Back in Action…What’s for Dinner?

So we’ve obviously been traveling, which is why I haven’t been posting. And some day I’m sure I’ll be inspired to write about the challenges that TPE’s new diet creates when we travel, particularly to see family. But today is not that day. Instead, its more about how to cook when you just got back into town and you don’t have any food in your house.

Of course this isn’t a problem if you’re not a vegetarian, or not concerned about the food you put in your body.  But we’re really trying to focus on those things as much as possible for TPE.  (I should note that The Kid is easy…find package, unwrap, throw on miscellaneous vegetables, and move hand before it gets eaten.)  And because she’s picky, I really hesitate to give her just anything.  Any bad experience is likely to have future consequences.

As I sat down to figure out what to make for dinner, I settled on something that wouldn’t be too taxing on our depleted pantry – risotto.   It satisfies a lot of the things I need for TPE and its pretty easy.  Plus, I figured I had the necessary ingredients – rice, stock, some vegetables, cheese.  Problem solved.

Not so much.  Although we did have enough vegetables (in this case scallions, shallots, spinach and fresh oregano), we did not have the rice I wanted.  Aborrio rice, as I’m sure many of you know, makes a much better risotto than just about all of its counterparts.  But we were out (how did that happen?) and we didn’t have any suitable substitutes.  I couldn’t use brown rice because it takes too long; basmati is out of the question because it has its own distinct flavor; and, we didn’t even really have good old (not really) minute-rice.

This kind of moment can be pivotal.  In the rush to get dinner done, I didn’t make sure that I had all the ingredients before I started some of them.  I know I should, but I just knew I had the rice.  And you have to be careful, because everything won’t always work as a substitute.  Fortunately, TPE’s new diet has introduced new ingredients in the household and there was one that would work just fine in this kind of application – Israeli couscous. The finished product wasn’t quite as good as a regular risotto, but you know what…the dinner went just fine and I achieved my goals.  Everyone was sated, TPE seemed to enjoy her food, and I didn’t have to run out to the store in the middle of dinner.

What’s your favorite substitution that not everyone makes?

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  • mrr  On June 20, 2010 at 5:28 am

    Wow, I’m so impressed! Our kids are well trained to know that getting back in town means picking up from Peppers Burgers down the street – a fav of students and young families around Oxford. They have very nice organic veggie (and meat and lamb) burgers, though the chips sort take away any health edge 🙂 Peppers unexpectedly closed down for 6 months a few years ago (while we were out of town), I think we had toast and butter for dinner when we arrived back at the end of the summer…

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