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Labor Intensive, Not Labor Intensive

May 30, 2021

Happy me (and Jim)… we had a greater-than-two number of people over for dinner last night. We menu-planned, prepped, marinated, assembled, cooked, grilled…. all just like the before times, and it was quite fun. This post-pandemic life is something I could get used to.

(That said, it’s not post-pandemic for a lot of the world, and for them I am truly distressed. For the gazillionth time, we must acknowledge we live in privilege-land here in the US. Our country may be goingtohellinahandbasket, but we are winning the vaccination game. Thank you drug people, thank you Joe.)

While I’d love to go into detail about the two new dishes I made, I neglected to get any photos. Just know, it was really nicely grilled/charred skewers of marinated chicken thighs (in yogurt, lime, olive oil, toasted cumin seeds, kosher salt, grated ginger, crushed garlic) basted with fresh tarragon, mint, butter and salt) and a watermelon salad (that also included arugula, pistachios, cucumber and goat cheese, with a tangy vinaigrette (lemon, olive oil, s&p, cayenne, red onion, and new-to-me spice — and a lot of it — sumac). Served with grilled pita and some last minute brown basmati in case I had a fail somewhere. I forgot the yogurt sauce I’d made that goes with the chicken dish and also forgot to finish the presentation with fresh torn tarragon and mint leaves, but nobody was the wiser. Carrie and Marc brought hummus aps, Karen and Steve brought cheesecake and berries, and Janet brought wine, for a truly enjoyable feast, start to finish. Says me. I gave both dishes 4s, Jim gave the chicken a 4, and the watermelon a 3. He thought the watermelon was not sweet enough (and true dat, we are in the tasteless watermelon and sour fruit phase of pre-summer). I really loved the salad, though. High on texture and interest.

Anyway, no meal or process pics. But I I did snap a couple….

I am thrilled to have learned this week of a new and better way to peel ginger. I’ve always done it with a small, sharp knife, which is crude and time consuming, and you lose a lot of ginger. So I loved hearing that most people responding to Lance’s Facebook query, “how do YOU peel ginger?” said, “with a spoon.” Huh, I thought. Then tried it out and it’s much, much better. Of course, Sarah, a great cook, said she buys frozen, peeled ginger cubes at Trader Joe’s, which would win in the labor saving cooking hacks category.

So… in the not labor intensive category:

As usual, since the pandemic began, I choose dishes and make shopping lists, Jim shops. That’s such a tedious part of cooking off the list. He wasn’t able to find rosted, salted, shelled pistachios… so…

In the labor intensive category, a half cup of newly shelled pistachios:

Here’s the NYT’s photo of the chicken dish. This is what it would have looked like If I’d remembered the yogurt sauce, and sprinkled with torn herbs:

Ahhh, to be a food photographer….

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