Rice and arugula salad

I have been cooking a lot of rice and grains with my beloved rice cooker.  Putting up a batch when I leave the house makes for happy eating upon returning home with an appetite.

Ingredients:

Brown rice, cooked and cooled, tossed with champagne vinegar and olive oil

Arugula, rinsed and dried somewhat
Carrots, 2, sliced thin with knife or with mandolin
scallions, sliced

Nuts — pepitas are good
Romano, freshly grated

Dressing:
Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
Olive oil – 3x lemon juice
S&P

Mix up dressing and put in bottom of large, preferably narrow, bowl
Put in: arugula, carrots and scallions, and toss.
Lay greens on top of rice, and sprinkle on pepitas and grated romano

Other options: pine nuts, olives

Source: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/rice-salad-with-arugula-pine-nuts-and-olives-2198

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Fish stew with tomatoes and garlic

When you want a change of pace from sautéed or oven roasted plain fish, this is an easy stew flavorful with onions and tomatoes.

Cod or other thick, white-fleshed fish (12 oz for 2 people), cut into large pieces, seasoned with S&P
Potatoes — small, best tasting (Yukon Gold okay in a pinch), 5-8 small
Onion, 1/2, sliced into thin half moons
garlic, 4 cloves, sliced thin
Vegetable stock, 1 c
Canned tomatoes — 28 oz, or can use less and add more stock
Lemon — for zest and wedges for serving

Optional:
Tomato paste (add with garlic if using fewer tomatoes), < 1 T
Thyme
Saffron
Parsley — chopped for serving

Crusty fresh bread is a good idea for an accompaniment
A bracing salad such as escarole and citrus and citrus vinaigrette would also be good following meal
Green beans would go well with this

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 T olive oil and add sliced onions, S&P and thyme, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, zest and tomato paste and cook for a minute.
  2. Add stock, tomatoes and saffron, breaking up tomatoes as you add them in. Add potatoes, S&P, cover and cook about 12 minutes until potatoes are just tender.
  3. Add in fish, cover and cook about 5 minutes, until fish is opaque and cooked through.

Serve in wide, shallow bowls, topping with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

 

Source: Garlic and Tomato Fish Stew, Washington Post 3/27/18

Eating zucchini in a non-healthy way

Eating zucchini or, how to eat in season without chomping on sunflower sprouts

Not there’s anything bad about sprouts. But sometimes an eater wants to skip over the raw kale salad and vinegar slaw and eat some comfort food, even if IS summer and the bounty is plentiful!

Here’s how to do it:

Take a non ginormous zucchini or two, plop in a bowl of water to soak (Marcella’s technique for loosening ground sitting vegetable from its soil), boil some pasta, chop a bit of onion and sauté it in butter, add zucchini which you have cut into julienne, pour in some pasta water to reduce, add cream and saffron and reduce again. That’s it!

When your pasta — I recommend fettucine — is done, serve under cream sauce and add grated parmesan. I think I can skip the ice cream on this night. I had my cream in savory form, thanks!

Ingredients:
1/4 # fettucini
4 T chopped onion
1-2 small zucchinis, cut into julienne strips, 1-1/2” by 1/4”
1 c heavy cream
Pinch saffron
grated parmesan

 

Spring variation: substitute asparagus for zucchini; steam it ahead before cutting into 1-1/2” lengths before sautéing as above.

Oven-roasted dinner! (salmon, asparagus and taters)

No stove-top used!  Nutritious, delicious fish dinner ready in 45 minutes.

Menu:

Oven-roasted salmon filets with shitake mushrooms

Roasted baby potatoes with garlic and thyme

Oven-roasted asparagus

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Scrub taters, cut in ½ or thirds, and put into baking dish with a few whole peeled garlic cloves and a few sprigs of thyme (or dried, crumbled by hand), S&P. Add drizzle of olive oil, and mix around. Pour in a splash of water (steam will help taters cook). Place potatoes cut side down, cover with aluminum foil and put in oven. Your dinner is now 40 minutes away. Bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Prepare asparagus in usual manner (breaking off bottoms; rinse). Place on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (if desired for easy clean-up). Sprinkle on soy sauce and olive oil. Mix around, then spread out.
  4. After 20 minutes, remove cover from potatoes. Increase oven temp to 425 degrees and continue roasting potatoes, cut side down.
  5. Prepare fish: Cut mushrooms in half. Take out another baking pan and line with foil. Put in a little oil and place cut mushrooms tops down in a line. Season fish with S&P. Place fish good side down on mushrooms, with skin side up.
  6. When timer is at 15 minutes, put asparagus into oven.
  7. About 12 minutes out, or however degree of doneness you like your salmon (and depending on thickness of filet), put fish into oven.
  8. Go set your table, pour yourself a nice glass of seltzer, and RELAX. Dinner is almost done.
  9. Check your potatoes by sticking a fork in ‘em to see if their done. They can sit out of the oven waiting for the rest of the meal, or not. (Ditto with asparagus.) Turn taters with a spatula if you’re worrying about them sticking or getting too brown (they’re probably just fine)
  10. Remove fish from pan with a spatula, trying to flip over to serve with mushrooms on top.

Voila! Dinner is served!

Italian-style weeknight chicken dinner

This is a super-easy dish requiring little effort or talent.  It comes from chef David Tanis, who is a wizard at combining good flavors with little fuss.  The best NYT food writer in my opinion.

Here’s the idea of this: Roast then braise chicken thighs. Takes just a few minutes of work/prep time. Then oven time of 1 hour. Flavors are complex and harmonious. Good enough for company.

Accompany with roasted asparagus and perhaps some roasted potatoes. Or buttered noodles if you’re feeling indulgent carb-wise.

David Tanis’ Braised Chicken with Olives and Lemon

Serves 2 people.  Double recipe for 4 or leftovers.

Ingredients:

4 chicken thighs, skin-on and bone-in

3 garlic cloves, minced

scant ½ t fennel seeds, crushed

scant ½ t red pepper flakes

½ T rosemary, rough chopped, or less if using dried

½ T olive oil

½ c olives, about ½ # with pits. I like Castelvetrano. You can use black in a mixture.

1 lemon – regular or Meyer lemon (preferably), cut into wedges

½ c chicken broth

chopped parsley for garnish at end

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Pat chicken dry; season with S&P, and put in earthenware baking dish in one layer, skin side up.
  3. Mix together fennel, red pepper, rosemary and olive oil. Use mortar & pestle if using dried rosemary. Sprinkle onto chicken, and rub in. Cut lemon into wedges and tuck in among chicken pieces. Let sit out for 15 minutes.
  4. Put chicken in oven and roast uncovered about 15 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil for 5 minutes to brown skin slightly. Remove dish from oven, switch oven back to baking, scatter olives over chicken, and add chicken broth. Cover tightly and bake for 55 minutes or so, until meat is tender.
  5. When finished cooking, pour sauce into saucepan and reduce over high heat by half. Spoon sauce over chicken, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

image

While chicken is in the oven, prepare vegetable accompaniments: a nice salad, and roasted asparagus and/or roasted potatoes or buttered noodles.

Chop some parsley to sprinkle on chicken before plating.

 

 

 

Boiled potatoes

Buy your best new potatoes — fingerlings if available, or like I did, new Maine Yukon Gold (in later April).  This is an excellent accompaniment to a highly-flavored meat roast (like pork shoulder with garlic and rosemary).  Very handy technique for a dinner party since it does its thing pretty much on its own while you cook other parts of the dinner or chat with your friends.  When done, you can cover the pot and hold them for a bit.

Scrub and place taters in big pot with water to cover by an inch or more.  Cut in half or more if large.  Add salt.  Bring to boil and cook uncovered until barely tender.

Drain most of the water from pot, leaving 1/2 inch or more.  Add several cloves of garlic and slices of butter.  Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until water evaporates.

Roasted asparagus

I think roasting is the best way to cook asparagus.  Roasting at high heat concentrates the flavor while dehydrating a bit so the asparagus flavor is not diluted by water.

Prepare your asparagus:  Break off bottom ends where they break naturally, and rinse.  If very thick, peel bottom half of stalks.

Heat oven to 425-450 degrees.  Cover sheet pan with aluminum foil if desired.

Dump asparagus spears on baking sheet in a pile.  Drizzle with olive oil and soy sauce.  Mix together, then spread out spears to single layer and separate.

Roast for about 15 minutes, until tender with poked with knife or fork, stirring once.  Can sit in pan out of oven and can even be served at room temp. while waiting for remainder of meal to be finished cooking.