It probably isn’t a stretch to say that many of you made some health-related resolution this New Years. Maybe you wanted to work out more regularly, perhaps you’re swearing off sugar and white flour because you know they’re of the devil, or it may be something like, “I will not get blinding-drunk at parties, so that I wake up the next day wondering where my shoes are, what that stuff is in my hair, and why there are branches and sand in my bed when I live in the city.” Whatever the case, bravo for wanting to make better choices for your body, and here’s a post on what to do with all of those vegetables that you thought you’d start loving overnight, but, let’s be serious, are now rotting in your fridge.
An aside, I have been doing a ridiculous amount of domestic stuff since the holidays. I sewed an apron (the whole thing. With a POCKET!), crocheted (kinda), mended (3 garmets, 4hrs. tiny holes.), and made shoe clips, which scalded all but 2 fingertips. I feel that qualifies me to give you my recipe for:
- Grab every vegetable turning wrinkly in the fridge- if it’s slimy, slap yourself in the face for your oversight and laziness in letting things fully rot, be sad for a moment for the money you’ve wasted, let guilt creep in because there are children in a far off land that would maul you for that slimy wad, and then toss in the trash.
- Find the dullest knife possible to chop these veggies up, because a) the effort will make you burn more calories and b)you are less likely cut the tip of your finger off like last time.
- Put olive oil in a pan (If you think I know which pans are what, you’re crazy. Figure it out. The flat-ish one.) When it’s hot (med heat), toss in garlic (if you don’t have garlic on hand at all times, stop reading this now. GO away.) that you’ve minced. Go crazy. It’s competing with veggies that are at their most flavorful (since your non-committal ass has let them begin to wither), so any less than 5 cloves, and you shouldn’t even bother. Mincing, btw, involves smacking the side of the knife to each clove to separate from the skin, chopping, sprinkling salt, sliding your knife over the shards to help the salt pull the date-repelling (fact) oil out, chopping more, mushing more. Voila. You reek, but your dish will smell amazing. Only let it sizzle in that oil for 30 seconds to infuse.
- Pat yourself on the back for knowing how to mince garlic AND properly infuse an oil.
- Scour the fridge for a lemon and maybe leftover wine.
- Curse, and run back to the pan to stir and turn down the heat, bringing it back to medium, since you had turned it up in your impatience to heat the oil.
- Check your blackberry to see if you’ve missed anything important.
- Curse because you didn’t think to chop your veggies in advance, and now the oil is ready for you to throw in mushrooms, peppers, chick peas (or some other bean protein from the cupboard), onions, olives, broccoli, squash, and maybe that tofu you bought January 1st, knowing healthy people eat it, but had no clue how to prepare. Chop as quickly as you can with a dull knife, having moved your flat pan off the burner to avoid cooking the garlic.
- Once veggies are chopped, throw them into the pan with a loud, “BAM! Take THAT, Emeril!” and chug some of that old wine.
- The veggies need turned a couple of times, but should go soft in about 10 minutes, which gives you time to boil water for the pasta/grain of your choosing.
- Curse and kick the wall when you realize you don’t have any pasta.
- Check Blackberry to see if you’ve missed anything at all.
- To cooked veggies, add any vulnerable veggies, like spinach, which would be a little gross if cooked for 10 mins, but now is a good time to put it in there. Add the juice of your lemon, and, if you’re feeling the bravado that comes from week-old wine, get some of that lemon zest in there without grating off the skin of 3 knuckles.
- Run for band aids when you’ve grated off the skin of 3 knuckles, and shake your aching fist in the general direction of whomever invented the damn microplane.
- Add a can of organic diced tomatoes, which you keep cases of in your cupboard. From Costco. Tu amor.
- Throw your favorite seasonings in. Oregano or Basil is always a good idea. Fresh pepper-der. Then taste to see if you need any more seasonings, or if some more salt is needed. This is personal.
- Spit taste test back into flat pan, because you forgot to blow on it to cool it off, and now your tongue is swelling and may scar. Stir.
- Throw whatever’s left of the wine in there, not to exceed ½ cup- give it a few minutes of simmering…but not too long. You’ve never understood this silly notion of chefs the world over to “Cook off the alcohol.” Waste not!
- Dump into a bowl, wish one last time that you had pasta, and plunk whatever cheese is in your fridge on top (ideally feta, goat, or parm)
- Carry bowl and any wine remnants to the table. Glass is optional. This is Garbage Sauté, after all. Feel good about having not totally wasted your money and dreams of becoming healthier.
See? Anyone can cook. Now, go forth and purge the veg drawer in your fridge, if it isn’t stuck shut from not having been opened in over 2 weeks….