Monday, April 20, 2009

Improvisation. (Dinner for one).

Last night K. pressed leftovers upon leftovers in my hands as we cleaned up the aftermath of her party. I packed myself a sensible lunch - slices of salami, soy-sauce eggs, ginger shrimp, carefully arranging it in a plastic box. (In plastic bags I gathered the leftover vegetables, orange slices, bagel halves). I thought that I had put the remaining shrimp back in the fridge, but when I leaned into the refrigerator at work to get my lunch I noticed there were two boxes: my beautifully arranged sampler of tasty goodness, and a box full of ginger shrimp. Whoops. Now I would have to do something about all those shrimp.

I had errands to run after work, and in the car I thought about what I should do for dinner. Should I make potato salad to eat with my cold oven-fried chicken? Should I dice up the shrimp and make a pasta salad? Traffic moved along slowly, and I was alone with my thoughts, and Modest Mouse. Pasta, I thought. There were leeks from the market and farfalle in an unopened box - if I were being good, I would finish the fettuccine first, but I am a grown-up now, and I can do whatever I want - and even some leftover white wine from last night's party. I pull into the garage, tidy up the car, put things away while my mind is concentrated solely on one object: dinner.

As always, as you are probably bored of hearing by now, I think of Edouard de Pomiane, and first put a pot of water on to boil. Two slim leeks are split open and washed clean, sliced into fine slivers. I heat a little butter and olive oil in a pan, slide the leeks in, pull the tails off all the shrimp. Throw the pasta in the water, after first shaking in a healthy amount of kosher salt. The leeks are soft now, just beginning to caramelize. I add white wine, and after a moment, the shrimp. The wine cooks down, and I pour in a little cream, leftover from last week's birthday cake experiment. I add frozen peas to the pasta; when they are done, the pasta will be too. I drain them together, tip them into the pan, stir it all together.

It is not perfect - I added the shrimp too soon; they are overcooked - but I have only myself to please, and I am pleased.

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