The Joy of Throwing a Meal Together
Honestly, there is nothing that brings me more culinary joy (in regards to my chef abilities at home, of course) than throwing a meal together with literally whatever I have in my fridge and pantry.
There’s just something that happens, this quick thought process where I quickly take note of the ingredients on hand- usually ones that traditionally do not suit one another- and I start thinking. If the ingredients are particularly (seemingly) in-cohesive, I’ll take to the internet, as one does these days. Pinterest is my favourite for diving deep into the depths, and once there, deep inside, THAT is where pure gold can be found.
Start out by simply typing the ingredients side-by-side in the search bar: pomegranates, onions, asparagus. I can only imagine the beautiful salad suggestions that would appear.
Tonight, I was finally going to make this three hour Braised Short Rib Spaghetti by The Original Dish that I’ve been drooling over all week. I purchased the beautiful short ribs on Tuesday but just couldn’t quite bring myself to tackle the labour of love that I knew was waiting for me inside that nicely wrapped red package in the fridge (our butcher’s signature packaging).
I began much later than originally planned (4:45 PM to be exact) and started the arduous, but inevitably oh-so-delicious project. Things started out well, until the braising wasn’t in full-on braise until 5:45! Where’d that hour go?! Now my 8PM dinner is looking like a 9PM dinner.
Well, there’s still hope somehow it’ll be ready sooner. 6:30 hits, and our stomachs are growling. Okay- plan B.
Disclaimer- we love pasta for dinner (obviously, since we are humans and all), and we love pasta for lunch, but one of our absolute most favourite times of the day to eat pasta? Brunch. Yes, brunch. Think about it- throw some of that leftover pasta that has now intensified in flavour by melding and hanging out overnight, into a hot pan, get it steaming, get it tasty, some extra cheese, another drizzle of good olive oil on top, AND THEN- the pièce de résistance - the fried egg. Boom. It’s heaven. Would you believe that we usually just put a trivet on the table and eat it hot out of the pan? I know, very uncivilized but the Mister just swears it’s the only way to get the full effect of the flavours. I’ve been convinced, but only at brunch does Miss Manners allow such a faux pas to be allowed. Anyway back to tonight…
So, now that I’ve decided that the now four-hour-braised-short-ribs-over-bucatini (which I switched it to because imagine that incredible braised beef sauce soaking up into those incredible little pasta straws!!) will make the most fabulous brunch this weekend, I move on with my menu for the pressing issue at hand- dinner tonight.
Opening the fridge, I saw the fabulous _________ anchovies that I splurged on this week at our lovely European market for hubby. They are truly fabulous and I was worried they would go unused, which would be a travesty. Okay, anchovies. First Ingredient. Anchovy toast? No good bread. That’s out. Well, pasta? I have been craving pasta this week, not sure why. To pinterest I go. “Anchovy Pasta”. A bit of browsing, and there it is. Sicilian Anchovy Pasta with Toasted Breadcrumbs or ‘pasta c'anciova e muddica’.
The aforementioned blog post is from 2010 (and posted on my birthday, no less! Always a good sign…) and it’s the only one I saw like it on Pinterest. Often, these recipes that fly under the radar are some of the most unique while still utilising the ingredients that are at the forefront of the culinary scene today. I digress.
A simple, beautiful recipe. Perfectly easy and allows the fabulous, high quality ingredients to sing. I had some fine Italian cappellini in my pantry from The Smokehouse in Chesterfield, MO- my hometown- that was just dying to be used. Paired with the ____ anchovies, freshly made bread crumbs, lovely olive oil, and a quick friend egg, this meal was on the table in about 20 minutes, and I kid you not- we were both moaning and slurping and remarking on this remarkably simple, unbelievably satisfying, deeply flavoured dish.
I’ll make it again soon, and I’ll photograph it this time. And I’ll share my tidbits on what I did that I think made these flavours sing just a teeny bit louder than expected.
There’s no feeling of success like that of knowing you’ve used up ingredients that needed to be used, in a meal that was fun to cook, that was also satisfying and delicious. Moral of the story- create your own recipes based on what you have. Freestyling in the kitchen is a favourite past time of mine, and it is epically rewarding.
** These beautiful photos are from their original sources, I will hopefully be posting more of my own finished products as they come. Patience for now and thanks to their lovely creators!!**
Good Night & Dobar Tek!