Saturday, June 19, 2010

on second thought...

It's been kind of an off week, cooking-wise.  Monday and Tuesday's dinners left a bit to be desired, Wednesday I was completely uncreative (is that a word?) and just had the leftover Tofu Rancheros, sans tortilla, since I was happily slathering the last two tortillas with the last of the baba ganoush I used to trick my husband into eating "eggplant," and then stuffing them full of salad to make a couple of fun and crunchy wraps.  Thursday, due to Mister acknowledging that he was falling apart (more in a minute), I got to be a little creative since he had absolutely no interest in eating.  Same story tonight, though the ending was closer to that of Wednesday - I heated up the leftover casserole.

All the not-cooking gave me plenty of time to think and reflect while the microwave whirred as white noise in the background, surely imbuing my food with all kinds of carcinogens but everyone dies from something, right?  Here is what I've learned over these past few days:

1. When you make a big old casserole of something your husband doesn't want to eat, you become solely responsible for disposing of leftovers.  I hate wasting food, so I have eaten that casserole for lunch at work for the past three days AND for dinner tonight.  I have one more serving left, after which I will probably never want anything to do with casseroles ever again.

2. When you give something a second chance, in a different setting and at a different temperature, you can take the time to be mindful of its flavors and textures in a much more constructive way.  I have found that my attempt to recreate my mother's casserole (which she has shared came from her best friend who got it from her aunt) wasn't actually that far off and I truly believe this could be salvaged with only a few variations.  I may want to try it out on a larger audience because I'm not sure Mister will be too keen to try the "new and improved" version, but that's okay - it wasn't for him.  This is one of the few dishes I created more or less exclusively for me (which is good, since I'm the only one eating it).

3.  Mister is much easier to boss around when he is a space cadet, hopped up on over $100 worth of steroids and antibiotics.  No arguments from him about our far-flung Sunday plans!

Since I had taken a decent portion of leftover casserole to work with me yesterday to have for lunch, I really did not want to repeat it for dinner last night.  So, when Mister said he wanted nothing to do with food last night, I decided to try to cook up a health-protective and nutrient-rich dinner-for-one, just in case Mister was actually contagious (though I don't think infections of his entire cranial region are catching).

I don't really have a recipe, so let me try to recap what I did.  Maybe I will develop it into some kind of entree or first course later, but for now...

I cooked a 1/2 cup of jasmine rice in a cup of water. Meanwhile, I peeled and julienned 1 carrot and sauteed it, along with two cloves of garlic, pressed, in about 1 Tbsp olive oil.  I chopped up about 1 1/2 cups kale and added it to the mix, then dissolved 2 Tbsp brown rice miso in an equal amount of warm water.  I stirred that into the kale and carrots, along with about 1 Tbsp tamari, then turned off the heat and stirred in the cooked rice until it was thoroughly combined.  It was very very good and made me feel just a little bit safer from Mister's germs.

We (okay, mainly I) have a lot of social "obligations" this coming week.  Sunday, we will brunch with my parents and dine with his, in celebration of Fathers' Day.  Thursday, I have another dinner with my colleagues, so I'm sure I'll be full of fun stories that night.  Friday, I will be meeting up with a dear old friend for dinner and drinks.  While I am very much looking forward to every single one of these social opportunities, I realized tonight that it means there will be at least three nights, maybe four, when I won't make dinner.  That made me a little sad, but I'm sure the fun I expect to have will [over]compensate for that.

For my tiny menu, I have kept the two meals I didn't make this week because Mister is sick and added two more from my little [bulging] folder of misfit recipes, carefully cut from various magazines (will cite them when I make them):

1. Mandarin Tofu with Peppers and Broccoli accompanied by Spinach Salad with Japanese Ginger Dressing because I have been obsessed with that tangy peach-colored dressing they serve at fine dining establishments (don't let the pictures fool you) like Hibachi for years and the possibility of replicating it in my own home sounds like heaven.

2. Curried Bulghur Casserole with Garbanzo Beans

3. Fusion Enchiladas accompanied by Mango and Black Bean Salad 

4. Chickpea Croquettes with Greek Salad Topping because it's funny to think of my mother cringing every time she reads about a recipe with chickpeas (and because it sounds tasty!).

Stay tuned - we have some fun adventures looming in the very near future!

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