We’ve become those kind of competitors who don’t particularly like each other but have learned to coexist. And unlike the last two rounds, even with extra time tacked on, the LID isn’t defeating me this time. Sure, it’s made me frustrated, and it’s even made me cry once or twice. But beat me? Not a chance. Not with three days left.
This last week has been one of less creativity and more repeats of what worked in the weeks prior. It was hot and I was tired–of food shopping, of cleaning dishes, of slicing fingers open with all the chopping and dicing and mincing. But I was also hungry–and share a house with someone else who was getting hungry, too–and so cook I did.
I returned to some of the tried and true recipes: black bean, tomato and avocado salad; pasta with roasted veggies; couscous with tomato and cucumber. (Trust me, that last one is about 100x better with some feta and olives mixed in.)
The BBQ sauce was aptly applied to grilled chicken over the 4th of July, and the pizza was born of desperation. I’m not sure that this condo has gone more than two weeks in the past 11 years without pizza gracing the kitchen counter, and more than 30 minutes had passed since I last made something involving yeast and proofing dough, so off I went in search of a good pizza crust recipe. If you’ve ever been to the Smitten Kitchen website–or if you go now–you’ll understand why I’ve been trying to avoid it while on the LID. But I remembered seeing some pizza recipes there, and Deb did not fail me on this one. It takes a little time for the dough’s first rise–about two hours–but the rest of it comes together quickly. It must have been good dough to win high praise from me without cheese.
Also notable from last week: short ribs, braised in red wine. I’d never had short ribs before, but I had watched them get destroyed by countless Top Chef contestants over the years. They usually tried to make them in too little time–one thing I’m not lacking these days. I was, however, lacking the ability to use a bunch of ingredients listed in just about every short ribs recipe, including beef or veal stock. Also missing: a stomach for the amount of fat that comes off of short ribs. Yuck. The ribs tasted good–especially over my roasted garlic mashed potatoes–but I’m still grossed out by that giant cup of fat that I skimmed from their sauce. I’m glad I made them, but gladder still that I’ll be back to fish by the end of this week.
The only recent failure: trying to make steel-cut oatmeal. I’ve known steel-cut oats are supposed to be better for you than quick oats, or something. The quick oats ran out late last week, and I’ve been trying not to buy more LID food what with it ending on Friday, so I turned this morning to the steel-cut oats.
Ewwww. What are these things supposed to taste like? Because mine bubbled over, leaving burned residue all over my stove and a film on the oats, and then devolved even further into undercooked goop. I tried to improve it with brown sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon. It worked until I accidentally dumped about 5 tablespoons of cinnamon into the oatmeal.
I’m really ready to return to cereal–with milk–in the mornings.
You might guess that I was really happy to have other people cook for me last Friday.
Our good friends hosted an LID cookoff last Friday, inviting others to comb through the LID cookbook, adapt a favorite recipe, or to go really crazy and come up with something new.
The results were fantastic (begging the question: why didn’t I have these people cook for me all along?). We had bruschetta and bison sausage-stuffed mushrooms for appetizers, followed by salad, spinach with raisins and pine nuts, asparagus and avocado salad, mushroom pasta, grilled portabellos served on top of homemade hamburger rolls, and pork roast. (Blame/credit my visiting vegetarian sister for all the mushrooms on the menu.)
And don’t forget the desserts: homemade meringues with berries, napoleon ice cream pie made with bananas, and my improved hot fudge pudding cake.
Let’s just say we didn’t go home hungry. I also didn’t have to use my prepared Padma-like dismissal lines. Maybe I was just feeling warm and generous and on a sugar high after the meringues.
Cocktail of last week week: cheap, cold riesling from Whole Foods. Couldn’t tell you the name of it now but it did the trick on a 105-degree day.
Cocktail of today: champagne. There will be some bubbly tonight, toasting in advance to a successful iodine treatment tomorrow. Feel free to drink along with us.