Sometimes the obvious escapes me and that was the case last night when I set out to make a mushroom onion pasta sauce and then saute beet greens as a side dish. The hour was late and I was getting increasingly tired by the minute, which motivated what felt like a brainstorm at the time: Saute everything in olive oil and garlic, serve it all over pasta. Continue reading Beet Greens and Portabellas over Pasta
Could there be a better way to start a Saturday than a trip to the farmers market? I was so in awe of the beautiful vegetables that I couldn’t bear to just cram them into the crisper — so I made a centerpiece that we could enjoy for the day. Turns out that celery, parsley, carrots, spinach, broccoli, baby portabellas, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, lettuce, kale and beets make for a fine piece of temporary art.
The greens had to be trimmed from the beets because they were bigger than the platter. They are washed and ready to be sauteed with a little garlic in a few minutes. My next adventure with beets is going to be beet chips, coated with olive oil and baked with a kosher salt. Stay tuned. Here’s a rundown of the fun I’ve had with beets so far in 2013.
- Beet green quiche
- Beet carrot and apple salad
- Beet muffins
- Beets roasted with apples, sweet potatoes, potatoes and onions’
- Roasted beets with quinoa
- And a beet green smoothie
Whatever lies ahead this year, one thing is for certain: there will be 365 dinners.
And I’m cooking most of them. Counting in breakfast and lunch, we’re talking 1,095 meals.
Cooking isn’t the problem. I like to cook and I love food. I like to read about food, watch cooking shows, talk about food, and cook for family and friends. Superfoods gained a foothold in our kitchen as soon as the girls decided to became vegetarian, and at this point, there’s no question in any of our minds that a Kale Smoothie is far superior to a Vanilla Malt.
Here’s the problem: The planning. The shopping. The coordination. The time. Night after night. Many dinners around here arrive to the table as some form of Plan B or C on account of the fact that we’re out of a key ingredient of what was in my head when I was thinking about dinner around four or five.
Of course, I could plan better, and sometimes I actually do, but usually not. More often, I find myself winging it and even though I’ve gotten good at coming up with some tasty combinations on the fly, this year, we are talking big picture.
Here’s the plan: Decide on a fixed number of ingredients—a total of 100, including staples, spices and lots of superfoods—and keep the kitchen stocked with them. Before grocery shopping, just review The List against what’s on the shelves and in the fridge, and replenish as needed.
Knowing that we’re generally stocked with what’s on The List, I’ll always know what I have to work with.
The List allows for endless variations, and somehow, knowledge that the framework is fixed is sparking a lot of ideas. This is the year for thinking inside the box and it’s actually very liberating. No more guilt about the three Japanese eggplant that seemed like a good idea at the time and were later unearthed squishy and slimy from the back of the crisper. No more discoveries that we actually have three blocks of cream cheese or four bags of carrots, and no more pre-heating the oven and unrolling a pie crust for a quiche only to discover that there’s only one egg in the house.
This is the year for getting a grip and getting real about dinner as a night-after-night kind of deal. It’s the year for knowing what to shop for, knowing what’s on hand, and eliminating anxiety about what to cook for dinner. And it’s also the year for sparing land animals from ending up on our plates and enjoying as a result, much better — and tastier — options.