My Monday night routine is back (minus Gossip Girl, which has been moved to Wednesday nights), and it feels so good. After what seems like ages, it's nice enough to run outside. I didn't even need a hat or gloves. Once tired (which took no time at all), I came home and started chopping, boiling and sizzling in the kitchen. Feeling so bold and a bit desperate, I cooked some horrible, out-of-season tomatoes into edibility with garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil, and sauteed some greens.
Previous bad experiences (i.e. canned spinach that made me gag--an infamous story among my family), kept me away from cooked greens of any sort for far too long. Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, bok choy; they're all glorious. They lend themselves so well to butter and garlic. They're crunchy, yet the wilted ends are so creamy (but not mushy).
After however many years it's been of me cooking for myself, I think I've got the one-plate meal down. Pasta, check. Soup, check. Stew, got it. I've been ready to take on meat and poultry for some time now but keep putting it off. Meat is more expensive; it takes longer to cook (usually); I don't eat that much; I cook for myself most of the time and it feels a little sad to be making a big ordeal of dinner when it's just me. I think that last one is probably the clincher. How pathetic to be sitting watching "Friends" at home alone instead of eating with them.
Get over it, Lainey. My new goal is to make a real meal, one with sides of potatoes and vegetables, once a week. Starting ... next wek. In the meantime, here's another one-plater.
Macaroni with tomatoes, chard and goat cheese: serves 2
2 cups macaroni
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 pound Swiss chard, stems discarded and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
goat cheese to garnish
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cook macaroni or other small-to-medium-size pasta until soft but firm to the bite. Drain and set aside.
In a saute pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil on medium. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and saute for several minutes. Add the garlic, continue sauteing until the garlic has turned a golden brown (1 or 2 minutes, tops). Add the chicken stock and wine. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat and allow some of the liquid to boil off so the volume is cut in half by the end of it. After it has reduced (5-7 minutes), add the chopped chard. Stir while it cooks. Add the pasta to the saute pan once the chard has cooked through and turned a brilliant green color (about 4 minutes). Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. Add a couple dollops of goat cheese to each bowl of pasta. Stir to incorporate.