Thursday, July 28, 2011

What I Made for Dinner: July 28, 2011

Arugula salad with tomatoes and olive tapenade dressing.

It's not as much fun to cook when my junior gourmand is away. 

Josh has been sick at camp, which I know because the camp doctor keeps calling me.  So I know how many times he has thrown up.  Josh, I mean, not the doctor, although I suppose the doctor might be throwing up too because honestly?  I doubt he would tell me that.  The doctor says Josh is kind of sick but not really and there's no reason for us to come get him early.  So why call me, then?  Perhaps the doctor owns some investments in Pfizer Inc., maker of the fine product Xanax®.

(I am positive that's not the case.  I know the doctor, a delightful older gentleman from, judging by his accent, Kentucky, is just keeping me informed.  He does not mean to freak me out.  He is taking better care of Josh than Josh would get at home.  Puking at our house does not earn a child a trip to the doctor.  It earns the child a day in bed with some Sprite and no food for six hours.)
So anyway, I've been making these simple little dinners because no one here really wants to eat much.  BLTs, various salads, that kind of thing.  But I am planning a little feast for our camper's triumphant and puke-free return.

Monday, July 18, 2011

What I Made for Dinner: July 18, 2011

Crock pot jerk chicken with brown rice salad.

Last summer, when I started moaning about how it was too hot to cook, several friends and my mom gave me suggestions for tasty, light dinners that didn't require a lot of stove time.  One of the best suggestions was to use the crock pot, which generates little heat and requires almost no fussing or attention. 

I used a jarred Jamaican jerk sauce, diluted with a little orange juice, and didn't bother browning the boneless/skinless chicken breasts first--I just threw 'em in and turned on the crock pot.  And then we went to the pool, where I floated with my toes dragging along the bottom like a hippo.  When we got back, the delicious chicken was ready!

I served it with this cold rice salad and chunks of mango.

Brown rice salad (serves 8)

One 14-ounce box instant brown rice
One can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 sweet bell peppers, preferably mixed colors, diced
One jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
One bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
3 ears sweet corn, kernels removed
3 scallions, white and green parts, minced

Cook the rice according to package instructions; remove from the heat and let cool.  While the rice is cooling, prepare and combine the other ingredients and make the dressing. When rice has fully cooled, add to the other ingredients and toss with dressing.

For the dressing: 
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tsp kosher salt
black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and whisk.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What I Made for Dinner: July 16, 2011

Sandwich wraps and apple slices.

It's too hot to cook and we just got back from vacation.  I think I performed admirably under the circumstances.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What I Made for Dinner: July 8-10, 2011

Spaghetti sauce; homemade pizzas; prime rib and mashed potatoes.

All of these dinners are Josh's favorites.  He got to choose his last meals before going away.

Last meals.  For the love of Pete, we didn't send him to prison.  He's spending a month at the delightful summer camp where I made some of the happiest memories of my childhood.  We dropped him off today.  The place looks astonishingly unchanged since the last time I saw it, which was 1987.  1987, holy Meatballs.

(That was the year Fink beat The Stomach.)

Sending him to camp at every step of the way--the decision to do it, getting him ready for it, driving him there, leaving him there--has been, shall we say, fraught.  I posted a long time ago about the expense, and how much it worried me--but some generous Jewish community grants helped with that, at least for this year.  It's impossible to know if a kid is really emotionally ready to spend that long so far away from home.  This kid has never spent the night at a friend's house and now he is three states away and he can't call home, even.  But, we figured, some people need to just take the plunge. 

Shopping with him, then packing his clothes into footlocker and duffel, I flashed back to my own summers at camp where I was constantly anxious about having the right clothes, the right goddamned Swatch.  My experience won't be his experience, I know that, but still.  There are ghosts.  Ghosts of a teenage girl's adolescence are the worst fucking kind.

The drive to camp wasn't much fun.  Everyone was on edge, the younger brothers finding inventive ways to harass everybody, Josh flying off the handle in predictable response, Chuck and I gritting and gritting and gritting our teeth (note:  remember to make dental appointments) and only occasionally losing our shit, miraculously not at the same time.

We dropped him off today.  At first he panicked about being the youngest or the oldest or whatever, I wasn't listening too closely but I reminded him that even though he's going into fifth grade he's old enough to be a very young sixth grader so he fits with both groups and that seemed to defuse whatever thermonuclear device was about to go off in his mind.  We went to his cabin and unpacked while he met the other boys.  All his stuff fit on two shelves.  We hung up his nicer shirts.  I reminded him where we put his socks.  He was quick to say good-bye, dismissive even, which is how I hoped he would be.  He wanted nothing less than a hug from his mother.

I have an inside source who told me he seems to be doing fine so far.

After dinner, we took Alex and Eli out for ice cream, and I looked at my watch and realized it was probably evening snack time at camp.  I hope he got ice cream for evening snack.

And oh, sweet Lord, I hope he remembers where his pajamas are.