Re-entry is hard. We are all tired, still on an adrenaline high from the Longhorns victory at the Rose Bowl and our visit to Disneyland. Our homecoming has been a big dose of reality. A post-holiday messy house, laundry up through the chimney, and the realization that all the hustle and bustle of Christmas is no more than the usual overload of activities we pile onto our daily schedules.
Feeling the need to retreat to a simpler place and time, I decided to treat my family to a very basic, yet nourishing meal. And thus the tone is set for my debut dinner of the year. In anticipation of a hectic schedule with school, ballet, basketball, the chiropractor, a workout and all the housekeeping that comes with the first Monday of the year, I spent much of Sunday reading cook books (what a sacrifice!) and roaming the aisles of Central Market.
Planning is more than half the battle. So, with my meals for the week planned and provisions procured, there is no panic of ‘what’s for dinner?’
Tonight I made a tasty meatloaf. The recipe from Every Night Italian is light on ingredients and yet more flavorful than other meatloaf’s I have tried. It calls for a blend of three meats: pork, veal and beef. This flavorful mélange needed little enhancement: onions, an egg, some French bread, red wine and fresh herbs. Done. The sauce was simply sinful. Melted butter and whole, peeled tomatoes reduced with an entire onion. The recipe calls for discarding the onion prior to serving the sauce. Discard we did – as an appetizer with red wine. The onions were sweet and melted in our mouths. A nice hint of the meal to come.
From Barefoot in Paris I made another simple, yet hearty potato dish. Using my new Le Crueset casserole, I melted European butter (a first for me, I’m an HEB gal) and added a pound of fingerling potatoes (skin on) to coat. I covered the pot and let the potatoes bathe and the butter brown then finished it off by tossing the spuds with a handful of freshly chopped herbs: chives, marjoram, and oregano.
The meatloaf with the delicious tomato sauce and the herbed potatoes were met with great enthusiasm. DD liked the potatoes best. DDD preferred the meatloaf, and DS? Well…we managed to get him to eat his share before clearing his plate. Husband was completely happy and me? The house is still a mess, the laundry in piles, but my family ate well and everyone is sound asleep with full bellies. And that is the satisfaction of a meal well served.