Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Food, and Dogs, and Food

This morning I woke up hungry, not having eaten supper the night before.

I thought of taters and eggs, which I had promised Alex I'd make before she and John had to go to the Bay Area. I thought of the soft and scrumptious loaf of Dutch crust French bread I bought at the store the other day. I thought of what to make for lunch with things on hand.

There was a container of egg whites, left over from making pumpkin custard the day before yesterday, so the taters and eggs made use of that. Delicious. Perfect. Hearty breakfast accompanied by tomato juice. Good start to a freezin' ass cold day.

Around 10 am, I opened the freezer to see what was available for lunch. I spotted a small container of onions and ground beef that I intended to make into some variant of minestrone -- but I knew Bernie wouldn't eat that as it would have too much tomato flavor to it. Aha! A bag of pre-cooked prawns (50 % off sale at the grocers one weekend) and a package of chopped broccoli. Got it, lunch is on the way!

The minestrone fixins I pulled out as well, just because I couldn't stop thinking about them.

Baby portobella mushrooms ... a package of them needed to be used up, so I cut each one into halves or quarters and tossed them into a frying pan with Saffola Margarine (good taste for sizzling) and cut up half a yellow onion into 3/4 inch chunks and began to cook them in extra virgin olive oil in a separate pan. The pot of white basmati rice began to cook.

Prawns thawed in a solution of sea salt and lemon juice and water; some of the mushrooms went into a pot with the minestrone stuff on a back burner, along with a hefty amount of "Italian Seasoning" by McCormick.

A can of chicken broth was mixed with 2 tablespoons of corn starch, some salt, and a heavy shaking of garlic powder, and added to the onion pieces when they were done, to slowly come to a boil. When the rice was nearly done, I put the frozen broccoli on to steam. A few minutes later, most of the mushrooms went into the thickening chicken broth, along with the cut up prawns. (Some of the mushrooms went into the minestrone pot.) When the broccoli was done, so was the rice, and with that, lunch was served. Delicious, nutritious, and satisfying.

The minestrone-to-be slowly thawed on its low setting, seemingly forgotten, but not.

I walked to the school to collect Lillian. We checked the mail, and then, ambling up the street came a man with his Great Dane bitch. She was beautiful, black with a white spot on her chest, and a hint of whitish toes. Maybe a third again bigger than our dog Sebastian, but looking like his auntie. Lil and I stopped to talk with the owner, who assured us that she didn't bite, and we petted the large, lovely lady, comparing her loopy ears to Sebastian's, and the breadth between her eyes, and the gentle eyes themselves. Yeah, I think Sebastian has some Great Dane in his ancestry.

Return to the minestrone variation. I dumped some leftover fried cabbage (don't knock it until you've tried it, cooked with onions in bacon fryings) into the pot, and a cup of tomato sauce. A little later, I tossed in about a quarter cup of nopalitos (cactus strips) and a handful of sliced black olives. I added more oregano, more garlic powder, and a cup of asparagus, cut into half-inch pieces. Dumping in maybe a cup to a cup and a half of Wolfgang Puck's beef broth (no MSG) and about the same amount of the water from the broccoli steaming, and a cup of pasta ...

When the pasta was done, I cut a couple pieces of the French bread, and slathered them with cream cheese. Serving the minestrone in a bowl, I sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese and ooohhh, perfect soup, perfect meal for a cold, cold winter evening.

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