Day 90: Recipe reading optional

March 31, 2007


I used to be able to multi-task, or at least I’m pretty sure I could. Reading, knitting, watching TV, keeping up a conversation; no problem. Working on the computer, talking on the phone, writing three lists; easy. And then we had a baby. I use that as the cut-off date for the many things that I used to be able to do (including showering daily, looking in a mirror before leaving the house, and changing any clothes with stains on them); mainly those requiring brain-power. Ongoing sleep deprivation, plus the relentless demands of a toddler mean that I feel like I can no longer even fire on half cylinders. Most days I need a jump start (and not in a good way). And so today, trying to cook and carry on a conversation about work almost doomed this meal to disaster. Fortunately, or tragically depending on how you look at it, tonight L was in a similar place, as the cold that he had last week ,which he presumably gave to me, now seems to be angrily coming back around to him. So between us, we almost made a right mess.

Fortunately however the Grilled Turkey Cutlets with Warm Cranberry Salsa and Sautéed Sweet Potatoes were very forgiving and we made a decent, in fact excellent, meal. L chopped the sweet potatoes into wedges rather than half-moon disks and put them on the grill pan. After we left them to burn quite spectacularly, we read the recipe, and realised that the potatoes were on the wrong pan at the wrong heat, and were in fact the wrong shape. We repeated the exercise with the leftover chopped potatoes and managed to brown them slowly in oil, season them with salt and pepper, and serve them with parsley. We ditched the extra butter as they were all ready quite fat-saturated. I’m sure they could have been oven-cooked for equally good results using far less oil, which can be an experiment for another day.

The cranberry salsa was pretty foolproof, involving red onions, dried cranberries, cranberry juice, a jalapeño pepper, chicken broth, honey, lime juice and cilantro to taste. We ditched the cilantro in favour of parsley, and I threw in a wee bit of my leftover Christmas cranberry sauce towards the end for good measure- it thickened the salsa and added a boost to the colour.

The grilled turkey cutlets were actually remarkably tasty. Today we played the hilarious game of one person has 5 minutes to attempt to read a book, while the other person has 5 minutes of pure torture trying to stop a toddler from tearing a book shop apart with their bare hands, and swap, and swap… Anyway, the point being, in my relaxation time, I grabbed the nearest book which was about whether or not to buy organic food. Wow, the parts I read were horrifying, specifically those relating to the meat industry. This was not new information, more like stuff I already knew but had filed under “feel free to conveniently forget”. Although I hadn’t considered the wider environmental impact of pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and so on further down the food chain. L also perused the book when he had time off for good behavior, and we agreed that we had to buy organic from now on. So we went to our nearest natural food coop on the way home, and found organic turkey. Grilled with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning on a grill pan, with a splash of lime juice to finish, the turkey was remarkably good.

Overall, this meal is a winner, particularly the sweet potatoes, which were fantastic. The cranberry salsa had a bit of a kick to it which added a little extra something to the whole meal. Even the poultry was good. We’re giving this meal our highest praise, as if we’d read the recipe in advance, this would have been ridiculously easy, relatively cheap, and extremely tasty. Much better than Christmas dinner. Tomorrow we are having a British meal, Fancy-Pants Bangers ‘n’ Mash. We failed miserably in finding British sausages, which I believe have way more starchy filler inside than their meaty American counterparts, but we have the blandest sausages we could find. I heart bangers and mash more than maybe any meal, other than beans on toast, so have high hopes for tomorrow, although the fancy-pants aspects sounds highly unnecessary.

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  • Reply Doctor D April 1, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    I can’t wait to see what Brit and pseudo-Brit do with Bangers -N- Mash! I’ve never heard of beans on toast, I suppose like “Beans on Jacket Potatoes” as my Sheffield mates say?

  • Reply Helen | One Year Project April 1, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Same beans, different base. Toast (buttered) beans and melted cheese; comfort food heaven. Vegetarian too, maybe I could make it for you one day!

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