08.26.11: dinner (orzo with spinach and shiitakes, spicy zucchini and steak topped with tomato and onion)

Steak with Tomato and Red Onion Salsa, Orzo with Spinach and Shiitake Mushrooms, and Spicy Zucchini

I abhor New Year’s Resolutions (I know it’s September, please stay with me, friends). I think the idea that one must wait until an arbitrary day to make a change in life is self-defeating. I read somewhere that the enemy of personal growth is Monday, not because Mondays are bad :( but because we vow to ‘set things right, starting Monday’ and thus never get anything done.

Don’t worry, the self-help portion of the entry has concluded. There is an opposite extreme though, that of someone seeing an opportunity for positive change and going a bit… buckwild I think is the technical term (from the French buquewild meaning ‘holy shit, chill out dude’). So, currently trying to find a balance saddled with a new job that is as fulfilling as it it draining, when I received a cadre of new cookery books from my bro-in-law, yeah I went a little wild.

Commitments in the last month meant we were on the road and out of the house with an unpredictable frequency that made mealtime planning difficult and the unyielding cornucopia of grocerial awesome that is Fairway Stamford left me quite unable to purchase an appropriate amount of fresh, delicious food. So, overbought, overstimulated and bleary from too much celebration and too little sleep, this particular Thursday I came home from work and cooked like a madman.

Our new apartment is blessed with a vintage gas broiler set-up that makes me feel like Henry Hill and (God help me) Betty Draper when I cook a steak and Fairway’s deal with Hereford ranchers means that we have access to very reasonably priced Prime-grade beef, which means the red stuff is popping up more and more in my kitchen. With it I prepared a Mediterranean tomato salsa (I don’t like the word ‘topping’  in reference to anything not involving ice cream sundaes) and a lovely sautéed zucchini with sun-dried tomatoes. Then, for no reason I decided to add a spinach orzo salad that was decidedly Asian in flavor because… well, I wanted to, I guess (deep down I think I was enamored with the concept of slipping the wife some surreptitious spinach along with pasta, like some kind of culinary Trojan horse). I doubt I’ll win any awards for food harmony anytime soon, but I enjoyed myself, the food was great and I added some nice new staples to my repertoire.

The moral, if you choose to take one, is that mania in the kitchen is something to be embraced and a quest for constrained harmony will only result in a loss of zen. Freak out, be careful with your knives and cook on!

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