Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day Two - Monday

I looked into dethroning bacon, but it turns out that the rules stipulate no retrospective sash snatching. S. was sick all last night, which he attributes to bacon. Not retching sick, but sick nonetheless. I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking anyway. Even good quality bacon tends to make him sick and that's when we don't eat the grease (ugh anyway - but I was desperate after the disappearance of butter).

We're getting cranky and it's only day two. We had a quarrel about who's idea this was anyway?! Which is silly, because this whole thing is my silly idea. Poor S. It's not that we're hungry exactly. We're not. It's more that we're annoyed. I'm used to putting whatever sounds good into my mouth whenever I feel like it, and now that's out of the question. We're like two spoiled children who have finally discovered a boundary. It sort of sucks. And at the same time - it seems so obnoxious to complain. I had a choice in this whole affair and a clear finish date (which isn't actually that far away). I can't say as much for most people living on this stipend.

So we're eating oatmeal for breakfast for the rest of the week. Here's mine with a sprinkle of brown sugar, cinnamon, sugared sunflower seeds, and half and apple.

The sugar sunflower seeds are made by roasting them on the stove top over medium heat with some vegetable oil, a sprinkle of sugar and a pinch of salt. I saved some out for oatmeal and then added more salt and a generous amount of black pepper for snacks.

Lunch is the same every day now: a peanut butter sandwich with homemade bread, one carrot, one banana, one apple (S. only), and roasted sunflower seeds (1 oz for S. and 1/2 oz. for me).

After work, we ate nothing. I didn't realize how much I'm used to getting home and stuffing my face with whatever we have. I was only a tiny bit hungry, that kind of hungry where you think: "yum, chips and salsa", but where you don't actually need to eat chips and salsa. That kind. It was sort of interesting to actually sit down to dinner for real hungry. Usually, I'm more or less sated for pretty much the whole day. It all seems problematic now.

Enough pontificating for the day and let's cook. We had zucchini fritters, white rice, and creamed spinach for dinner. One of my favorite weekend lunches during the summer is zucchini fritters. They're very forgiving - just some shredded zucchini, a lightly beaten egg, some bread crumbs, your favorite cheese (or the one in your fridge), and your favorite fresh herb (or the one in your fridge). The ingredient list:

Zucchini Fritters
4 cups shredded zucchini (from 1 large zucchini)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 oz Montery Jack, shredded
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil.

Here's the mise en place, minus all those little bowls for everything. I am NOT cleaning all those extra bowls....

Basically, I just stirred together the zucchini, eggs, cheese, sage, bread crumbs and salt. Then added the flour - it should make the "batter" look a little like paste. It's gluing everything together (delicious sounding right?). Then I heated the vegetable oil on a flat skillet and dropped the batter to form fritters. I make mine large - about the size of a hamburger patty. Fry on each side until golden brown. It makes 6.

The creamed spinach isn't traditional. It's sort of cheating kind. Here's the recipe:

Creamed Spinach
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
3 cups frozen spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Over medium heat, I sauteed the garlic until golden and then stirred in the flour. Cooked until just beginning to color, and then I whisked in the milk. This will thicken into a Bechamel of sorts. I added the spinach, salt and pepper and called in creamed spinach.

I'm just going to assume that you would prefer not to be bored with the rice preparation or the salad (it's dressed with a simple lemon juice and oil dressing).

And finally, here's dinner

I have to say that while it was decent, there's a real step down given the ingredients. I really love these fritters made with a stronger, salty cheese like feta and seasonal zucchini with a little mesclun salad on top. This did a decent job of standing in given the price difference, but I wouldn't eat them this way given a choice. The creamed spinach was a better impostor. When I said it wasn't bad for frozen spinach, S. said "this is frozen?" which I thought was a nice compliment to the Trader Joe's spinach (maybe it should have been second-runner up for cheap products?).

We decorated our Christmas tree tonight. It's a lovely little thing. Maybe my favorite so far. We purposely choose a smaller, scraggly, decidedly not perfect tree this year, and I love it. It reminds me of home. I was struck by the absence of treats and reminded of the colinearity of food and festivity. Even after pulling out the Willie Nelson Christmas carols, something was missing, and I'm certain it was the cookies and wassail.

Breakfast: oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, and sugared sunflower seeds, 1/2 apple (A. only), black tea
Lunch: peanut butter sandwich, carrot (A. only), apple (S. only), banana, and sunflower seeds
Dinner: zucchini fritters, white rice, creamed spinach and salad.
Dessert: rice pudding (S. only)

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