By Bonnie Fishman / San Francisco Bay Area
We just ended a two-week onslaught of family guests. It was truly wonderful. It all began with one Fishman cousin trickling in from Minneapolis on December 17, then two more from Detroit on the 19th. This was followed up by our daughter, Hanna, and her pack of three dogs. Two days before Christmas, our son, Ben, his wife, two rambunctious boys, and two more dogs drove up from Los Angeles. Last, my niece and her boyfriend drove in from Phoenix.
On December 23, I hosted a belated Thanksgiving dinner, since we weren’t all together on that holiday. Let’s check those totals: for dinner we had thirteen adults, two children, and seven dogs. Chaos? You betcha! A great time and laughs had by all? For sure!
The evening was filled with lots of food and lively discussion
We enjoyed some delicious meals with a few of us taking turns to cook. We began with that full-on Thanksgiving-style meal. One night, my daughter-in-law, Rachel, made a divine beef Bourguignon and another night a thick vegetarian chili. My son Ben made the best chicken enchiladas ever, my brother-in-law Ronnie prepared his famous spaghetti and giant meatballs, and my sister Marcia made spinach pie with both yuca and potato latkes.
I “threw together” cured standing rib roast with honey cumin carrots and mashed Yukon golds with caramelized onions. Don’t ask! Our breakfasts were equally doted over: fresh blueberry pancakes, baked French toast with apricots, sun-dried tomato, spinach and mushroom frittata, eggs in the basket and breakfast burritos. Do we love to cook? Do we love to eat? Can you tell?!
What struck me most after the last of the family left on January 2 was the massive amount of food we had gone through plus the mountains of tumbleweed dog hair left behind. The fur balls everywhere is for another column. In the aftermath, what I’d like to address is food consumption and replacement. In two weeks, we went through 11 dozen eggs, 8 pounds of coffee, and 15 pounds of dog food. That’s for starters. My entire pantry was obliterated.
As most of you know (if you’re a new reader, check out my first column…), I always have a prepared, well-stocked pantry, freezer, and fridge. This cooking/eating binge wiped me out!
Back to the drawing board (and the grocery store). I surveyed my main storage areas: fresh food, frozen items, and dry goods. I began with dairy. We already know we had no eggs left. This is going to require a list:
Cheeses: Parmesan, cheddar, feta, cottage
Onions, garlic, potatoes
Green vegetables (broccoli, green beans)
Meats (tofu for vegetarians)
Was my pantry depleted, too? I needed to check my absolute must-haves:
Olive oil/vegetable oil
Baking ingredients: flours and sugars
Rice and legumes
I scrutinized my remaining supplies and made a list of what was missing. I went to three stores to procure the necessities: Trader Joe’s, my local grocery store, and a Mexican specialty store. When in season, I’m able to go to the farmers’ market to gather produce. But this time of year, it is slim pickings.
What a relief to be restocked! I palpitate when my pantry isn’t in order. This comes from years of running a commercial kitchen when it was oh so inconvenient if one ran out of an ingredient mid-prep.
Now, what to make for a post-holiday meal? I am “meated out.” I normally don’t eat that much beef but, hey, it was the holidays, and we seem to go off course of our usual eating habits. I’ve decided on a mixed rice and vegetable bowl. Of course, there are many variations of grain bowls. Feel free to swap out or add to any of the ingredients. These are just suggestions.
Let us know here at The Insider how your post-holiday week went. Were you wiped out and wiped out?
Mixed Rice and Veggie Bowl
Yield: 6 servings
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. plain Greek yogurt
1/4 c. fresh chopped cilantro leaves
1 English cucumber diced into 1/4” pieces
2 med. carrots, peeled
1/3 c. water
1/3 c. white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. frozen roasted corn, defrosted
1 pt. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2-3 ripe avocados, sliced lengthwise
6 lg. eggs
handful cilantro sprigs (garnish)
4 c. water
2 c. white and wild rice mix
1 tsp. salt
In a medium bowl, mix together the lime juice, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt. Stir until dissolved. Blend in the yogurt. Add chopped cilantro and cucumbers. Cover; leave at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Lay a carrot on your work surface. Using a sharp peeler, press down on one end of the carrot and peel away from you in one long strip. Continue until you have 1 1/2 c. packed carrot ribbons. In a small saucepan, heat the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil; boil 30 seconds. Turn heat off. Add the carrot ribbons and allow to pickle for 1 hour.
Bring 4 cups water and salt to a boil. Stir in the rice. Bring to a boil; cover and turn down to a simmer for 30 minutes. Turn heat off and let sit for 10 minutes, covered.
Bring a medium saucepan to a boil. Add a good pinch of salt and a splash of white vinegar. Break 1 egg into a small bowl. Create a whirlpool in the pan with a fork and quickly drop the egg into the center. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Lift egg out with a slotted spoon, drain on a paper towel. Repeat with remaining eggs. To keep the poach eggs hot: Leave in a large shallow pan filled with water at 150°. Or, if you have a multiple egg poacher, use that instead.
Portion out 1 1/2 c. cooked rice into each pasta bowl. Drizzle 2 Tbsp. of pickling liquid on the rice. Arrange the cucumbers, corn, carrot ribbons, tomatoes, and avocados around the edge of each bowl. Lay a poached egg in the center. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve at room temperature.
Bonnie Fishman attended the Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London. Later, she owned and operated Bonnie’s Patisserie in Southfield, Mich. and Bonnie’s Kitchen and Catering in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. She has taught cooking for over 35 years and created hundreds of recipes. She is now living in Northern California.