Except for breakfast, lunch, and dinner today, Barbara and I ate all our meals together, as we usually do. Why was that, you ask? Well, when you and your life partner are 187 degrees out-of-phase with your biorhythms and food preferences, it is sometimes a good idea to do our own thing. Today was one of those days.
For example, breakfast. She was up early as usual, had made a batch of her marvelous deviled eggs, ate breakfast, did some housework and quilting, and was ready to walk down the driveway for her Sunday NY Times. That’s when I got up, showered and shaved, got dressed, and then drank my fruit smoothie and espressos, as I do every morning. Pretty normal so far.
By 2 PM, I was hungry for lunch and had a hankering for a sturdy soup. So I made a Red Lentil soup from my Aleppo cookbook, richly flavored with crushed garlic, sea salt and coriander seeds, and further fortified with some of the sprouted barley I had cooked the night before. Topped with chopped cilantro and Aleppo pepper, it was very satisfying. A couple of glasses of Spungola Bellaria Pignoletto from New Year’s Day was a good match.
Barbara reheated the noodles, onions and cabbage dish from a couple of nights earlier for her lunch, about an hour before I ate.
As dinner approached, she announced she had a desire for a simple meal and would make herself a grilled cheese sandwich — normally something I would eat, except I am trying to limit my dairy intake to keep my intestines happy. Furthermore, on Friday I had bought a full head of Curly Endive (Chicory) and was eager to cook it. I love bitter greens, usually eat them with lots of garlic, olive oil, salt and hot pepper, and drink Southern Italian red wine to wash it all down. Barbara does not like bitter greens, likes very little oil, and salt, and can not tolerate ANY peppers (especially hot ones) or most wines. This combination of preferences sealed another solo dinner — and it was great.
This time, instead of blanching the cicoria, as I had done previously, I decided to steam it before sautéeing in oil, garlic and hot pepper. Perfetto! All I added was some Controne white beans I had made a couple of days earlier, and some chickpeas Barbara made yesterday and did not use in her hummus. The final touch was in the olive oil. Even though we have three different oils currently open and in use (Spanish, Ligurian, and Greek), I just knew that this dish need an olive oil from Puglia — and it did! One final touch was a handful of hand-grated breadcrumbs from the heel of a multigrain bread I made a couple of weeks earlier. I cooked and ate the whole head of Curly Endive, in my largest pasta bowl.
Even though I had an open bottle of California red wine (2010 Linne Calado Booker Red), I chose to drink a Sicilian Frappato/Nero d’Avola 2011 blend from Lamoresca. Biodynamic and most delicious, a fine selection.