Making my own cookbookI only had time this week to record one meal cooked---I did more, but just didn't have the time or think it was interesting enough to record---but I did embark on a project that I want share. Cookbooks, I think, are fun and inspirational, but they cost money and take up space. And often you only use only like 10% of the recipes. So I don't buy them and instead try to work with the few I have, get recipe ideas online, and make shit up as I go along. But I discovered that our local library charges $.10 a copy, and so I devised a way to make a cheap cookbook for myself. What I've been doing is checking cookbooks out of the library, putting Post-It notes on the recipes I like, and copying those pages before returning the cookbooks. I then got some cheap binder-making supplies, which you can see to the side, and using those, I made a DIY cookbook. Because it's DIY, I can organize it however I like, and so I organized it according to needs more than categories, making tabs for "cold weather veggies" and "warm weather veggies", for instance, and making separate tabs for potatoes and for anything involving cheese, which I tend only to use in spurts. I now have like 60 recipes in there, for almost no money at all, and I can keep adding.

Asparagus and lemongrass risotto, sautéed broccolini

AsparagusThis idea was borrowed from Veganomicon, made with barley instead of rice and just generally taking the recipe as a hint not a guide. Chosen because I was eager to use some of the herbs I’ve planted in my balcony garden---still small---and because I had lots of asparagus and basil on hand. Also, a fuck ton of lemons. I cut up some asparagus and onion, and then cut all my meager chives and lemongrass down to an inch and chopped that into the veggie bowl.

Started some barley with veggie broth.

Asparagus risottoPut chopped asparagus, onion, lemongrass, and chives in a skillet with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, chili powder and then cut up a lemon and squeezed it over everything while it cooked. Poured it into a bowl, and cleaned out the skillet, which I then put back on the heat.

While it was reheating, I zested a lemon and then sautéed the broccolini according to this recipe.

I had a ton of basil (this is why I try not to buy it at the store---you overpay and get way more than you need, and then you have to use it all up before it runs out and it’s never as good anyway, but I cracked last week so there I was), and so I then used my herb scissors to cut some of it up over the cooked asparagus mix while the barley finished up. Then poured the entire mix into the barley. Broccolini

This meal is completely vegan and lemon-y to boot. I un-veganed it by putting Parmesan cheese on it, but this is, of course, completely optional.

Asparagus risotto, broccolini