We’re deep within the dreary season, the gloomy months, the foggy brain days. We’re in the place that was called the “doldrums” in that very clever children’s book called “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster. It’s difficult to become excited about anything, unless of course you’re a fan of A. Political Caucuses or B. the Superbowl. Both are mildly interesting in my opinion, but definitely not enough to lead me out of the doldrums.
And when I went to prepare my meal plan earlier this week, it was all flip, flip, flip through cookbooks, magazines and recipe emails. And it was all dull, dull, dull. I finally decided to make it a week of cooking familiars, without a recipe, and to deal with the uninspired consequences.
And so on Monday we had Hot Pepper Chicken over egg noodles, an old family recipe that’s always popular and reliable. It’s really not more difficult than sautéing 4 – 5 cloves of chopped garlic in olive oil, adding cubed chicken breasts and about 4-5 hot cherry peppers, dried oregano, a little bit of chicken broth, and the vinegar from the pepper jar, bringing it all to a simmer, covering the pot and letting it simmer for about 30 minutes. I thought I had given you this recipe a long time ago but when I went to link to it, discovered that I had not. Oops. I’ll put measuring my ingredients the next time I cook this dish on my to-do list.
Last night I prepared braised pork chops, and when I went to look for my recipe for this dish, guess what? I couldn’t find one! I guess I’ve just stumbled on this way of cooking pork chops in the past, but don’t have a tried and true familiar dish. Luckily it’s another simple preparation. Put several tablespoons of flour in a resealable plastic bag and add some salt, pepper, dried garlic, and cayenne. Put pork chops into the bag and shake to coat. Heat frying pan and add two tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is heated, add chops and brown on both sides. Remove chops to a dish and set aside. Add two diced carrots, two diced celery stalks, and 1/2 diced onion to pan and saute until they soften. Return chops to pan and add approximately 1 cup of chicken broth, and a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce. Bring to simmer, cover and cook approximately 45 minute until chops become tender, so tender they fall apart with a fork. Probably the only great way to eat a pork chop.
My plan tonight was to make Italian Wedding soup, and I do have a recipe for it on this site! Woo hoo! Not. Because once Louisa heard that was the dinner plan she balked. And since it’s midterms week, and I want her to eat a dinner to nourish her brain, I’ll need to come up with something else. Because even if I’m not inspired this week, Louisa needs all the inspiration she can get to face those grueling exams.
I’m off to slog my way out of the doldrums to figure out what to cook. Wish me luck!