Monday: Avgolemono Rice with Merguez Sausage
Tuesday: St. Margaret’s Hospital – don’t ask
Wednesday: St. Margaret’s Hospital – they committed a criminal act on the breakfast eggs
Thursday: G.E. Chicken Soup +?
Friday: Janice Hart’s Chicken Salad and Tomato Soup and, above all, meringues
Saturday: Shrimp and Canellinni Beans with Peppers
Sunday: Meatballs and Red Pepper Ricotta Ravioli from Labriolas in Tarted up Marinaro (Jar, Delallos)
Last week put us off our stride – food faded into the background after I had knee replacement surgery on Tuesday. Not nearly as significant as religious conversion, meeting someone special or reading Proust, knee replacement surgery will¸ nonetheless, get your attention. And the anesthesia and pain-killers involved in the process will shred your focus on anything (say, a food blog) other than – well, your damn knee.
The recovery goes on, and while it is painful and has reduced my world to a few rooms in our house, it is not without its upside. I never knew how pretty our bedroom was with the windows open and the sunlight streaming in and lush green visible out every window and a fresh breeze bringing the outdoors inside. Of course, there are long hours – especially in the middle of the night, of boredom and that sort of washed-out feeling that all convalescence brings. But that has led to another revelation – how relative time is. I am the kind of person who does not have enough hours in the day to do I want to do – but, having returned from a three-week stay in the hospital which lasted only 2 nights and unable to do the simplest things without planning and a great deal of physical effort– I realize that time is all context.
Butt what, you will ask, has this to with cooking? Hang on, I’m coming to that – let me just grab these crutches and take off this ice pack …
Janice’s Chicken Salad was to die for – I will only have the second knee done, if she promises to make some more – and her meringues present a temptation on the order of Salome’s dancing.
On Saturday, we cooked a really good one-sauté-pan dish of shrimp and cannellini beans and sliced chiles that formed a kind of sauce with a dash of water. A little too hot for Beez – but flavorful. By Sunday, however, I was having trouble standing, though I did manage to tart up some jarred Dellalo’s marinara in which we reheated some meatballs and raviolis Beez had already cooked. Billy and Emily joined us and the result was pleasant – not great food, but tasty and satisfying. In our early marriage, we would have considered this a masterpiece, and in some ways, it was. Minimal time for a good result and nourishing food.
So this is the recipe we’ll share with you this week – not so much cooking as heating and fiddling around the edges. This way, when you have your own knee-replacement surgery, you’ll have at least one night when you don’t have to pick up or order in.
Note: This week, so far, we’ve dined well on a Giant Eagle Rotisserie Chicken with a side of Cole Slaw and some take-out from Whispers Pub. We’re used to eating better, but we are just fine – exhausted as we both are (Beez, it turns out is a good care-giver, albeit a bit of a helicopter spouse: “Don’t you get out of that bed without telling me!”)
Minimum Ravioli and Meatballs
Ingredients: Serves 4
Container of frozen meatballs from Labriola’s Foods (Aspinwall, PA)
Package of frozen ravioli from Labriola’s (Beez picked up the red pepper/goat cheese ravioli, but take your pick)
Jar of DeLallo’s Tomato/Basil Sauce
Large shallot, finely chopped
Pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered
Heat the meatballs in a little chicken broth – if they get some browning on one or more sides, so much the better. (A good method here is to brown them for a bit in a minimal amount of olive oil and butter, and then add the chicken broth.)
Cook the Ravioli
Cooking the tomato sauce and finishing the dinner:
Remove the meatballs from the sauté pan. Sauté the shallots and cherry tomatoes in one tablespoon each of olive oil and butter for about five minutes, until the shallots are transparent and the tomatoes beginning to break down. Add the jar of DeLallo’s sauce and ravioli and then the meatballs. Cook until hot.
Serve with torn basil leaves and shredded Parmesan. A green salad would be a perfect addition.