I had hoped to write this post from the vantage point of a “permanent” kitchen, but we’re still in our temporary digs for a few more weeks, and most of the “kitchen stuff” I’ve acquired is packed in boxes in the spare bedroom. (No sense unpacking twice!) So, rather than show you what I cook with, I decided to share a lil’ story about how I cook.
Many thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hostessing In My Kitchen each month — a delightful global gathering — and for her (and your) heartfelt responses to our post-fire plight. We’re truly blessed by your friendship and caring.
If you haven’t yet enjoyed the many kitchen treasures and perspectives from around the world (or added your own), please visit Celia’s blog linked above.
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Most days I start out with a plan. An agenda. A “to-do” list… cooking-wise, that is. Dinner is usually in progress (or already made) by the time my hubby has the faintest notion of what he’s about to eat.
Today, however, I waited until The Man Of Few Words (TMOFW) got home and asked what he wanted for supper. (I’m like that sometimes.)
“Stew” was his one-word answer — a re-heat of last night’s repast. I’m soooo thankful he’s easy to please.
After delivering his steaming bowl of stew hot out of the microwave (lol), I began to ponder which flavors and textures I wanted. (FYI, we don’t always eat the same meal on any given night, and “cooking for two” In My Kitchen literally means cooking for two — as in two separate meals.) TMOFW’s non-fussiness and my sense of ‘flavor adventure’ were a culinary match made in heaven.
A quick check of the fridge prompted subsequent questions for moi. What needed to be used up first? What could I make out of it? What was I hungry for — subject to whim, of course. (Such is how my mind, budget, appetite, and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants menu ‘planning’ work.) But don’t be fooled by that thought. I keep a ‘running list’ of potential meals that can be made with the contents therein, and I add ideas to it daily — generally after reading everybody else’s posts. ;) So many recipes to try!
A kettle of chicken stock bursting with veggies (potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic) and a chicken carcass ‘marinating’ overnight caught my eye. Hmmm… something with chicken? There was certainly enough meat left on the bones, and more than enough veggies to produce a one (or two) person meal — never mind that TMOFW had already made up his mind. (I love “cooking ahead,” too.) But, somehow I didn’t feel like soup. So into the freezer went six pints of glorious stock. I love when that happens.
The rest of the chicken and veggies were remanded into individual-size serving containers for yours truly’s lunch the next day or three. Waste not, want not.
By the way, the original chicken was roasted in the oven with peas. (The peas turn out squiggly-looking that way, but they’re sooooo tasty!) I finished it by carving select pieces, sautéeing them ‘skin-side-down’ in butter until crispy, and topped ’em with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a few grinds of black pepper. (Yum.) Dinner is often a two-step process here — and a one night stand. We seldom eat the same meal twice, separately or not. Reduce. re-use, recycle. ;)
In front of the open fridge, I pondered a few other options. Alfredo maybe? Or how about “hot dish?” (Pardon my Minnesotan…) Quesadillas? Stir fry? You’re only as limited as your food’s shelf-life or international cravings.
Then I looked in the crisper drawer and side shelves. Haricot verts. Check. Red potatoes. Check. Dijon mustard. Check. Capers. Check. By the looks of things, dinner was going be a Niçoise Salad. But… I wanted something even simpler. Caesar Salad, perhaps?
(Quick aside: EVOO is perennially in stock In My Kitchen, along with sea salt and peppercorns waiting to be coarsely ground, as are balsamic vinegar and an assortment of herbs to make vinaigrette at will.) Plus, I’d made this Classic Caesar Salad by my friend, Queen Jeanne, earlier in the week. Thanks, Jeanne, it was was fabulous!
I decided to blanch a few potatoes and haricot verts instead, plunge them into ice water, and wait until my stomach made up my mind. ;) After a quick toss with vinaigrette and capers, I called it a day!
Sometimes ya just gotta punt.
Are you a planner or a punter?
(Or a player?!)
Happy Superbowl Weekend.
Enjoying inspiration from all of you,