Do you have food routines? That's not quite the word I want though. It's hard to find one that hits just the right note. Routine sounds so boring, and I'm talking about something everyone looks forward to. Ritual sounds a little too...serious. Custom sounds like it's the practice of my people. But I think you must know what I mean. Do you have foods on certain days, or foods that are signifiers in your household?
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In our house, Sunday is pizza night, and Thursday is often Risotto night. I don't know why exactly, except that risotto can be useful in using whatever might have appeared in our box the previous day.
I often make Beans on Mondays, because that will provide me with plenty for lunches in the week to come. I often think I should do that on Sunday instead, but then we would have to put the pizza somewhere else, and I don't want to—it's such a nice way to end the week.
From time to time I try to work out a weekly map of meals, something like beans and rice on Monday, pasta on Tuesday, stirfry on Wednesday, and so on. I'm never very successful at adhering to these schedules, mainly because I don't have the technique to back it up. Stirfry, for example, is infinitely variable, but I'm rarely satisfied with how mine turns out. If you have or know of a terrific stir-fry recipe or technique, I'd sure love to hear about it.
My aim in all this isn't to routinize our meals even further, it's to provide myself with a framework for meal planning. The core of my produce for the week is decided for me, by the season and by the CSA. Thinking of something new to make every week is taxing—especially when you don't really get to decide what will go in it. A little list of basic (but variable) meals would reduce the time and energy I need to cook from the box every week.
Brunch: Coffee; Scrambled Eggs; Hash browns; Toast
Dinner: Whole Wheat Pizza; Asparagus salad; red wine (1); beer (1)
Time to dinner: 1 hour; Active cooking time: 20 minutes.
We have a good old American breakfast today: scrambled eggs, hash browns, and toast. There's something about toast made from homemade bread that is so much better than store-bought—I can't explain why that would be, but toast from even my most unimpressive loaves is always head and shoulders above toast from bread I buy.
It's pizza for dinner, of course. Cheese pizza, since I missed my marketing day last week and still haven't gotten to the store. It is time to use up the last of this season's asparagus, and tonight I try a simple asparagus salad. I bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the asparagus for exactly one minute, then run cold water as I drain the stalks. Next, I pour some Everyday Vinaigrette into the bowl and put it in the refrigerator to chill.
It's good. My vinaigrette is just oil and vinegar and garlic and basil and salt, but combined with the flavor of the asparagus, it tastes a little mustard-y. Mustard is a traditional ingredient in French vinaigrettes, and I wonder if that would be a better choice to dress this particular dish, or if it would be redundant.
Sunday total: $10.81 (I opened a new bottle of wine). Remaining weekly allowance: $7.15.
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