My Pandemic Diary, Entry #6

A fat squirrel from this morning's walk.

My Pandemic Diary, Entry #6

Hello Fellow City Cooks,

It’s Sunday and I’ve declared it a day of rest.  But before the rest I’m making sure I have a day with some order:  I made the bed, took a shower, Mark and I took a walk despite the rain, I’ll do a couple of loads of laundry, and I’ll send you this diary.

Cooking and Groceries

Tonight’s dinner will be the last piece of salmon I had in my freezer plus asparagus, which I bought from our neighborhood sidewalk fruit and vegetable vendor a couple of days ago. We had been on our morning walk and as we approached home, we took a slight detour to see if our vendor was still being a heroine and set up for business and there she was. I always have a shopping bag in my pocket so I filled it with oranges and the asparagus. I think I will steam the stalks and not roast them as I often do because roasting shrinks the asparagus and two small bunches will become one. The nutrition may be the same but I’m also going for satisfaction so I’ll steam and then dress them with a little olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Last night’s dinner was roasted chicken thighs plus spinach with chickpeas and lemon, a favorite vegetable recipe from Marcella Hazan that I’ve made for many years. It’s simple: first cook one pound of baby spinach. I just put it into a big pot with a pinch of salt, add no water as the moisture in the leaves is sufficient, cover and put over medium low and with tongs, give it a toss now and then until the leaves all soften and wilt. Transfer the spinach to a colander to drain while gently pressing out the excess water with the back of a wooden spoon. Return the spinach to the same pot (first tip out any moisture that may still be there from the spinach), and add a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, and 1/3 cup of olive oil. Gently combine everything together and heat over medium low for about five minutes. By the way, you can easily use frozen spinach and it works just as well. Just be sure to give it a squeeze after you defrost it so to remove any excess water.  I think two boxes of frozen spinach would probably equal what a pound of fresh spinach reduces to.

Yesterday morning as we came home from our walk, I finally picked up our mail which had been waiting for the previous few days and it included several magazines, including this week’s New Yorker which is always a treat. The magazines, plus a cup of tea, will be my afternoon holiday.  I hope you, too, will find a way to have an afternoon holiday.  After all, even if we’re not able to easily know what day of the week it is, it is the weekend.

Stay safe and make a nice dinner.

Kate McDonough

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