First, the bad news: Milo has spontaneously started saying “Yum-O!” despite having had zero exposure to the Rachael Ray (we have no TV.) I always thought that he would be older- perhaps wrapping our car around a tree- before I would be forced to disown him. But I think we all saw it coming; not even the fact that he looks unbelievably adorable rocking my Grandfather’s vintage and yet totally of-the-minute skinny ties is going to be enough to save our relationship. We had a good run while it lasted.
We’ve been trying to keep it simple lately; I’m busy in the studio and with other projects so dinners have become decidedly unfancy as a result. I think that once the seeds come and I start thinking about the garden I might be inspired to make some more wintry feasts before the menu lurches- by way of a ubiquity of ramps- into spring. It’s also fun, if in a quiet way, to wring interesting meals out of a few non-luxe ingredients. This one was a case in point.
There was a half-bundle of pad thai noodles in the cupboard, so I soaked them in warm water and got some other things going. A container of shredded cabbage that didn’t fit in the kimchi crock made a comforting side after a sautée with fenugreek, coriander, and mustard seeds and then a braise in sake. Half a cucumber, peeled, made a quick little salad with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Half a bunch of kale got a quick wilt with smashed garlic and a deglaze of lime juice. I made a sauce for the noodles out of peanut butter, sesame oil, a couple of vinegars, nam pla, ginger, kabosu juice, and soy sauce, and dumped the softened noodles into the empty kale pan to cook for a minute before tossing in the sauce along with some leftover sautéed brussels sprouts.
We had some more Ommegang beer- a “Three Philosophers” which is a dark ale to which they’ve added 2% cherry lambic. I didn’t know this, or I wouldn’t have bought it; I think fruity beers are almost as bad as the Rachael Ray. Having said that, 2% was not so overwhelming, and it did go pretty well with the food. Maybe I’ll keep the kid after all; in this economy it might be worth putting some pleated jean shorts on him and giving him a cooking show.