Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dinner, a Chance for Civility

It’s been an unfortunate week and I am very glad that it’s almost over.

Every week has the chance to be great, but this one missed the boat.  Time and success slipped away from me, so I focused on reducing the collateral damage.  Damage control is hard work.  It left me feeling breathless and anxious, running hard with no destination in site.  Today was bad enough that I wrote the following haiku in an e-mail to Matt.  (I love haiku.)

I want some good news
To announce itself loudly
If not, tears may flow.

I wasn’t reduced to tears, but there was a moment when I thought I might be.  I powered through the rest of the day, eyes dry and head held high, and when I arrived home, I ran off my frustration in a springy new pair of running shoes with a storm brewing overhead.  The sky’s angry energy mirrored my own, but I made it back to my front door dampened by just a drop or two of rain.

Buoyed by my apparent good luck (and so grateful I didn’t have to spend a single minute in a gym tonight!), I decided that dinner ought to be a calming affair tonight, a chance to reclaim my sense of civility and decency.  Admittedly, the dinner menu was a little odd, but it comforted and nourished me as a good dinner should.  I started with a flour tortilla, slicked on one side with olive oil.  The other side was piled with a spicy tofu scramble and juicy roasted tomato halves.  I grilled the tortilla over high heat in the new skillet that Matt gave me.  While the heat was on, I tossed together a big salad of baby lettuce and ever-so-thinly sliced fennel, dressing them with olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

I dolled up the dinner table with a burning candle and one of my fancy water glasses.  The salad bowl was placed off to my right, a tub of sour cream to my left.  I brought my tostada to the table, poured cold water into my glass, and sat down.  I even took a moment to say a little blessing in my head, knowing that gratitude is the best seasoning of all.

Then I ate.  I dabbed a spoonful of sour cream on the tostada.  Every mouthful was surprisingly delicious—the crispy flour tortilla, the spicy, slightly chewy tofu, the toothsome richness of the tomatoes.  Though it was a “make do with what’s in the kitchen” supper, it certainly made for a pleasant meal.  The salad was refreshing, even though I thought that I’d added too much oil to the salad bowl.  It tasted just right to me, and the fennel was a delight with its faintly exotic licorice notes.  Fennel is such a wonderful palate cleanser that it’s becoming a regular in my vegetable crisper.

For dessert, I turned to what is for me the ultimate comfort food: cold cereal.  I’d already had two desserts today (a square of shortbread and a slice of Daine’s yogurt cake, both of which were excellent), and though I wanted something sweet, I wasn’t in the mood for a proper dessert.  Instead, I dug into the pantry and pulled out a box of Nature’s Path Optimum Blueberry Cinnamon cereal and a half-empty bag of Arrowhead Mills Puffed Corn cereal.  Into a too-small mug I poured equal parts blueberry cinnamon and puffed corn cereal and gave the whole thing a good pour of milk.  Then, because I was so greedy, I proceeded to get cereal all over my table and myself trying to dig my spoon into the bottom of the mug.  The whole thing, including the mess I made, pushed all the right buttons and I ended dinner feeling like something had at last been made right in my world.


ammie said...

Isn't it great how just the right food can turn things around? I'm sorry your week needed damage control, but hopefully the weekend will be better!
Also, now I want cereal.

Rosiecat said...

I want cereal now too! And I just ate breakfast :-)

It's so true, Ammie. I have a habit of wolfing down my food, but I really want to have more meals like this one to set the tone for the rest of the day. Why am I hurrying all the time? Perhaps because there is always more work to be done...and I need to learn that in order to relax, I can't always be focused on what needs to be done next. It's so hard.

Here's to a happy weekend for both of us! I've got a fun surprise for the blog tonight, so stay tuned...I'm excited!

daine said...

How was the tofu scramble seasoned? The meal you described looked really bland to me until I realized that the tofu was spicy. I still use tofu whenever I can, but I have a hard time getting it as potently flavorful as I'd like and I often just use beans instead.

Interestingly, I made a very similar meal the other day for myself and spiced it up with the pickapeppa sauce you gave me. I wasn't sure what I was expecting it to taste like, but it was even better than I'd hoped.

Rosiecat said...

Ha! Daine, your comment cracked me up. My food? Bland? Although if I'm honest, it wasn't the best meal I've ever eaten in my life. So it goes sometimes :-) The textures were really great though, especially the tostada--crispy against chewy, creamy against toothsome.

My tofu was seasoned with a few teaspoons from this taco seasoning recipe , made with a few tweaks (no garlic or onion powder, adding 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp. table salt instead of sea salt). I love the idea of a homemade taco seasoning, but this one is a work in progress. It's missing something right now...

My favorite tofu scramble recipes are both from my friend Nicole. Her family's tofu burrito recipe is amazing, and this Southwestern Tofu Scramble is delicious for dinner with cheese and some spicy roasted potatoes. Matt suggested we try the Southwestern Tofu Scramble with smoked mozzarella, which sounds delicious to me, so I'm hoping we try that the next time we cook together. Yum!

PS Pickapeppa sauce! I've never tried that with tofu, but it sounds intriguing. I'm putting it on my list!