It’s the end of a day that began with a 7:15 a.m. meeeting you were late for because your front right needed air. Many meetings, emails and whatnots later, your eyes burn and you wonder where all your energy went after so much sitting. You walk your pup, (or watch your aging dog sit and watch the world pass by) then (hand) feed him his supper. Food…what to make for supper…? Sigh. You open the fridge.
Eggplant. Borderline. Asparagus? A little limp. Hmm…popcorn night? No. You’ll be gone over the weekend and husband will not cook the vegetables. Out they come. Keep going. Lots of peppers. Too many. Reduce them by one. One half onion in baggie, leftover linguini, a container of Mache. Goat cheese…well lookie here! Someone bought some prepackaged spicy chicken meatballs!
Suddenly, you shift from end of day drabs to thoughts of candlelight, food shared over wine and a good conversation. Where is that wine?
I pour a glass and start pulling things out of the fridge, making a display on the butcher block, feeling a spark of inspiration. I think of a French film. I’m in it.
Without so much as a note of Blossom Dearie playing in the background, I’m pouring olive oil in the iron skillet and throwing in chopped onions and chunks of eggplant. The aroma hits with the sizzle. The house is warm with glow. Sautéing onions always does it for me. Next I break off the heads of the asparagus and set them aside. The limp stalks get tossed even though I know I could boil them or do something not to waste them, but they look pathetic. When did I buy them..? It’s odd that the tops are still perky. Next, in goes red pepper slices, a good grind of pepper and a sprinkle of Mediterranean salt.
Wihout my glasses, my eyes groan as I try to read the directions on the meatballs but can make out something about chicken broth, zucchini and tomatoes. I remember I have a half carton of broth, a zucchini that’s crying to be eaten, and some cherry tomatoes, which I soon discover are soft. In a separate medium sized saucepan, I turn the heat on high, throw it all in the pan with more ground pepper, salt and a few shakes of Parmesan, while the eggplant, peppers and onions start to smoke next door. I flip over each nicely browned eggplant chunk with my mom’s cooking fork just as she used to do, and then layer the asparagus and pasta on top, giving it a good swirl of olive oil.
While it all cooks, I (pour a little more wine in my glass) put the Mache in a salad bowl and coat it with olive oil and some sprinkles of apple cider vinegar, toss and top with goat cheese and, yes, fresh ground pepper.
Husband walks in from buffing scratches out of his car and vacuuming leaves out of mine. “You’re already on your second glass of wine?” He asks.
I avoid answering as I mix the meatball mixture into the eggplant pasta while he lights the candles.
And that my friends is Wednesday night supper. What have you made out of leftovers lately…?
Seriously Sam? You make me hand feed you, then you bring me your ball-ball…?