Weekend of Food

December 27, 2005

Most of the past weekend was spent making and consuming food. Friday afternoon after work I went to the grocery store and bought what I thought were all the ingredients for Cuban style chicken and rice, chili, breakfast casserole, and tacos. After getting it all home and put away I promptly went out to eat. Go figure.

Saturday I was up early and tackled the breakfast casserole. First I browned and crumbled half a tube each of mild and hot sausage. After removing the sausage to my casserole pan, I finely diced a large potato and browned it in the drippings plus a little olive oil. Meanwhile I scrambled a dozen eggs and got out a package of shredded Colby and Jack cheese. Once the potato was browned it was sprinkled over the sausage. The eggs were poured over the whole thing, and then even covered with the cheese. Into the oven for 35-40 minutes at 350, until the cheese was golden brown. It is surprisingly rich, so this one 13x9 casserole is going to last for a week or ten days.

Saturday afternoon I made the chicken and rice, and a quick trip to the store for the forgotten lemon and diced tomatoes. As usual it was very good.

For lunch I made tacos using the Old El Paso kit. Quick and easy. The leftovers would serve as Sunday lunch and Monday's dinner.

Sunday morning I made chili. The last time I added a single teaspoon of red pepper flakes arbitrarily deciding that would be mild. This time I added two teaspoons of flakes, one to the meat while it was browning, and a second to the mixture after the tomatoes were added. Mild plus perhaps. Next time I'll add three teaspoons worth ~ a whole tablespoon.

Monday I baked a chocolate cake and made butter-cream frosting from scratch. Since I had the last of the taco kit for dinner I was quite full and actually didn't sample the cake. I'll have the first piece this evening. The rest is going with me to dinner at a friend's house Thursday evening.

Making the food was fun and it helped to center me in a weekend full of emotions. It is both difficult and rewarding to cook now. Michele and I shared so much of our large dish cooking over the years that I feel sad doing it by myself now. But I also feel it is a living memorial to her and our time together. She would be very upset with me were I to give up cooking. And the best part is it gives me a ready supply of great lunches during the week. Today's menu is left over chicken and rice. Mmm-mmm.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.