Enough with the soup, already! The snow was melting; the sun was shining; and the birds were back. My blood pressure had also begun to head back into normal range. It was time to do some creative cooking.
Whenever we have bananas that are past their prime, I throw them into the freezer. When I get tired of having the black torpedoes falling on our feet from the freezer, I make banana muffins. This time, I could make them extra special because I could add the black walnuts that Richard had so meticulously shelled and picked. While these baked, I could turn my attention to the supper menu.
We had leftovers with a new spin. Artichoke rice was already prepared, and I had a pork tenderloin partially cooked and frozen. The challenge is to figure out what we already have in our pantry, refrigerator, under our bed, and in various other food-storage places to complete the menu.
I found a jar of marvelous gourmet mushrooms in the pantry, along with two varieties of sun-dried tomatoes – one dry packed and one in oil with Italian seasonings. The artichoke rice has a Mediterranean thing going on, and is pale green with flecks of carrot orange. I thought a bit of tomato would complement it nicely. But would sun-dried tomatoes be too powerful for the delicate pork?
I set the seasoned sun-dried tomatoes on the counter next to the stove, and put the mushrooms in with the pork. This way, the liquid from the mushrooms would help in keeping the pork moist while the meat defrosted in a slow oven. Every time I walked by the stove, I’d stop and mentally blend the flavor of the tomatoes with what was already in the oven.
I was having second and third thoughts about the addition of the pungent tomatoes when Richard walked in. He confirmed my suspicion that he’s not a big fan of the leathery little strips of tomato jerky, so I went to plan B. What goes with gourmet mushrooms when you want something acidic and colorful, yet relatively mild?
A trip under the bed and in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator saved the day. I had everything I needed for Chasseur sauce. With a clove of garlic, a bit of red onion, a splash or two of white wine, a sprinkle of flour, and a jar of Richard’s tomatoes from last summer, we had the perfect accompaniment to make leftovers new again.
It was quite tasty, and Richard gave the meal his highest compliment, “It’s a keeper.” He also ate three banana muffins for dessert, so I guess he found them acceptable.