The name of the recipe implies something tasty, like Curried Chicken with Couscous or Lemon Fusilli with Spinach & Asiago. The accompanying photo holds the promise of everything you long to be. That is, someone who doesn’t dump a bag of Trader Joe’s potstickers into a microwave-safe bowl in response to the question, “What should we do for dinner?” Someone who doesn’t treat her utensil like a dump truck and her food like a pile of debris that must be cleared while the baby is ripping up napkins.
You sigh. The succulent vegetables and fluffy rice in the photos seem about as attainable as your pre-pregnancy pants.
But wait… what’s that? The recipe promises to be a “Family Dinner in Four Simple Steps!” or a “Quick and Easy Weeknight Solution!” With determination, you tie on your vintage apron, because everyone knows that feeling cute is half the battle. You can do this.
Ginger Lemongrass Stir Fry with Tofu and Self-Delusion
- 2 cloves garlic and 1 onion, chopped. Wipe tears from eyes to notice the dog licking the baby’s mouth. Chastise dog, then confuse her by giving her a rawhide treat. You’ll deal with dog discipline later.
- 1 carrot, julienned. And by julienned, I mean cut one perfect little matchstick-sized piece off a carrot and eat the rest of the carrot raw while proceeding with the next steps.
- Tofu, cubed. Why is it falling apart? It looks like feta cheese. Mmm, cheese. Go to refrigerator and eat 2 pieces of string cheese.
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste. Oops. Is this red curry sauce? Oh, well. I’ll just use more.
- 1 stick lemongrass. Except you couldn’t find lemongrass at the condescending co-op market down the street because, according to the blonde girl with the dreadlocks and the questionable choice of rubber footwear, it was “out of season,” so you bought a lemon instead. You consider pointing out that lemons aren’t in season, either, and that they never are because you live in Wisconsin, but you’ve got a simple, healthy meal to cook.
- 5 basil leaves, torn. Uh-oh. Make that four. Baby is chewing on one. Gimme that.
Add 2 TB of oil to skillet. Sautee onions and garlic until fragrant. In a separate pot, commence making white basmati rice according to package instructions.
Remove baby’s hands from dog bowl.
Shit. It smells like burning garlic. Deglaze burned garlic and onion chunks from bottom of pan with juice from one of the lemons. Take that, dreadlock co-op girl.
Add the rest of the ingredients and begin to stir fry, then pause to answer phone. Turn off stove, take off apron, and load thrashing baby into car seat so you can go pick up your husband from work.
Return to the house to find the dog tap dancing to go outside. Walk dog while husband puts baby to bed.
Turn stove back on forty-five minutes later. Open pot of rice to find that it has turned to mush with similar consistency to Gerber whole grain cereal you give to your eight-month-old son every morning. He has three teeth.
Return to skillet to resume stir-frying. Why does the stir fry look like soup? Pour off excess liquid. Splatter liquid on shirt. You should have remembered to put the apron back on. Nah, nevermind. The apron is cuter than your shirt, anyway, which is a college t-shirt you actually bought in college.
Douse the whole thing in salt. Put some frozen potstickers in the microwave, just in case.
Serve over mushy rice. Pour glass of wine.
Total cooking time: 2 hours, forty-nine minutes.