“I can’t. Sorry. Bad timing.”
Those are the three incomplete sentences that the last boy I dated (yes, back in October. there’s no shame in celibacy.) texted to me seemingly out of nowhere on one truly absurd Monday night. And I am ashamed to say that I, myself, was forced to plagiarize them last week.
It was both a grammatically and ethically unsound move. But it had to happen. Dire times, you know.
I said them as I took my collection of baking chips and put them on the highest shelf in our apartment (the one that I risk spinal cord injury every time I have to scale two chairs to get to the top of it. If that’s not a deterrent…nothing will be). I said them as I rid my freezer of all the leftover frostings and icings and cookie doughs that I had stored throughout the past year. I said them as I told the head of my lab that I will no longer be working on characterizing genes that other people discovered and that have absolutely no function in insulin signaling in adipocytes, no matter how many ridiculous nanomoles of siRNA or completely non-physiological micromoles of insulin these other labs choose to throw at them. (Actually, I think what I really told him was that I renounce them. It sounded more official and less emo-teen-girl-drama. He, um. Laughed.)
(And yes. I’m still working on them.)
And then I said them to my laundry hamper full of clean clothing as I laced up my sneakers and headed out the door for a run. Priorities. Besides, who really needs unwrinkled clean underwear, anyway?
My point is that the timing is never going to be perfect. For anything.
You are always going to be “too busy” to go to the gym. Life is going to be “too hectic” to really put in the time to online date (or get married or have kids, etc.) You’re always going to have “not enough” money to spend on fresh vegetables.
You’re right. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you want to do. But you have to do them anyway.
By all accounts, I don’t have time to blog or to go to the gym for at least an hour (but usually an hour and a half) every day or to spend four hours sitting at a microscope staring at glowing cells. But I do them anyway. Maybe it means that I plan my experiments around when I want to go to the gym and wake up at 6 every day and cook dinner at 8AM sometimes. So be it. Because if I waited to have enough time…I would probably never do anything (other than sit around and eat cupcakes. Funny how there’s always time for that.)
One thing that you should definitely make time for this week (and it does require a bit of time…sorry) is making this casserole. Described by Martha Rose Shulman as a healthy moussaka without the meat, I have to say that it is so much more than that. It is bulgur and kale surrounded by the most perfectly spiced tomato sauce you could ever imagine, heady with cinnamon and cloves, and topped with a parmesan yogurt crust that is cheesy and oh so satisfying. I proclaimed it on Twitter to be the best meal I’ll eat in all of January. Perhaps a bit pre-emptively. But when you know, you just know.
I have some more Internet inspiration this week in the form of this post by The Bull Runner that got facebook-messaged around the members of my running group. It’s called Date A Girl Who Runs. There’s also a Date A Girl Who Blogs. I’m thinking I should write one called Date a Girl Who Runs and Blogs and Stares At Fluorescent Cells All Day. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
Bulgur and Kale Casserole with Yogurt Topping
Serves 4-6, adapted from The New York Times
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (I used San Marzanos)
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 lb kale, stemmed and washed
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup coarse bulgur
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dill
- 2 oz (about 1/2 cup) freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- Make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes, and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about a minute, and add the tomatoes, salt to taste, pepper, sugar, cinnamon, paprika and cloves. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook until the tomatoes are bubbling. Stir together, turn the heat back to medium-low, partly cover and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the sauce is thick and fragrant, 25 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from the heat. Set aside
- To cook the bulgur, bring 2 cups water with salt to taste to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the bulgur, and when the water comes back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, place a clean dish towel over the pan and cover with the lid. Let sit 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, blanch the kale in salted boiling water for 4 minutes. Rinse with cold water and squeeze dry. Chop fine (you can do this by pulsing in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.)
- Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray over medium heat and add one clove of minced garlic. When it begins to smell fragrant, in about 30 seconds, stir in the chopped kale. Toss together and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir in the bulgur and dill, combine well and remove from the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a 3-quart baking or gratin dish. Spoon a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish, and spoon in the bulgur and kale. Spread in an even layer. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan on top and cover with the remaining tomato sauce, spread in an even layer.
- Beat together the eggs, yogurt and 2 tablespoons of the remaining Parmesan. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Spoon over the tomato sauce and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top. Place in the oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until golden. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes or longer before serving.