Dinner sometimes takes on a decidedly haphazard feel. Or, rather, to call on my English major self, I approach dinner in a very haphazard manner. My younger, freshly minted English major self would never have dared to cook in this way. She would have followed a recipe to the letter, or called it a complete and total failure. Skip to today and this is how my older, over-confident self now approaches dinner…
Step 1: Find recipe for Pork and Potato Green Chile in current issue of magazine. Decide it sounds good and put it on menu plan for week. Add required ingredients to shopping list. Decide that I’d rather use a can of posole from pantry instead of potatoes in recipe.
Step 2: No Anaheim chiles to be found in Whole Foods. Pick up a poblano instead. What the heck, it’s a chile? Pick up can of diced green chiles to toss in for good measure.
Step 3: Prepare to cook dinner. Smack head as I realize I forgot to pick up the jarred tomatillo salsa, the last item on my shopping list which was obscured by all of the other crossed-off items. Frantically search for jar of regular salsa in pantry. Find none. Consider whether chili sauce leftover from New Year’s Day shrimp cocktail sauce will work as a substitution? Is it even still safe to eat?
Step 4: Realize that specified cut of pork is way too marbled with fat for our family’s taste. Begin to trim off fat, losing half of the hunk of meat as I cut up the cubes. Conclude there will have to be severe rationing of portions. Plan to double the pepper jack cheese on top. Healthier than all that meat fat, right?
Step 5: Oops, didn’t pick up two white onions this week as I should have and used the only one on yesterday’s roast beef. Will have to use a yellow onion instead.
Step 6: Shred up entire block of pepper jack, not just 1/4 cup. Refer to Step 4.
Step 7: Decide against adding chili sauce. Substitute chicken broth for water. Don’t bother measuring, just pour until it looks like enough.
Step 8: It looks kind of done, let’s check the seasoning Louisa. What, needs more salt? Okay, how about now? More? Here’s another handful. More? Okay, this has to be too much. Conclusion around the table, Louisa’s tastes have become way too salty. My fault.
Step 9: Oh, we need a vegetable. Let’s run those zucchinis through the spiral machine. Now what? Hmm, boiled and buttered sound good to me. Oh, and salt too. This isn’t why I wanted that gadget. Help, somebody, give me a good spiral vegetable salad recipe, please, before I have to invest in a butter company.
It’s a miracle that something passing as dinner makes it onto the table some nights.