Thank you all for your encouraging comments on “Stretching the Crumbs.” Too often I have the feeling that I’m talking to myself around here, so it’s nice to hear that some of you find new ideas and inspiration in the recipes I share here. Along those lines, I thought I’d complete my train of thought and tell you how the rest of the week panned out, foodwise.
I think I left off at Tuesday night with a somewhat bland cauliflower pasta dish. On Wednesday night, I didn’t have the heart to face the pasta dish again, so I reached for a different leftover: mujadara, with which I ate some cabbage which had been seared in a wok and seasoned with a little hot sauce and lots of soy sauce. The cabbage dish, which I’ve made before, is totally delicious and one of my favorite things to make when I don’t know what to eat. The recipe has many charms: it’s fast, healthy, and almost surprisingly rich with flavor. I sort of like making the cabbage and then assembling a meal around the odds and ends that are hanging out in my fridge (hence the mujadara). Dessert was probably a slice of that terrific peanut butter pie. All around, this was a great meal.
On Thursday night, I decided I was feeling brave enough to face the pasta dish again. This time, I took my own advice and added two entire cloves of garlic, chopped, to the pasta before scooping it into a glass baking dish and sliding the whole thing into the oven. At the table, I added some more caramelized onions for flavor and ate my pasta alongside some leftover cabbage slaw. The pasta was much improved over Tuesday’s version, and I woke up with scary garlic breath on Friday morning.
On Friday, I was lucky enough to have someone else paying for my lunch and dinner, as my lab hosted a postdoc candidate with whom I ate my meals. Lunch was a tuna fish sandwich, which I ate only because there was no vegetarian option, unless you count “no lunch” as a good option, which I do not. I find work lunches to be rather dicey when it comes to my vegetarian preferences. It’s not unusual for me to bring a lunch even when I’ve been told lunch will be provided, but on Friday I was feeling tired and lazy, so tuna fish it was. I do like tuna fish; I just don’t eat it because it’s an animal. (And my faux-tuna sandwiches are terrific. Sometimes I crave them and have to run out for the ingredients post-haste.)
For dinner, we went to Los Cucos, which I have decided is my favorite Mexican restaurant in town. I’ve written about this place before; the food was good back then and it was good last week too. There were four of us at dinner, and our tiny table was covered in plates of enchiladas and tall glasses of beer. Me, I had a mojito, and it totally hit the spot. It was so good that I’m thinking 2011 should be my Year of the Mojito. Care to join me? We can sit on my patio and watch the Texas sunset while sipping our cocktails.
Finally, Saturday morning rolled around, and I hadn’t been to a grocery store since the previous Sunday. I was running out of my basics—only one egg left, just a little butter still sitting in its glass bowl—but I made the most of what I had. I tossed that one egg into a ramekin with some cubed bread and caramelized onions, and the whole thing went into the oven for a bit. I pulled this savory French toast out of the oven to sprinkle some cheese over it, then gave it one last burst of oven heat, and pulled out the perfect Saturday lunch. I ate it alongside the last of the cabbage slaw, over which I had diced a green apple.
The combination was quite lovely: rich layers of eggy, cheesy bread, the sweetness of bronzed onions, and the bright crunch of cabbage and apples. It was a good meal on its own, and it tasted even better knowing I’d made such good use of my resources. Of course, after that, I went to two grocery stores and spent too much money as usual. But I remain steadfast in my belief that spending money on good food is as sound of an investment as I can make with my dollars. There is nothing more valuable than my health (or your health!). Everything in life—success, happiness, pleasure—starts with good health. Yes, I will spend almost four dollars on eight ounces of butter (organic, made from the milk of grass-fed cows), but for that I do not apologize. I just say, “Would you like a piece of toast?”