What should you do when your husband has a new position at work and is now staying late pretty frequently so as not to be the New Guy that Leaves on Time Because He Has Two Kids and Lives in Brooklyn but rather try to come across as a fellow Young Guy Living Two Stops Away in Manhattan and With No Tetherings to His Apartment to Prevent Him From Staying at the Office Until Midnight Every Night?
a. Be thankful your husband wants to work his tail off to provide for you and your kids
b. Hire a private investigator to pose as a nighttime janitor (I’m sure they have a classier name these days, but I am not privvy to it.) and make sure he is truly working that late and not just spending evenings with his secret second family in Connecticut
c. Try to copy a meal you had while out to eat for your 30th birthday dinner while playing Elliot Smith, drinking a bottle of wine intended for TWO people, and reading a book about the totally bombastic life of someone else
d. You guessed it. All of the above.
On the plus side, I came to realize that this meal is easily reheated and reconstructed at a later time for any supper stragglers. Also on the plus side, I was able to continue reading Blood, Bones & Butter, which I highly recommend.
I truly don’t suggest adding Elliot Smith to your playlist (let alone listening to the entire Either/Or record on repeat) on nights such as these. It’s absolutely Music to Slit Your Wrists To. No offense to those who know someone who did so, nor to Elliot himself who also did so. While I love his music, I truly don’t know how else to describe it.
I do suggest following dinner with a healthy, yet satisfying dessert. You deserve it for eating a vegetarian meal for dinner, right? These are the types of meals I try to eat while reading books like Blood, Bones and Butter that remind you to respect and ENJOY food. Unfortunately, these moments are too fleetingly trapped between periods of time spent gulping down steak and cheesy polenta with abandon and times where I attempt to consume not much past Laughing Cow Light Wedges and a rice cake. (I know, I’m old enough to get my food issues in check already.)
I ended this meal with some strawberries. It made me pine for summer. Not because their juicy, red flesh sent images of sun and bare feet surging through my brain, but because they tasted so damn awful I can’t wait for them to actually be in season again. My mother tauntingly sent descriptions of everything they bought at a farmer’s market where they were vacationing in Florida recently and mentioned ‘strawberries that taste like strawberries.’ Well, yeah, dummy, what else would they taste like? (Kidding – I obviously would never call you dummy, mum, even in my thoughts. Such disrespect!) Then I just ate these strawberries. Oh, that’s right, they could taste like a semblance of strawberries but covered in something that tastes like old, dead leaf dust. Yum.
In any event, here is the warming, decadent, healthy and filling meal that you should follow with a heaping bowl of strawberries if you live somewhere warm where strawberries taste like strawberries in March:
Sauteéd Balsamic Rainbow Swiss Chard with warm Feta and Pita:
~ Pocketless Pita
~ Thick Feta slice (I prefer French for this recipe, but try Bulgarian if you want it softer, creamier and saltier, or Greek if you would like it harder and easier to crumble)
~ One bunch of rainbow swiss chard
~ 2 cloves garlic
~ 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
~ a few swirls of olive oil
Chop the garlic and the chard. You can cut out the stalks of the chard, but I personally want the rainbow colors in my meal when purchasing RAINBOW swiss chard, so I simply slice the stalks thinly and then chop the leaves about a 1/2 an inch thick. Warm up a few passes of olive oil in a sauté pan and add the garlic, minced. Cook on low, stirring, for two minutes so that the garlic does NOT brown. Add the chard and the balsamic vinegar and turn it over so that they sauté together and not with the chard sitting on top of the garlic the whole time. Salt and pepper to taste.
Turn the oven to about 250 degrees and warm up the feta and bread. You can use a very savvy and specialized method, as shown below, or create one of your own.
After about 6 minutes, the swiss chard should be well wilted and the feta and bread nicely warmed. Plate the three items and devour, being sure to leave a small piece of bread for the end to sop up any remaining balsamic reduction and feta crumbles.
Turn off Elliot and go read a good book or watch some Kardashians or something.
But seriously, turn off Elliot. I like having you around.