August tomato dinner

Tomatoes are in their prime and plentiful. You have had your raw tomato feast. You have plenty o’ tomatoes sitting out on a platter. Perhaps some are starting to go past their prime. Time to cook ’em up! A speedy scrumptious dinner that screams: SUMMER!

Sauté garlic in oil. Add in some cut up tomatoes — perhaps you want to squeeze out and discard seeds which bring nothing to the party — and cook for about 10 minutes or so with salt until they wilt. Add in peeled shrimp and cook for about 4 minutes.

Throw some cooked pasta — campanelle (trumpets seem perfectly matched) into sauce with some reserved pasta cooking water, and plate. Top with chiffonade basil and perhaps some grated parmesan (though in Rome this would be taboo serving cheese with seafood!).

Or: instead of shrimp, top pasta with some fresh cubed mozzarella. Mangia! Fresh tomatoes with aromatic basil. Happy summer dining! And no sweat.

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Easy Curry chicken and eggplant

Ingredients:

boneless chicken breast, 1/2#

coconut milk, 1 can (Chaokoh brand is good)

red curry paste (Maesri brand)

eggplant, 300 g+, cut into large chunks. Or small Thai eggplants if available.

cilantro, chopped

optional: fresh peppers — hot or sweet; ginger, garlic, mushrooms, onions

Well it’s so 2017, but I have launched myself into (back into?) it with a purchase of yes, an Instant Pot. I read about Amazon’s one day a year sale on them, and again missed it this year but then read about Walmart competing with an even better model and for only 50 bucks I sprung. I have a honking-large 6-in-one pressure cooker, slow cooker and who knows what else because though I have washed it is in just sitting in the middle of my kitchen taking up an elephant-size share of real estate.

I thought I might try it last eve since I got out of the library the “butter chicken lady” cookbook called Indian Instant Pot Cookbook. Still too involved what with the making up the garam masala mixture before I even got to cooking and I was getting hungry, so I used my can of curry paste and cooked in my mother’s old-fangled dutch oven. Here’s what I did:

Sauté 3/4 can red curry paste in 1 T oil. (Or you can instead of oil, use the skimmed coconut fat/oil on top of the can of coconut milk.) Cook and stir for a couple minutes. Add one can of coconut milk and bring to a boil. (I think you can add some fresh ingredients before the milk, such as: fresh peppers — hot or sweet — ginger, garlic, mushrooms, onions and other sauté-type ingredients.)

Add boneless chicken breasts, cut into large pieces, and eggplant also cut up. Simmer covered for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until eggplant is cooked through. Taste and correct with fish sauce, soy sauce and/or sugar.

Serve with rice garnished with cilantro.

IMG_6066

Impromptu summer fish bake

When tomatoes are starting to come in and you want to make an easy indoor dinner, try this sauce for baking fish:

Garlic, parsley, capers, tomatoes, olive oil & salt whirred in mini-chopper. Place fish in buttered pan and pour sauce over fish. Cover and bake at 375 degrees.

Or: roast with butter and use as sauce afterwards.

Serve with boiled green beans and farro.IMG_6064

Quick black beans and call it dinner

What I’m trying to do with this blog is create and post whole dinners.  My theory is that while people like to try something new for dinner, the idea of finding three things to cook is daunting.  I know it is for me even with the best of intentions.  So for example I like the idea of trying David Lebovitz’ chicken with mustard, I’d have to think up sides.  Moving on . . . .

Here is a quick and easy black bean dish.  If you have some rice, you have a complete meal.  If not, it’s better than popcorn, probably.  I’m not a nutritionist, but just sayin’

Quick black beans, Cuban style

Ingredients:

garlic — couple cloves, minced

onion — 1 medium, diced

2 serrano chiles, or dried red pepper flakes

1 medium green or red pepper (green is more authentic, I don’t like green)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

oregano — fresh or dried

wine vinegar

Directions:

  1. Saute garlic for one minute, and then onions in olive oil.
  2. Add beans, cook a while and stir occasionally.
  3. Add oregano and red or green pepper
  4. Heat through.
  5. A couple minutes before serving, stir in 1 T wine vinegar and heat through.

Mexican variation:

Add cumin, and use whatever hot peppers are at hand, and include ancho/polano; queso fresca at end with chopped red onion; serve over brown rice

Watered-down sour cream and avocado are nice toppings, as is hot sauce.