You know you've been under the weather for too long when you realize you have to do laundry because you have no towels left, do three loads of laundry, and realize afterwards that you have not done one single load of either cool wash or delicates. Whoops. Glad that's almost over!
I felt very sluggish, and realized that I should probably stop curling up on the couch with a cold and a sweatshirt. After a good bout of staring in the mirror, I compromised by curling my hair and snuggling up with a book, figuring that it was okay to wear a perpetual sweatshirt the way movie characters wear pajamas: makeup and hair intact, and they still look cute.
However, the boyfriend and I reached an enormous turning point! We, er, left the house for the first time in a week, excepting my two trips to the grocery store on foot because he was terribly sick and needed crackers. I finally felt like a person again, and despite the snow flurries outside (which were heavier than the last time! Check it out; they're actually visible!), made an enormous bowl of salad and stared at it with the same spirit of a soul having just escaped being dragged down to Hades by its ankles.
This magical plate of elixir was my version of Natalia Rose's Turkish Three-Pepper Salad: three diced multicolored peppers, a pint of quartered cherry tomatoes, half a cup of chopped parsley, half a minced sweet onion, the juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper, some herbes de Provence, some garlic-infused olive oil, and two minced cloves of garlic. It was gorgeous, decidedly un-wintry, and after two days of that salad, I woke up without sniffles!
I also thought I'd share two recipes for something I tend to make fairly often, just not for myself: an Asian-style marinade and a marinade with garlic, white wine, and Dijon mustard. The boyfriend and I are polar opposites as far as food goes, so this makes my job just a little easier, because of course he doesn't eat all of this at once--it sits in the refrigerator and gets better as it marinades.
Teriyaki Pork (and/or) Dijon-Garlic Chicken
Serves 4 per marinade recipe
4-5 pieces pork or chicken, between 1.5 and 2 lbs total, per marinade recipe
Optional: use portobello mushrooms, which I did, and they're amazing.
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup sake (or dry white wine)
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tbsp soy sauce, preferably nama shoyu
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp honey or light agave nectar
1 tsp red curry (or chili/garlic paste, or crushed red peppers if you have nothing else)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp herbes de Provence
1 tsp country-style Dijon mustard
1-quart ziplock bags and a permanent marker
Label the ziplock bag with the kind of marinade, the type of meat, and the date. If you choose to freeze this, or make a different batch of marinated meat, this will be an immeasurable help--plus you'll know when to mistrust the meat if you accidentally leave it in the back of the refrigerator for too long.
Into the bag, add all of the marinade ingredients for your choice of marinade, ziplock it tightly, and shake it up, making sure to mix all of the ingredients up well. For the teriyaki marinade, you will have to massage the honey or agave into the rest of the ingredients; it tends to like to just stick to itself. It's super easy this way and you don't have to clean an extra bowl or two.
Take your pork or chicken pieces, poke them several times with a fork (or, clearly, sometimes a knife), and place them inside the bag. Zip the bag almost closed, then try to push all of the air out of the bag and close it up completely. The less air in the bag, the better your meat can marinate and the easier it is to handle and the less room it takes up. Massage the marinade thoroughly into the meat, then place in the refrigerator and let sit for 30 minutes to several days.
RealSimple says that you can freeze raw chicken pieces for up to 9 months and raw pork chops for up to 4-6 months. That seems a bit excessive to me, but it's good to know that the freezer is your friend.
When dinner time rolls around, you have several options: you can grill the meat as is, you can cut the teriyaki pork/chicken into pieces and make a stir-fry, you can sauté in the pan, and you can coat it in Italian-flavored or panko bread crumbs and bake or sauté.
Both marinades work exceptionally well with the breadcrumb coating, especially the Dijon-garlic one, according to the boyfriend. Just a drizzle of olive oil and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. Voilà!
To all you meat lovers out there, I hope you enjoy.