Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I'm so dull that I blog about what I ate for dinner

I’ve had the hardest time planning meals since I started working. I used to figure out what I was cooking for the week, carefully maximizing efficiency (planning double batches of grains or beans or tomato sauce to work for several different meals) and minimizing monotony (the extra rice would go into a casserole rather than another stir-fry). Maybe because what little intellect I have left is devoted to other things or maybe because I’m now only responsible for 3-4 dinners a week rather than 5, I just can’t motivate myself to do it anymore.

So we end up with dinners like last night’s which, despite their eclecticism, actually work. I got beans going in the pressure cooker. Next step- figure out which vegetables from the CSA need to be used up most. The answer, unfortunately, was a large eggplant. I’ve never understood the appeal of eggplants; they have a funny texture and not much flavor and generally if they’re tasty it’s only because they’ve been slathered in something else that’s good. Why trouble to grow it when you could just plant zucchini instead? But eggplant it would be since my antipathy toward food waste far outweighs my eggplant prejudice (1). I wanted dinner to be ready within 20 minutes, so none of the methods described in the first two cookbooks I searched would do- there would be no salting or soaking and there was no way I was willing to leave the oven on for 30+ minutes for roasting on such a hot day.

But- a recipe for broiling! Which will only require the oven to be on for three minutes per side! That’s my speed. I’d never actually used the broiler before but I figured it out and slid in the eggplant, sliced and splashed with tamari. And it came out FANTASTIC. Still not quite enough flavor, though the soy sauce helped a lot, so I made a sauce with lemon juice, peanut butter, parsley, and some sugar to tone down the lemon.

Made a vinaigrette for the beans and cut up some CSA carrots and green beans for color. All I was missing now- a grain. I’d rather overused bulgher lately in my last-minute cooking so I went for the obvious choice- popcorn. (Do most families of four devour two batches of popcorn in fifteen minutes? Everyone with their own bowl, since we’re not good at sharing?)

And dinner was a hit. Or at least it got eaten, which is good enough for me.

(1) I’m not really an eggplant-hater; I dressed up as one for Halloween one year. But I still maintain that their good looks are hiding a dull interior.

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