Sunday, February 14, 2016

Food...and a dumb cook

I found a recipe I thought sounded great—put pork chops in crockpot, dump in a can of cream of chicken soup, sprinkle dry onion soup over it. After I got home from the grocery, I thought three pork chops looked sort of skimpy, and Jordan increased my anxiety by saying Christian would want more than one. (We don’t count Jacob because he doesn’t like meat.) So today I defrosted three chicken breasts and added them. Then it dawned on me—that’s exactly how I used to cook pot roast for my children (where was my brain?) only I added a bit of red wine—for the beef. So today I added white wine but apparently too much—the gravy was way too thin, so I mixed flour and water and thickened it. And added a bit of Kitchen Bouquet to darken it—only that came out of the bottle too fast and I added a whole lot more than I meant too. It was all good though—roasted asparagus that was perfectly done, just the right amount of crispness, and rosemary potatoes that were browned and crisp. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Last night I fixed shakshuka, a dish that seems of Mediterranean origin to me, though I think I read someplace it’s a traditional Israeli dish served either for breakfast or dinner. I fiddled with the recipe a lot, reducing it from six serving to one, and substituting where I wasn’t sure I had the right spices, using scallions in place of onion, etc. Basically you sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, add cumin and sweet paprika (cayenne optional and I left it out), add canned tomatoes and simmer until tomatoes have thickened. Then crack eggs into the mixture—I used two just for me—and bake until eggs are done to the required firmness. That’s where I once again went amuck—when I first looked at them, they were a little jiggly—even for some who likes her eggs easy. When I went back, they were rubbery. Still lesson learned, flavor was good, and I’ll do it again—but better. Oh, and I forgot to add the feta, which would have made a wonderful difference.

One of life’s embarrassing moments: Friday night I was having a glass of wine with Jordan when a friend appeared at the door. I had totally forgotten that we were going to dinner—and I’d been looking forward to a long overdue visit. I jumped up, hastily changed clothes, and we left, first to see the condo she’d just moved into and then to Taverna for dinner, all with me still in a sort of daze. Mary ordered trout, which looked wonderful, but I settled for an appetizer—artichoke hearts baked in a cream/garlic sauce with fontina cheese and a crisp bread crumb topping. Oh my goodness—so garlicky and rich but so good.

Tomorrow night a friend is coming to get me and take me to his house for dinner with him and his wife. This time I will be dressed, ready, and looking forward to another dining adventures.

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