Friday, January 20, 2012

Every kitchen has a drawer...

Every kitchen has a drawer...
among the expired coupons
for cleaning spray
and dog food, clothing
care tags, and appointment
reminder cards from so long ago
they are
certainly, only
of limited
archaeological interest,
there it is:
the unexpected sculpture you
made that day you forgot
and let the pot boil dry
while you were
the baby bottles:
comic reminder of
the dangerous potential
of inattention.
Never could let it go.
cooking twine and strapping tape
batteries, drained or amped:
who knows?
A letter: "my darling," it begins,
"I have missed you so much,"
and though the words have
since proved false,
you continue to hope,
takeout menus from restaurants
long defunct
empty seed packets
a note to the fairies
surreptitiously intercepted
a calcium supplement
that you take every day,
when you can remember to take it
A phone number scrawled with a Sharpie,
ripped from a lined notebook,
"call on Friday," it says
"don't forget"
and you wonder if you did
a menu from an encounter
only you remember
a swatch of thick paper,
orange with silver swirls,
that might make an interesting
accent for a collage you might make
when you finally learn how to make a collage
grocery lists
Sharpie markers
The menu for your daughter's 6th birthday,
in her own careful hand:
pizza, carrot sticks, chocolate cake
with chocolate frosting. NOTHING ELSE!
unrequited loves
Every kitchen
has just such a drawer
Empty it out
Throw every bit away
It will make itself anew.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Yesterday, at the Farmer's Market

Found hoophouse spinach and winter carrots; Michigan Winesap apples and Bosc pears; spicy pickled carrots and fresh sauerkraut with caraway from The Brinery; frozen summer peaches and creamed corn, thanks to Locavorious; one whole chicken; lots of rosy red-skin potatos. Unexpected variety for mid-January in Michigan, but good to see...

The $64,000 question, though is this: what should we do with it all?

Around here, much of it went toward an excellent chicken dinner later that night: M. roasted the chicken on a bed of heavily buttered and thickly quartered potatos; he roasted the carrots, too, in a separate pan, because we've learned from hard experience that potatos and carrots don't always achieve roasted perfection in exactly the same cooking time. Seasoned simply with plenty of salt and pepper, it made for an easy, uncomplicated entree, one that perfectly fit that combination of comfort and austerity that January demands.

Taking inspiration from this post over at The 5-Second Rule, I chopped the spinach along with a little red onion, half of one of the tart Winesap apples, a handful of the peppered pecans I made over Christmas (and stored in the freezer), and a scattering of raisins. Dressed it all with a combination of equal parts cider vinegar and olive oil, a little salt & pepper. Even Mr. "What's That Green Stuff?" ate it with enthusiasm, and it was gone before I could get a picture.

Tonight, it's leftovers for dinner, possibly with the creamed corn and sauerkraut as accompaniments, just to refresh the experience. Maybe peaches poached in red wine with orange and anise, if time and energy permit, a little something to serve with vanilla ice cream.

Later in the week, maybe pork chops with sauerkraut & grated carrots and apples, polenta on the side; another light meal could be made from sauteed greens with eggs and potatos. That's what I'm thinking right now. But already I'm wondering: maybe I should serve spaetzle noodles with the leftovers tonight and save the creamed corn for a midweek chowder, on a night when I'm getting home late from class.

And something spicier would be nice to add to the mix, as well. Should I improvise, try something like pork and sauerkraut tacos? Or do you have other ideas? We've still got plenty of garlic and onions in the root cellar, plenty of cans of tomatos; lots of curry and chili powders. Any ideas? If this were your haul, what would you do?