Monday, February 20, 2012

Dinner for Mama

I ended up all alone at home on Saturday evening. With a free evening I thought about all the things I could do but the first thing I did was made myself a beautiful dinner. There's something about creating a meal that does more than provide calories to the body. I offered up something that nurtured my soul as well.

I started with two boneless skinless chicken breasts. I knew going into this meal that I would have more than enough food for me but I wanted to have extra. I sliced the chicken into medallions. In my cast iron skillet, I heated oil from lime pickles, extracting about five slices to chop up for the meal. I masticated most of the pulp of a lemon (I reserved 4 thin slices to garnish the dish).
I fried the chicken in two batches in the oil so that they were a lovely yellow-brown (the oil contained turmeric which turned the chicken yellow).
I added the lemon and the chopped lime pickles and let the whole thing cook until fragrant and done thoroughly.
For the side dishes, I peeled the bottoms stalks of a bunch of thick asparagus. Laid them out on a baking sheet and drizzles sesame oil over them. I then sprinkled on a little kosher salt (more than actually stuck to the asparagus). Roasted them at 350 until they were tender.
As the chicken and asparagus neared done, I realized I needed something to balance the dinner. The chicken had a bitter, sour sort of taste to it (there are 4 main tastes - sweet, sour, salty, bitter). The asparagus would offer a salty taste so I needed something sweet. I did plan on serving pineapple but that can be sweet and sour and at this point I wasn't sure what I was getting.
I decided to chop up 2 small apples. I poured a thin layer of water in my saucepan and added the remaining orange glaze from cookies I had made earlier (just orange juice and powdered sugar). To that sauce I added the apples and cooked them on the stove, covered, until tender.
I, then, cut up the pineapple.
The end result was a meal that was more than satisfying, it felt elegant. My mouth delighted in the variety of tastes and flavors. The smells were amazing - sweet orange and apple, the bitterness of the limes mixed with the charred smell of meat (smelled better than it sounds), the sour tang of lemon and pineapple, and the salty spicy smell of asparagus in sesame oil.
I was so full but not painfully so.
It was a nice reminder to take time to cook a meal that satisfies more than hunger. My plate was filled with such beauty and love. A reminder that I need to do more for myself, take time to create and nurture.
The boys were a little disappointed but they had gone out for pizza and much needed boy time so they weren't too sad.

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