Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Microwaved Potatoes and Onions with Asparagus

Happy New Year!

I haven't yet recovered from Christmas, much less New Year's.  I don't know about you, but while it's mostly beautiful and full of family, friends and  good food (and church, if you're me), it is also occasionally a tad much.  Holiday meals, travel with goodie bags in the back seat, food gifts, meals goes on a bit.  I have one friend who woke up December 26, said Christmas is over, and drove in to the office.  Time to move on.  I was not there, as I totally buy into the 12 days of Christmas...but I get it.  And today is the ninth day of Christmas.  9 Ladies Dancing!

On the way home from Illinois yesterday (through the incredible snowy forests and farms of Wisconsin), I didn't even want lunch.  Just a few nuts.  A bite of shortbread with my afternoon tea. A long session with a sleazy novel on my ipad.  An even longer walk when we finally stopped for supper.

Argh.  I don't think it's quite time to pay the piper about all of it, but I'm beginning to think about it.  The jeans aren't quite where they were 1 November, I'm tired of the kitchen mess, and maybe even a bit tired of cooking. I almost never get tired of cooking, but I'm nearly there. I definitely nearly never am tired of eating, but this year I've about had it.

This little side, or fast meal even, is the kind of thing I turn to when I want a real meal, but I'm looking for simple, healthy, and very quick.  When I'm dreaming of bending over more easily as well as about getting out of the kitchen a little.  Add a piece of chicken or a little grilled salmon if you'd like a larger meal (I spooned a dollop of Greek yogurt mixed with horseradish and black pepper onto my salmon.) If you don't like asparagus, substitute some green beans.  A nice grate of Parmesan cheese (or even cheddar) adds some protein.  Chopped roasted nuts would do the trick if you're vegan.  Adjust this recipe a little depending on the wattage and size of your microwave; mine is a large, over 1,000-watt GE Profile Convection/Microwave model.  Optional (adds fat and calories!)  second step includes a fast sauté for browning in a great big skillet.   Try this:

microwaved potatoes and onions with asparagus
2 servings

4 small or new potatoes (white or red), cut into fourths
1 small onion, medium dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed, and cut into 1 - 2" pieces
Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, crushed red pepper
1/2 lemon

In an 8 or 9-inch microwave safe container (I like Pyrex), place potatoes, onions, and garlic.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a very small pinch of crushed red pepper.  Mix well.  Add 2 tablespoons water to the dish and cover with plastic wrap, leaving a corner loose.  Microwave at full power for two-three minutes.  Using hot pads, remove dish from microwave and carefully remove plastic.  Test potatoes for doneness (a knife should go in nearly easily) and add asparagus to the potato mixture.  Cover again and microwave at full power another two minutes or so or until asparagus and potatoes are tender.  Drain, taste and re-season. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Optional Second Step:  While the vegetables are cooking in the microwave, heat a large, deep skillet or sauté pan over high heat for a minute or two with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of fresh ground black pepper.  Add drained potato mixture and, stirring often, cook about two minutes or until browned to your heart's desire.  Taste and re-season if necessary.

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

Christmas friends testing soups from the book.  Ok, I kill many birds with two stones!

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