Day 15…five minutes
What happens in five minutes? In the last five minutes, I thought for a short part of it then made a list out of who I needed to call tonight. Now, after about a 10 second break, I am using these five minutes to begin a writing which I believe someone (you) will read as part of this blog endeavor that I keep trying to kickstart.
But, it makes me think, What could I seriously write about in five minutes? How is that anywhere near long enough to get any transparent and intellectually stimulating thought flushed out? I keep thinking this, and keep writing all this down when I realize, this is a hell of a lot of time and I am wasting most of it wondering questions for the sake of questioning. Please, I hope I am not the only person who does this all day on a regular basis.
Five minutes usually seems like nothing, seems like they might never even be there with how quickly they vanish. But, change your perception, and you might find that time lasts a lot longer than you might realize.
5 minutes are up. I believe it’s time to go.
This is a recipe I created the other night simply because I had too many ingredients lying around and I needed to use them up. It’s also inspired by the fact that I was at Food 4 Less and found jarred, organic Marinara sauce for almost the same price as the crappy Ragu stuff and had to try it. My judgment? It’s a little sweet but really good. Mix it with a little red wine or dry vermouth and it’ll give it some b@lls!
8-10 small red potatoes, sliced paper thin on a mandolin
1lb good quality ground beef
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped (use roasted eggs if you pre-plan)
½ bag frozen peas (shelled edamame could be used as well)
8-10 sm crimini mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced with ginger
thumbtip-sized knob of ginger, minced with garlic
¼ cup dry vermouth
1 heaping tbls oregano
2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
½ to ¾ lb shredded mozzarella cheese
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 colorful peppers, sliced (I used 1 orange and 1 yellow)
knob of salted butter
1 lb orzo pasta
1 jar good quality, organic marinara sauce
Grated Romano cheese, for garnish
OK, so, here’s the deal. There are a lot of ingredients in this dish, but it’s so super simple and fairly quick to make. It’s all in the prep of everything so cut it all up first and THEN start cooking. This will make it a dump-cook-layer process. And, what’s even better is that there are so many wonderful ingredients that you can experiment a bit. It’s difficult to really screw this dish up, short of over-cooking things or putting a huge excess amount of ingredients, so have fun. It’s Zen…all about balance.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Also, get a pot of water going for the pasta. (*note…if you need to make the eggs, put them right into the water. When the eggs are done, refill, get to a boil and put on the pasta)
Get a really deep dish skillet (a big cast iron one if possible) and place it on one of the front burners with the heat OFF. Get a frying pan heated on the other front burner at medium to medium-high heat and get some olive oil in there. What you are going to do is take all the ingredients right from the frying pan to the skillet. And, we cook everything in order…who loves ya?!?!
First item…potatoes. Spread them out, all of them, in the hot frying pan and toss every now and then. Do not mix them, because you want to keep the shape. Flip them as you would an omelet or pancakes. Add a little S&P, brown them good and line the bottom of the unheated skillet with all of them. This is your crust.
Meat is next. There will be enough oil on the pan from the potatoes, so, throw all the meat in with some G&G. When it just begins to brown, pour in the Vermouth. If you know how to “flame” it, then burn it off. If not, no worries, it’ll go away eventually. Once that begins reducing, mix in the mushrooms, S&P, red pepper and oregano. Let cook a minute or two, then mix in the eggs and peas. Once the peas are cooked and the mixture is how you want it to taste, drain it into a bowl (save the juices) and layer onto the potatoes.
This is where I am going to veer from how I cooked it. I put the mozzarella on top of the dish, but, with some expert advice, I am going to change it to here. On the meat layer, cover completely with a thin but complete layer of the shredded mozzarella cheese. BUT, just before you do that, toss a knob of butter in the heated frying pan.
The next cooking layer is the onions and peppers. Once the butter is melted, throw in the onions, cook them until they begin to soften then throw in the bell peppers and a little S&P. When they are nice and tossed and cooked to a buttery softness, layer on top of the cheese.
In the skillet, pour the jar of pasta sauce nd the drippings from the meat layer, add a little heavy red wine or a splash of vermouth, some G&G and heat to a slight simmer. Thoroughly mix in the entire pound of orzo then layer this on top of the onions and peppers.
Then, top all of this with a dusting of Romano cheese and a sprinkle of whatever mozzarella is left and throw in the oven for 10 minutes, or until it looks a little browned and charred on top.
When it’s done, scoop into a bowl with Romano on top and a glass of red wine on the side and mangia.