It just seemed like a night for something warm. The leftover chicken cutlets would be fine, though I'd bought them at a market on the way home last night. Seems impossible to actually make a full meal by the time I am home, feed the dogs, play with them in the backyard, and shovel a walk or two. So I am very grateful for the small market that has a big selection of good, homemade food, which is very convenient when Mr. Pom is in the mood for sushi and I want minestrone. Of course, it is ridiculously overpriced, but one of the benefits of an empty nest is only having to shop for two.
I'd planned on a cutting the chicken cutlets into strips and layering them with black beans over a spring mix salad. By the time I got home, the sun had gone behind the clouds after its two hour appearance subsequent to the 3 inches of snow. When I began scraping up the snow and ice, I could feel the temperature plummeting with the light. By the time I got inside, the idea of cold cultlets and cold salad was as appealing as eating a popsicle in the snow.
What to make? What ingredients to fool around with? What could I find in the pantry if I looked very hard?
I found a box of Adobe Mexican rice that Mr. Pom bought when he thought I wasn't looking. I love Mexican rice, but don't like packaged mix that are so high in salt. And we are both supposed to be off carbs, so I felt guilty just long enough to decide that it was perfect for a Tuesday night.
The produce bin revealed a slightly withering bunch of kale bought last week in a burst of enthusiasm over eating more nutritiously. A quick soak in ice water brought it to life and I glugged some olive oil into a pan, chiffonaded the kale and removed the stems, and added a couple of minced cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, and coriander.
Still, it looked a little "medicinal" for Mr. Pom's taste. What to add to it? Artichoke hearts? Not sure the flavors would be compatible. Tomatoes and diced peppers? No tomatoes a qui. But we did have several differnt kinds of beans and suddenly I was remembering a very simple and delicious dish of garlic and cannellini beans in a little chicken broth with parmesan cheese that I'd had a few weeks ago. I added the beans to the kale, a little more olive oil, and a generous showering of grated parmesan.
I'm waiting for Mr. P to get home. He won't be expecting chicken cutlets, Mexican rice and kale and white beans so I hope he enjoys it. It is easier to scratch up a meal for two. For one thing, there aren't as many competing desires and pickiness as when we were 5. The grocery bill is less but the take out is greater. We force ourselves to eat at the dining room table a few times a week, but in the witner it's cold in there and the living room fireplace is so inviting. I do make him turn the TV off or at least put on the evening news and not TMZ.
Are we turning into an old married couple? You know, the ones with the TV trays, prescription bottles lined up on the end table, a copy of Readers Digest turned upside down on the arm of the chair, and our slippers kept by the front door? We're not exactly there yet, but there is a certaine level of familial slovenliness after 33 years of marriage that we both accept. I have on pajamas and an old sweater by the time he gets home: he rereads The Post, which I can barely tolerate being brought into the house.
It's nice to be comfortable, familiar, and ultimately, feeling that the nest is not empty, just compact-sized.
He's home now and it's time to warm up the cutlets and serve the food.
Which we will eat by the fire while watching TV.
The Tonight Show. On demand. At 7:30. Because who, after all, can stay up to midnight - midweek or weekend and watching ANYTHING?
Oh my, we really have become our parents.