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Gorge on Grains

April 14, 2014

Grains are one of my great loves. I’ll take them hot in a bowl when I wake up or distilled in a glass at the end of the day, and anywhere in between. As a result, I approach this upcoming week of Passover with more than a little bit of dread.

There are a few key ways I’ve found to survive the holiday.

1) Change the rules – Don’t avoid all grains, just the expressly forbidden ones
2) Keep the spirit alive – Kosher for Passover versions of non kosher foods are cheating
3) Remember thou art mortal – Mistakes happen, pick yourself up and start again
4) Eat lots of fiber – All that matzoh is terribly binding
5) Gorge on grains before the seder – It will give you something to hold onto

That said, despite my small apartment kitchen being pushed to its capacity in order to create a family seder, I’m going to take some time later to make one of my favorite soul satisfying meals. It’s comfort food, so it’s nothing fancy. But I thought I would share.

Surprisingly, the kitchen isn’t in complete shambles.

I butchered the lamb leg and removed the shank.
I’ve braised the lamb in oil after seasoning it with fennel pollen, thyme, bay, salt & pepper.
White beans have been cooked in Parm-Reg and aromatics.
The chicken soup base is complete.
Eggs have been hard boiled.
Charoset has been chopped.

But:
Salt water needs to be mixed.
The shank bone needs to be roasted.
Matzoh balls still need to be made.
The horseradish needs to be grated.
Carrots need to be peeled and roasted.
Red potatoes need to be boiled and tossed with French feta, parsley and lemon.
And everything above needs to be finished and plated.

I’ll have to figure out if I have enough burners, pots and oven space to execute this. Maybe I should have thought about that before. Oh well. Still, I’m making my lunch, dammit. And it’s going to be awesome. Because it’s the last soft wheat that I’m going to have for a week.

It’s totally going to be pasta.

We have leftover aglio e olio (with chicken and broccoli). And I’m not about to let that go to waste. One of my favorite things to do with these leftovers is to turn them into something vaguely Korean.

Here’s what I do.

Slice up an onion and fry it in oil over high heat.
Then I throw in some more sliced garlic.
Both get a little salt, and I put a bit of color onto them.
Now I throw in the leftover pasta, and toss it around.
A cover goes on the pan and I lower the flame, to warm the pasta through.
While the pasta is warming, I slice up a scoop of kimchi.
Kimchi gets mixed into the warm pasta, with a heaping spoonful of gochujang.
Gently I stir these into the pasta.
Once it’s incorporated, I add a splash of toasted sesame oil off heat.
The contents of the pan get dumped on a plate which is then topped with sesame seeds.

Sometimes when I’m eating this, I think it would go nicely with a fried egg on top. And occasionally I’ve made one. But most of the time it’s just a quick and easy way to use up leftovers deliciously.

And it’s something that I can only have for lunch when nobody else is around. For starters, I don’t want to share. But Mrs. Fussy hates kimchi, and the smell is a bit strong for the kids. So when I can eat it for lunch, everybody wins.

I’ve got to eat quickly today though. Lots of work to be done.

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