Instead of making hamburgers tonight, I decided to make a shepherd’s pie. There are some shortcuts along the way and I thought maybe I’d write them down in this post. First of all, I’ve been learning from watching a lot of cooking shows to keep flavors separate until you want to blend them. So, instead of frying the ground beef with onions, I cut up a whole onion and browned it in some oil and butter after two garlic cloves had been toasted and removed. Then, I cut up three huge button mushrooms into chunks and added them to the browning onions. I scooped them into a separate bowl while I browned the beef in the skillet, breaking it up so that it browned evenly. (Dropped the spatula on the floor, flinging onions around twice!) Then, added the chunky onions and mushrooms, gently folding them into the beef. Sprinkled with Maldon salt and cracked pepper. Finally, I made some mashed potatoes, enriched with milk and butter, smoothed over the top of the meat, onion and mushroom mixture, dotted with butter and sprinkled lightly with parmesan cheese.
Washed and dried my favorite fluted baking dish that I bought years ago in Gloucester. It’s just the right size to hold a casserole dish for two. Plus, it’s so elegant on the serving board when we have dinner. There’s a huge bag of fresh spinach that C. brought from the organic farm last weekend that I’ve been meaning to cook before this. I thought I’d heat up a few garlic cloves and cook a mound of it in the skillet, letting it disappear to almost nothing as fresh spinach is wont to do. Then, drain the liquid out of it, cut it up in the skillet with a sharp knife and add some light cream, a little salt and pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to dress it up a little.
I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been dropping things and finding the logistics of cooking from a wheelchair more challenging these days. Maybe it’s because it is getting near the tail end of the dozen weeks that I’ve had my cast on and I’m impatient to have it off next week. My short fuse might also be due to the many dishes that I’ve been cooking of late–a cumulative culinary journey that has occupied me during these long days sitting on the couch for most days since February when I broke my ankle.
The weather is turning warmer, the light so much brighter and it will be nice to be able to navigate the stairs so that I can go outside more often. G. has been doing heavy lifting for grocery shopping, getting things out of the pantry, raising and lowering the shades, doing the laundry and helping me all day long, with good humor and so much patience. We will enjoy our supper tonight together and, as usual, give thanks for the simple things in life.