Don’t Call it a Comeback

Yay! I’m over the (first) hump and can eat real food again. I can cook it too, without being too tired or tummy-achy to stand or smell food aromas hitting my face. But I’ve had to start out slow. I’ve sort of lost my groove, a little.

On Tuesday I really wanted a pot pie-type comfy food, since it’s been a typical cold, wet Oregon May. The slugs have annihilated my vegetable sprouts and even sawed halfway through my beloved dragon arum (Dracunculus vulgaris) – a devastating blow! I thought about making a pot “pie” inside a loaf of bread, and picked up some organic bread dough. Scott chimed in about making them single-servings like hum bao, and I heartily concurred. I whipped up a batch of chicken pot pie filling, taking care to reduce the gravy somewhat to avoid utter soggage. But oh, the calamity. They fell apart before I could even pinch them together. I threw the whole mess into a casserole and just baked it with the bread dough strewn lazily across the top.

Tragically, the bread part ended up completely leaden, and my gravy reduction yielded a dry interior to the mess. Sigh. I think my lower lip stuck out the entire time we ate.

The next day I was craving soup, and even wanted something spicy. I tossed around a few ideas (one of which I’ll save for another time – it might be a Thing) and settled on a variation on the highly plastic minestrone. I made a hearty tortellini, sausage and cannelini minestra with a piquant arrabbiata broth simmered with onions, carrots, garlic, zucchini (sauteed first in the flavorful Italian sausage fat) and best of all, a thick Parmesan rind to enrich the whole affair. I tossed in some cheese tortellini (and a can of cannelinis at the end), et voilĂ . Top with a thick piece of garlicky bruscetta and finely grated Parmigiano Regiano, and I think I’m back.

This weekend: grill therapy.