Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
The Friday Newsletter gets close enough.
I had different content planned this week.
Generally speaking, I map out what I want to do in these Friday newsletters a month or so in advance, even if I don’t prepare everything that far ahead. It’s good to get a feel for what’s coming—both so I can keep the content I share varied, and so that I can line up with various dates/holidays/milestones as needed.
Well, I had another recipe slated for this week, but I hadn’t shopped for everything. Normally, I’ll do our big shopping trip on Saturday or Sunday morning, getting all the things we need for the week—breakfasts, lunches, kids’ lunches, dinners, etc.—but then I’ll usually end up doing a follow-up trip a few days later, as I refine my ideas and invariably realize I need one or two more ingredients to get a recipe just right.
~~~THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS HAS ENTERED THE CHAT~~
Ah, well! Nevertheless.
My proud unbeaten streak of 910 days without contracting COVID (starting on March 11th, 2020, when I personally consider the pandemic to have begun in the United States) was broken this week, and as of this writing all four members of this household are currently testing positive. We’re all doing mostly fine, thanks in no small part to each of us having received the maximum number of shots/boosters permitted to date, but it does throw a bit of a wrench in my planning this week.
So, I decided to scramble my content plans, and make the best of what’s around.
I’d scour the pantry and the freezer—both of which I’ve kept well-stocked ever since March 2020—and see what I could make with what I already had on hand. No additional grocery trips, no running out to grab one more ingredient. If it’s not in the house, it’s not in the dish.
And you know what?
It still turned out pretty damned good.
Welcome back to another edition of The Action Cookbook Friday Newsletter.
As with every Friday for the last three years and running, I’ve got a powerful slate of things for your enjoyment today:
An original recipe!
A musical recommendation!
Something to talk about!
A selection of your very own pets!
You hang around here long enough, you’re bound to find something you like.
Damn the torpedoes; we’re full speed ahead.
7) Every night is Chopped if you can’t go to the store
One of the things I’ve had on my to-do list for the next month or so was a Southern-inspired rice dressing—something inspired by an excellent meal at a new-ish Louisville restaurant, North of Bourbon, a few weeks ago. The restaurant served Crab Rice Dressing as an entree, and it was phenomenally tasty; I’d had intentions of trying something similar. Of course, I don’t just keep crabmeat on hand. But I did have enough to make a promising-sounding pot of rice and beans, so that’d be my direction.
I’d recently placed a big order with Anson Mills, the South Carolina-based provider of “artisan mill goods”, and so I had both Carolina Gold Rice and Sea Island Red Peas sitting in the pantry, waiting for their turn. I scoured the freezer, and found a few links of andouille-ish sausage from Kingsley Meats, my favorite butcher in town, and some strips of pork belly I’d picked up at a trip to Choi’s Asian Food Market.
A deli container of frozen stock I’d made from the carcass of a smoked chicken last year was hiding behind the meats, and there were a few straggling stalks of celery in the crisper drawer, along with a slightly-past-its-prime red bell pepper and some baby carrot snack packs I’d bought for the kids’ lunches.
Folks, I might just have a stew goin’.
The extra flexibility provided by a sudden reversion to working from home meant I didn’t need to rush this; I could do it all the right way; the long way.