In the Kitchen with Jana

Those who know and love me also know how much I loathe cooking. The truth is, I’m lazy. I don’t find it particularly satisfying. I usually screw up recipes, especially recipes that I’m trying for the first time. Not to mention, I’m a picky eater. No red meat. No seafood. Low tolerance for spicy foods. I’m going to go ahead and give myself a little credit, though, because I’ve been slightly more adventurous with my meals and trying new foods in recent years. The best of the best is merely footsteps away, after all.

Not only cooking, but grocery shopping in the city is a chore I could do without. I no longer have a car, which means I have to schlep my grocery bags home several blocks. I allow myself to fill one shopping basket and that amounts to approximately two reusable shoppers that I then carry home. (I’ve tried to enlist the help of a cute guy to carry my groceries via my old online dating profile but to no avail…)

Annoying as they are, multiple mini trips to the grocery store are essential and help me get through the week. If I have a meal in mind, I’ll pick up ingredients when I return to Greenpoint from work. Then there are the bodegas. I’m quite fond of Fresh Stop, a family-owned produce and grocery market near my apartment. Granted, the produce isn’t the freshest (I was seriously spoiled in PA), but it works as long as I consume the stuff right away.

Ok, so what does all of this have to do with cooking? For some unknown reason (perhaps there was a shift in the cosmos or something), I’ve been on this crazy cooking kick — and a healthy-ish one at that.

My company recently merged with two other agencies to form the largest digital activation agency in the world. (You’re still wondering where cooking comes into play, aren’t you?) With the merger came an office-location change. I used to work in the bustling Flatiron district, where anything and everything was practically at my fingertips. Now I work in the middle of nowheresville Manhattan on the West Side Highway (my PA readers are probably rolling their eyes right now). My commute is longer and there’s nothing nearby save for the Intrepid and cruise ship docks. I used to have endless lunch options and now they are few and far between.

The new building is large and lovely and offers many wonderful amenities, including a gym, which I actually and surprisingly joined. A coworker said it’s similar to being stuck on a cruise ship, which is hilarious considering the number of cruise ships that come in and out of the docks each week.

There’s also a cafeteria, and while the food is somewhat better than that of a college cafeteria, it still reminds me of freshman year all over again. The prices are reasonable considering what I’d been spending to grab lunch at least 3 times a week in the Flatiron, but the options are usually underwhelming.

That being said, I’ve decided to take up cooking, or some form thereof, so I can bring in leftovers. I remember my first day at the kgbdeals NYC office some two years ago. A girl with whom I worked and had just met exclaimed it was “so PA” to pack my lunch. Fortunately, the folks who I work with now are a bit more forgiving and supportive of the bag lunch phenomenon.

So what have I been making? Well, Refinery29 posted three awesome kale recipes, which you can check out here. I made both the kale slaw and kale pizza. Kale is a thing now, apparently. I’m not trying to jump on the bandwagon, but I like how the green leafy stuff packs a lot of nutrients into one bite. I also made a batch of banana bread (errr, Janana Bread) in the SAME night. Talk about ambitious. Even my very kitchen-friendly, cooking-extraordinaire roommate was impressed, which I sincerely appreciated because I’m very envious of her cooking skills.

I also made a delicious vegetable “ceviche” sans seafood. Not only was it colorful, but it tasted delicious, too. Unfortunately, it was not so delicious the next day so I tossed most of the leftovers. That’s the problem with being single and cooking for one. Another reason why I loathe cooking.

Tonight I made homemade ramen. And I don’t mean the $0.39 ramen packs. OK, well, I do mean those. But I added broccoli, scallions, baby spinach, chicken and hardboiled egg, plus a splash of fresh lemon juice, to dress it up. I’ve been enamored with all-things Asian lately, especially the cuisine.

What does it all mean? Am I on my way to becoming the next Rachael Ray? Definitely not. I’ve always been inspired by the lovely Jaime K. and her recipes on Save the Kales  as well as the recipes that I pull from Food & Wine, to which I’m subscribed for some odd reason. It seems like I go on these cooking kicks every few months, but maybe this kick will stick around awhile. Next up…juicing!

2 thoughts on “In the Kitchen with Jana

  1. Hey stranger! Hope all is well, love the blog! Love that your on a new “Asian kick” I think that’s how you put it.. Shocked that you’re single, and one could only assume it’s because you must work all the time. We should Definitely catch up sometime soon. And I haven’t seen any updates on your family’s dog, did they find it? God bless.. Shane


    1. Glad you enjoy the blog! I think my pickiness has a little something to do with my being single. Can’t just settle! Unfortunately, we haven’t found Ruby, but thanks for asking. We hope she is resting in a better place.


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