Simple and Impromptu Dinner
October 10, 2015
I'd had a rough day, so I was sitting on the chaise reading a cozy mystery and feeling sorry for myself. DinoVino WineScribe had attended a tasting of 140 top Bordeaux wines that afternoon. When he came home he opted out of dinner, having scarfed a sufficient quantity of bread and cheese while he was sipping and spitting. The Frontdoor Organics food box had been delivered at 4, so I had at my disposal four bunches of kale, two of collards, and one of spinach, not to mention five pounds of sweet potatoes and (what will I do with this?) a quart of organic whipping cream that some gremlin had tacked on to our basic order.
Feeling puny from the day's navel-gazing, I didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Some people might crack open a bottle of wine or make themselves a Negroni to counteract the oh-what-a-day-I've-had feeling. But not me! I'll save the wine and the Negroni for a happy day. The balm to MY spirit is my own food.
I started my supper with kale chips. When I'm cooking only for myself, I don't bother to decide on the menu before I begin cooking. I just make a start and invent the rest of it as I go along. I washed, stemmed, dried (with a tea towel), and coarsely cut half of a bunch of kale, rubbed it with a little olive oil and sprinkled sea salt on it, then put it in a 250 degree oven for 30 minutes. While that was being monitored by my new timer, I cooked the other half of the first bunch with garlic and olive oil to form another part of my in-process meal. (The remaining three kale bunches I parboiled for freezing. Ditto the collards, though I first stacked and rolled them, then sliced them in thin-thin ribbons, Brazilian style, with my sharpest knife.)
By now the kale chips were done, so I stuck three of the skinniest sweet potatoes in the oven, re-setting it to 400 degrees. I gobbled down the kale chips, which are crisp, salty, and irresistible, while I figured out what the rest of my meal was going to be.
I toasted two slices of my homemade spelt bread, rubbed them with olive oil, and topped them with the garlic/kale mixture. By the time I had eaten these (slowly, with a book in front of me), the most slender of the sweet potatoes was done, so I skinned and buttered it and ate it. (You may be gasping in horror at all the olive oil and butter I'm making free with, but you have to remember: I'd had a stressful day. And as for my buttered sweet potatoes, I knew the extra Vitamin A from the butter would soothe my spirit.)
I ate the next sweet potato as soon as it was ready. And that was the end. Having eaten a sublime sufficiency, I saved the third sweet potato for another day.