Random Dinner

I’m not sure what to call dinner tonight. Perhaps “Ground Bison with Other Things in the Fridge”.

I am usually pretty good at using or freezing perishables before I leave on a work trip. That means when I return home the refrigerator is usually pretty bare. Therefore, as soon as my plane touched down yesterday, I started a grocery order with Shipt so that I would have something besides canned sardines or the like with which to make dinner. I do not use Shipt all the time, but it can be very useful in cases like this where I only had some airline almonds and club soda for lunch and did not relish the thought of delaying a proper meal by having to stop by the grocery store on the way home.

Since I figured I used all my perishables before leaving, I added some staples like a tomato to my order. While my tomato plant is almost ready for a first harvest, it is not quite there. Within a week or so I will not have to buy tomatoes for the rest of the summer, though.

I pulled into the garage, unloaded things into the washing machine and started it. A few minutes later the groceries arrived. As I put them away I realized that I had a tomato and a half in the vegetable drawer already! I also had some portabella mushrooms that while still fine could stand to be used along with some tomato paste left over from something I made before I left. (Even though tomato paste comes in really small cans, I don’t think I’ve ever used the entire jar for one meal. As for the mushrooms, I picked them up on a whim thinking I’d grill them based on something I heard on the radio, but in the frantic “use all the perishables before I leave” time I did not get to experiment with the mushrooms as other things took priority.)

I do not remember what I made for dinner that night, but it did not use any of the ingredients I should have. Really what I remember from that night is sitting down with a glass or two of wine after dinner and watching Donnie Darko for some reason. (That is one of a few movies that are like comfort food for me.) Then Netflix took me down a nostalgic rabbit hole and suggested I watch Heathers, which I did for a while, but it was getting past my bedtime so didn’t finish. I know how it ends, though…

The next morning as I was cleaning the fish tank figuring I’d listen to NPR shows most of the day while doing some painting in my daughter’s room, (which I’m turning into a guest room although still with Ann’s things about so it still feels familiar if she ever wants to use it), my mom called and asked if I wanted to go on a bike ride. After eating restaurant food for five days straight while away and never making it to the hotel fitness center, (I usually bring workout clothes when I travel, but more often than not they just take up space as they are rarely used), I figured some real exercise would be good and agreed. Plus it would be nice to see my parents.

We rode along trails from Oakwoods Metropark to Lake Erie Metropark, which is a fun trip and 95% bike-friendly. With our various small detours it was 22-mile round-trip. I think Liam and I will make a day of it sometime and ride all the way from our house to Lake Erie. Or perhaps we would start a few exits south as the trail along the freeway is not all that interesting, but on the other hand, it would be neat to say that we can ride on trails practically the whole way from our house to Lake Erie. However, if we’re going to tackle a 40 to 60-mile ride I want to pick up some new handlebars and seat (saddle), and a new saddle for Liam. While we both like taking long rides along all sorts of trails, we also agree that things get a little uncomfortable on our rear ends a bit in and for me also on the wrists—even if I don’t try to show off and do bunny-hops. (The last time I did that “bunny-hop” trick on a ride we took around Grosse Ille, I landed hard and my left wrist ached for almost two months—I’m not as young as I used to be…)

Returning home after the ride, my body told me it wanted something fast to eat and heavy on protein. My mind told me that whatever I made should use the tomato products and mushrooms. Goulash came to mind first, but the body was not in the mood for pasta and the mind agreed. So I just started piling things up on the counter and came up with whatever this is.

Onions and mushrooms went in first along with salt and pepper. Then some thinly sliced garlic which I sautéed until it started to get crispy. (It seems like a lot of what I make includes onions and garlic for some reason.) Next came the ground bison, more salt and pepper, plus a generous portion of cumin and a few splashes of roasted paprika. Hey, why not? After the meat was browned and the grease drained, in went tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and more-of-the-same seasoning. A little later parmesan was grated on top along with a sprinkling of some parsley from my herb garden, (I have the herbs in pots inside so why not use them), then covered until the cheese melted.

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