If I'm going to miss one thing about my turtle research job, it's the people. Specifically, Emily. Hi Emily!!!
I didn't actually work with her, but her office was next to mine, and we would often eat lunch together, send each other amusing youtube videos, and play with play-doh. Because that's what adults do at jobs, right?
I am pretty awesome at play-doh, just sayin'
We would also do each other's hair...
Emily is, without a doubt, the nicest girl you will ever meet. She is constantly making new friends wherever she goes, almost to the point where you're like, "Emily, did you really need to compliment that hobo on his tattered windbreaker? This is an awkward interaction for everyone."*
*That never happened, but is similar to other events that DID happen.
Anyway, I'm gunna miss that girl. And to make my last day special, she brought me a bouquet of gerber daisies (my favorite!), and she and Adam (another awesome coworker, who is a great cook and actually gave me the recipe for my pulled pork) gave me a nondescript pink gift bag. Inside the bag I found this:
When I finally stopped laughing, I assured them I wouldn't peek in the bag until I was at home and ready to cook. I then slid the bag behind something else so I wouldn't be tempted to look inside...
Then I got home, started my timer, and opened the bag...
You guys are jerks.
Though I guess that's what every Chopped contestant thinks when they open their baskets and find infinitely weirder things than I did. And yet in all the time I've spent watching Food Network I've never seen spaghettios.
With the timer ticking down and no idea how I would make spaghettios into anything edible, I quickly ran into the kitchen and threw the chinese noodles into a food processor.
Then I beat an egg and milk into a bowl, and put flour and salt on a plate.
Voila! Onion rings. Two ingredients down, two to go. And time was running out.
From watching a million episodes of Chopped, I am aware that plating your dish without an ingredient is embarrassing, and oftentimes leads to being chopped from the competition. Even though I was timing myself, had no judges, and no other competitors...I didn't want to be laughed at by the internet.
So I threw the spaghettios into a saucepan and started heating them up.
Ok, so I have the spaghettios, now what? Time to add something fresh! Well the only thing I had in my kitchen was zucchini, squash, and mushrooms. So I chopped some of those up and threw them in with the spaghettios. THEN I came up with the genius idea of simply using the spaghettios as the base for a creamy, spicy tomato soup. Once I had that thought I was like the Flash, zipping through my kitchen, looking for cream and red pepper to thicken up the soup and give it some flavor. I also quickly diced up the wheat pita, tossed with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh oregano, and toasted them in the oven to make croutons.
At 38:00 minutes I dashed into the dining room, grabbed some dishes, and began plating my meal. When the clock hit 40 minutes I stepped back, and invited in my only judge.
I took several other pictures of her, but I think this expression really summed it up. She LOVED the onion rings, surprise registering across her face as she bit into them. Then she tentatively tried the spaghettios soup. She had a few bites before declaring it, "not terrible. Now when is real dinner?"
Imagine her disappointment when I told her that this was real dinner! She sadly took a handful of onion rings upstairs to eat, while I sat down with my not terrible spaghettios soup.
You know, for having a base of Dora the Explorer canned spaghettios, this meal was halfway decent! Probably not up to food network standards, but I like to think I was pretty damn crafty with the entire thing. I mean, I probably won't be making spaghettios soup again, but it's nice to know that I can manipulate something processed into something resembling a pretty good meal!
So thanks Emily and Adam, for making my work experience much better, and giving me something to do to distract myself the night before I started a brand new job!
What would you have made with those 4 ingredients? Bonus points if you actually attempt to cook a meal using spaghettios, a red onion, chinese noodles, and wheat pita pockets!