Wednesday, January 26, 2011

in which i lack cast iron.

so my lack of ability to look ahead more than half a day at a time is really coming back to bite me on this whole meal plan for a week thing. the first day was a lot of fun. the second day started to get a little annoying. and today? bordered on just plain painful. a lot of that pain and annoyance could have been easily avoided with just a little bit of pre-planning for the week. but hey, i had a meal plan to do that for me, right? i'm finding out the hard way that there is a difference between having a week of really good meals, and having a really good week of meals, and its going to take more than just a bunch of good recipes strung together to make my life easier.

breakfast was another morning of whole grain cereal, skim milk, and a piece of fresh fruit (which i ate in place of my morning snack again). no problem. i even put my peeled banana into the freezer in preparation for tomorrows second attempt at banana smoothies.

for lunch today, since i only had to pack my own because Mark got free lunch at work yesterday and would be eating yesterdays lunch today, i decided not to make the leftover shrimp and rice into fried rice as was suggested by the plan. i just had leftover shrimp and rice and asparagus. and it was still good. but you might like to note that reheated asparagus is not nearly as delicious as freshly cooked asparagus.

i never got around to eating my afternoon snack today, because the markups i was working on today were not very conducive to slimy vegetable finger foods and dip.

and dinner tonight? i hardly even want to mention it. i'd kind of like to glaze over the whole process, slap a picture on this bad boy and call it a night. but since you are all getting such a kick out of my own culinary masochism, i will at least hit the highlights.

as i read my evening prep section, i was told to start the stew immediately upon arriving home from work. well, i did not do this. because isntead i took some time to take some pictures of what my world looked like outside. it was something like this:

let's try that one again...

getting closer...

there it is!

now on a day like that doesnt coming home to a nice hot bowl of chicken stew just sound delightful? yeah it would have been nice if i would have read my evening prep section before this evening and learned that i could have made this into a crock pot meal which would have been waiting for me when i got home from my harrowing commute in the snow and ice with the idiot maryland drivers. *facepalm*

but i kept going, right up until the first line when i read that i was to make my stew in a cast iron dutch oven. hmm. that might have been nice to know, considering none of my cookware is cast iron. perhaps it should have been on the shopping list for the week.

so i decided to skim the next recipe just to know what exactly i was getting myself into tonight, and i come to find that i'm supposed to make my cornbread in a cast iron skillet. again, NONE of my cookware is cast iron. so i called my sister to figure out reasonable substitutes for my lack of the appropriate pots and pans, and i pressed on. cuz hey. i'm just that dedicated. or maybe just that hungry.

and then i got to the recipe for the braised collard greens, and i read that they would take 2 HOURS to make (which was not mentioned at all in my evening prep section) and did i mention that the stew would take an hour of its own since i was not making it in my crockpot? (or a dutch oven either) things just kept getting better.

i managed to convince the husband to help me out and make the cornbread while i fought with the stew and the collard greens, and its a good thing or i think i might STILL be trying to get dinner on the table. but we eventually did get there.

the stew, which ended up being made with chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken, frozen veggies instead of fresh, and a mix of spices that i cant even begin to remember (because i just made it up... the recipe said to just go crazy!) was delicious. maybe a little salty, but very much worth the wait.

the cornbread was also pretty amazing. it was moist, and dense, and not burnt, and filling, and very tasty. a definite win.

i wish i could speak as highly about the collard greens. actually, i wish i could say anything positive about them. now i have never 'braised' anything before, but if what we ended up with tonight was the result of the braising, i will never EVER braise anything ever again. to say put it nicely, they were rather zesty with an aftertaste that kind of tingled the back of your throat. which really means they were some pretty potent stuff or whatnot of questionable texture that made your mouth burn and your eyes water. Mark was a better man than I and actually finished his, while my first bite made me almost fall over my chair in my haste to get to the garbage can to spit it out.

but all in all, i would have to count this as another successful meal that did not come out of a box, allowed us to eat until we were full, and left us with a little bit of hope that while we may lack many things, we will make it through this week, maybe learn a little something, and be better for it.


Miss Brenda said...

Oh, Amidala. Braising is not your problem. You are genetically predisposed to spit out collard greens. We got them in our bountiful basket one time. They make good compost.

Valerie said...

If you want to try something that's braised that you'll enjoy...try this recipe...
It's become a holiday staple since I made it for Turkey day last year. Maybe next time instead of those yucky collard greens