When our son was a teenager, he was always hungry (as are most teenagers). He would stride into the kitchen, day or night, and shuffle the contents around, looking for quick meals (cold pizza, leftover mac ‘n cheese, burgers, etc.). Usually, he came away empty handed or partially-disappointed. One day he announced in frustration: “there’s nothing in here but ingredients“, as he stormed out of the kitchen.
That was 20 years ago, and now that he is an accomplished chef, things have changed with him (on rare occasions when he comes home). The refrigerator, however, is much the same. The contents are still ingredients, with a fair supply of leftovers as well. Today I had 25 minutes to make a lunch, and I decided to do something creative with what I could find. There were a variety of ingredients — some raw, some prepared — plus leftovers I could strip to make an ad hoc salad. I think I will rename these food elements “components“, since you can configure them flexibly in a variety of ways to make a meal.
Here’s today’s salad concoction:
- one small raw parsnip, already peeled (and not very crunchy anymore). I cut it into fine julienne strips.
- one leftover grilled Portabello mushroom, with roasted Napa Cabbage pieces and garlic slivers on top. I cut this into 1/2″ cubes.
- one slice of leftover eggplant in saor, marinated in cooked onions and vinegar, Venetian-style. This was chopped up and added to the salad bowl.
- one tablespoon of “sofrito” base for pasta sauce or soup, made from finely-diced onion, carrot, celery, and tomato
- 3 tablespoons of roasted and peeled, green Hatch (NM) roasted chile peppers. Usually these come from a can, but Whole Foods had some fresh ones, so several days earlier, I had roasted them on the grill, peeled and chopped them, and covered with olive oil.
- 2 tablespoons of a Spanish tomato-garlic-cumin vinaigrette I made the previous night
- olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper
This unlikely mélange turned out to be a tasty, healthy, and easy lunch. Even the parsnip pieces tasted good.
No wine today for lunch. Had an appointment in the afternoon, so no time for the old-man-with-wine-at lunch nap.