What’s new in the photo above? There’s a side dish next to dinner.
Historically, I haven’t done side dishes. It’s always one more thing to think about when it’s time to make dinner, and since we don’t eat dinners that feature chunks of meat it’s never really seemed like I was missing anything. I don’t know what the inspiration was this time, but I found myself slicing garlic and sautéing it into a little butter before adding half a jar of frozen green beans. By the time the beans were hot through, they were wonderfully garlic-infused but still crispy crunchy. The best part: Caitlyn ate every single one that was on her plate. Without prompting or coaxing. She ate them first, before the noodles, which I think you have to have had first-hand experience feeding someone younger than 8 to appreciate.
The other thing on the plate is my standard puttenesca, a hearty, chunky tomato sauce. It’s an easy dinner this time of year since almost everything is stored in a pre-cut state. Onions and garlic have to be chopped up fresh, but the (dried) peppers are already diced and the (home canned) tomatoes are easy to chop since the canning process already softened them up. The hardest part: slicing kalamatas without squirting them off the cutting board. Oh, and maybe finding the optimum level of salt.