Tag Archives: lunch

Thai Me Up! (Or, “An On-Hand Attempt at Recreating a Proper Peanut Sauce”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c rice noodles
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 3/4 c lite coconut milk
  • Juice of 1/4 lime
  • 1 c cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp carrot sticks, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp gyoza sauce
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

P1110492Ok, this is in stages. But completely worthwhile stages. In fact, to simplify this otherwise daunting-sounding rip off of an otherwise respectable Thai dish:

1. Put sliced garlic and onions in 2 tsp olive / 1/2 tsp sesame oil warming to ML. Let cook until garlic begins edge-goldening. Prep anything else while this goes on.

2. In separate pan, put remaining oil in on M. Lay cabbage and carrots in oil and toss delicately with 1 tsp soy sauce. Cover the pan and turn off the burner. Let sit until mealtime.

3. Spoon peanut butter into garlic pan and let melt. Turn up to M and throw in remaining seasonings along with gyoza sauce, coconut milk, lime juice and remaining soy sauce. Stir until the first boilin’ bubble appears, then turn burner to L.

4. Boil noodles according to package directions. Drain and, while hot, mix into the peanut sauce. Serve topped with cabbage and carrots. Garnish with a

5. Spoons! 


Papardelle-icious to Vegetarians and Carnivores

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package Trader Joes® lemon-pepper papardelle
  • 2 c fresh spinach
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Parmesan to top

P1110468Yum. And an easy “yum” at that. So easy that though I didn’t have time yesterday to write down the ingredients today they are still simple to keep emblazoned in the senses. If you haven’t cooked papardelle before, try it out and learn how it got its name from the Italian verb “pappare” (to gobble up).

P1110447Fry your garlic on ML until just the edges begin to turn golden, then remove the pan from heat and sprinkle on the seasonings. Let that sit while boiling papardelle to the perfect al dente and chopping spinach. When the pasta gets drained, turn off the burner. Mix spinach into the oil/garlic/ and move that pan back to the burner you just turned off (don’t turn it back on). Cover the pan for 1m, then uncover and stir until the spinach is wilted to your taste. Mix in the papardelle and ensure everything is properly coated. Sprinkle with Parmasean. Between the papardelle, spinach (and Parmesan), this vegetarian dish will have more protein – and visual interest – than eating a chicken breast. Of course that doesn’t mean you couldn’t add meat if you want, or skip the cheese for an easy vegan dish. 5 well-deserving spoons!

Tomato-Topped Tortellini (or, “Salad Capricious”)

In my pantry today:

  • Trader Joes® spinach tortellini
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 M sweet onion, minced
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • dash asafoetida
  • dash sea salt
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar

tortellinitomatoHeat the oils to ML and address it with your minced finery. Turn them back to L and let sit for an hour or two; this seems like a huge investment for an otherwise simple meal, but trust me on the flavor quotient. If you don’t have that much time to invest, don’t worry your heart — this will still turn out beyond edible.

Closer to mealtime, boil/drain your tortellini and prep tomato and cheese slices until the slice:cheese ratio works for you. While the love for cheese can connect almost all of is it also comes with a wide gradient of loves; slice for yourself and don’t look back.

Add your oil, garlic, onions and Parmesan to a pot where you’ve replaced the tortellini drained. Toss gently and let sit for 5m before serving topped with slices of tomato/mozzerella. Drizzle the tiniest bit of balsamic vinegar over the whole shebang, close your eyes and dream of Italy. 5 spoons!

The Lo Mein Course

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c leftover vermicelli, cold
  • 2 c broccoli florets
  • 6-10 baby carrots, quartered
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 1/3 c red cabbage, diced
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tbsp sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin/minced
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • dash asafoetida

P1100374I don’t generally order lo mein when take out is afoot… dumplings and other fried things are my vice; I could make a meal easily out of everything on the Appetizer menu at most Chinese restaurants. This is to say that I am no expert on Asian cuisine (as I just used Americanized Chinese take-out as my primary example of Asian cuisine), but it can’t hurt to start with garlic and two kinds of onion in oil on L for an hour. This will deliver plenty of prep and clean-up-from-prep time.

When your time is right, put 1 tsp of olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot (or use a big pan if you’re fancy, but I make messes) and turn to MH. When the highest MH is reached, toss in your vegetables and stir fry for a few seconds. Pour broth into the pot, add seasonings and 3 tsp soy sauce. Stir then cover when boiling happens and reduce heat to ML. Let the vegetables cook in the flavored broth until fork-tender (about 5-10m).

While that’s going on, pour room temperature vermicelli into the pan with oil, garlic and onions. Mix well. Remove the stock pot from heat and mix in noodles. Once there’s a successful consummation cover the pot and let it sit for 3-5m. A hearty 5 spoons await.


Stuffed Cauliflower

In my pantry today:

  • 1 lg head cauliflower
  • 1 c quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 c finely shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, in thin spears
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

stuffedcauliflowerSo this one is a doozy of a dish that I both went into suspecting and came out knowing with which I can do better. I will master this. It might not have helped that I decided to go my own way with the stuffing (as opposed to the scant every recipe online). I don’t blame myself, of course, I blame my cupboards. Regardless, the fundamentals won’t change. Start out by getting the bottom greenery off of and core out of your cauliflower, then wash it before submerging it for 15m or so in a large pot of boiling water laced with all of the above slated turmeric. Take it out and let it cool for another 10 or however long it takes you to complete the following:

Mix together 3/4 c quinoa with all the cheese and above-listed seasonings then set it aside. There will be time, too, to make the sauce to top it before baking.

  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 c half and half
  • 2/3 c vegetable broth
  • 2/3 c tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Chunk up your onion and garlic and let cook in ghee over ML heat for 5-10 minutes. Puree like hell in the food processor. In the pan from which they came, heat the olive oil and pour the pureed contents back in. Cook over ML (erring on the side of M), scraping off the bottom as you go and adding in the coriander and cumin. Make it into a cohesive paste and begin adding your liquids while heating, now, to full M. Add the cayenne last then let sit until the big white head gets  turned upside down then stuffed gently and lovingly with the mixture from a couple paragraphs back. This is a little more difficult than it sounds like it might be — you see from the picture up there that a full stuff will take some training. Put in glass baking dish right-side up, cover with sauce and remaining quinoa and bake at 425° for 1 hour. 4 spoons for taste and aesthetics — when I figure out how to better stuff this thing, we’ll see about making it 5.

Black Bean Soft Tacos with Broccoli Salsa Tapenade

In my pantry today:

  • black beans
  • 1/2 c minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c broccoli salsa tapenade (below)

broccolitapenadeI want to cook with the new white corn tortillas I found at Aldi which are exactly like the ones my favorite (and really, the only I eat) soft tacos at our favorite Mexican restaurant here. There are black beans in the cupboard and in the fridge a few leftover broccoli florets that I just don’t want to see die. But black beans and tortillas, ok. I see that. But fitting broccoli into the equation?

  • 1/2 c broccoli crowns
  • 4 tbsp salsa
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp taco seasoning packet
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lime wedge

Invite the food processor and that big bag of frozen lime wedges you still don’t entirely know what to do with, and get going on this easy little addition that will turn out to be better than anticipated. Pulse the broccoli and garlic paste until the broccoli is more finely minced than your human hands could possibly muster (yet not completely pureed). Remove to a small bowl and add seasonings, salsa and finish off with the lime. Set aside — you can obviously eat this immediately, but a couple of hours sitting never hurt no seasoning blend.

limesTo make the beans, start out minced garlic and onions in olive oil on ML for a few minutes, then do a half-ass drain/rinse on your can of black beans (a little of the gook in there will be helpful) and put in the pan. Add most of the vegetable broth, saving a little for additions later. Stir everything together, then place two (frozen here) lime wedges on top, cover and let cook for 20m or so. Remove limes, stir and add rest of broth then let simmer until taco time. Heat your tortillas between wet paper towels in the microwave for 30s — layer on beans, broccoli and cheese — I give this 5 spoons for both taste and creative use of leftover broccoli.

Leftover Roast Beef Travels South of the Border

In my pantry today:

  • 1.5 c sliced roast beef, cut into chunks
  • 1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-1.5 c vegetable broth
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c minced yellow onion
  • 1/2 lime, wedged
  • 4 tsp Taco Seasoning ganked from a boxed taco kit in the cupboard
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • pinch asafoetida

leftoverroastbeefSo I wasn’t even really planning at its onset to write about what I assumed would be a boring, last-minute meal. I was under the MS weather yesterday and have no idea from whence this amazing creation came. Thanks have to go to my dad’s amazing 14lb roast beef — nothing would have ended up this tasty without it. I cut up about 1/2 of the leftovers he sent us home with, stuck the other half in the freezer then took a step back and regarded the pile of meat on the counter before me. We love Indian food, but obviously there really aren’t a lot of recipes there including cow. I had no way to make gravy and not enough of the ingredients needed to throw together a Thai salad. The options here were limited — but there was cooked rice in the fridge and beans in the cupboard!

Start out the same way I always do — garlic and onion in oil warming to M. Just before it gets to full on M, reduce the heat to ML and let cook for about ten minutes while you cut up the roast beef, drain/rinse the beans and then, say, empty the dishwasher. When you return to the pan dust in your seasonings and mix everything into a paste; scrape the bottom clean as you do this, adding in little drips of broth to help the process. Add in beans; when coated completely, add in broth little by little until beans are halfway covered. Turn heat to M as you do this until near-boiling. Top with diced roast beef and lime. Turn heat back to ML and cover pot; walk away for 5-10m while the limes cook onto things. Come back, remove limes and mix meat into broth, adding enough more to nearly cover things now. Bring to a low boil on M then reduce to MreallyL for a few hours, checking in once or twice to make sure all the meat remains covered in liquid. The meat ended up getting much more tender and flavoring the vegetable broth with the black beans and lime to come out in its own gravy. This was a lick-the-bowl good meal over rice and earned every one of its 5 spoons!



Mediterranean Asparagus… Burritos?

In my pantry today:

  • 1 lb asparagus, ends cut
  • 4-6 flour burrito-size tortillas
  • 1/2 c feta cheese
  • 1/4 c chevre
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 can diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

In the past, I have only gotten as creative with this vegetable as “asparagus oven fries” (yes, they are as easy as they sound) but today’s pantry suggested that other avenues would be available. Tortillas won the coin-toss, so what else goes into one to ensure that they won’t just be wrapped around those sweet, green stalks? I could do a whole shebang with beans, cilantro, chili powder… ooh, but look at the cheese drawer! The butt-ends of the above-mentioned cheeses called out to me. Concoction time!

Put your thinly-sliced garlic and onions in an olive oiled pan on ML, stirring occasionally, until the onions become naked. While that’s going on, combine those last five ingredients up there into a little sauce, set aside. When translucency is acquired in the onion pan, turn the heat up to MH. Wait for it to heat, then begin tossing asparagus. Spritz with lemon and toss, then pour in 1/4c water and cover the pan for a minute or two — the spears should come out a victorious green! Of course, continue cooking if’n you like a softer texture, but the crisp texture works well in a steamed tortilla spread with chevre and sprinkled with feta cheese. Make sure there are plenty of onions and garlic in each of the meal-wrappers alongside the asparagus.

I forgot to put the sauce on these at first, photographed the ‘rrito, then realized… but as the sauce rather obscures all of its inner deliciousness, I kept the first. Don’t be like me and forget before the final wrap to dab in just enough sauce so that each burrito is edible without making too much of an embarrassing mess. This seems like such a simple arrangement, but it triumphs a tasty new way to have a quarter-pounder for dinner — 4 spoons!


Aloo(ve Affair) Gobi

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c cauliflower florets
  • 3 c cubed potatoes
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 medium green chile
  • 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp safflower oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp minced cilantro
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

I forgot to get a prettier picture before this was all there was left in the pan. My bad.

After recently falling in love with this dish from my favorite local spot, I have had the usual seemingly-never ending infatuation with all of the reasons beyond its deliciousness why I am in love with it:

meatless! dairy-less!
cauliflower! potatoes!

Because though I am not a staunch vegetarian, I have been cutting back on meat enough to know what a difference it makes in my health to do so. To naysayers who decry vegetarians for that lack of essential dietary elements (protein! calcium!) I posit that you either click the links above, or research on your own what’s actually available as nutrients in all the stuff that grows outta the ground.

That being said, let me continue into this current love affair.

Ok, so prep is gonna take a bit over the skinny minute. Finely mince your onion, garlic, cilantro, chile (I just used a jalapeno) and tomato. Put oil in a pan on ML with chile, garlic and onions. Let cook until the onions are translucent; stir in turmeric so that everything begins to glow like the sun. Add mustard seeds, tomato and cilantro and dial it up to M until you hear the seeds crackling. Turn the heat back down to ML and stir in the ginger-garlic paste, cumin and coriander. Add tsp by tsp of water to this process if at any point you begin sticking to the pan (well, not YOU. You know what I mean.).

This is what my dish wants to resemble when it looks in the mirror.

So in the 15-20 minutes or so it takes for those onions to get translucent, get the stars of your show ready. Disarticulate a medium head of cauliflower, set aside. Peel potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces (I tried to strive for cubes, but I am also realistic about my fine motor skills).  Stir them into the (assumed ready) almost paste-like mixture in the pan. Once coated, it’s the florets’ turn. Stir in about 1/3c water to make their union more pleasurable. Add another 1/3c water and let the pan come to a gentle boil on M, then stir and reduce heat to ML until everything is fork-tender. Even were you to make some of the grievous missteps which I did not mention here (I am still learning you, potato.), this dish will garner silent smiles and 4 spoons!


Barley Bride all in White (or, “Flavor for Fatigue”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c barley, uncooked
  • 1 c frozen(-from fresh) spinach
  • 3/4 c ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 c shredded mozzerella
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium Vidalia onion
  • 4 leaves basil
  • 2 tbsp Greek seasoning
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

So I’ve hit my head pretty hard at least five times this week from my own dysmetric clumsiness, the piece de resistance having happened last night with a hammock. Were video to have been taken, I would be wildly viral right now; instead I have to be the person who nobody witnessed being flipped upside down like a bad carnival ride. This morning the headache remained, along with blurry vision most likely due to a little trauma to my occipital lobe… but other than that I meet no criteria for a true concussion. Regardless, still gotta eat, right?

This will be a nice single-dish meal for the confused and lethargic amongst us. The barley experiment from a day or two ago was both the flavor and ease inspiration. Start the event with mincing your garlic and onion as finely as possible and throw them in an oiled pot warming to M; once it reaches full temp reduce to ML and let simmer. Mix water with turmeric and 1.75 tbsp of Greek seasoning, mix in uncooked barley and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to L and walk away for 15m. In that little window, mince spinach and basil as finely as possible and add to the oil when onions look translucent. Mix well and let that simmer for another 15m. When the barley is a moment from completion, take from heat and add ricotta cheese. Stir until a creamy sauce tenderly holds each pearl of barley. Top with mozzerella and Parmesan, then cover the pot and return it to your off burner until the cheeses melt. 4 spoons!