Discover Prompts Day 5: Dish
Usually, on a Sunday, I prepare meals and “healthy” snacks for the week. I work part-time a few towns away, and during the tourist season in SW Florida, the commute at peak hours is a nightmare. On days that I have to work, I like to make sure I don’t have to fuss over what I’m going to eat. On days that I don’t work, I still don’t like planning and preparing elaborate meals. I’ve taken to making one pot and one-dish meals, such as soups, casseroles, pizza, or pasta. Keep it Simple is my motto.
This is the second week where I’ve not planned out my week partly because I have not been to work for three weeks because of COVID 19. It has been challenging to plan, mainly because the supermarket has been hit or miss with what is available. I make it up as I go along. I managed to find ground turkey at the end of last week and promptly prepared my version of “sloppy joes” on mini French rolls with a side of oven-fries and a cucumber salad.
In preparing my meal, I noticed that I was running low on “recaito.” Recaito is a homemade seasoning, basic to just about all my recipes. Some people call it sofrito, which means “gently fried” or sautéed. Growing up, I used to watch my grandmother and mother chop up all the vegetables each time for every meal. The onions, pepper garlic, and sometimes tomatoes are sautéed in a heavy pan before adding to the dish. Every day, for every meal…chop, chop! On rare occasions, I’ll take the time to do to chop up everything fresh, but in general, I thank goodness for blenders, food processors, and Magic bullets!
Recaito. consists of onion, garlic, peppers (I prefer cubanelle or Italian pepper), aji dulce -small sweet peppers (don’t confuse with the Scotch bonnets), add cilantro and culantro/coriander leaves (culantro has a more robust flavor, use sparingly.)
As you know, supermarkets have limited supplies, and since I didn’t feel like traveling to a specialty supermarket, I decided to make the Lazy -Lindi version of recaito. These are, after all, unprecedented times of basic survival. The newscasts continue to say that things will get worse or peak in the coming weeks. I don’t want to be without recaito in the middle of a pandemic. We all have our limits.
Usually, I make a big batch to share. See my attempt at a still-life of my ingredients and tools. You may recognize a Ninja blender, extra-large measuring cup, ice cube trays, pre-cut green peppers and onions, peeled garlic, a small bunch of cilantro, and small packaged culantro. The ice cube trays are for easy storage. After the ingredients are blended, I pour the mixture in Ice cube trays and then in a freezer bag or container. When I’m cooking, it’s easy to pop an ice cube or two into my soups, sauces, Spanish rice, or beans. If you are not feeling exotic, leave out the cilantro and culantro. It’s still a tasty and convenient way to have condiments on hand.
So with my magic ingredient past down from generations, I am ready to survive our COVID 19 Pandemic. Be safe.