Occasionally necessity really is the mother of invention. A couple of containers of late summer ratatouille still in the fridge wondering if I’d forgotten them. (I hadn’t. That stuff’s pure gold.) Raw shrimp on sale at the store that jumped into my cart. A lonely sauté pan on the stove. An empty tummy.Continue reading
If you’re not trying to get healthy this month, you might still want to read this week’s post featuring main dish salads. Even if all you managed to accomplish was to clear out your entire cellar’s store of Pinot Noir but skipped every red, green, and silver Hershey’s kiss you encountered (and so didn’t gain an ounce in December), you could drum up interest in hefty, heart-warming and filling whole meal salads–if nothing else but to figure out what to do with leftover steak (leftover steak?!), those couple of lonely pork chops, an oh-so-sad single portion of salmon, one languishing chicken breast with wing attached, or perhaps only a drawer full of vegetables and cheese with little else to recommend them but a poached egg or two and maybe a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
Out of all the things folks say to me about making dinner, the most common might be, “I never know what to fix.” It occurs to me that while those are the words coming out of their mouths, the problem might not be that exactly. It might be a question of, “I know how to make tacos, but not enchiladas, so I buy the ingredients and cook tacos. A lot. I don’t have the time to learn enchiladas. Other days I make grilled boneless chicken breasts, salad, chili, mac and cheese, and hamburgers because I don’t need a recipe.” Or…could be they didn’t plan a week’s meals and shop for the plan. We’ve all been there.
It’s the time of year when cooking can fall into a somewhat doldrum state. On one hand, we have the best produce of any season…
Americans consume more than 3 billion pizzas a year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report showing that 13% of Americans eat pizza on any given day and over a quarter of young males are eating it daily.
info courtesy restaurantmealprices.com
I’m wondering how many are homemade? A minute fraction? (If you’d like, take a little class right here on the blog and make your own “regular” pizza right in your kitchen just like my student in the photo below.)
We had our first serious day of winter yesterday, April 4, 2017. It was beautiful, not too cold, quickly melting, and intensely hydrating for our gardens. We are grateful for water and for a day to make a big pot of vegetable-beef soup. Trees, small- huge limbs, and power were (are) down all over town due to the heavy-weighted snow’s impact.
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,