WINTER 2011. PARSNIP. 03.04.11
A bit of planning and organization dramatically increase the odds of putting a fresh meal on the table at the end of a hectic day, but even the best laid plans don’t always pan out. Any number of things can go wrong. Perhaps you didn’t realize the chicken you set out was, in fact, freezer burned. Rats! Or you could have sworn you had beans on hand for the soup you planned to make. Grrr. As I was recently – not to mention rudely – reminded, it’s a good rule of thumb to read an entire recipe sooner rather than later. That is, before 3 minutes from the time you plan to start making it. I’m usually pretty good about this, but I’ve also been guilty of glazing over the most important parts of the recipe only to be caught in pickle shortly thereafter. It has to marinate overnight? Oops. How did I miss where it says “simmer uncovered for 2 hours?” Uh-oh. This happened to me recently. I was planning to make fish tacos (check back next week for the recipe), but hadn’t read all the way to the bottom of the first page where it clearly said to let the fish sit in the citrusy juices for 8 hours. It was 6 p.m. and 8 hours would have taken me right to breakfast the next day. I wasn’t sure if my children would accept fish tacos for dinner, but I was quite certain that they’d rather have oatmeal for breakfast. I had to do a quick freezer and pantry raid to see what we had on hand. Although I was pleased with the result, I definitely didn’t appreciate the last minute scramble or the pressure of creating a dish off the top of my frazzled little head. That’s just not how I roll, you know? It was a reminder of the importance of keeping a well-stocked freezer and pantry. As you head to the grocery this week, take a minute to stock up on the essentials. Did you use the last can of who-hash? Then buy another for a rainy – or just plain brainless – day. May your week be calm, happy and healthy – whether or not it goes as planned.