Beans and shrimp, North African flavors

Some days dinnertime rolls around and we’re not enthused about a big cooking endeavor but don’t want to fall back into the old familiar. Here’s a simple idea for when beans are around: beans with shrimp and North African spices. And on the table in about 20 mins or less. Would be a good time to cook up some flatbread to go with, along with minted yogurt perhaps.

For the saltiness and acid, olives and preserved lemon are preferred. But if they’re not on hand — remember, this is all about “easy” — improvise with capers and lemon juice.

For two people:

8-10 shrimp, shelled and de-veined
chickpeas, 1 c plus cooking liquid (or stock or water)

onion, 1/2, diced
Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
Hot smoked paprika, 1/4 to 1/2 t
(or use sweet smoked paprika and add red pepper flakes, 1/2 t)
Cumin, 1/2 t

If you have green olives — spiced or not — use 2 handfuls
Preserved lemon, 1, rinsed and sliced into thin strips

optional: mint leaves, torn or chopped, for garnish

Directions:

Heat sauté pan, and add 1 T olive oil and sauté onion for about 4-5 mins until soft, then add garlic and then spices. Then add beans and cooking water, and heat to hot and bubbling, adding black pepper. You want the spices to meld and some of the water to cook off.
Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes, submerging in liquid and turning.

Serve in shallow bowls with mint on top.

Inspiration: Food 52

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Mushroom soup with ginger and soba noodles

When you want a healing soup that is not chicken soup, make this gingery Asian-style mushroom soba noodle soup with some homemade vegetable stock.

Ingredients:
Olive oil, 1 T
Mushrooms, crimini, 4 oz, washed and sliced thick
Shallot, 1/2, minced (optional)
garlic, 3-4 cloves, minced
ginger, minced, 1 T
Chile garlic sauce, 1 t (or something else to add red pepper kick)
Soy sauce, 3 T (or try some sherry vinegar for unami)

Vegetable stock, 4 c
Soba noodles, 4 oz
Spinach, 2 oz (or bok choy, chard)
Sesame seeds

 

Directions:

Prepare mushrooms, shallot, garlic and ginger.
In medium soup pot, heat over medium heat and add 1 T olive oil, and then sauté mushrooms with salt for 4 mins or so until softened. Add shallots, then garlic, ginger and hot sauce, and cook for 2 mins or so. Add soy sauce, increase heat, stir and toss and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add vegetable stock and bring to hearty simmer, and add soba noodles. Cook for 6 minutes and do not overcook! Two minutes before done, add in spinach.

Ladle into bowls and top with sesame seeds and perhaps a drizzle of sesame oil.
Good for what ails you!

Source: The Kitchn, Soba Noodle soup.

 

Pasta with roasted cauliflower

When there’s nothing in the house to cook but there is some cauliflower and perhaps njuda, you can make a quick and easy dinner. Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put up pot of water to boil pasta.
Roast cauliflower with olive oil, S&P 400 degrees about 20 mins.
Cook pasta: Interesting tubes are good. I used bronze-cut pipe rigate (from Aldi’s!).
Make a quick tomato-sauce with a smidgen of canned diced tomatoes (even better: fire-roasted) with 1 oz of njuda, broken up. Sauté in small saucepan for 10+ mins; adding some hot pepper flakes, oil, S&P. Optional: capers.
Chop up some fresh parsley

Remove cauliflower when cooked and set aside to cool a bit. Cut into bite-size pieces.
Cook pasta to al dente and drain, and put into large-ish bowl.
Mix in tomato sauce and stir with cauliflower. Sprinkle on parsley and serve. Yum!

Stir-fry with any vegetables

A surprisingly delicious simple stir-fry with rice.

When you’re going out to an evening meeting and want to eat something when you come home, do what I did and eat contentedly.
Before leaving, put up some brown rice in the rice cooker. I like medium grain. 2/3 dry with 2-1/2 x water and some salt is a good amount for two servings.

Ingredients:
Red onion, large dice, 1/2
Brussels sprouts, cut in half, rinsed and sliced
mushrooms, 4, cut into large slices and cut in half
Leftover chicken

Directions:
Sauté onion for 5 minutes in olive oil. Add in Brussels sprouts, and turn and cook a minute or so. Add good splash of water, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Uncover and let steam and water escape. Add mushrooms, cook a couple minutes, then add chicken in pieces to warm through.

Very delicious served with fresh rice. A dabble of olive oil on top is nice. Or nutritional yeast if it’s around.

Coconut rice w/ marinated boneless chicken breasts

Craving something tangy and tantalizing, I started with putting up a pot of coconut rice in my rice cooker. Easy: 1 c brown jasmine rice, rinsed and salt added to pot. Pour 1 can of coconut milk into 2 c measuring cup, add water to bring to 2-1/4 c, and cook in the regular way.

I used the cream on top of the can, and next time I think it would be better to spoon that off and perhaps save for sautéing, rather than use for the rice.

Make a marinade for chicken breasts:

1 c coconut milk — heat to simmer in small pot. Add:

1 hot pepper, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Ginger, grated, ~ 1 T or less (Will need same amount later for cooking chicken)
2/3 T fish sauce
1 T soy sauce
Star anise or smallish piece of cinnamon stick
Brown sugar, 1 T
1 T chili garlic sauce

Stir together, transfer to flat bottom bowl, and then let sit together and then cool to room temp.
Cut chicken into strips, and then large bite-size pieces.
Add to marinade. Refrigerate if going to be more than one hour until cooked. Can sit marinade 2-4 hours.

Heat sauté pan over medium high heat and add 1 T canola or coconut oil. Scoop chicken out of marinade and add to pan. Sauté for about 4 mins, turning. Right before removing, add reserved minced garlic, toss a bit for one minute, and then remove onto plate or atop rice on plate.

Nice served with plain steamed fresh local broccoli.
Otherwise add peas to rice, perhaps.
Or roast a sweet potato, in wedges. Or carrots, roasted or boiled/stove-top braised.

Red curry cauliflower soup

Ingredients:

Cauliflower, 1/2 head, cut into large florets and rinsed
onion, 1 diced
Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
Lemongrass, chopped very fine (optional)
Red curry paste, scant 2 T
Ginger, minced or grated
potato, cut into large chunks
Vegetable stock

Directions:

Heat instant pot on sauté function. Add 2 T olive oil and cook cauliflower on high heat for 5 mins until charred, turning occasionally. Remove from heat.

Cool pot a bit, add more oil and sauté onion for 4 mins. Add in lemongrass, curry paste and ginger and cook for a couple minutes more. Add garlic and stir. Add in potato and cauliflower. Add vegetable stock and water to cover plus.
Cook at soup setting for 15 minutes.

Inspiration:

Red curry vegetable noodle soup, Melissa Clark, Dinner in an Instant, p 123, and
Food 52 Cauliflower soup

Bean soup with kale

When you have home-cooked beans in the refrigerator, this simple soup will be sure to please on a cold winter day.

Vegetable stock, made in the usual way

Leftover gigante beans
kale, blanched for 4+ minutes in boiling salted water, then drained

Carrots, diced
Onions, diced
garlic, minced

Sauté onion in olive oil in medium soup pot/pan. Add carrots and cook until softened.
Add in garlic and cook for less than one minute.
Add in stock and bring up to temp. Add S&P.
Add in beans and kale and warm through.

Serve with either grated parmesan or a drizzle of olive oil in each bowl.