I don’t argue much.
I don’t fight about money. I either have it or I don’t.
I really don’t even fight about sex. See above.
But when it comes to a discussion of “What are we having for dinner…?” Bring it, Poindexter. Because I’m taking you DOWN.
The following conversation occured pretty much verbatim. It has only been edited to make me look funnier.
Me: Stir Fry Okay?
Girlfriend: I want potatoes. Don’t care what with.
Me: I’m have like one small potato.
GF. I Have two. Unless you really want something else. I can do pork chops, even.
Me: BFD then?
GF: It’s just that I had eggs for breakfast. Want to do pancakes?
Me: Out of syrup. And I thought you wanted potatoes?
GF: You can have potatoes with pancakes.
[Socio-Dietary Sidenote: This was clearly the Atkins option.}
GF: Is that what YOU want, though? I can do lasagna or stuffed peppers.
This conversation unfolded over a series of text messages Thursday mid-morning, and I think it was at this point that I hurled my celly into my desk and started hitting myself over the head with my stapler to dull the agony.
I’ll stipulate for the record that there is nothing truly momentous about this conversation. And I’ll try to spare you the Mars/Venus tirades, too. Yes, people communicate differently. And not everyone will be as quick to articulate his or her needs as others. So the non-committal shifting back and forth from potatoes to pork chops to lasagna… all of this is fine. Or at least it should be.
So I guess it begs a question, WHY do I get so animated about my frikkin dinner?
There are, of course, practical ideas. Dinners provide leftovers. Stir fry and BFD, as any good CIO would recognize, are “scaleable,” which means less money handed over to the clowns who run the work cafeteria and don’t understand basic things like salting ground beef before burger-izing it. It would also be a late night for me at work, which means that a trip to the grocery store would just make things unwieldy, not to mention silly as we are going to Chicago after work tomorrow.
Because. When you fight about food you fight about EVERYTHING. I try not to be a snob, but dinner, where possible, ought to be done well. I won’t do pork chops unless they are either brined or the thick cuts with the bone, which I don’t trust others to buy. Pancakes demand REAL maple syrup, Lasagna, good lasagna, takes hours, and stuffed peppers would require a lot of ingredients I don’t keep on hand.
So you are fighting about time. And effort. For that limited quantity of mental real estate in that precious neighborhood of the evening. And, for me, life is too short to eat poorly.
Forgive my long digression. THIS is what I wanted for dinner.
BFD is Jeff-shorthand for Breakfast for Dinner, a throwback to the days when I felt it necessary to pre-chart every meal, wardrobe decision and accomplishment for the upcoming week, the idea being that if you spent your weekend sort of “Mis en place-ing” the upcoming seven days, things would go much smoother. Did it work? Meh.
Anyway, this is the meal I would chart for myself most Fridays when I did not have big plans. Which meant basically every Friday night. There are actually four recipes here. Two are no-brainers, one is easy, one is complicated but quick.
BFD as pictured should take no more than 30 minutes to prepare. Simply measured in terms of epicureal bang for the buck, I can’t think of anything better. It is almost always a triumvirate of bacon or sausage, roasted potatoes in a spice rub, and double boiler scrambled eggs, which are simply perfect – rich and creamy, and still tasting like egg.
The key is just timing. The goal here is for the potatoes to come out of the oven just after you plate les ouf.
Note: i usually make this for one, but included notes on doubling.
3 eggs (use 5 if cooking for two)
dash of milk
dash of butter
pork product sufficient for number of diners.
2 small yukon gold potatoes per person or three medium YGs for two people.
Spice mix for the potatoes (see below)
Preheat oven to 375 and place your double-boiler pan to simmer. Preheat a cast iron skillet to medium.
Assemble a spice mix for your potatoes. Large pinch of salt, a smaller pinch garlic powder and very small pinches of something red, like either paprika or cayenne.
Pour about a T of oil in a medium sized mixing bowl, sprinkle in the spice mix.
Place eggs into the bowl that would typically set atop your double boiler. Whisk the eggs, add the milk and a pinch of salt.
Do your potatoes. Now, there is a vaguely Willy Wonka-esque quality to the potatoes. when you look at the potatoes it will seem like too little, then when you look at them on the cutting board it will seem like too much, then on the cookie sheet, again, too little. And, as a child of the Midwestern Prairie, I do love my spuds. But, two potatoes will serve a person well. You wont want for more, and, trust me, you will eat every single one.
Okay. You want to cut the potatoes into little half moons about 1/4 inch thick. So place the potato on the cutting board – it obviously will only sit one way, and cut from top to bottom. You will have a little medallion, which you will then cut in half. Place your half moons into the spice mix, and toss to coat.
Bake for about 12 minutes.
While the potatoes are baking, cook your meat. set aside, when cooked, to keep warm.
After 12 minutes or so, open the oven door. Look and listen. The potatoes should be just beginning to brown around the edges and should be “squeaky” from the water inside the spud turning to steam and trying to force its way out. Flip the potatoes and re-insert into oven.
Okay, the eggs. When your double boiler water is at a gentle simmer, place the eggs atop the saucepan and stir, CONSTANTLY, with your spatula. stir the sides and the bottom of the pan, and, eventually, small curds will form. Yes, this is a pain in the butt, but, trust me, it’s worth it. These eggs will be rich luxurious. If you have ever prepared any sort of custard you know what principles are at work – you are trying to slowly increase the temperature of the eggs.
It SHOULD take about 10-12 minutes until the eggs are done. As they near completion, mix in a small pat of butter, pour out onto a plate, garnish with pepper and, if possible, some fresh herbs.
Place the meat on the plate next to the eggs, and now, the potatoes should also be done. Devour.
Yes, this is a simple recipe and yes, THIS is why I’m willing to fight over food, even when it seems as juvenile and as absurdly comic as watching the Little Rascals ponder a strange green vegetable in the neighbor’s garden.
Okay, confession, I would feel a lot better about typing all of this out had we not ended up going to Perkins for dinner.