Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tartines: My New Dinner Philosophy

I give up on dinner. As a concept and construct.

"Dining" rarely happened to my satisfaction during this past year when Josh and I were both working. Now that I am at home with Teddy (add Sam to that in December), it still doesn't seem to happen. It's that horrendous evening timing - that perfect storm of S needs dinner, bath, and bedtime; T needs to nurse; and I need to get started chopping, etc. after cleaning up whatever is on the one counter we have for a prep area and dirty dishes dump site.

Dinner just does not happen.
The definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and thinking you are going to get a different outcome. I am insane. I keep thinking that if I only want it more or try harder or schedule adroitly, I will make dinner happen, dammit. We will all sit down to eat at 6:30 as a happy family. Josh will tell me about his day, I will nod and "hmm, mmm" appropriately, and Sam will eat all that is put in front of him. But it is not happening.

Meet the new dinner philosophy: Embrace your inner Spaniard. This means I make dinner for lunch, i.e. the big meal of the day happens in the afternoon, and lunch for dinner, i.e. a sandwich or soup or quiche (or tapas!) at night. This way I can manage that storm a little better ... and simultaneously stop being so insane.
I think my new routine is better for digestion and will probably help Josh and I with portion control, not to mention cleanup and the inevitable quibbling and hurt feelings that happen (sometimes only in my insane head). J and I have a pretty arrangement where I cook and he cleans, but there is often something that jams it up. Perhaps we eat so late that cleanup is just stupid, thus leaving the mess for me in the morning (insert hurt feelings here). Or the mess to clean up before dinner prep (remember the only counter space) is so large that cooking doesn't start until 8pm (insert a squabble here). Or Sam manages to postpone bedtime so J and I eat in shifts (insert both here). With the new plan there should be less of it all.
So I made tartines the other night. They are French-style, open-face sandwiches. Two were from the French Women Don't Get Fat cookbook, and the salmon was my own design. Our favorite was the anchovies.

Anchovy tartines
Toast four pieces of bread to your liking, keeping in mind that you will be eating them like a sandwich, so you don't want them to crumble or mush in your hand. In the mean time, rinse off as many anchovies as you want - I would say eight or ten for four pieces of bread. Pat them dry, them soak in 1T sherry vinegar for 1-3 minutes. Separately, add salt and pepper to about 1/2 cup of ricotta. Spread ricotta on toasts. Dump the vinegar off the anchovies and add 1T olive oil to anchovies. Place two anchovies per toast and drizzle over the olive oil.

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