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New Go-To Dinner, Including (Unsolicited) Product Placement!

May 3, 2011

I have a new guilty pleasure, and it’s VIGO brand Cuban style rice and black beans, who live together in a flat bag with seasonings, until you boil them for 20-25 minutes and then take them out and put a bit of olive oil, a bit of vinegar, and a bit of chopped red onion on them.

They are perfectly freaking delicious, and I’ve taken to serving them with a bit of sliced and sauteed yellow plaintain, atop, as well as some steamed broccoli or collards. On top of that, a handful of undressed arugula.

My new way of cooking collards, since last week, is using a ridiculous condiment called Taste No. 5 Umami — which is a tiny silver tube of a kitchen sink full of umami flavors.

(I’m assuming you know what umami is — the 5th taste after salt, sweet, bitter, and sour. It’s meaty and lip smackity. Umami occurs in cheese, mushrooms, and soy, and that is why vegetarians like all of those things: they make up for not eating delicious animals.)

This tube was a birthday gift from my friend T, who probably gave it to me because she thought it would make me laugh, but also, just in case it is delicious. It could go either way, crammed, as it is, with balsamic, anchovies, porcini mushrooms, soy sauce, and cheese.

I know that collards are good with bacon and if you aren’t going that route, at least vinegar. And I recently started to make them with anchovies, a la Marcella Hazan, and they’re great, so I figured that cooking garlic in olive oil, and then removing the garlic and adding strips of collards and chili flakes and squeezing some of this funny condiment in, like tomato paste, not long before they were done, would work. It does.

With a complete protein, a yummy dressing, and sweet plaintains offset by bitter greens, healthified and complimented by plain arugula, it’s a wonderful dish. It also cries out to be eaten from a big bowl, and that pleases me.

I believe this to be the perfect meal.

Are you making any perfect meals these days? Do tell.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen permalink
    May 4, 2011 1:43 pm

    My go-to-dinner is always a sandwich, and my husband’s is always some kind of soup with canellini beans in it (yes, even in summer). He experiments a lot with soup or stew like dinners, and as guinea pig nad grocery planner, I tell him he has to use up whatever vegetables are languishing at the moment. A lot of times it’s slightly out-of-date arugula or kale.

    But I want to tell you about my go-to sandwich, which has been my go-to sandwich since my cutting-school-and-smoking-a-joint days in junior high (don’t ask).

    Lightly toast some nice oatmeal bread (Pepperidge Farm is good). Use mayo or honey mustard or both. Slice a tomato, some havarti cheese and Danish ham (the kind that used to come in foil packs? These days I used Applegate uncured ham) and stack on there to taste- my taste runs to Dagwood heights.

    You can throw a handful of that arugula on there too, it will adhere nicely to the condiment(s) on the bread. Lettuce is also fine. Another thing that adheres nicely is some pickle- sandwich toppers, chopped French gherkins (aren’t they French?), some nice bread and butter- any are good.

    Et voila. Slice in half. Of course, my husband does not eat meat, so this is the dinner for when I am having girls’ night with my daughter. She prefers her sandwich deconstructed- she’s ready for a critic’s slot on a Food Network reality show.

  2. May 5, 2011 10:18 am

    Perfect breakfast: steel-cut oats dressed with a bit of sesame oil and sprinkled with shredded coconut. And sure, add some dried cranberries if you want.

    • May 5, 2011 12:46 pm

      wow! light sesame oil? dark? do you cook the oatmeal in milk? should i add cinnamon? is the coconut real or the sweetened kind from a bag or the unsweetened kind from a bag? i am excited, can you tell?

  3. Secret Admirer permalink
    May 8, 2011 7:17 pm

    funny because when I went camping with my friend L, he swore by the VIGO beans too and we took several packages. Fortunately there are fewer bears in Brooklyn than in the Adirondacks.

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