Loyal readers, I am introducing a new feature on the blog! It's called (hence the title) Recession, Party of One. You are all of course aware of the dismal state of the economy, but many of you may not be aware that Ross (my highly significant other) just moved to our nation's capital to embark on the next great stage of his career.
On my lazier nights, it was always nice to know that I had him to cook for - and he has developed quite a sophisticated palate, and really became a great judge.
Since it's just me now (well, actually, there is a new member of this little household, but we'll get to that later), I've been trying to formulate a game plan about how to handle cooking for one. Cooking for one person poses a few problems; first, it's impossible to find food packaged in single portions, second, leftovers are delicious, but you can only eat leftovers so many times before you start craving something else, and third, what you don't finish gets thrown out. Which leads me to the recession part of the game plan - how do I continue to cook satisfying food for just little ol' me without breaking the bank (oh, and, ahem, since I'm living alone now, my rent has doubled - yikes)?
Oh, and another thing - I don't have a TV! While I'm trying to convince myself that all this new "me time" will culminate in a personal creative Renaissance of sorts, I'll be honest - not having TV sucks! Thank God for Hulu...
All this has inspired this new feature. The first installment: Curried Leftover Porkchop over Jasmine Rice.
Ross and I had an amazing last-night-in-Chicago dinner at the Landmark Grill (which I highly recommend), and Ross got the pork chop. When the waiter brought it, I actually laughed out loud. It looked exactly like the dinosaur chop that Fred used to eat on The Flintstones - we're talking Mastodonian proportions, here. Even he could barely make a dent, so I was left with a mastodon thigh to finish off this week.
I've been reading up on different ways to make simple curries, and that's what inspired this meal. The most interesting thing about this dinner is that I didn't purchase one thing from the store - which is impressive, considering my fridge is by and large empty. But I somehow managed to find the components for this meal.
First, I'll tell you how I ACTUALLY made it, then I'll tell you how I'd adapt the recipe in the future for less Recession-mandated meals.
CURRIED LEFTOVER PORKCHOP
1/2 c. leftover pork chop, diced
1/2 white onion, sliced thinly
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
7-8 grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. frozen green beans
1/4 c. cashews
1/3 c. heavy cream***
1/3 c. milk
2 T. olive oil
1-2 T. "Moroccan" spice mix***
salt and pepper
Sriracha (or other) hot sauce to taste
1/2 c. dry jasmine rice
***The Moroccan spice mix is something I made myself awhile back - I think I mixed turmeric, cumin, curry powder, chili powder, salt and pepper in an old hummus container. I'd say just look around for a Mediterranean spice blend, or, better yet, get curry powder.
***You could also replace the cream and milk with plain yogurt.
Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside and keep warm.
Heat the the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook the carrots, onions, and tomatoes, seasoning with a little salt and pepper, until beginning to soften. Add about half the spice mix.
Add the pork to the mix and saute for a few minutes. Then add the other half of the spice mix. Turn heat down to medium and add the cream and milk. Taste, and add some more spice mix if need be. Season with salt and pepper and hot sauce to taste. Stir in cashews and green beans. Cook until the green beans are hot and the sauce has reduced enough to be creamy.
Serve over rice. Enjoy!
This dish wasn't half bad. The pork chop had a deep smokiness that was a little strong in the dish - in the future, I'd use chicken, tofu, or just veggies. I'd also use fresh green beans or bell peppers - maybe even some sweet potato or butternut squash, which I think would really bring out the sweetness in the cumin. I would also add fresh cilantro (when WOULD'NT I add fresh cilantro), and most likely use yogurt instead of cream (the cream in my fridge was scary-old, but it smelled and tasted fine. If I'm dead tomorrow, though, we'll all know why). This would also be delicious over a more biryani-style rice, with saffron and peas, or over fried rice...mmmm.
Hey, for a meal that had an incremental cost of $0.00, I'd say I did pretty well! Maybe when this darn recession is over, I'll start a feature all about really, really expensive foods! Ha - that'll be the day.
I hope you all enjoyed this first Recession: Party of One installment! As promised earlier, I'll wrap up by addressing my cryptic reference to a new apartment resident: she's Sascha, my new tortoiseshell cat! I adopted her this afternoon, and we are absolutely as in love as a human and cat can be. She's snuggling by me as I write this, in fact.
Thanks for reading! Check back soon for a Fearless Paella post!