Snowcows and Steakhouse Leftovers

Sometimes nicknames get lost in translation.

I went to a teeny-tiny engineering school in the middle of Lake Superior for college. While the area is known for its magnificent fall colors, hiking, boating, and winter sports, it’s also known for the sheer lack of females.

In particular, my college class had a ratio of 8 guys to 1 girl.  The overall college was 3 guys: 1 girl at the time (it’s since improved). And still, the odds were not always in your favor. “The odds are good, but the good are odd” is a phrase that could definitely be applied to some of my male counterparts.

The ratio was also misleading…

  • If you subtracted the guys still dating their high school girlfriends, the ratio was 4 guys:1 girl
  • If you subtracted the computer engineers/science majors who thought that girls only existed in anime and had never spoken to a female in real life, except through a video game, the ratio was 2 guys: 1 girl
  • If you subtracted the man whores that you were sure were sources of an STD epidemic, the ratio was 1 guy: 2 girls
  • However, if you subtracted the female counterparts of the first and third lines, the ratio was still maybe 1:1.

There also was an unfortunate nickname for the girls that were less than desirable but would sleep with anyone…

Snowcows.

Anyway, it was the fall of my freshman year of college, and the grandparents and mother of the boy I was dating came to visit. During the exploration around the Upper Peninsula, we had the misfortune of stopping into a gift shop.

Now, somehow, his grandmother had heard the phrase “snowcow” (but, of course, just thought it was a cute term for any girl that went to Tech) so when she came across a cow puppet, there was logically one thing she thought of…

“Oh, here, let’s have you take a picture with this puppet! It’s two snowcows in the picture!”

I then was forced to endure a picture with said puppet, while my boyfriend at the time stood there absolutely mortified, since his grandmother had unknowingly just called me a whore.

Leftover Steakhouse Risotto

this is the only cow I’m okay being in a picture with

Ingredients

  • 4 c low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c arborio rice
  • 1 c white wine (I use a sauvignon blanc in the $8 range)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 c leftover roasted vegetables, brought to room temperature and diced into bite-size pieces
  • 1 c leftover steak, cooked rare, brought to room temperature and diced into bite-size pieces
  • 1 c grated smoked gouda (this gives it a mac-and-cheese type feel)
  • 1 tbsp steak seasoning (or more if you so desire)

How-to

  1. Bring broth to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
  2. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low to medium heat until onion is translucent (about 3-5 minutes)
  3. Add dry rice and saute for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add 1 c wine and stir until absorbed.
  5. Once the rice has absorbed the wine, start adding the broth, two ladles at a time. Your goal is to have this at a simmer. Stir frequently (but not constantly) until absorbed. Add more broth. This does take a while (you’re looking at about 20-30 minutes of active cooking from start to finish).
  6. Continue adding the broth at 2 ladles at a time until all the broth has been added. Add the butter.
  7. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until the risotto reaches your desired consistency (maybe another 5 minutes, tops!). Add in the leftover vegetables and steak.
  8. Turn the heat to as low as possible, then stir in the smoked gouda and steak seasoning. Remove from heat and cover for 5 minutes to let the leftovers heat up, then serve.

Shaking Walls and Spaghetti Carbonara

My roommate and I in college had really noisy neighbors. But not in the way you’re assuming.

We had previously had an empty room located next to us, but in the span of a month, we had two new neighbors. For the first few days, we heard them moving all the furniture around and getting set up.

It was possibly a week later and my roommate and I were studying. Then we began hearing a noise we didn’t expect. It sounded like something was continually hitting the wall in between our two rooms.

KS: What’s that?

Me: Not sure. Maybe they’re rearranging furniture again?

And then we heard a noise that both of us could recognize: the sound of a female moaning.

KS (whose bed and desk were pushed right up to the shared wall): Oh god. It’s the bed hitting the wall.

It was later that week when the bed really hit the wall, so to speak. I had been asleep, until I got woken up by my roommate, who was out of bed and sitting in the chair below.

In my just abruptly woken state, it took me a few minutes to realize that the neighbors were moaning loudly and knocking the bed into the wall again…and they were using such force that my roommate’s bed was moving, too.

Our solution? Hit the wall back and yell at them. (I never said it was mature)

The rabbits eventually got bored with each other or switched to his room, but not before we kindly shoved condoms under the door (our school gave them out for free- but they were in red, yellow, and green- the colors of a stoplight, how fitting!) along with a guide on safe sex.

After all, we were just looking out for their health. ;)

College Cooking Spaghetti Carbonara

even a college kid could make this

Ingredients

  • 1/4 box spaghetti
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  2. While spaghetti is cooking, mix together egg, parmesan, milk, parsley, and garlic powder.
  3. Drain spaghetti and return to pan. Pour in mixture and stir so it coats all the spaghetti. The warm spaghetti will cook the egg yolk, but if you’re concerned, do this over very low heat for 30 seconds. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: I realize this is missing pancetta, but I couldn’t get that in college. I suppose you could add in bacon bits if you’re a resourceful college kid. ;)

Recycling for Pork Chops

I had the best roommate in college.  She didn’t mind any of my crazy cooking experiments, from roasting a chicken in a crock pot in our dorm room (it made our room, and our entire hall, smell delicious) or using a hammer to break up candy to make peppermint bark (though the residents of the room directly below ours did venture up to complain about the racket- we were getting out a lot of aggression on that candy).

My roommate taught me how to recycle.  Now, it’s not that I didn’t recycle before- I just didn’t recycle to the degree that she recycled.  Our school at first didn’t have a lot of recycling, so she would lug home glass bottles instead of just throwing them away.

Our campus, however, did have paper recycling.  Now I had never lived in a place that had paper recycling, but I quickly learned to start doing this after my roommate gave me a sad look when I nearly threw away a piece of paper.

We had a brown paper bag (of course) for our recycling every week.  Now, the guy I was dating at the time thought that recycling was silly, and was especially amused by my roommate’s devotion to it.

We were all hanging out in our dorm room that night, when the guy in question decided to grab the bag of paper to be recycled and took off towards the trash room.

My roommate took off after him.  Naturally, I took off after her.

When I arrived at the scene, I could hear the guy I was dating inside the trash room, yelling that he was going to throw the paper away.  My roommate was trying to pull open the door (he was holding it from the inside).  Then she said perhaps the funniest thing I ever heard her say, in the most desperate voice,

“Don’t take the recycling! Take me instead!”

At that point we were all laughing so hard the door opened and she got her brown paper bag of paper back.  No one ever tried to steal her paper again.

Recycling-Friendly Stuffed Pork Chops

Ingredients (per person)

  • 1 pork loin chop
  • 1/2 oz smoked gouda (or whatever other cheese you have on hand- about half a slice works)
  • 3-4 slices granny smith apple (you can also use peaches, pears, or plums- nearly anything in your fridge!)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In each pork chop, using a paring knife to cut a pocket in your pork chop- insert the knife into the middle and then cut all the way to the edges but not through.
  3. Stuff pork chops with fruit first, and then stuff cheese on top of fruit.  If needed, use toothpicks to close pocket. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
  4. Heat an oven-safe frying pan (I prefer cast iron) over high heat, then reduce to medium.
  5. Place pork chops into the pan, cheese side down. Sear for 2 minutes.  Season uncooked side with salt and pepper.
  6. Flip pork chops (using a fork works well) and seat for another 2 minutes.
  7. Place pork chops and pan in oven for 20-25 minutes or until pork is cooked through and fruit has softened (20 minutes for thinner pork chops, 25 minutes for thicker chops).