Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Apple Crisp in One Minute or Sauteed Apples with Granola for Breakfast; What's In a Name?

 This is one of those odd little dishes that you could eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or snack.  I like it for breakfast, but also know it's sweet-fast conclusion to a filling supper.  It might fill the bill when you're desperate for dessert and all your time was spent at
  • the doctor's office, or
  • the car repair place, or
  • sitting at the airport, or
  • fuming at the traffic that never moved, or
  • work, reading a novel, playing the piano, talking to your best friend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Salmon and Kale on Pea Risotto- With Music for Cooking

Here's another take on the salmon for one meal.  While this takes a little bit of time (risotto isn't as time-consuming as people make out, though), it's worth it as the leftover risotto is then lunch and perhaps a risotto cake in a day or two.  If you make extra kale, you can use it for snacks as this version is light, oniony, and crispy with a good dose of salt and pepper.  Try this:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pan-Grilled Double Lamb Chops with Oven-Roasted Whole Carrots and a Make-Ahead Fresh Green Bean Salad

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's a menu you can make for you and a friend, you and a lover, or for special you with great leftovers.  Whatever you do, read through the whole thing before beginning.  This post features big double lamb chops (with a tapenade topping) grilled first and finished in the oven; meantime you'll roast large, whole carrots to go with it.  There's a make early green bean salad and I also give simple suggestions for wine and dessert if you scroll down to the end.

Start with a beautiful sparkler that needn't cost much.  I heartily recommend a New Mexico sparkling wine such as  Gruet rather than splurge on a French champagne.  Add some of the tapenade with baguette or crackers or a bowl of great potato chips--my favorite sparkler pairing.  Stay away from cheese; fresh vegetables would work wonderfully.  Just stick with something light; this is a big meal.  Lamb is a loving, but filling meal.  

If you're cooking for just you, open the wine, turn on the music, set the table, and enjoy a beautiful night.  If you've got a companion, the more the merrier.  Whatever you do, have fun cooking and taking care of yourself!

Make-Ahead Green Bean Salad with Cream Shallot Dressing    serves 2

This recipe calls for you to blanch the beans and fresh peas briefly in boiling water, drain, and cool quickly in an ice bath.  You can also cook them, separately, in the microwave for 2-3 minutes with just a couple of tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe covered bowl.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

BLT Panini with Cheese

Trying to give a few L-Bs away (any takers?), I am not eating BLT Paninis.  Not that I couldn't have a half; I could.  But I'm counting my calories and watching my protein; I'm eating way more vegetables and I was already eating vegetables at every meal.  Dave (the hub), however, is not on my program.  South Beach really did the trick for him last year (as it didn't for me), so while he doesn't eat a panini every day--or any other sandwich--he does indulge once a week or so.

Anyone who cooks for themselves has their shortlist of easy favorites and my guess is the list often includes a much-loved, go to sandwich.  A panini morphs the most mundane into a warm, welcomed meal.  Takes vegetables and meat to a new combined level, if you will. Even a PBJ or everyday grilled cheese takes on a new life when made into a panini.   Leftovers breathe afresh when weighed down by cast iron until steaming hot and tender--think sliced cold chicken with roasted red peppers or pot roast with grilled onions.   (Don't forget to use a spread on the inside or to season your ingredients, except for PBJs, of course.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tomato Soup Faster Than You Can Say Grilled Cheese

I'm on a fitness program that includes lots of vegetable meals for lunch.  So instead of getting tired of one green salad after another, I switch off between soup, vegetables with vegetable dip, salad, and so on.  Luckily I cook.  Today I had a taste for tomato soup and no, I didn't want canned.  I have nothing against canned tomato soup and keep it in my pantry; there are days nothing else appeals.  But today I wanted real food.

Done in under a half hour, this lusty (I almost said perky, but perky it isn't) soup just about jumped out of the pot, put its arms around me, and begged me to eat it.  If you have no fresh basil, increase the Herbes de Provence (or a combination of dried basil, thyme, etc.) to a teaspoonful and then test taste it.   Easily vegan and gluten-free (without some of the garnishes), this meal will heat everyone up despite the weather.  It's sunny, but snowy in Saint Paul today.