It was nice to see Louie making dinner again a couple of nights ago. He’s been working long hours lately and has been too exhausted to do his usual magic in the kitchen. We have missed his dishes over the last couple of weeks. So, the ladies of the house stepped up to the plate. When the going gets tough, the tough get takeout!
Our recent dinners have been delicious Cuban fare from Versailles restaurant – juicy roasted chicken, roasted pork, rice, black beans and plantains, and before that, gorgeous fried chicken from Poppy Cake Baking Company - all made with beautiful ingredients, wonderfully seasoned, tasty, and most of all, low salt.
But for the next dinner, we decided to go light and make vegetable fried rice. We rummaged the fridge and came up with Brussels sprouts, little French green beans, a red onion, button mushrooms, and eggs. Sweet and simple, right?
Not so much.
What I thought would be a quick meal to put together, became a production, just the way Louie likes it. My task was to cook a pot of our staple organic whole grain brown rice grown by Koda Farms in California (an heirloom rice rich with protein, calcium and B vitamins).
I silently cringed when I saw Louie methodically chop each ingredient, putting them in separate bowls, and setting them aside on the dining table. Then he cooked each separately and, again, set them aside. When the rice was ready, he brought out the heavy red Le Creuset pot, put the rice inside, and one by one, added the veggies followed by the eggs, gently mixed them together. Before that, though, he asked me to take a photo of each cooked ingredient to remember for future reference. (I, on the other hand, cook the veggies together in the wok, add the rice last, and Voila! Done.)
But with Louie’s version, the distinct flavors of the veggies took center stage. A few extra steps turned our “simple” vegetable fried rice into an extraordinary meal in a pot.
But there’s more.
In the mood for another light dinner, our hunt in the fridge turned up eggplant, fresh corn on the cob, tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, leftover fried chicken, and pita bread. Now, this will be easy. I would make roasted eggplant salad – my mother’s recipe with chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper. Served cold or at room temperature, it’s ridiculously easy and a delicious summer salad.
The last item we needed was hummus to go with the pita bread, which I would buy from the Mediterranean restaurant down the street.
“No…I’ll make the hummus,” Louie immediately said.
“Huh?” I asked incredulously.
Then he said, “I just need to buy chickpeas…”
Suffice it to say that the hummus project ensued with vigor but was interrupted a few times by business calls and emergency emails. (I just paced quietly around the house.)
Flavored with garlic, tahini, lemon juice, ground cumin, kosher salt, Italian parsley, and extra virgin olive oil, the hummus eventually came together.
The verdict? The lightest and most elegant hummus I have ever enjoyed.
The lesson I learn each time Louie cooks?
Let him be.