Today was one of those days. It wasn’t terrible, but enough little things went wrong that I felt weary and slightly sad by late afternoon.
Buying and selling houses is expensive, you know? Alan and I are budgeting because we spent $1000 in the last few weeks on real estate costs: buying a title abstract and survey to sell the Rochester house, paying for an inspection for the Hartford house. I know buying a house costs money (duh), but I thought it was mostly mortgage and such… So our grocery budget is pretty much used up for the week.
I looked in the mostly-empty fridge this afternoon, and then the freezer. I found some leftover pork ragu and was pretty sure I had cornmeal in the cabinet for polenta. OK: polenta and pork ragu. That’s easy. But I needed a vegetable. I knew we didn’t have any greens; I usually serve polenta with braised kale or sautéed spinach. I knew I had frozen peas, but that doesn’t seem to go well with polenta. Oh, and I had two bags of frozen sweet potatoes! I could cook sweet potatoes!
The first bag of sweet potatoes was opened, and super-freezer burned. So I tossed them. I read the directions on the second bag, and one of the recommended preparations was to roast them. All right, this is shaping up into a nice dinner: pork ragu, polenta, and roasted sweet potatoes. I opened the bag and poured them on a cookie sheet, and they were also freezer burned. So into the trash can they went.
I had some fresh sweet potatoes, so I thought that they might work: third time’s a charm, right? I quickly peeled and chopped one large and two small sweet potatoes. I also peeled six cloves of garlic. I dumped the potatoes and garlic on the sheet pan, and drizzled some oil over them. Then I sprinkled some salt and dried rosemary, and ground some black pepper over them. I tossed them together–they were smelling good at this point, and stuck them in the oven at 450.
The pork had thawed, and smelled really good. The aroma blended nicely with the roasting garlic and rosemary. I set a timer for 10 minutes, and thought to myself that this dinner was coming together pretty well, considering. My day still was kind of gray, but at least I’d have a nice dinner with Alan.
The timer went off, and I pulled the sheet pan out of the oven. I went to the gym this morning, and the workout was some heavy lifting. My wrists were a bit tired, and before I knew it, the sweet potatoes fell on the floor of the kitchen, like so:
I briefly considered scooping the potatoes up and roasting them for another 10 minutes. But then I thought that it’s been a few days since I mopped, and the cats eat in the kitchen, and so I called Alan. He didn’t answer, and so I swept the potatoes up, making them the third bunch of sweet potatoes I had thrown away.
I thought for a minute that I could call the tomatoes and onions in the ragu the vegetable of the meal, but it just didn’t feel right. [Side-note: do you consider tomatoes and onions to be vegetables when you plan your meals? I guess I don’t. If we’re having tomato sauce, I still want another vegetable. And if I put a bunch of onions into a stew, I don’t think to myself that that stew is full of vegetables. They’re ingredients, not vegetables. (Yes, I know that’s a weird non-dichotomy.)]
So I found a sad heart of romaine in the crisper. After I had removed the wilted leaves, it was even smaller and sadder. But made it into two tiny caesar salads, and I served dinner. It was delicious, and I should be happy. But I’m bummed about the sweet potatoes, and it just wasn’t a very good day.
Alan’s making some yonanas now, which might improve things. And there’s always tomorrow!
Question of the day:
Do you consider tomatoes and onions to be “vegetables” when you plan your meals? Have you had any recent kitchen disasters or disappointments?