What I’m quickly realizing with my new job is that the “crazy week” scenario from before our week-long Thanksgiving vacation is pretty much the every week scenario. Given how the first two full weeks have gone, I’m going to be making some adjustments to how I plan.
- I’m slow cookered out. I’m struggling to find recipes that don’t result in the same soft, slightly wet texture. Does that just come with the territory? I suppose the other big use of the slow cooker is breaking down tough cuts of beef and pork, but that’s moving in the opposite direction of what we’re trying to do.
- I don’t like having to heat my lunch up every day. Part of that is stemming from wanting to eat things with a variety textures and part of it is that the best place to eat at work is outside, a short walk from the office, and it’s kind of a hassle to carry a hot, open bowl (of mush) with you.
- We need more partially-ready components to throw together later in the week. Wednesdays are hard.
MONDAY – Asian Night: Thai Green Curry & Eggplant
Green Thai curry is a snap to make. You warm up some pre-made curry paste with maybe some fresh ginger and garlic, dump in a can of coconut milk, and then gently simmer vegetables, meat or shrimp, or tofu just until they’re cooked through. That’s it.
A fellow shopper at our local Asian grocery store saw Dave and I buying ingredients for curry and, citing her experience as an actual Thai chef, recommended coconut milk and Maesri curry paste. We took the advice, of course, and while the coconut milk seemed to work well enough, the Maesri green curry paste was overwhelmingly spicy for me. I’m fairly sensitive to heat, but can take some; I can handle a whole lot of sriracha and usually tap out just on the spicy side of jalapenos. I was very disappointed that I couldn’t even finish the first bowl of my beautiful curry with tofu and enoki mushrooms! Luckily, Dave has a higher heat tolerance and had no problem with it. Oddly enough, I loved the Thai eggplants (slice them about 1 cm wide) I cooked off in a skillet with some chili garlic paste and basil when they were just-cooked, but Dave found them slimy after less than 24 hours in the fridge.
TUESDAY – Mediterranean Night: Red Lentil Stew
We made this on Sunday to keep through the week, pulled from Best Slow Cooker Recipes. Flavor was good, but texture was odd, very grainy, like the lentils had broken down only part of the way. Mixing it with rice helped, but I definitely reached an “Ugh, mush again…” moment at work.
WEDNESDAY – Mexican Night: Bowls
We planned to do some simple bowls, ended up with black bean and cheese burritos that I sliced my thumb in the process of making. Can lids are not to be trifled with! I was trying to get to an aerial class across town that I ended up having to cancel because, well, bleeding onto a trapeze bar is discouraged.
THURSDAY – American Classics: Sicilian Chickpea & Escarole Soup
Sounds great, right? Operative word, sounds. We needed one ingredient to be picked up on Wednesday night so this could go in the slow cooker on Thursday morning and that just didn’t happen (See thumb slicing, above). A good lesson in the need to be more realistic about time management once the week gets started.