs would be cooked in rosemary-infused olive oil. He also tops the bacon with fresh-ground pepper as it cooks so that it tastes better. You understand why I married this man, right?

Every once in a while I get off my ass and cook something. In my bachelor days I ate a lot of vegetarian food because I just didn’t cook meat very well. It was always overcooked or prepared somehow the wrong way. No longer. I have discovered doro wat, an Ethiopian chicken dish that is basically boiled in leftover wine with a shit-ton of spices. I can make meat that even the ever-critical-of-food DP (which could also stand for Disreputable Pajamas) compliments me on.

What does this have to do with freelancing? Fair question. During my autumn of bread, I learned that freelancing lends itself nicely to long-prep-time dishes. I’d mix the flour and yeast, put that baby in the oven to rise, get some work done, punch the bread down, let it rise again, get some more work done, etc. You can make doro wat in the slow cooker. Chop up your chicken, onions, and combine it all with wine, butter, water, and a shit-ton of spices. Set the slow cooker and edit to the gorgeous smell of smoked paprika and company.

Doro Wat (Recipe adapted from A Spicy Perspective)

Cut up 3 lbs of chicken into roughly 1″ cubes. Throw in slow cooker.

Slice an onion. Throw in slow cooker.

Add 4 cloves of garlic and two sticks of butter.

Add 1 cup of wine and 3 cups of water. I made it slightly winier and less watery than this because I opened a bottle of wine the other night that was so bad I couldn’t make myself drink any of it. So we have extra wine hanging around.

Add: 2 ts salt, 1 ts cardamon, 2 Tb garam masala, 1/3 cup (you read that right) of smoked paprika, 2 Tb crushed red pepper, 2 ts fenugreek seeds, 1 Tb dried thyme, 3 Tb tomato paste (didn’t have any, so I added a tomato), and 1 Tb sugar.

Put in slow cooker and cook for 4-6 hours.

You might want to make the lentil dish too. The lentils you make on the stove, but the principle is the same. Combine lentils, water, and spices. Let boil away while you finish your first editorial pass. Get up and stir the lentils every time your author puts a comma between the subject and the noun, or whatever tic he or she has that is pissing you off today. It beats editorial drinking games (which lead to very bad editing).

When your favorite personal chef comes home, you have dinner waiting for him. How 1950s! And if you love him enough, you can make him Injera.

Injera (from Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors)

(Injera is the spongy bread that you eat Ethiopian food on. It’s a cross between a pancake and chapati. We used it instead to mop up sauce and as a respite from the spiciness.)

3 c warm water

2 1/2 c self-rising flour

3 Tb club soda

Combine in flour and water in a blender. Pour out in a bowl and add club soda. Stir. Heat up a frying pan or skillet on the stove. When it’s hot, pour 1/4 c of the batter. In a perfect world, you tilt the pan 90 degrees and rotate it so that the batter covers the whole pan in a thin sheet (my pan was too big, but remotely circular injera still tastes good). Bubbles will form in the middle of the bread. Once the edges curl up a little, it is done. Remove it with a spatula and put it on a plate. Put wax paper between layers.

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8 responses to “The Laziness of the Freelancer

  1. indy, thank you—these recipes are exactly what we need! Would you believe we have fenugreek seeds? I think they must have been left by my mother or sent as a free Penzeys sample.

    (Our collection of bad wine is NOT my fault. I buy the wine that isn’t there, because we drank it.)

    My kids won’t touch the chicken, or the lentils (which sound amazing, too), but for them I’ll make the effort of chucking a couple of hot dogs in the toaster oven. They’ll wrap ’em in injera and we’ll call it a day.

  2. the cicadas are out at my place, and blackberries are just ripening up in the hills where i ride my bike. But that won’t keep me from trying your dish. I usually brown my chicken before I throw it in the slow cooker, but since it’s you, I’ll try it just as you’ve said. It’s on now, and we’ll try it in, well, six hours.

    x

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