I’m starting to think that snack dinner is our equivalent of leftover casserole – you know, a bit of this, a bit of that, finishing off a few things that are in the fridge or that looked appealing during the last minute run to the store. (I’d link you to the episode of Malcolm in the Middle that talks about leftover casserole, but in my memory, it’s a just a throwaway laugh, not worth any further mention. We’ll see if I’m wrong.)
I wasn’t feeling up to making, much less eating, the risotto we’d planned on having for dinner tonight, so Shane ran up to Plum to get a baguette and a few other things to have with a tin of tuna and whatever veg side I could throw together during his shopping trip. I came up with two: spinach sauteed with butter and garlic (and a bit too much salt, which is something you’ll almost never hear me say) and a wee butternut squash, cubed and roasted with ras el hanout. And I’m not ashamed to say that we finished all of it – baguette, tuna, veg, and a bottle of wine – over the course of the evening.
I’ll be honest with you: it is difficult to remain disciplined in your healthy eating when you encounter something like this:
That’s a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache, made for us by my boss, and served with chocolate and also vanilla ice cream at a small party in our honor. I tried to be virtuous. I really did. I cut myself a “one-nut piece” and spooned out some vanilla ice cream. And then a little more of each. And then maybe I ate one of those curly chocolate bells – just the bell, not the cake underneath it. And then we went to Dominick’s with a few people. And then we had a snack dinner.
Shane’s favorite grapes, which I included in our wedding vows because it was important to me to remember. Golden beets from our garden and the market plus a couple of huge sweet garlic cloves, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic, then wrapped in tinfoil and roasted at 375 for about an hour. Green beans from the market, but Szechuan pickled by me.
Sopressata. Sharon Hollow goat cheese with garlic and Tellicherry pepper, a $5 impulse buy. The last of a loaf of Italian bread, and a handful of tiny cherry tomatoes that sprung up by surprise in our garden.
Green beans from our garden, quickly blanched. Cucumber and radish freezer pickles, also from our garden.
All in all, a glorious spread.
Breakfast: sausages, an asiago bagel sliced into four pieces of toast, fried eggs for Shane and slices of tomato for me. Weekend Edition Sunday and the puzzle. Coffee. A late morning attempt at geocaching turned into half an hour of wandering in the woods. Who knew that we could wander in the woods without leaving our neighborhood?
Lunch: I had intended to riff on this recipe for dinner last night, but we ate at weird hours, and so pushed this back to today. While I prepped and grilled mushrooms, zucchini, and a purple pepper on our grill pan, Shane picked basil and whipped up a quick batch of pesto. We spread ricotta on toast, then topped it with pesto or fresh basil, piles of vegetables, and a drizzle of balsamic crema. Soo good, especially followed by a moped ride downtown, walking around in the sunshine, and froyo from Lab.
Dinner: We picked up more chickens from Back 40 yesterday, but neither of us felt like chicken. We did, however, feel like end-of-the-fridge snacks: corn on the cob, edamame, asiago from last week’s snack dinner, an assortment of pickles, and homemade beet chips using wee beets from our garden and a recipe from the Spanish cookbook. They started out as small colorful coins:
And after a short swim in very hot oil, they ended up like this:
Not really big enough to dip in the salt-and-peppered ricotta, but totally delicious anyway. A fine way to end a fine weekend – and also another recipe knocked off of the Spanish cookbook challenge.
While we usually save leftovers for weekday lunches, the Tupperware and take-out boxes were piling up in the fridge, so instead of making new meals, we opted for side dishes or snacks to go along with reused meals. Breakfast was leftover Dimo’s french toast for Shane and yogurt with tart cherries for me. For lunch I had the remaining half of Jeremy’s french dip from Knight’s, while Shane had a leftover burger. As a side, I made Parmesan-roasted broccoli, which looked prettier than it tasted (too much lemon). Dinner was supposed to be albóndigas in a tomato sauce with sauteed greens – instead we had a tin of fancy tuna, vermouth onions, cornichons, asiago vecchio, asiago rolls (yes indeed, a funny pairing), and baby crimini mushrooms sauteed with butter and garlic.
The boxes are nicely cleared out, which means it’s time to start cooking real meals again. Maybe tomorrow.
Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts from Ezra Pound Cake
I don’t know what was happening with our meals today. I really don’t. We were both starving after work, and I had good intentions of running after SELMA prep, so Shane ate the last of the stir fry, and I made up a couple of tacos. By the time dinner rolled around at SELMA, Shane was starving, so he snacked on bread and cheese and Lisa’s delicious slaw while I made the batter for a tart cherry clafoutis. We came home early so that Shane could watch the LeBron debacle, and by the time that wrapped up, I was hungry again – meaning a late-night snack of homemade granola and also no run for me. Alas.
This week has really made it clear to me how much we rely on meal planning to get real food on the table. We had dinner plans Monday night, and last night we scraped together leftovers. Tonight, lacking both leftovers and dinner plans, we had snacks:
Beets from the farmers’ market, roasted in a tin foil packet with olive oil then dotted with a bit of goat cheese. Sopressata from Trader Joe’s, picked up with just this kind of situation in mind. The last crackers from the pantry. A bottle of sparkling cider.
As Shane said, these dinners are always the best. But I still can’t wait to get to the market this weekend, and to have real meals once we have real groceries on hand.
Shane left for DC tonight, so I’ll be dining solo for a few days. This will mean one of two things: I will either go out for meals by myself, taking my book as company, or I’ll eat incredibly weird things at home.
I like to think the latter tendency is a brown-eyed trait – my dad has always been good at making weird piles of leftovers or using up the last of a couple of boxes of cereal when left to his own devices. When I cobble together meals like this, as I often do when Shane is away, I feel like I’m both a kitchen martyr, taking one for the team so that food doesn’t go to waste, and also a super homemaker, making a meal out of things that would otherwise likely be thrown away.
Tonight I fell somewhere in between. I grabbed a bite of take-out on the way home from the Flint airport – not enough for a full meal, but enough to tide me over – and then had a snacky dinner of a biscuit and blanched asparagus, followed by a few strawberries and part of a banana. While making granola later, I snacked on pecans and dried cranberries. In total, I think I had a real meal, but it was spread out into bits and pieces over the course of a couple of hours. We’ll see if my meals get better or worse from here.
The universe wanted us to eat cheese tonight. We had other dinner plans, but when a cheese board and a set of cheese knives arrived in the mail from Kristen and Lyle, I thought, hmm, maybe we should use these with the City Goat we picked up at the Creamery!
…and then there was a knock at the door, which was the Fed Ex man delivering a bottle of champagne from Mel and Ray. So that was that, we were having cheese and snacks for dinner. A round of City Goat with a layer of roasted red peppers. The last of a wonderful Gouda picked up at the Deli a week or so ago. Slices of Paesano and focaccia warmed in the oven. The last of the market asparagus, blanched then topped with flakes of sea salt. A bowl of muscat grapes, sweet as candy. Not a large meal, but a flavorful one.
Snacks for dinner tonight – a wheel of Sharon Hollow, some excellent Gouda, homemade crackers and homemade hummus. Shane’s coworkers took us out for happy hour tonight, and when we got home, the chicken I’d intended to cook was still frozen. So, back into the freezer it went, and we snacked instead. It’s just one of those weeks – lots of more important stuff on our minds than cooking.