Is this the dog days of summer? Better yet, in our house, the cat days! We are three months into a construction project that was projected to take 2 months (Constant Companion heard 5 weeks!). I see another month ahead of us … Last week new concrete floor was laid in the demolished small bathroom. The wonderful workmen neglected to secure the door with our handy bungie cord and Princess Tuptim took a walk to explore the room that she’s not been able to enter! Ah well, the new tiles will cover the evidence of her explorations.
Back to the dog days … According to my ready reference, Google, this odd turn of phase refers to the sultry summer days that are not fit for a dog. Sweetie, one of the other felines in our family, has been enjoying lounging under the night-blooming jasmine in the backyard.
Whatever the reason, the urge to cook has cooled. We’ve been subsisting on leftovers, usually just as good the second (and third) time around. The last 2 nights I’ve been back to work at the theater. Summer is the season for Spanish language shows at the theater. Thanks to 4 years with Senor Steele in high school! Puras Cosas Maravillosas featuring the amazing Erika de la Vega has returned for the fourth time. It’s well worth it and so far, well attended (https://www.facebook.com/Colonymb/videos/puras-cosas-maravillosas/10155854347868195/).
Work puts a crimp in dinner preparations. Based on the current ingredients in the fridge, I thought I’d do a stir-fry last night. But Asianish did not capture my taste buds. Instead I just did what I guess you could call a sauté. Brown a bunch of chopped onions in olive oil and remove from your sauté pan. Add chicken tenderloins or cutlets that have been lightly salted* and peppered in 2 batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Remove when nicely browned. They are pretty thin, so they cook in about 3-5 minutes per side.
*Some time ago I went crazy with the salt varieties that have flooded the market. I used a smoked salt this time.
Next was some chopped celery, followed by a bunch of chopped yellow and green bell peppers into the pan with a bit more oil. The onions were returned with two heads of chopped black garlic. This is an amazing ingredient I learned about watching “Chopped.” It adds a nice sweet flavor. Next, a bunch of snow pea pods. The chicken pieces with the reserved juices topped everything.
I let this cook on a low heat another 5 or so minutes. It was up to Constant Companion and Daughter to decide upon a carb to round out their meal.
Dear friends, please excuse me. When I just make up something like this impromptu sauté, I don’t measure much. I thought a bunch of chopped peppers looked good. In addition, I did not want them sitting around. Some snow pea pods in the vege drawer … they were just perfect. You can improvise with the ingredients you have on hand or to suit your own taste buds. Chopped zucchini, broccoli florets, garlic scapes, etc. would be great. Pepper flakes, herbs like cumin (both verbotten in our kitchen), soy sauce, and more. It’s an impromptu improvisation.
One more thing …. did you notice that largish piece of chicken in the upper right of the photo? I cannot get over how much it resembles our amazing manatees! What do you think?