Roasted sweet mini-peppers

For when you purchase those sweet little sweet peppers.

Roast 1# peppers in 425 degree oven for 20+ minutes. Fit in a snug vessel, toss with olive oil and salt, and then balsamic vinegar. Roast until wilted; remove and let cool. Remove stems. Thanks Alexandra!

Make a pasta sauce:

Sauté 1/2 onion, diced or semi-sliced, in olive oil. Add marjoram and cream and salt and reduce. Set aside.

Cook pasta — trumpets are good.
Meanwhile slice 1/2 # peppers. Mix into cream, adding more cream if too thick.

Toss together: pasta, cream sauce. Voila!

Other ideas:

Ricotta with peppers.
Quinoa and peppers — cold salad

And here’s another idea to make a sauce with peppers and tomatoes.

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Roasted Chicken — boneless chicken thighs

I am in the habit of occasionally buying boneless chicken breasts for a quick easy dinner. Even better I’m here to say: boneless thighs! Two advantages: (1) thighs offer greater flexibility in timing — they stay moist even if cooked longer than necessary, and (2) these are less hands-on and frankly, easier. You stick ’em in the oven and do something else for 20 minutes, though turning them 1/2 way through is a good idea.

You prepare marinade and stick chicken in and leave on the counter for 1/2 hour + while you empty the dishwasher and/or prepare side dishes, such as 1/2 hour brown rice in Instant Pot.

425 degree oven
Roast 20+ minutes to 165 degrees
Tent and rest 5-10 mins

Marinade:

Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Peanut oil
Mirin
Hoisin
Ginger, grated
Ssam sauce
Black vinegar

Try to marinate for 1/2 hour on counter while you prepare other parts of meal.

Roast in oven 20 minutes, turning 1/2 way through. Take temperature — you want 165 degrees.

Serve with roasted asparagus — pour extra marinade over, and roast 15 mins.

Brown rice — pour on juice from cooked chicken pan. (Plan for over 1/2 hour for coming to pressure and letting pressure release naturally.)

 

Inspiration:
https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-boneless-skinless-chicken-thighs-in-the-oven-180140

Here’s another method from NY Times, adapted from Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby’s “Skewered Boneless Chicken thighs with sweet and pungent soy baste and spicy cashews,” from Let the Flames Begin

Pasta with asparagus for the Spring

When asparagus is locally-grown and freshly-harvested, there are a myriad of ways to enjoy its fresh flavor. In the winter I prefer a cream-based Parmesan-loaded pasta dish because hey in winter who doesn’t appreciate indulgently fatty comfort foods (isn’t that the definition of comfort food?)

Here is what I came up with last eve when hunger struck and new asparagus was at hand: Pasta sautéed with butter and olive oil with spinach (or arugula), lemon juice and zest, topped by Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan if that’s what’s on hand)

Ingredients:

Bucatini (or spaghetti)
Asparagus, 1/2#, cut into 3/4” lengths
Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
Juice and zest of one lemon
Pecorino Romano, grated
Directions:

Put up big pot of water for pasta. Add kosher salt when it comes to a boil. Add pasta and cook to within one minute of being done. Scoop out some pasta water into glass measuring cup to use for sauce mid-way and when completing dish.

Rinse and cut up 1/2 # asparagus. Mince 3 cloves garlic.
Heat sauté pan and add butter and a bit of olive oil. Add asparagus and cook for 3-4 minutes, adding some pasta water to steam. Add garlic, sauté, and then add spinach on top with salt, lemon juice, and more pasta water. Set aside.
When pasta is almost done, drain and add to asparagus in pan, toss with lemon zest and some more pasta water. Season w/ S&P and cheese.

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

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.

Curried coconut milk vegetables & tofu

For winter, when fresh green produce is not on the scene, but you’re craving some veggies.

Put up pot of brown basmati rice (22 mins under pressure timed in instant pot). Ratio rice: water = 1:1   (1:1-3/4 in rice cooker)

Ingredients:
onion, 1 large, diced
cauliflower, scant 1/2 head, separated into large florets, rinsed
potatoes, 2, cut into very small dice
Carrots, 4+, peeled and cut
Tofu, 1 block, pressed to drain, cut into cubes (add at end)
Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
Ginger, peeled and grated
Red curry paste, about 2/3 can
Coconut milk, 1 can
Vegetable stock, 1 pint, approx
Fish sauce
Salt

optional: scallions, cilantro, etc to top when served

Directions:
In large dutch oven, sauté onion in peanut/olive oil mixture for 5+ minutes until softened. Add ginger, then curry paste, stir and add garlic. Then add vegetables:
Cauliflower
Carrots
Potato

Stir and cover with coconut milk and vegetable stock. Cook 20-30 minutes until vegetables are softened. Add salt.
Five or more minutes before done, stir in tofu to heat up.