Over the last few decades, I’ve gotten to know myself fairly well. That happens when you spend that much time with a person. In that time, I’ve learned that if I try to do too much at once that I will do none of it well. In trying to get my non-slug rhythm back, that means I can try to change all sluggy behavior at once. Rather than a nice rhythmic sway it would be full on spaz attack. You should seriously listen to that. It is a spaz attack anthem.
That said, I was suddenly impatient to get going. I decided focus on food first. I’ve spent the last few days updating my pantry so that I have access to some things that have always helped me eat a little better. First order of business was making a nice batch of chicken stock. This makes soup and pan sauces a snap. I reduce it down and freeze it using a silicone ice cube tray. Each cube is perfect for sauce – add herbs, mustard, shallots, jelly, spices, etc. and a simple sauteed chicken cutlet gets a delicious new life. Next up was a batch of caramelized onions. Slice up 4-5 onions and cook them slowly and you’ll have a transformative condiment. You can spread some on a sandwich, add to an omelet, mix into veggies, or as a the base for a sauce or salad dressing. It adds a depth of flavor to just about anything.
Since I was on such a cooking roll, I tackled a few more things. I’d picked up a butternut squash at the farmers market a couple of weeks ago. It has been sitting on my counter since then. Mocking me. Now peeled, cubed, and roasted, it has featured in a delicious salad I brought to work for lunch and will be combined with parsnips, ginger, and chicken stock for soup.
I’ve never liked planning meals for the week. I’m definitely more of a what am I in the mood for kind of person. That means shopping a little more often. In summer, there are 3-4 farmers markets that I can swing by during the week to see what luscious produce calls my name. This time of year, the one year-long market outside my building is pretty slim pickings. I prefer eating locally produced fruit and veggies. They tend to be picked closer to prime and are bred for flavor, not uniform looks and ease of transport. The mid-atlantic has a great growing climate for many things and the markets are just wonderful to wander through. Winter means having to find inspiration elsewhere. I have a fair number of cook books, magazines, and websites I frequent for inspiration. While the chicken stock was simmering and onions caramelizing, I browsed through a bunch to refresh the information kicking around my brain. It’ll make it easier to keep things interesting.
I feel like I’m getting off to a good start.