Eating Out of a Cardboard Box

October 25th, 2009  |  Published in All, Beets, Carrots, Garlic, Onion, Potatoes, Veritable Vegetables  |  7 Comments

Moving across town is hard enough, but a move across the Atlantic kicks the difficulty up to a whole other level.  One of the big challenges lies in the fact that after I pack my things in boxes, I won’t see any of it for approximately 8 weeks — the length of time it takes for a cargo container to cross the Atlantic, clear customs, make a cross-country journey by truck, and finally be delivered to an as-of-yet unknown apartment in San Francisco.

I don’t have that many clothes or shoes or knick knacks, but I do have a lot of cookbooks and kitchen stuff.  A lot of that stuff I use at least once a week, if not more often.  The thought of parting with it all for 8 weeks makes my stomach do little flip flops, and not in the good way like being excited or in love or just very hungry…

I kept a few kitchen things out for the “fast box”, a box we sent by air mail late last week that will probably arrive in about 2 weeks rather than 8 — a 2 qt. dutch oven, a spatula, a wooden spoon, salt and pepper grinders, and a set of measuring spoons.  A few other things I kept out to go in my suitcase, things I would have a really hard time doing without for even a couple weeks — my favorite 8 inch chef’s knife, a small paring knife, a pair of tongs, a tiny plastic cutting board, my onion goggles (sort of questioning whether these were actually a necessity), and a wine opener.

We sent the “fast box” off on Wednesday, and our 8-week “slow” boxes were picked up this past Friday.  This means that I have exactly two knives, one pair of tongs, a tiny cutting board, and a pair of oh-so-important onion googles :) — no pots, no pans, no spices — not exactly the tools for a feast.  But, as any cliche connoisseur will tell you, where there is a will, there is a way.

I am firm believer that you don’t have to eat crap even if the world and everyone around you tells you that you are too busy to cook.  Takeout and frozen pizza be damned, I want real food.  Not only do I feel better and eat more healthfully, but I also think that by deciding to make and eat something real, even if very quick and simple, it makes me a little more sane.  During a time of uprooting major change, it’s odd how a simple tupperware container full of homemade roasted vegetables topped with a plain roasted chicken thigh can make everything seem ok (tupperware because all of my dishes are gone…)

Well, tonight is the last night in our German apartment.  We move into a hotel tomorrow for our last three days in Hannover, and then we fly out early Thursday morning (cat and all). Wish me luck on these last few days of my Great German Adventure!

Desperado Roasted Vegetables and Chicken Thighs
*tastes best when eaten out of tupperware since you have packed up and shipped all of your real dishes across the Atlantic…

1 beet, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 small (fist sized) celery root, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 large carrot, scrubbed and cut into chunks
2 parsnips, scrubbed and cut into chunks
1 white potato, scrubbed and cut into chunks
1 red potato, scrubbed and cut into chunks
5 small onions (about 2-inch diameter), peeled and quartered
6-8 brussels sprouts, trimmed
8-10 cloves of garlic, un-peeled
2 skin-on chicken legs
olive oil
~ 1-2 T. prepared pesto

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Rub with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Mix all vegetables in a bowl (or if you’re moving like me and have packed all of your bowls, a big piece of tupperware will do), and drizzle with about 2 T. of olive oil.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and stir until evenly coated.  Spread vegetables onto a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Place chicken thighs on top, and place in the oven.  Roast for about 1 hr, stirring every 20 minutes, until chicken skin is brown and crisp, and vegetables have reached the desired tenderness.  If the chicken skin isn’t crisping up, broil for about 3-4 minutes at the end of the cooking time.

Remove garlic cloves, and squeeze out of skins into a small bowl.  Mash garlic, add pesto, and mix until combined.  Transfer vegetables from baking sheet to some sort of bowl, add garlic pesto mixture, and stir until evenly coated.  Serve vegetables topped with a chicken thigh.  Enjoy!

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  1. denise says:

    October 25th, 2009at 4:16 pm(#)

    I completely agree. There is something incredibly grounding about good wholesome homemade food. Kudos to you for being resourceful versus giving up and eating take-out. Have fun saying goodbye to all of your favorite German things over these last few days.

  2. maybelles mom says:

    October 25th, 2009at 5:42 pm(#)

    I am trying to think which things I would keep in my fast box. maybe a cast iron skillet, a chefs knife, a small cutting board, 1 cup measuring cup and a saucier? or maybe a wok. I don’t know. Have a safe trip back.

  3. Kelly Alesso says:

    October 25th, 2009at 7:13 pm(#)

    I still cannot imagine making that big move. Good luck!

  4. Jen says:

    October 27th, 2009at 1:05 am(#)

    denise — thanks. mostly my “favorite things” are people I have met, and thankfully don’t have to say goodbye forever to anyone. I will miss the amazingly delicious bread here though :)

    maybelles mom — oh how I miss my cast iron skillet! I will be reunited with it once we find an apartment and start unpacking the boxes that we stored back in CA. Believe it or not, but my skillet is nearly 50 years old! My grandfather gave it to my dad, who in turn gave it to me

    Kelly — thanks! so far, so good. Less than 48 hours until I am on the plane!

  5. Diane says:

    October 27th, 2009at 12:25 pm(#)

    I recently made a yummy dish similar with root veggies! Oh I love them, they are so sweet and comforting. I wish you peace of mind as you make the big leap across the ocean. That’s a job for another woman…I think I’d fall to pieces.

  6. Jen says:

    October 28th, 2009at 1:36 am(#)

    Diane – Thanks for commenting and for the good wishes with the upcoming move (tomorrow morning)! do you have a specific set of root vegetables you tend to use? or just whatever is available?

  7. Jo says:

    October 28th, 2009at 7:31 pm(#)

    I’m so impressed – I moved across town this summer and still had trouble figuring out when and how to pack up the kitchen! But I know what you mean about cooking in the midst of insanity. Sometimes when I’ve had a long day, even if it’s late and I’m really hungry, I’ll cook an elaborate meal just because I can. And when I do, I invariably feel better. It means getting a feeling of accomplishment and a tasty meal, all at once!

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