It’s a snow day. I don’t currently have a paying job–this isn’t to say I don’t work– but I’m still thrilled to think I needn’t go anywhere and perhaps could be excused from accomplishing anything. Too many years of kids in the house or teaching makes me stand up and cheer when the school closings begin. Usually I spend the day in the kitchen with a big pot of soup bubbling away –and I’m about to do that after I’m done with the blog– but today a little perking dream took life.
A thought for the evening following a political convention:
“In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.”
from a Diana Butler Bass post on fb
Just home from an Alaskan cruise...What words could I use to describe it? None, I think. A few photos might help.
I worked on a fresh pea clam chowder while I lived in the great city of St. Paul, Minnesota. There, on any given beautiful early spring Saturday, the St. Paul Farmer’s Market would proudly boast a gorgeous array of pea shoots and tendrils…and not long after that, the peas themselves. That soup ended up in my soup book, Soups & Sides for Every Season and is a favorite with or without the fresh peas! (Fresh peas are often available year round at Trader Joes, as well.)
|Fresh pea shoots–leaves, shoots, and tendrils from pea plants. Yummy greens.|
A cool and rainy spring in Saint Paul keeps me cooking indoors. Typically I’d be raking together a salad while Dave grilled chicken or salmon. Instead, just back from our happy daughter Emily’s graduation from seminary at Princeton, I’m slaving over a hot stove. Well, not really.
|Here is Emily with her proud parents. We sang in the choir! Go, Emily!
I will say that once I decided to make and blog some Asian noodles, they were everywhere I looked online. Like this version from FOOD AND WINE. I ignored all that and forged ahead. Hmph; great minds think alike, etc.
If you’re looking for something luscious, filling, and healthy for dinner with plenty leftover for a cold lunch or tomorrow’s dinner, this is your meal. The short story is that you cook up some noodles with snow peas, asparagus, and shrimp. You stir in all kinds of things to make it taste good, and let your family or guests choose their toppings — a variety of chopped vegetables, sesame seeds, lime and nuts– at the table.
OR: Add just the vegetables and “sauce” ingredients (skip the shrimp), along with the peanut topping, and you have a great side for meats you might be grilling for Memorial Day. I picture this with salmon, pork chops, or chicken, perhaps those that have been lolling around in an Asian marinade before grilling.
Try this photo recipe: (Ingredients are in bold type.)
sesame-shrimp noodles with fresh vegetable toppings
8 Weight Watcher’s Plus Points per serving
Place 2 tablespoons sesame seeds in a small skillet over low heat and toast, stirring occasionally, for several minutes until light brown. Remove from heat; pour into a small bowl and place on table. Chop 1/4 cup plain peanuts, scoop into another small bowl, and place on table.
Pour 2 tablespoons canola oil into the skillet over low heat and add 1 tablespoon each minced ginger and garlic. Cook a minute or two or just until garlic begins to color. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bring 5-6 quarts of salted and peppered water to boil for the pasta. While it heats, chop 1/2 cup each bok choy, fresh cilantro, scallions (green onions), and cucumber. Chop all of one red bell pepper. Cut a lime into wedges. Place the vegetables and the lime wedges side by side in a large bowl or in separate small bowls and put them on the table by the sesame seeds and peanuts.
To the by now boiling water, add one pound whole wheat linguine (I like Whole Foods 365 brand best) and cook for about 7 minutes. Stir in 3/4 pound (12 ounces) fresh peeled and deveined shrimp, a cup each of stringed+ fresh snow peas and chopped fresh asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes until shrimp is firm and pink and noodles are nearly tender.
Drain pasta, shrimp, asparagus and peas. Pour back into the pot and, while hot, stir in garlic-ginger oil, a generous pinch of crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of Sriracha, and the juice of one lime. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more Sriracha, soy sauce, sesame oil, or lime, if needed. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold in shallow pasta bowls; pass fresh vegetables, extra lime slices, soy sauce, and chopped peanuts so that guests can add what they’d like at the table.
If you have a vegan or vegetarian in your group, cook the shrimp separately and place it in a separate bowl on the table. You could add sauteed tofu, if desired, or 2 -3 tablespoons peanut butter to the soy sauce mixture.
If you have leftover cooked chicken, you can add sliced chicken with the garlic-ginger oil instead of cooking shrimp with the noodles.
Vegetables are very interchangeable; please add what you have or you like. For instance, julienned carrots could be used instead of asparagus or sliced celery in place of the snow peas.
My lilac are in bloom–finally. But it’s too cold and rainy to go enjoy them. Hopefully tomorrow!
Sing a new song,
Most people, when they decide to make salad, just make a salad. A quick opening of the refrigerator door. A glance at the counter. A whisk and a shake of vinegar and oil. I love almost every salad I make (surely I should be thinner) and Dave does, too. With a couple of exceptions, I rarely repeat one, though I am crazy about fresh spinach with lime vinaigrette. And, maybe even more, green beans and mushrooms with tarragon. Or Caprese with bacon…. Well.
But this Nigella Lawson salad had us hooked from the very first time we ate it. I saw the recipe somewhere and that was that. It’s definitely addictive. To say nothing of healthy. Unlike most things I make, this is one I typically make just like the recipe says. Asian-inspired anything pushes me toward conventional wisdom and written-out recipes, though I do see myself peeking out from around the soy sauce now and again lately. For instance: yesterday I ran out of mint (the only herb called for in her version), but had cilantro and basil. I also had a great mango calling, “Alyce, Alyce.” You can look at the original version here where I blogged it for Dinner Place. Shrimp,too, instead of chicken, is scrumptious. Wow! Add some cooked jasmine rice (ok, brown rice if you must) for a larger, more filling meal.
While this meal contains a whole jalapeno pepper and a bit of crushed red pepper (Nigella’s named a Thai bird chile), it is not terribly hot at all. (I don’t like really hot food just like I don’t like really salty food; I only taste hot or salty then.) It’s just flavorful. Make just a little with the heat and try some if hot peppers are things you don’t eat.
|The sad, but beautiful snow dance of the lilacs in my south garden. Two of them will not survive.|
If you’re watching your P’s and Q’s calorie or healthwise, this salad has your name engraved on it. It’s one that fits both the South Beach and Weight Watcher profiles with smiles all around. If you aren’t worried about intake, you should make it anyway. By the way, I made this for a group of music friends the other day–right after this last heavy Saint Paul snowstorm– and one of them brought cuties mixed with peach yogurt and chopped walnuts as our dessert. Nice! Try this:
vietnamese chicken salad with mango
4+ generous servings 7 Weight Watchers Plus Points
- 1 jalapeno, minced very finely (no veins or seeds)
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled, minced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 tablespoons Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce (nuoc nam or nam pla)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium red onion, finely sliced
- Freshly grated black pepper
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 12 ounces (3/4 pound) white cabbage, shredded
- 2 medium carrots, shredded, julienned, or grated
- 1 pound cooked chicken breasts, shredded, or cut into fine strips (can sub cooked shrimp)
- 1/4 cup each chopped basil and cilantro (plus a little cilantro for garnish)
- 2 mangos, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 2 scallions sliced very thinly (white and green parts)
- Salt, to taste
In a medium, stirring with spoon, combine the chile, garlic, sugar, vinegar, lime juice, fish sauce, oil, onion, black and red peppers; set aside for 1/2 hour. to a large bowl, add cabbage, carrot, chicken breast, basil, cilantro and mangoes, tossing with tongs. Pour cabbage mixture over the dressing, tossing with tongs, slowly and patiently so everything is coated. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve on a flat plate topped with almonds, scallions, and cilantro for garnish.
Cook’s Notes: If you’re not going to eat all of this salad at one meal, store the vegetables-fruit and dressing separately; otherwise it can be soggy.
Weight Watchers Notes: Skip almonds to subtract a point or cut back on chicken portion; do not cut sugar–it’s necessary for the dressing.
… … … … …
DINING OUT FOR LIFE : DINE OUT/FIGHT AIDS
LIST OF RESTAURANTS DONATING PORTION OR ALL OF THEIR INCOME TODAY!
… … … …
Food Needed: Cheyenne River Reservation Episcopal Mission–9 congregations in 2 counties
Elderly, Disabled, Grandparents raising children need food.
Solo Episcopal pastor on the reservation tries to help, but is out of resources.
Please read and help if you can?
Sing a new song! Come, Spring, Come!
Festive and healthy at the same time is a winning combination. While we often think of holiday meals leaning toward big hunks of meat and baked desserts, it may be just the time we should be thinking of cutting a bit here and there. If you’d like a gorgeous December salad that’s colorful and filling without being heavy, try this little plate of love. There’s plenty of shrimp (I bought cooked shrimp for ease of preparation) for those who need visible protein, but it’s off-set by the addition of lots high-fiber quinoa, green apples, red pomegranate seeds, cucumber, fresh cranberries, clementines, and spinach–to say nothing of the blue cheese grace notes. A light orange vinaigrette spiked with a bit of crushed red pepper tops it all. You could add some steamed, chopped asparagus or green beans, I think, but the spinach gives you lots of green. I served a little bread and butter with this salad to round out the meal. Try this:
|1.Make the quinoa: 1 cup dry quinoa to 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 25 minutes until tender. Cool at least a few minutes (stir to cool more quickly) before adding to salad. You’ll have leftover quinoa for soup or breakfast.|
|3.Chop 1/2 an at least partially peeled cucumber and 1/4 cup fresh cranberries, optional.|
4. Slice thinly an unpeeled Granny Smith apple. Peel two clementines (or one orange) and separate them into segments.
|Here I began to mix just a small portion of the salad to try it out.||Hey, I liked it!|
5. In a large bowl, mix 1 cup cooled quinoa with 2 cups fresh spinach, and the marinated shrimp.
6. Gently stir in the cucumber, cranberries, apple slices, and clementines. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper.
7. Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to moisten the salad well. Squeeze just a bit of lime juice over everything. Taste and adjust seasonings. You could add another pinch of crushed red pepper if you like a bit of heat.
8. Spoon the salad out onto a large serving platter and garnish with 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds and 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese. (2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans–optional) Serve immediately and pass the pepper grinder at the table.
Ingredients list: 1/2 pound cooked shrimp, 2 cups fresh spinach, 1 apple, 2 clementines or 1 orange, 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, 1/2 cucumber, 1/4 cup fresh cranberries (optional), Juice of one orange, 1/2 teaspoon honey, 2 T white wine vinegar, 1/2 lime, walnuts or pecans (optional), 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, crushed red pepper.
*If you like a sharper vinaigrette, use sherry vinegar or add 1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard.
This vinaigrette is mild so that the fruit all speaks for itself.
Want to bring this a potluck? Put the sliced apples in with the shrimp and vinaigrette to keep them from browning. Bring the vinaigrette separately and dress the salad right before serving.
Wine: I liked this with a glass of California Chardonnay, but an Oregon Pinot Blanc might drink beautifully. I just sent a half-case of Bethel Heights Pinot Blanc for a Christmas gift. It might not be too late for you to do it, though the weather could be turning dicey for shipping. At $18 per bottle, it’s a beautiful northwest winery steal even if they have to wait until spring for delivery.
quinoa…It’s really a seed related to spinach or tumbleweed (rather than a grain) that can be traced back to ancient Peru…and yes, it’s gluten free.
Low in calories and fat, quinoa is high in carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. While it cooks in just about the same time and same way as white rice (maybe a few minutes longer), it also has close to the same amount of calories. A good source of all the amino acids, iron, potassium, and magnesium, quinoa also offers a bit of zinc– about 1/4 of the daily allowance for women.
Try quinoa as tasty hot breakfast cereal with maple syrup and hot milk, or as a good foil for spicy hot chili. This grain is luscious in salads and can sub for couscous or even rice in many places. On it’s own or nestled next to your chop, add a little butter, salt and pepper and it’s ready. Read all about quinoa here.
I blog with a great group of writers every Friday where we cook our way through the list of foods from Whole Living Magazine’s Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients: Read more about tasty quinoa at these sites:
Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
- We’d like to have you as part of the group. Get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits: Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com
If you liked this, you might like
These nuts are whipped up in no time. A bit of beaten egg white, some sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne and they’re into a low oven for an hour or so. Great gifts, we also serve them all throughout the season as a nibble with drinks or a salad topping. (Original recipe from my good cook and sister Helen…I’ve tinkered and damned it into submission over the years.)
this week on dinnerplace (cooking for one)
Make 6, just 6, Cornbread Muffins
Sing a new song,
how easy is that?
|Ina’s Roasted Shrimp with Feta from her 2010 book, How Easy is That? served with salad.|
If I’m home in the afternoon, no one has to ask where I’ve disappeared to around 3. I’m watching Ina, of course. I’ll admit that portions of the Food Network are not for me; I switch them off or tune them out. But if Ina’s on (or Tyler Florence), I’m probably watching. It says a lot. I’m not a tv person, with the exception of early morning political shows (love “Morning Joe”), a few minutes of TODAY, and the occasional film on the old-movie channel. I have better fish to fry, literally. Or I’m at the piano. Or I’m walking Gabby and Tucker. Loving Dave.
But Ina and I go way back–sorta. In fact, we could have been friends. Well! Back in the seventies, my bus stop was right in front of the building where she worked in Washington, D.C. (I didn’t know that then.) I cooked; she cooked. I gave dinner parties; she did, too. Right around the corner from one another almost. Until she moved to New York to open the Barefoot Contessa, a specialty food store, in 1978. Between then and now, she ran that store and catered for twenty years, wrote seven books and countless magazine columns, and made more segments of The Barefoot Contessa on Foot Network than I know what to with. There’s also a product line, Barefoot Contessa Pantry, available in specialty stores where you can buy everything from coffee to cupcake mixes. In fact, I noticed our local Macy’s carries Ina’s products. I freely admit I have never bought any of these boxes goods. Hey! I make Ina’s stuff from scratch. But if you try them, let me know; I’d love a review.
|Ina, you’ve got to stop, but why not an app for my ipad?!|
Somehow we missed meeting and cooking together. Sigh. Later I moved all over the country until I stopped in one place where a new friend talked me into borrowing The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook from the library. That was it. Now I have my own copy and six more of Ina’s books plus an index.
Trying to decide which recipe to blog for Ina, who is number 39 in the 50 Women Game-Changers in Food, was like trying to decide whether to go to Italy or France for two months next summer. How could I decide? I’ve made tons of them. Some of them are very, very much favorites–including a lemon pound cake I just made last week for the Friends of the St. Paul Library board:
One of the perfectly perfect things about Ina’s recipes is that you can do all kinds of things with them. I added homemade strawberry ice cream and a blueberry drizzle to this cake and here’s how it looked:
|Ina’s a great starting point.|
After much dithering and mithering, I did the only sane thing: I made something of Ina’s I hadn’t yet made. A great excuse to try a new recipe, which turned out to be Roasted Shrimp with Feta. I have always made a summer pasta that is this fast: spaghetti topped with lots of chopped fresh tomatoes, cooked shrimp, chopped feta and a good, heavy dose of dried oregano and black pepper. But Ina’s recipe is great in the winter…. Run, don’t walk to the store to make this. It’s beautiful, tasty–tasty, easy, not too expensive, cuts in half easily, and is healthy. (Is this a Friday in Lent?) Including chopping ingredients, it probably takes about 45 minutes to make–much of which is taken up with cooking stove-top or in the oven. I served it with a simple green salad and we needed nothing more except a bit of Chardonnay. Fancy enough for company, I made it for just Dave and me and we ate on the front porch for the first time this winter. (Like the rest of the country, St. Paul is experiencing May in March–no complaints.) I’m not going to print the recipe as Food Network is clear about “all rights reserved,” but the link is just below. The recipe is in Ina’s Newest book, How Easy is That? (2010/Clarkson-Potter) so you can buy it if you like!
Ina’s Roasted Shrimp with Feta Recipe... click here.
Cook’s Note: I changed almost nothing in the recipe, though I did add a pinch of crushed red pepper–a bit of heat enhances the lemony shrimp. Get the best feta you can find; you’ll be glad you did. Use peeled shrimp.
|You don’t need more than this.|
Thanks, Ina Garten and that doesn’t begin to say it. Blessings on your life and work. Keep on! (And about that app…)
Watch Ina on youtube.
Want to read other bloggers who are following the 50 Women Game-Changers in Food story? There are a lot of good blogs out there; read on!
Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden, Heather – girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette – Healthy Living Mary – One Perfect Bite, Kathleen – Bake Away with Me, Sue – The View from Great Island Barbara – Movable Feasts , Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen Annie – Most Lovely Things, Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table, Amrita – Beetles Kitchen Escapades
If you liked this, you might like:
My Breakfast Reuben in a Cup for St. Patrick’s Day on my Dinner Place (Cooking for One) Blog.
Sing a new song and join me on my daily Lenten blog,
Big bunch of bacon. (This is good. I’m married to someone who eats anything with bacon.) Next: tons of onions. Rice. Lots of shrimp, ahhh. All cooked together in one lovely mess called a bog. For those of us with no real connection to the south-eastern coastal states, a bog brings to mind cranberries in Maine or Wisconsin, even. Or being stuck at work, as in: “I’m all bogged down writing that article.” But this bog, this “Sullivan’s Island Shrimp Bog,” is just what it sounds like: mounds of steamed shrimp mixed up on top of a velvety oh-so-thick tomatoed, oniony, spicy rice–perfect for brunch or a lunch bunch. If the words “comfort food” weren’t so over-used and so inappropriate (comfort food being food you had a gazillion times as a kid…), I’d call this comfort food extraordinaire. Comfort food x100.
Just for fun, here’s the wikipedia definition of a bog: A bog, quagmire or mire is a wetland that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses or, in Arctic climates, lichens.
Food for thought, I’d say. Read on:
From Gourmet Live’s 50 Women Food-Changers, #32 Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian (of the Edible Communities magazines fame) comes this jambalaya or sopa seca-like dish that will be one of your go-tos for days like Super Bowl or Book Club Supper. Or make it just for you; halved it was a beautiful supper for two with lovely lunch leftovers.
Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian published the book Edible, A Celebration of Local Foods in 2010 after a long and successful career designing, writing, and publishing locavore food magazines…. (as well as lots of other impressive things) Local peeps are familiar with the free edible TWIN CITIES.
In Tracey’s own words….
Then, in 2002, we decided to launch our first magazine, Edible Ojai, which was very well received. From 2002 to 2004, we worked on a plan to expand and have multiple magazines, calling it Edible Communities. In the early stages of that plan, we thought we would do the additional magazines ourselves, perhaps up and down the California coast. Then, in January of 2004, Saveur magazine included Edible Ojai in their “Top 100” for the year and within a week of that issue hitting newsstands, we had calls from over 400 people asking us for an Edible magazine in their community. That is when we decided it would be better to change the model so that each magazine could be locally owned and operated by people in the communities we published in.
Edible Communities officially started in May 2004, with the launch of Edible Cape Cod. (courtesy dailygreen.com — Read more) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hence the eventual cookbook and hence our sweet bog recipe. Buy the stuff; make it soon!
|by the way: sullivan’s island is near charleston, south carolina|
sullivan’s island shrimp bog : 6 servings
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
- 1/2 pound sliced bacon, finely chopped
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne, plus more if needed
- 2 1/4 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 pounds medium shrimp (40 count), shelled and deveined I used cooked shrimp in shells
- 1/4 cup very finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
- In a fine-mesh strainer, rinse the rice well under cold running water. Drain well; set aside.
Sue – The View from Great Island
Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan – The Spice Garden
Heather – girlichef
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney
Mary – One Perfect Bite
Barbara – Movable Feasts
Jeanette – Healthy Living
Linda – Ciao Chow Linda
Linda A – There and Back Again
Martha – Lines from Linderhof
Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits,
Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen
Annie – Lovely Things
Nancy – Picadillo
Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood return next post,friends. But while the pups are off, listen to a great young singer I’m listening to tonight… Jeremy Anderson. His new album is out (click on his name) and he does all the tracks himself. Sometimes 12!! He’s got some music on itunes, too.
Sing a new song, make this shrimp and listen to Jeremy,
After a busy season of church, family, and travel, I’m back. I missed blogging, but simply couldn’t find a good way to do it with pictures from my ipad, which is what I take away from home. First blog must be about how we came home…
After a long drive, and a couple of weeks away from my still Christmas kitchen (I do admit it: I was cheating with my other kitchen the whole time), we were hungry. Friends offered one meal and we ate out another, but we needed to get back into the swing of cooking and eating at home. Not wanting to do a serious grocery shop right away, I ran through the corner store for just a few things:
- fresh greens
- cherry tomatoes
- 4 red bell peppers
- chicken breasts (several–on the bone, with skin)
- whole wheat bread
- plain Greek yogurt
When I arrived home, I was able to put together the Shrimp Cobb (recipe below) that night and had plenty more for a couple of breakfasts, a pot of chicken chili, and leftover chicken for snacks and sandwiches. (Thanks to a well-stocked pantry and freezer that included shrimp and bacon.)
|Let’s talk chicken chili another time. Love this stuff. You can do beans or no beans.|
Meantime, both Dave and I were hungry. Here’s how I made our Shrimp Cobb:
Shrimp Cobb serves 2
- 1/2# cooked, deveined,and peeled shrimp
- 2 boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
- 4oz blue cheese (I like Roquefort for this, but you might like Maytag or another American blue), divided in half for South Beach, use 2oz low-fat cheddar or mozzerella
- 12 ea grape tomatoes and pitted kalamata olives
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced for South Beach, use 2/3 of an avocado
- 2 pieces of bacon, fried to a crisp and chopped
- 3 cups mixed greens (I like kale and spinach)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1-2T extra virgin olive oil for South Beach, skip dressing; avocado replaces oil allowance
- Kosher Salt and pepper
Directions: Set out two, large shallow bowls (I like pasta bowls for this.) and line each bowl with greens. Add shrimp at center of each bowl. Next, paying attention to color, contrast and texture, add the other ingredients (eggs through bacon) in clusters around the shrimp for each serving. Squeeze lemon juice over the salads and dust with a bit of salt and pepper. Drizzle each with olive oil. Serve immediately. (I like the lightness of the instant lemon vinaigrette here–so that you can taste all of the ingredients individually. Some people might want a heavier or more traditional Cobb dressing, which is French; others might like old-fashioned Thousand-Island or Blue Cheese dressing.)
For links to other things I’ve written about lately, check out the links in my twitter feed…at right, up top.
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
a few pics from the break–not in any particular order
|We know we’re not supposed to be here and what are you doing about it? You’re cooking.|
|Grandson under the table after dinner. We all wanted to join him.|
|Love these two.|
|See the Dinner Place blog for this recipe.|
|New cookie…still needs a name. 3 kinds of chocolate and peppermint….|
|Christmas morning cinnamon rolls after church.|
|Christmas morning service at church…we gathered around these beautiful candles.|
|Christmas day before dinner.|
|Working on a pepper cornbread–Buttermilk or no?|
|Sunrise at our Colorado house.|
|New Year’s Hoppin’ John|
|Good visit in Denver.|
|Out to dinner with our big kid.|
Sing a new song and all positive possibilities for healing to those in need…particularly my dear Elizabeth,
|Nothing cooking today, though I cooked egg tacos for my breakfast.|
I guess if you write a blog, you like to write. I read somewhere today that we write because we see things and must share them; that’s our job. I don’t know. I only know that since I could hold a pencil, I’ve been writing. For years, it was letters. Before that, it was poetry and all kinds of intense scribbling that kids seem to need to do. Now it’s a cooking blog and I’m grateful for it and I’m grateful for you, since you’re reading. Grateful to the cooking that brings it all together.
Speaking of cooking blogs, I began a new blog this week in response to Emily’s request for a kitchen and pantry list, as well as some recipes suited for cooking for one. I had been thinking of (and had even staked out a name) another cooking blog for a while, but couldn’t settle on which focus to pursue. When Emi talked to me about solo cooking, I knew I had my topic. There aren’t many posts and the first ones deal with kitchen/pantry, of course. There will be lots of recipes, links to video tutorials, shopping lists and tips, and thoughts on sharing your food. Less stories and more food. It’ll grow. Take a peek, though. It’s called Dinner Place: A Blog for Solo Cooks. I’d love emails or comments with recipes/ideas that are great for one person; I’ll blog them if I can.
It’s a nasty-cold night in Colorado, land of temperate winters and beautiful, warming sun any day of the year. We had a long, warm fall and have had a mostly gentle winter with a few arctic exceptions. But last night, the banshee moaned and the house creaked hard while the wind chimes sang and banged on the front deck. Sometimes, when it gets like that, I make my way out in the dark and put the chimes out of their misery until morning. We get wind here like nowhere else except Alaska and we get it worse up here on the mesa, where it’s not unusual to get hurricane-force gales that blow the panels out of the ceiling in the bathroom, scaring the shit out of me. We don’t take showers when the wind is up. One time, the panels crashed down into the bathtub while I was at rehearsal, impaling a huge lizard that had, for reasons known only to her, made her way into the bathtub. I came home and, after taking the dogs out and chilling out myself, decided to strip and jump in the shower. Ever since then, I’ve had a clear shower curtain. Make your own movie here, though it must involve a certain amount of Alyce running back and forth, making a lot of noise.
And not only is it frigid (.3 on my thermometer) and blowing, but the coyotes have the fur up on their backs and are crying and chirping down the hill, howling over God knows what. Something they’ve had for a late night snack, I’m guessing. The dogs are spooked and I am, too. After all, I’ve got to take them out for a last pee in the snow. It’s nothing to have incredible shapes make their way in front of you in the deepest dark on the street here. Leaves you wondering if it was a bobcat out catting around. Sometimes I have two or three lounging around in the yard. 40 pounders. I’m just thoroughly happy it’s too early for the bears, though occasionally they wake early if it’s good weather. One reason to be thankful for the cold, I guess.
There’s a good reason the Indians didn’t settle here. Of course, no water was a big clue.
Despite the weather and wildlife, I am managing pretty well on a snow day near the land I dreamed of when I was young. My day was full of reading, writing, listening to music, dog snuggling and tennis ball playing, laundry and playing the piano. Not always in that order. Today, the piano and writing won out. Two articles for examiner. Had to finish Mr. Pettigrew’s Last Stand. (Lovely British love story) I ate leftovers and skipped cleaning the kitchen. (Did you read the grilled eggplant-Italian sausage pasta blog? I had some of that in the freezer.) Don’t you just occasionally look at a clean kitchen and think, “I’m leaving it that way.”? I have sweet neighbors who keep in touch and give me lots of fuzzies and the conversation one needs come cold weather.
As we go through time toward moving, I’m spending more time on hateful things like weeding books and other possessions. I donated half of my clothes to ARC last week. What a chore. I’m vowing to never again let that happen, to keep up better with things I don’t use. Our closing date is set for mid-March; we’re still working on a schedule for what and who is moving when and how. We probably will keep our house here, the question being, “For how long?” First trip will be in the car with the dogs so they and I can stay and do some painting, get Dave’s office ready, and hire someone to repair the living room wood floor where a wood stove has just been removed. I’ll ship my kitchen ahead of time and use that first week or so to decide where the pots, pans, gadgets and Tupperware go. All this, knowing the closing could fall through (we’re waiting on an appraisal) or be delayed and force us to house shop again. Yuck.
But that leaves me with shrimp stir fry, which is what you came for; didn’t you? Last week, one day when I was at the north end of town, I stopped in Whole Foods for cheese, chicken broth, yogurt, jicama and Fed Ex blueberries (shipped north from Chile). They had yummy-looking shrimp on sale for $9.99 a pound and one pound rode home with me while I thought about:
- Making shrimp po boys.
- Making shrimp rolls.
- Making horseradish sauce and eating them boiled in water seasoned with Old Bay.
- Making spicy shrimp pasta
- Making shrimp stir fry
- Making shrimp Cobb salad
Stir fry won. I NEVER know what I’m doing with stir fry, but Dave assured me I had made my mark (finally) with this potful. I find if I think of it as just cooking and not Asian cooking, the food is much more tasty. The original recipe had just shrimp and sliced green onions, which sounds super, but I had a bunch of veggies wilting. You can use whatever veg you have or like. Actually, you can sub chopped boneless chicken thighs; make sure there’s no pink left in them after cooking.
Cook sticky (the cheap stuff) white rice; use a little less water to make sure it holds together. Leave out the rice if you’re watching carbs; this is a filling meal without the rice. (about 250 calories a cupful) A pot of tea would go down; we love oolong. Otherwise, this is a beer meal. Riesling if you must have wine.
Could this be for Valentine’s Day? I don’t see why not. If you have a helper, split the chopping and it’s pretty fast after that. Get the table and drinks ready before you cook or the food will get cold.
|This just sings.|
Shrimp and Veggie Stir Fry
Make a pot of rice first; it takes longest. While this sounds like a long list of ingredients, the dish comes together very quickly. Get everything out and/or measured before you begin. Makes 4 servings
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 1 teapoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil
1 onion, chopped coarsely
1/2 large red pepper, sliced thinly
4 ounces sliced button mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced snow peas in pods
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 cup spinach
2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoon sweet chili sauce (or a good pinch of crushed red pepper)
sprinkle each salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- Cilantro sprigs, garnish
- Fresh Lime, garnish
- In wok or in a 12″ deep skillet, heat oil over high heat and add onion through cabbage to the pan. Cook and stir often until vegetables are starting to soften a bit.
- Meantime, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce (first short list), broth-white pepper.
- When vegetables are softened, add sauce, shrimp, spinach, fresh ginger, garlic, and chili sauce or crushed red pepper. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring often until shrimp are pink and firm.
- Stir in sesame oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve hot on cooked, hot rice, garnished with cilantro and lime.
Around the ‘hood in no special order and rather random to say the least
Worshiped at Shove Chapel last Sunday, always a delight. What an organ. How hopeful to hear Jacque Franklin pray. How I hate to think of missing Benjamin Broadbent’s life-changing sermons, though we had a guest seminarian preacher.
Had friends to dinner Saturday for pork loin and oven-roasted root vegetables with a fennel-celery salad that had a fine, fine Parmesan dressing. Homemade vanilla pudding with a dop of fig jam thinned with lemon juice and Cointreau. Enjoyed a luscious Burgundy imported by Scott Paul in Oregon; they do a famous job of picking the litter of less-expensive French wines.
Shipped a kitchen to Emily, who moved into an apartment. This was no easy feat..fitting it all in two big boxes. (What’s with these shipping prices? Can you fix that somehow?)
Had a salad lunch at Walter’s with Mary Pat.
Friday we had to get out of the house (long day working at home) and ran over to the new BJ’s Brewery for a very quick meal; they were packed and turning tables. Glad for their business, but we needed to relax and couldn’t because they had such a long line and the server was pushing us through the meal. So we came home and, by the time we did, home looked a bit more welcoming. By the way, the food was tasty brewery fare at BJ’s. They have some inexpensive happy hour specials (like an appetizer pizza you can split) and more draft beer choices than I’ve ever seen. Perhaps I haven’t looked.
Sunday, I took Saturday’s leftover pork, made bbq sauce and we had bbq pork on Wimberger’s (Bott Ave off 21st St.) rolls for Super Bowl. I also made Raise Your Cholesterol Dip (breakfast sausage, cream cheese and undrained Rotel cooked and served w/ tortilla chips.)
Two things: Where were the great commercials and did you notice the Packers didn’t appear over the moon about winning, despite the nail-biting ending? (We’ll leave out the part about learning the words to the national anthem and I guess I was the only one who liked the half-time show.)
We signed a zillion loan, title, etc. papers on all of the red exes and mailed them back to St. Paul. I bought used, but VERY expensive moving boxes. If you have some, I’d love to take them off your hands. I kept very few from the last move.
Dave got in a nap or two; what are weekends for?
Sing a new song,