Eating From the Pantry
We are playing a modified version of Sarajevo now, not in order to test each other with ever more inedible food concoctions, but merely because we'll be moving really soon now and I'm trying to use up some stuff instead of packing it or throwing it out. I'm not playing by the rules. I open up the pantry and the fridge and I think, what can I possibly make? And if I feel like a chicken breast would make something palatable, I go to the store and buy a chicken breast.
Tonight we had Sarajevo for dinner. (I called upstairs, 'Are you ready for a plate of Sarajevo?' and Bob came trotting down.)
Tonight's dinner started with a single chicken breast and a package of Trader Joe's frozen beef teriyaki stir fry. In the pantry I found a tiny jar of Thai red curry paste and a package with a cup of jasmine rice in it. I also found ghee. (Ghee is indestructible. It's butter heated to melting with the solids strained off, a kind of oil of butter. At room temperature it's solid and it does not need to be refrigerated.) I melted ghee in a sauce pan and dropped mustard seeds in. (This is a pretty common rice dish in India.) When the mustard seeds started to pop I poured the cup of rice in and stirred it for awhile until it started to toast, then I poured a cup and a half of water over it, dropped the lid on it, turned it down and let it steam.
I cut up the chicken breast, sauteed it for a couple of minutes, added the Trader Joe beef and vegetables. After two minutes I added the Thai curry paste, a teaspoon of sugar and three teaspoons of Thai fish sauce (the fact that I have things on hand like Thai fish sauce explains why I never have a big enough pantry. Walter Jon Williams told me one time that he had so many bottles of sauce and stuff in his fridge that he didn't have much room for regular food. I was struck because I have exactly the same problem.) When everything was ready, I poured the rice in with the stir fry and then glopped the whole thing on a plate and called Bob.
Amazingly enough, it was pretty good.
Early in the day I had finished off the last of my shortening, pumpkin and evaporated milk by making a pumpkin pie. So that was desert.
Ethnically confused, but oddly satisfying. I think because it felt so, so virtuous.