In order to facilitate my new plan of cooking as often as possible and avoiding too many processed foods, for Day 2 I decided to make a meal plan. My meal plan usually goes something like this:
1. In burst of inspiration, buy tons of veggies at grocery store with no real plan
2. Admire the veggies in the fridge, but realize I’m hungry immediately and don’t want to cook
3. Order take-out Thai
4. Repeat steps 2-3.
5. A week later, sadly throw out rotting veggies; vow to do better next time.
You get the point. So I figured maybe if I actually wrote out what I want to cook every day, get the ingredients for that, and stick to the plan, I can avoid wasting food/money and not fall into the Thai trap. I busted out a couple cookbooks, wrote it all down in a notebook, and hit the grocery store to get everything for the week… to the tune of $150. Ugh. Is that normal for a week’s worth of food? It does include stuff like chicken breasts to freeze for a later week, though, and this overly expensive curry powder which had better be worth it.
So my first meal on the meal plan was last night’s dinner — balsamic pork chops with roasted asparagus. I have to confess something: the only meat I feel comfortable cooking is chicken and ground beef. I’ve tried beef tenderloin in the past, and it never comes out well, and I’ve never even attempted fish or pork. Cooking a pork chop was a total first for me. At first, it seemed like it was going to be a disaster — I cooked the pork on the stovetop in a pan, and almost immediately the kitchen started filling with smoke. The pork was getting blacker and blacker on the outside and still staying pink on the inside. Finally at the very end, it magically became white in the middle. I made a sauce in the same pan which was super easy, luckily — a mix of balsamic vinegar and chicken broth. Once I covered the pork in enough sauce, it was actually pretty good. It wasn’t too dry and had a really nice flavor from the sauce. Maybe I just need to use lower heat next time so the pork doesn’t get quite so black on the outside?
The asparagus was awesome. I just stuck it on a cookie sheet, drizzled it in olive oil, sprinkled on some garlic/onion/herb medley thing Jim had sitting around, and roasted it for 10 minutes. It was really good in the balsamic sauce too. Mmm… asparagus.
Overall, I’d count the meal as a win. I cooked pork for the first time and it wasn’t terrible! On the downside, my apartment still smells like slightly burnt pork. The cats are going nuts.
Song of the Day
For some reason, I had this song stuck in my head while cooking. It’s super catchy, and Gweyneth Paltrow surprisingly didn’t butcher it too badly on Glee. So my song of the day is F**k You by Cee-Lo. I dig the retro vibe and the “oooh-ooohs”.