Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dinner at the Gorman's

Well, I've been asked to contribute to the Fort Worth Weekly Blog, called Blotch! I think the first thing I'll do is put a Gorman recipe up once a week. And you can be sure that I expect all 55,000 readers of the hard copy of the newspaper and the tens of thousands of readers of the internet version to be eating whatever recipes I post before I post the next. Got it? There will be tests. There might be unexpected visits to your homes to check on whether there are leftovers or not. Expect the Gormans.
    Okay, I finished a boatload of work yesterday after several days during which nearly 20 people came to the house in Joshua, most of whom I didn't know. That happens around here. So today I was pooped and not in the mood to shop or cook. Worse, there was FW Weekly staff meeting called for 3 PM. So I got up early, drank lots of good coffee--that's a regular and decaf blend for those keeping score--then read the New York papers via the net until I was forced out of my daze and into the real world. That meant filling my trusty 1998 Ford Ranger--extended cab and bed, of course, plus jacked up just a couple of inches to aid visibility--with bags of garbage to take to the dump. Here in Johnson County recycling doesn't exist. Did that, then got my truck's oil changed, then went to the post office to send off several copies of my new book, Sapo in My Soul, which deals with an obscure but very good jungle medicine from the indigenous Matses tribe, to people who sent me money.
    Then off to the meeting.
    On the way home I stopped for a decent bottle of Lockwood 2010 Cabernet--at $11,57 a treat for a journalist--and then at HEB for some chicken backs and necks to cook for Boots, the wonder dog, who loves crunching bones.
    Home, I wanted to open the wine and look at email. Enough work for a free day, right? No way. I'd washed the dishes from last night's meal, but had not cleaned the stove top, so I decided to do that one job before the wine. I still had no idea what I was going to cook for dinner. I looked in the fridge: Left over chopped chuck, a couple of zuccini, a couple of yellow squash, some broccoli and cauliflower, scallions, two onions, a couple of tomatoes, a bag of baby spinach. I got it. It was in front of me the whole time.
    Well, then I figured I might as well put Boots' chicken in the oven (hey, when you buy necks, stripped backs, and stripped breasts and bake them at home, it comes to $1.50 a day to feed an 85 pound watchdog, much cheaper than canned food). While I was attending those things, I figured I might as well get some rice ready, so I reached for my always-full cup of chopped garlic in olive oil. Damn, it was out of garlic. Which meant I had to chop three heads to fill it up so that I could make the rice, have left over for the dinner, and then more for salad dressing and left-over ready-to-go fantastic garlic for tomorrow.
    So I chopped the garlic, covered it in olive oil, put one tablespoon into the rice pot, seared that to brown, added water and sea salt, brought that to a boil and then added good Basmati rice. To the touch, not measured. While waiting for that to come to a second boil, I put on a small pot, cut some broccoli and cauliflower, small pieces, then a yellow squash and zuccini--cut in quarters, lengthwise, then sliced in roughly 3/16 inch pieces.
   Then I was waiting for two pots to boil, so I figured I might as well get some chopped meat going. Put a thick bottomed saute pan on high, put in a touch of oil, then a pound and a half of good ground meat. The idea for the dinner was starting to come together.
   When the meat was cooked to a rare, I drained it to eliminate the fat, then put the pan back on the stove. I added three tablespoons of garlic and olive oil--Ok, I'm lying, it was four--then added a diced red onion. When the onions were clear, I put the meat back in, cooked a few minutes.
    I put the chopped veggies in the boiling, salted water, covered the rice with a plastic bag from HEB and then a cover and dropped the heat to the minimum. By the time I did that the veggies were par boiled so I pulled them, drained them, and ran cold water over them to keep their color and consistency.
    Veggies and rice ready, I added maybe seven cleaned and diced scallions and three diced roma tomatoes to the meat. Then I added four tiny packages of Goya Sazon (achiote e culantro) to it to turn it red and give it a bite; to that I added maybe three ounces of good white vinegar to give it an extra bite, then coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper--you can never have too much of that--and a can of Goya organic black beans. Oh, I forgot to mention, most of the veggies were organic. When all the kids were living at home that was impossible, but now, with just Madeleina and the 20-odd guests for dinner, it's become affordable to eat without killing my daughter.
    Then I walked away to write this and enjoy a glass or two of that Cabernet. Which I'm doing now.
    Madeleina has rehearsal for a play and won't be home for another half hour. I have the meat and garlic and onion and scallions, tomatoes, and black beans on very low. The rice is on very very low. When she shows up I'll turn the heat up, add the veggies toss and then add rice to it. I'll add more red colorant--maybe achiote from Peru's jungle--and then a bit of organic vegetable stock. When it's all good and fantastic, I'll probably toss in three slices of really nice cheddar cheese and add that till the whole thing is a sort of wonderful muck. It's gonna be great. It's kind of like the kitchen sink of dinners. But how am I going to go wrong with all those veggies, good rice, good beans, good cheese, and good meat. And if you're a vegetarian, make the whole thing without the meat. It'll still be fantastic.
    Let's have a bit more of that wine, shall we?


Unknown said...

You should post some of your recipes on here! Your cooking sounds delicious! :)

Peter Gorman said...

Becky: The whole blog is sort of filled with them, only they're not exacting recipes. They're feeling recipes. Making a meal here is pretty much just the way you read it in Dinner at the Gormans. I start out with an idea, change it three times, see something at the store that catches my eye and makes my mouth water, get home see what there might be that would go with what I bought, and start hurling things together. I'm good, so it almost always comes out fine, and of course, if I'm gonna do lamb chops I know not to boil them or put them in the microwave, but beyond common sense, it's all feeling, working to get the spirits of the various ingredients to give up their best for me and mine. If I really had to start measuring things, I'd go crazy. I mean, sometimes the cilantro has more flavor so I use less; sometimes it's gone a little limp so I have to use more. It's hard to measure that, it's just a sense of the spirit of the cilantro I'm working with. Much more than you wanted to hear, right? Sorry!!!!!!!!

Unknown said...

Haha, I totally understand Peter, I'm the same way. I love reading your cooking posts. Gives me ideas on what to make for dinner too!

Just finished your Sapo book recently too. It was great! I'm gonna review it on amazon soon.

Take care :)