Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Sink; Tonight's Food

So I was washing veggies in my sink and suddenly thought: How many hours of my life have been spent looking into sinks? For at least 59 of my 65 years I've either been employed in an Ice Cream Parlor, a restaurant or cooking at home. I've peeled tens of thousands of pounds of potatoes looking into a sink--90 percent of them while working as a 12-15 year old at Cresthaven Country Club in Queens, NYC--and spent countless hours washing veggies, washing dishes, washing sinks. It might average out to an hour a day for 59 years. That's a long time to be staring into a metal hole.
    I've also spent a lot of time--I mean a LOT of time--cutting and cooking veggies and meat and fish. Tonight, I'm alone and was not sure what to cook. I've got a rack of ribs in the fridge--but that would be way too heavy and I'd only eat two before I was turned off at the notion I was eating an animal. I have a nice piece of salmon, but I had that two nights ago and then yesterday for lunch I had the leftover, so forget that. I've got a half-pound of swordfish, but not in the mood. I've got left over chicken thighs--already roasted a few days ago--and could make one of them into a burrito (with fresh pico de gallo, beans, avocado, sour cream and cheddar), or a chicken salad with celery, onions, and mayo, or I could put them in a pot with celery, onions, garlic and tomato and make a nice soup, or do 30 other things with them (just eating things, not dirty things). But I'm not in the mood. I've also got sausage, peppers, and onions (with garlic, of course) and tomatoes left over from a couple of days ago, but again, I had it twice, once when I made it on Friday, then again for Sat. lunch, so I'm not in the mood.
     So what am I to do? I settled on a sort of Spanish Beef with Veggies. It's a concoction I make a couple of times a year and there are probably a million other people who make something like it. Start by sauteing 1 1/2 pounds of chuck chopped meat in a heavy skillet with garlic, salt, pepper and a bit of oil.
    Once brown, strain the fat and put the meat aside.
    While you're making the meat, put on good basmati rice with garlic and then add achiote for flavor and coloring. The rice will be yellow/orange and very tasty.
    While you're doing that stuff, cut broccoli and cauliflower into small florets, cut a zucchini and a yellow squash lengthwise, then cut into half-moons about 3/16 of an inch thick. Put the broccoli and cauliflower into salted, boiling water. Wait two minutes and add the zucchini and squash, cook for one more minute, remove from heat, put under very cold water until cool, then drain.
    When the pieces are ready for the puzzle, get a deep saute pan and put in four tablespoons of good olive oil that's had minced (fresh) garlic in it for a couple of days. The garlic goes in as well. Add a nice-sized diced red onion; when the garlic is done and the onion is see through, add a diced sweet red Bell pepper and a diced tomato. When that's all good, add the meat and then salt and pepper and add achiote (you can buy it from Goya) and a minced handful of cilantro. When that's looking good, add the veggies and cover with a big--maybe 5 ounces--handful of fresh organic spinach. Add a can of organic black beans and more achiote. Stir it all up for about 8 minutes or 6 minutes until it's good and hot and you're about to go crazy for it. If you're in the mood, top the meat/veggie mix with a good quality of cheddar cheese that you've minced.
    Serve that over your yellow rice.
    That's good eating.
     I've made that dish while I was writing this. Almost done. Time to add the meat to the garlic/onion/red pepper/tomato mix. So I'm still 10 minutes away but nearly done.
     Of course, now that I nearly have it finished and have written about it, I'm not in the mood for it anymore because it feels like I already ate it. Damn.
     Maybe I'll just go for a salad instead.

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