Wednesday, November 06, 2019

A day gone awry

Sometimes life hands you lemons instead of lemonade. Today I had planned to cook supper for the two friends I usually go out to eat with on Wednesday night. The menu was to be
“crispy” eggplant with lamb meatballs, chickpeas, a garnish of cilantro and lemon—recipe courtesy the New York Times cooking column. Part of the reason I was going to do this was that the recipe sounded intriguing to me but none of my local family will touch eggplant, and one of these friends said of course she’d eat it with me.

 I was so fixated on spending the major portion of the day cooking this meal that I even cooked it in my sleep last night. And before I slept, I put the chickpeas to soak and defrosted the ground lamb. I was all set for a cooking day.

This morning I had just put the chickpeas on to cook, when one of the two called to say apologetically that she hated to cancel but she had a sore throat and thought she should stay in today. I wished her well but agreed with her assessment—I really didn’t want her to bring her sore throat over here and share it. The other friend, when she heard this, said, “Let’s just cancel until next week.”

So there I was, chickpeas cooking, defrosted meat, and an eggplant in the fridge. Besides, I wasn’t at all sure I’d want to gear myself up to cook a big meal again next week. But on the theory of making lemonade out of lemons, I proceeded. Cooked the chickpeas—a whole new experience for me since I wanted to order canned ones and was a bit astounded to end up with dried. That’s a digression and will be part of my “Gourmet on a Hot Plate” column tomorrow. But they turned out okay.

I went ahead and made the meatballs, and I have to say they smelled wonderful when they were cooking. You have to love lamb to appreciate that aroma, but I do love it. I figured I’d eat a couple tonight, maybe a couple tomorrow, and freeze the rest.

So far so good—chickpeas cooked and ready to be frozen. Meatballs, the same. But then there was that eggplant that suddenly didn’t sound so good to me. I’m not fond of baba ganoush, the traditional Mediterranean eggplant dip. The heavy garlic in it often makes it taste bitter to me. But I remembered that long ago my ex used to fix sort of an eggplant salad, a memory from his Jewish mother’s kitchen. It’s like the sardine salad he used to make—something I could easily do from scratch.

So in the next day or two, I’ll make eggplant salad. Warning to those coming to the cottage for happy hour—you may be faced with eggplant salad/dip but you are not required to eat it. Hmmm—maybe I could stir some chickpeas into it. Or another new thought—roasted chickpeas. Stand by for a report.

Meantime, relieved of cooking the whole meal, I did get some work done today and am now well into a cozy mystery I’m enjoying. The day was far from a loss.

Tonight as I write I can feel a chill creeping into the air. It was seventy today but is supposed to be in the mid-forties by morning. With rain tonight. Stay warm and dry everyone.


Deb said...

If you go to the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen and scroll down to Tuesday November 5, there is a recipes for stuffed eggplant that sounds very tasty!

judyalter said...

thank ou. that does sound good, except I'd have to find a substitute for the peppers. But I may well experiment.