Over the past weeks I’ve been making food in a makeshift kitchen arrangement whilst renovation work is progressing full steam ahead. In terms of breakfast, I’ve discovered that you can make eggs four ways in a rice cooker: scrambled, fried, poached and into an omelette. I can boil, sauté and steam too so breakfast and lunch pass without much difficulty. The main issue is getting bored at dinner time. Carbohydrates like orzo, rice, bread, and potatoes can get seriously repetitive so ensuring variety in meals is the main challenge. That and the risk of feeling heavy at dinner time.
The schizophrenic nature of the weather- alternating between sunshine and colder days with grey, rainy skies- means that salads and meals that are more assembled than cooked don’t always appeal to one’s humours but you don’t have enough vessels or ovens to facilitate making much else.
Not a problem! Adapting and not backing down to challenges posed- albeit in the realm of the culinary- are what separat-eth the men from the boys! ALWAYS choose to MAN UP!
Right, conversations and introductions aside, I shall now proceed to write about what I made for yesterday’s dinner. I had the following ingredients to work with:
- Fine green beans
- Curled parsley
- some pecorino cheese
- a lemon
- garlic cloves
- Charlotte potatoes – lots of potatoes in these dinners… but they’re easily digested…
- a mixed bag of about 6 sweet pointed peppers
- some baby oak leaf salad
Seasonings/ Store cupboard ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, wholegrain mustard, himalayan salt, black pepper, some crushed red chilli flakes, orange blossom honey, sherry vinegar.
Out of my three weapons I chose: the panini grill and my rice cooker/steamer. I also had two large mixing bowls to hand.
Here’s what I did (most measurements for ingredients were done by eye as I was too focused on getting this meal on a plate as quickly as I could!) :
- I sliced up the potatoes and set them to steam in my rice cooker for 15 minutes.
- In those 15 minutes, I chopped up the garlic, parsley, zested the lemon, grated about 4 tbsp of pecorino cheese and combined them in a little extra virgin olive oil, about 2tbsp lemon juice, salt, pepper and chilli flakes to make a gremolata- which I would combine with the green beans.
- I halved, then sliced the sweet pointed peppers and set them aside. Then I washed the salad leaves and green beans.
- Using some extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, honey, wholegrain mustard and sherry vinegar I made a mild honey mustard dressing to toss through the sliced potatoes.
- Once the 15 minutes were up, I tossed the green beans in a small amount of oil and chucked them on the hot panini grill- knowing they’d cook within 3 minutes. (those with kitchens are more than welcome to sauté them!)
- Green beans grilled, I quickly tossed them through the gremolata in a large bowl.
- I did the same with the potatoes, sweet pointed peppers in the honey mustard dressing and transferred both components to a plate and just got munching.
SIDENOTE: The gremolata and honey mustard dressing worked well together on the plate- I had my doubts but took a risk anyway…with very good results! With a bit of roast chicken or turkey this would have been an even better meal– but I have to work with what I can manage to store and procure while supervising renovation work that starts at 8am and ends at 6pm!
CSAB – 4 | No kitchen challenge – 0 [harnessing my power of man-ing up! hahaha]