Last night, I came home early from work.
I had a great day: an awesome interview with Marja Vongerichten (the host of the upcoming PBS TV series “Kimchi Chronicles” and wife of Chef Jean-Georges), a busy work day of transcribing and writing (no thumb-twiddling!) and a yummy mid-afternoon Asian snack (strawberry cheesecake pretzel sticks).
And I came back home to an empty house.
Well, not really. I found my room infested with ants. Holy—. How does a whole army of ants crawl into the corner of my closet overnight? I could have sworn they weren’t there yesterday. Damn my bread crumbs!!
I spent the next 30 minutes cursing and sucking up all the pesky six-legged creatures with my vacuum. The weather is past 90 degrees and I was sweating away in my formal work attire. Stupid ants!
But after the last pest was sucked up, the room suddenly seemed empty again. There’s my desk in the middle of the room. Empty and clean, waiting for its sole occupant. Hm.
For a second, I wondered what it would be like to come home to somebody waiting for me.
Somebody with whom I can destroy ants, somebody I can bitch to about my irritation of the day, or share a bible verse that I liked. Somebody who might have prepared and washed my vegetables for me, ready for me to sauté when I get back. Someone whom I can force to clean the toilet (my LEAST favorite chore), who will sit at my white Ikea desk across me to eat dinner with me, telling me I look good even though I’m dressed in a ratty shirt with a faded Pikachu image on it.
After all, it’s a little sad that I should come home wanting to share my good day with only a swarm of wicked ants waiting for me.
And then I got busy with preparing dinner, and I promptly forgot that I ever doubted why I enjoy my singlehood. You see, I like my silence when I come back home from a long day; I like lazy dinners when I would eat just a big hunk of bread for dinner; I like the ceasing of all social drama once I open my door and walk into the blessed silence.
In short, I love the simplicity of my life at home. Though…what would I know about the “other life?” A good friend of mine recently lamented to me that she hasn’t had a boyfriend in a very long time. I guess in a way I’m glad I’ve never had one so I don’t know what I’m missing.
One thing I do miss though, is sharing my cooking. I remember when I used to live in the little room under the lemon tree with three other guys less than a year ago. I always shared my baked goods with Kenny. I would leave the milk bread or cornbread out on the kitchen counter and when I come back, one-third of it would be gone. I always smiled, because it’s a nice feeling to share food with somebody.
Awhile ago, Mimi asked me to sample a bacon-mint pea soup that she made. It was the best pea soup I’ve had, and I don’t even like peas. So to return the favor, I decided to make something in return for her, too. After all, we single ladies know how to eat well.
I had a list of elaborate dishes in mind, but then realized few of those fancy plates would transport well, nor would it be good a day after. The only options I could think of was some kind of casserole or soup. So I dug into my pantry and decided to use up some of the products that Hormel Foods had sent me some time ago:
- Smoked Ham
- Beef Bouillon
And some other stuff I had on hand:
- Zucchini (from my CSA box!)
- Cream cheese
- Garlic (unpictured)
- Hoisin sauce (unpictured)
- butter (unpictured)
- Hot sauce (unpictured, optional)
- black pepper (unpictured)
Add all that up, and you get some kind of disgustingly good stew. Or chowder. I don’t know, call it what you want, it’s a dish for the single ladies so we don’t need to impress nobody.
First, dice up onion, zucchini and garlic. Set the butter (about a tablespoon?) melting over medium heat in a large pot. Toss in onions and garlic, stir to coat. Throw in zucchini next, let cook until kinda soft.
Next, drain smoked ham and throw it in with a drizzle of hoisin sauce. That’s the secret ingredient here. Ooh-er.
Dump in corn, salsa (as much or as little as you want, depending on how much of a zing you like in your soup), a few cubes of bouillon and enough water to suit your preference. Bring to a boil, simmer for a while.
Turn off heat. Stir in cream cheese at the end, season with black pepper and dashes of hot sauce.
Serious goodness. I know it looks GOOPy, but it tastes five times better than it looks. That’s more than I can say about Gwyneth Paltrow.
I ladled a good portion into the very container Mimi put her pea soup in for me.
Crumbled a bacon on top. Totally fuss-free.
If you want to get fancy, get a clean bowl out, spoon in a decent serving, crumble bacon on top, sprinkle on fresh herbs and cheddar cheese. Like this:
Disclaimer: this bowl was from leftovers. I microwaved the contents after work and had a warm, satisfying meal within 4 minutes. Well, minus the 2 more minutes I spent to take an impatient photograph of it.
This actually tasted better a couple days later! Perfect, since bachelorettes like me tend to have to settle for frequent leftovers.
Even with the cream cheese, it really wasn’t too heavy or rich. Probably from the tangy salsa. It was a perfect blend of creaminess with lots of texturally pleasing chunks of vegetables.
I’m getting a bit tired of my need to take several pictures of the same freaking bowl. Another good thing about being single: nobody to call you out on your annoying traits. Except yourself, of course. And the damn ants that jump on every chance to remind you that you’re sloppy with leaving crumbs around the floor.
Question of the Day: Now, let’s hear it. Any fellow single ladies out there? Holler up! What do you like about singlehood?