Monday, March 9, 2015

Improvisation, Hungarican-Style

I'm erratic by nature. Unpredictable; a bit of this, a bit of that. I could say that my Hungarian/Puerto Rican-ness creates a sort of weird duality, or I could just say I am just a spazz, which is probably closest to the truth.

Toss in a feisty two-year old, who is at present poking a stick at his electrified enclosure to find weaknesses (figurative of course, our gulag only has cement walls, we only electrify the back-up fencing), a dog that likes to bum-rush me at any given chance when I open the back door so he can run away and bark relentlessly at whatever moves in the neighbourhood, another dog whose age and infirmity equals occasional pee-rivers flowing across the floor, a cat that is kind of stabby when he's affectionate, an anxiety disorder, and today's special, a sinus infection, and well... I'm sure you can relate.  :)

It's never certain that I'm going to be able to shower, or cook dinner, manage to put on a bra, or bake on any given day. That's all on a 'if possible' basis. Most of the time, the house is a cluttered wreck, there are dishes in the sink that have transitioned into the amphibious life-form phase of evolution, and there are about nine tea cups scattered in random places around the house (one in the refrigerator just last Thursday).

So when dinnertime starts to approach, it is only on certain days that it's going to happen with any effort thrown in. Sometimes, it's planned, and I'll whip up something from the usual play list... spaghetti is always easy and a winner; chicken paprika, not always as frequent but a sure favourite, the occasional Pernil (pork picnic roast), and if I'm really inspired, a pot of Puerto Rican beans (as far as I can PR them without all the right ingredients --where does one find culantro (Yes CUlantro) anyway?) and rice, a Trader Joe's pizza (as in, made with their dough, sauce and potent blend of cheese), a lasagna will occasionally appear now and again, pork chops, either braised or just broiled with some sort of potatoey accompaniment, a roast chicken, the occasional 'greek salad' night, where I chop up some romaine, throw in some feta, artichoke hearts (pickled) and sauteed chicken thighs, topped with plain greek yogurt and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette (Paul Newman's is the best), or taco night if I want to strap on the feedbag fo'reo. Every blue moon, if I can find endives at Trader Joe's, I'll do Chicon au Gratin. I may do an Asian stir fry or make sesame noodles if I'm really with it and have soba noodles. Chicken and turkey soups make the occasional appearance. Stews if I am in long-cooking mode. And whenever I'm approaching ::air-quote:: that time of the month, a big fucking steak that's practically still mooing.

But many nights... dinner is whatever the hell we have in the kitchen combined into some marginally edible concoction. Sometimes over rice. Sometimes over noodles. Tonight is one of those nights. And sometimes, improvising can be surprisingly delicious (sometimes, it's not). So shall we delve into tonight's witch's brew?

Let us begin!

Salt Pork is something I generally keep in the house all the time.
It's a staple. I had a bit left from my last PR bean endeavor,
so what the hey? Nothing makes a better base for a saucy dish
than salt pork crispins. That's what I call them. Otherwise, they
known as little lardons.

I also use them as a base for a good bolognese spaghetti sauce. I take my
enameled cast-iron cooking pot, a knock off of the fancy French brand that costs an arm,
but it works fine. I put in a little pat of butter to start, and then sautee the little porky bits
until they look like delicious bacony noms.

Check it out! There were leeks in the bottom drawer, and they weren't
bathing in a pool of their own slime-rot yet. So woot! I chopped them in half,
and washed them well. Then chop-chop into bits
and into the pot with the crispins/lardons they go. They deglaze the
residue of bacony buttery goodness.

So far so good. Smells amazebawlz.

Another couple of days and these shrooms would have been only for use as
packing peanuts.  Just in time. Chopped them, in they go. More butter had to follow
as these little dudes can be sponges.

Yaaaahhhss! Double double toil and trouble! Flat-top glow and cauldron bubble!

There was half of an orange pepper left from another meal, and a whole red one.
Chop chop, toss, baby.

I threw in some coriander, a few asparagus stems just because, some thyme,
salt, a few peppercorns, and some chopped celery. Oh! And some freshly
grated nutmeg.

WHAP! I can never resist adding garlic. Just one clove. That's crazy
for me. Usually I put in enough to melt your face.

Threw in one of my little frozen baggies of stock. Not sure what
kind it was. It could be either turkey, chicken or pork bone stock.
::Meh shrug:::

Those boringly skinless chicken breasts that were languishing in the freezer
with no purpose. In they go. Turn the heat down to simmer. Let's just leave that
there for a bit. House smells good.

It's not beautiful but it's yummy. I let it simmer for a nice long time,
and added in a flour roux to thicken it. I also threw in a good dollop of sour
cream.  I boiled up some fat egg noodles. This improvisation was a win.

It isn't always. LOL.
PS, I love my new phone and its camera. LG G3, babee.  PSS: We sold our Jeep and paid off the Prius. W00t!

1 comment:

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