Meals of the Week(s)

Just a bit of catch-up here. Wasn’t I supposed to say something about that risotto I made a couple-three weeks ago? The salient point was that it was made out of what we had on hand, which was not very much, including frozen peas. I don’t recall anything else other than saying, wow, that was good. Plate discipline is in a sense easy to practice when you’re working with limited material.

I was reminded of this the other day because I made a salad of the following ingredients:

  • julienned lacinato kale
  • parsley
  • green onions
  • radishes, sliced thin
  • lettuce
  • hard-cooked egg, slice on top

All tossed in a sherry vinaigrette. The key to this vinaigrette was that I warmed it up in a pan first. Warm vinaigrette is overlooked, and usually not necessary, but when dealing with something tough like kale, it helps wilt the vegetable a bit better. And the vinaigrette seems to penetrate a little better. The egg was because we had gotten Easter eggs from the family on Sunday. The rest was what we had lying around and I didn’t feel like cooking. It was really good.

Last night, our one meal splash of the week: boneless pork loin that I had marinated in red chili peppers, ginger, orange and green onion for a few days; with sweet potatoes cooked in the same pan, and then kale sauteed with garlic, also in that pan, after the pork came out of the oven. The marinade/sauce, which got help from the super-rich, highly-spiced chicken broth I made the other day, was part of the entire meal. The key to this meal, I felt, was not really the long marination (three days), although that helped. It was that I boiled the sweet potatoes in water for a few minutes, softening them; so when they went into the pan with pork (which I had started on the stove top), they were ready to absorb the sauce.

I’m starting to think that much of the key to flavoring food is preparing it to receive that flavor: warm vinaigrette; softened sweet potatoes. Under present circumstances, there is a joke I don’t feel the need to make here, partly because I don’t quite know what it is.

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