Have I mentioned that I’m going to Brazil? For the World Cup? In TWO DAYS? And this explains, in part, why it’s been so quiet around these parts of late: I’ve been absolutely buried under last-minute trip planning. Flights, hotels, game tickets, rental houses, travel visas, taxis, game-day buses, non-exorbitant Amazon jungle tours, new travel laptops, bikinis & straw sun hats: none of it comes easy, my friends.
In addition, I’ve had lots of friends visiting over the past couple of weeks: much grilling on the deck and rhubarbaritas and wine. And all of these are great things, of course: friends and visits and hanging out in the gorgeous weather and looking forward to seeing even more friends in Brazil. But it’s left me little, in any, time to think straight, let alone whip up one of my notoriously convoluted recipes.
I’ve been trying to eat everything in the fridge, without getting anything new, so it can be as empty as possible before we leave. (The last thing I want to do is come home after three weeks in the tropics to a nasty, fetid fridge). Which is making for some interesting food combinations: yesterday I had a radish, celery & parsley salad for lunch, and dinner was bread + butter + wine. Today’s breakfast concoction was equally random: leftover white rice, some healthy handfuls of fresh cilantro & mint, a half jar of salsa verde, half a lime leftover from weekend cocktails, slowly drying out in the crisper drawer, and an egg. South of The Border Fried Rice, maybe?
It’s funny how complicated we’ve made it all, with our recipes and our EVOO and our many, many food restrictions. No one would put this ramshackle rice dish on a menu; it wouldn’t win any prizes on MasterChef. But it was quick (took me about 10 minutes start to finish), it used up stuff that I would otherwise end up throwing away, it was filling, and it satisfied all the basic meal requirements: complex carbs, greens, vegetables, protein. And? It was surprisingly tasty. I call these mud pies: when I toss random stuff from the fridge together and have no real idea how it’s going to turn out. Sometimes they’re great, and often become a ‘recipe’ in regular rotation. Sometimes they’re “meh” and simply a means to an end: keep the engine running. And sometimes, though surprisingly rarely, they are truly awful, inedible, and they end up in the compost. But, so what? Where else should mud pies go?
Next time you’re over-worked and under-relaxed and reaching for the take-out menu: take a breath and consider the humble mud pie. It’s not as hard as you think and you might just find a new favorite ‘recipe.’
Things will be pretty quiet around here for the next few weeks, but I promise to try to send a note or two from the jungle. And – Go USA!