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When she has the kitchen all to herself, Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella cooks beautiful iterations of what solo meals were always meant to be: Exactly what you want, when and where you want them.
Today: A story for now, a flank steak for dinner, and a new marinade for always.
Dash. Look outside. We fell back.
It's 5:20 in the evening. But what time does it look like?
And in the spring when it's 5:20 what will it look like?
Here's the best part, Dash. On Monday morning, 7 AM will feel like 8 AM. Total. Score. But I'm bummed the weekend is over.
Me too. It was great because my daddy came home.
That was my favorite part too.
We carved pumpkins, we had pancakes, we had Halloween. There was candy. You ate my strawberry Starbursts. And then you made shakshuka.
No. Wait. Mom. You made baba ganoush. I get all these new words mixed up. And then we had plank steak.
Did you like the plank steak?
It was delicious. Sweet but sour. Juicy. It was awesome.
Dash, do you think that dinner tasted better because daddy was here?
Maybe a little. Because I don't like it when it's just three. I like the whole four.
Yes, my love. It was a perfect weekend.
I don’t tell him that nothing makes me happier than cooking for his daddy.
I don’t tell him his daddy doesn’t like flank steak, that I forgot, that I’ve lost touch.
I don’t tell him about the kiss his daddy gave me when he got home on Friday night, the one behind the bedroom door, against the Transformers poster, amongst the Legos and stuffed cats, right before the first trick or treaters arrived.
I don’t tell him how sometimes I hide in the kitchen and cook so that I don’t have to be fully present as a wife or a parent.
I don’t tell him how this was a record, how his daddy and I made it 36 hours before our first fight.
I don’t tell him about the fight, the same one we always have, the you are so controlling, followed by the you have no patience, ending, as always, with me sobbing on the kitchen floor.
I don’t tell him how blissed out it made me to roll over on Saturday morning to find a warm chest for my head, to interlace fingers with fingers and toes with toes, to feel my entire being enveloped by the steady rhythm of someone else’s breath.
I don’t tell him that it’s possible to love someone just as much now as you did 25 years ago.
I don’t tell him that I ate all of his Snickers bars for lunch.
I tell him only one thing.
Dash. It’s flank. Not plank.
One 1 1/2-pound flank steak
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, for seasoning meat
A few turns black pepper
2 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large shallot, finely diced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon balsamic reduction (or regular balsamic vinegar)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons red wine (any kind)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, for the marinade
3/4 cup pomegranate arils
Photos by Phyllis Grant