Did I ever mention that our nearest takeaway is two blocks away from where we live? It’s a Thai restaurant, and depending on who is cooking, they usually do a fantastic Tofu Pad Thai. That is where we wanted to get our food from tonight. After a long, long day taking care of Baby A who is sick, feverish and extraordinarily clingy, for me, and a very very early start at work for L, the last thing we felt like doing tonight was cooking. Or, more precisely, going out to the grocery shop in the subzero temperatures of a frigid Minnesotan night, in order to have all the required ingredients to cook. Yes, while I bathed the miserable baby (who incidentally would not touch the burger from last night), L went out for a leek. The vegetable that is, in case you were wondering.
However, thirty five minutes and plenty of dishes later, the Oregon-Style Pork Chops with Pinot Noir and Cranberries; Oregon Hash with Wild Mushrooms, Greens, Beets, Hazelnuts and Blue Cheese; Charred Whole-Grain Bread with Butter and Chives [recipe] was served. For a recipe that contains so many ingredients that I thought that I didn’t like (kale, beetroot, hazelnuts, blue cheese), the Oregon Hash was surprisingly delicious. The combination of flavours and textures was utterly unexpected and yet they worked together beautifully. This will be a keeper, which means that maybe we’ll finally empty the various jars of open beetroot in the fridge. The leek/ cranberry/ wine/ stock/ butter sauce for the pork chops was also delicious; one of the best uses for dried cranberries that I can think of. The pork chops were a little blah, but that could be a combination of our meat-fatigue, plus average cuts of pork, rather than the fault of the recipe.
On paper, thirty minutes doesn’t seem like too much of a commitment to make each night to cooking a “nutritious and delicious” meal. (I do have an issue with the fat content (see title) but I won’t go into that again today.) What I am beginning to realise is that previously we would usually cook in around twelve minutes- the time it takes to cook pasta and stir in the pesto, obviously. Somehow the twenty to forty minute meal has translated into higher standards for us than previously. With the time investment, plus the preparation time and clean up, we are expecting increasingly great things from each recipe, so we are probably more critical than we once were. It is hard to keep in perspective that 30 minutes is a relatively short period of time in which to cook, in the grand scheme of things. I’m hoping that the meal tomorrow, Honey Nut Chicken Sticks is fast like the wind.