Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pondering my first home-cooked meal

I don't want to get ahead of myself and already start planning on what I will cook first when I get my own place. Since my "incarceration" here in the nursing home, November 1, 2007, I have had two near-death experiences that set my treatment back to square one and have had housing opportunities slip through my fingers due to bad credit twice.

Still, as I lie here in my bed, listening to my roommate snore and Crazy Alice next door listen to her TV much too loud, I am fantasyzing what I will cook for myself first when I have a kitchen at my disposal. I am so sick of things that I have to microwave, so it will be something from scratch, or near enough. As much as I'd love a steak dinner with all the trimmings, I want to start off with something easier (and cheaper). I could make the Sloppy Guieseppes that I wrote about earlier, or just make spaghetti and garlic bread. Either would be simple (though I am a little leery of a big pot of boiling water as one of the first things I would make while in a wheelchair).

I think I'll start off with tacos. My tacos aren't all that different than the tacos any of you would make at home and, lord knows, there isn't a lack of good, cheap tacos in Seattle, but the difference is that these tacos will be made by me. They are the same tacos my Mom made for me when I was a kid (mine might be a little better than hers). They are just simple spicy ground beef American-Style tacos in lightly fried white corn tortillas with iceberg lettuce, sharp cheddar cheese, a little ketchup and a little Pico Pica Sauce (my Mom's favorite Hot Sauce). Except for cooking the meat, which is no different than cooking ground beef for spaghetti, except for the spices (for tacos I just use soy sauce, Pico Pica Sauce, and Penzey's Bold Taco seasoning). The tortillas I can just spray with Pam and pop in the microwave for thirty seconds. Of late I have been buying pre-shredded cheese so other than one frying pan, a spatula, a slotted spoon, and a plate (and a whole lot of paper towels) there won't be much fuss. (Since I will live alone I can drink my milk straight from the carton. My friends don't drink milk anyway).

Tacos sound good right now.

Another thing that sounds good is a meal that made me fat, but since I have lost 110 lbs. since I got sick, I can indulge myself one more time. That meal was boneless pork ribs, french fries, and heavily buttered creamed corn. Boneless pork ribs are simple. Just buy a boneless pork "butt" (shoulder) roast and cut into steaks, then cut each steak into at least three "ribs." Cook three ribs, freeze the rest in packages of three. Now that I know I can get Texas Best BBQ sauce again, I will make this as soon as I get a bottle. I usually do the fries in the oven, I haven't had a deep fryer in years and told myself I won't think of buying one unless I can stand up ay a counter for at least 30 minutes.

There are so many other things I want to make, and since it is unlikely that my disease will ever let me work full time again, I will have time to actually cook something more complicated than 30-Minute Meals. I have collected about 200 recipes off the internet that I want to try, including Seattle's The Brooklyn Seafood, Steak, & Oyster House's recipe for Clam Chowder (my favorite) and Angelo's Marinara Sauce (which I will use for many dishes including Shrimp and Clam Marinara with mushrooms and green olives over linguine).

I can easily come up with a years worth of meals, providing I first get a kitchen. Wednesday I look at the place and am 99% I'll apply for it. I am only 39% sure I'll get it. It is better to be pleasantly surprised than bitterly disappointed.

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