fabricated celebration dinner

The Premise: Mini-milestone reached. Manufactured excuse to celebrate.

July 31, 7.19pm

Me: You should take me out to celebrate tomorrow night.
James: Okay…

The Unforeseen Circumstance: Opened fridge door to find a very large head of kale. Panic sets in (at the very least, dread) as I wonder what to do with said kale. How long does it have? It’s going to go bad. Is it going to go bad? It might.

Some Background: BFF visiting and staying with us for a month. Prone to buying much healthy produce with the (I have to call it naive at this point) intention of consuming it for lunch while she works from home. The reality: she is constantly out and every 4 days we have some sort of, oh, vegetable medley in a desperate attempt to rescue a crisper’s-worth of wilting greens and half-cut avocados.

7.45pm
The Backtrack:

Me (After a minute, thinking…and reaching: It’s supposed to be customary in Asian cultures to host others on an auspicious day for oneself. Yes, of course. Better idea.) On second thought, I’ll make dinner for you and Steph and we’ll open up some nice wine. You two just sit back. (Feeling saintly and smug at once. Like they weren’t contradictory.)
James: …Okay?

The Plan: Thinking… Kale pasta. Easy. Goes with wine.

11pm Steph returns from (common yet…) unplanned outing with ex-coworkers.

Me: I’m going to make dinner for you and James tomorrow. Ok if I use that kale? (She should be thanking me.)
Steph: I want to make dinner with you.
Me: … Ok. (Casually. Am sure I didn’t flinch.)
Steph: I can get some eggplant and broccoli–I’m craving roasted broccoli. Mushrooms? Are we roasting the kale?
Me: Err. Well, if we already have the oven on for the broccoli.
Steph: Ok!
Pause.
Steph: I’ll pick up some groceries when I’m out.
(Good. Produce…)

August 1, 10am.

No breakfast, constant hunger at office (occupational hazzard), Wednesday food-site newsletters roll in and recipe spotted in Food52 edition from none other than Yotam Ottolenghi. All combined with mounting weariness and 1 ingredient being the chosen, eggplant, which I worried was simutaneiously being laid with boundless good intention in crisper, I forwarded recipe to Steph by way of suggestion.

By Way Of Acceptance:

Steph (via email): Yes!

Broccoli was roasted, said eggplant recipe adapted to include those mushrooms and, most (but not all, I’m constantly aware) of the kale. We cooked. We made polenta from corn–why not, it was the middle of week no more or less hectic than one where I cover for my only teammate (that’s thiiiiiis week) and by the young hour of…

9.30pm

The Dinner: Sliced stalks and broccoli florets roasted and dressed with olive oil and Maldon salt. Scratch, Ontario-fresh, sweeeet summer corn polenta with more sheep’s milk feta and butter than I would admit to in writing. And a summer tomato, eggplant, mushroom, and kale-heavy ragu. Organized Crime wine to toast my partners in crime and dinner planning.

partners in crime