Some days, I look at the kitchen and that is the feeling that comes rushing to the surface (not so unlike my acid reflux problem): frustration.
What am I going to cook for dinner? It's only a matter of time before someone else actually asks me that question. What am I going to tell them?
Since I can't very well tell them, "Shove off, I'm not in the mood...," I have to change the way I think about food.
My husband always manages to prepare some ultra-easy, piece of cake meal that makes everyone happy. And sometimes, I feel like a little knowledge (and a small budget) can be a dangerous thing.
I know just enough to know that I want to make miraculous meals that make my family swoon, but I also know that - well - I'm tired. I'm tired and I don't have three New York strip steaks in the fridge to whip out.
But I also know and have to remember that food, at its most basic, is simple.
And when I can remember that, we're all better off.
Here is a simple side dish, suitable for chicken, pork, beef, or any hot meal.
1 pound medium carrots (about 6), peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick on the bias
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar (although I prefer brown sugar)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Ground black pepper
Bring carrots, salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, and chicken broth to boil, covered, in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until carrots are almost tender when poked with the tip of a paring knife, about 5 minutes.
Uncover, increase heat to high, and simmer rapidly, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 1 to 2 minutes. Add butter and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar to skillet; toss carrots to coat and cook, stirring frequently, until carrots are completely tender and glaze is light gold, about 3 minutes.
Off heat, add lemon juice; toss to coat. Transfer carrots to serving dish, scraping glaze from pan. Season to taste with pepper and serve immediately.