I know that was a lot of becauses, but sometimes there happens to be a long chain of causality, okay? a chain which led me to the inevitable conclusion that I should be sensible for just about the first time in my entire life, and figure out something to make out of the bountiful ingredients already in my well-stocked house.
So, the assessment of possible already-there ingredients included:
- a soft persimmon
- a suspiciously soft blood orange
- potato chips
- a shocking amount of 2 liter bottles of various caffeinated soft drinks
- granola bars
- pasta of all kinds, including those pasta side dishes in a bag
- (in case you can't tell, college-running-post-missionary son and I went to the store on Friday)
- various legumes
- a bunch of cheese
- some smoked salmon
At first, when I thought I might run to the store at the crack of dawn, I was thinking I might make a version of this delicious Thai soup I had at Cafe Trang this week. Alas, no time for lemongrass. So I thought perhaps I would invent some kind of fancy chowder that used smoked salmon? But then I thought, I know: I will Google Orangette to see what she has to say about all of this. And that's how I ran smack into the best idea for a day when your trees are laden with snow and you feel lucky not to have spiraled off the road into a wintry death: red lentil soup.
Did I have red lentils? I did. So I made this soup and commend it to you for your wintry hours.
Then, I took the arugula and some mint I had, washed and tore it up into a bowl, then slivered up a teeny sweet orange pepper I had languishing in the fridge, and two pears for sweetness. A vinaigrette, with sherry vinegar in the vinegar slot and a little garlic and a little mustard to sharpen it up, and that was a good salad. I also put some delicious crackers on a plate with Point Reyes blue cheese and the smoked salmon.
For dessert, I made chocolate cake. While I had Orangette doing my research for me, I used Orangette and chocolate cake as search terms, and came up with this recipe. And of course I made adjustments. For the flour, I used a little bit of organic unbleached white, some white-wheat, and some delicious unbleached cake flour. Instead of canola oil, which I did not have, I melted some butter, and why not? Also, I happened to have some full-fat buttermilk which was thick and gorgeous and made this cake a champion. Finally, I did not have any cream so ganache was not possible. Instead, I had the teeniest amount of vanilla ice cream, so I put a spoonful of that and a spoonful of blackberry jam (mine) next to the little cupcake, unwrapped on a plate. And those three flavors--the dark dark of the chocolate, the milky ice cream, and the purple fruit--were divine.
So after the writing group friends left, singing son gave me a call. "Are the Jazz playing tonight?" he asked. I told him they weren't. "Well, what are you having for dinner?" Soup, I told him. And so he and his little family came over, and my writing group repast did a second stint, and it was just as good the second time.