It’s like Food-a-Palooza night over here. Why? WE SPEND TOO MUCH $$$ ON PIZZA AROUND HERE, that’s why. (Sorry, had to make that cappy.) The pizza has become An Issue since there’s a really good Papa Murphy’s by us (no lie, it is deliciously fresh and cheap) and there’s a Pizzicato a few minutes away and damn. They make a good Caesar salad. That, a bottle of vino, a cheese pizza for the kids, a Puttanesca pizza for us, and what the hell, throw in dessert, too, and next thing you know, you’ve got no disposable income left.
But it’s spring — we have all these lovely vegetables available, and even though the cupboards and fridge were half-empty, that was not going to stop me, oh no.
(I have to edit this real quick, on Saturday afternoon, to encourage you to go buy some hot sauce from our brand-new friends at Hot Sauce Planet. Jason stopped by, saw the recipe for greens with hot sauce, and is giving us a deal through June 30th, 2010. The code is… wait for it… WACKY.) (Now is as good a time as any to introduce, or reintroduce, you to A Slight Disclaimer.) (Yes, I’m hoping Jason sends me some hot sauce samples, what are ya, nuts? Of course I want some hot sauce.)
So tonight I cooked. I do know how to cook, for your information, I just don’t like to. For a variety of reasons. It cuts into my sleeping/reading/nooky/hot tubbing/Food Network time, for starters. And breaking up fights between the young’uns. Who has time to cook when the kids (hamsters, cats) are fighting so g.d. much? It’s exhausting, really it is. And why cook when there’s all this clean, fluffy laundry I could fold, instead? No, seriously. I do like to cook (as long as it’s nachos. Or bean dip. Or cheese dip. Or a bowl of pretzels with a couple of beers on the side, I can cook the hell out of that), but… excuses. And wishes. Wishes for more time, fewer trips to the store, more trips to the farmers market…
“If wishes were horses/beggars would ride.” — anon. (English Language Proverb and nursery rhyme)
Hey, wooooooooot! You want to read an old funny post? It’s apropos of… how I feel today.
So this afternoon, my commute was fast, I was in a great mood (thank you, thank you, Zoot, for the burst of optimism — it was catchy!), I got started early, the kids didn’t fight (that much) and… next thing you know:
* I whipped up some homemade quiche with mozzarella, eggs, milk, peas, and black olives. (Key: beat the eggs into fluffy fluffy foam.) (And had I remembered there were fresh peas in the fridge from the market, hello, I wouldn’t have used frozen, duh.)
* Put that in the oven to bake, went to work out on the treadmill and watch General Hospital. I’m no cougar, but for Dante/Dominic? I could come around.
* Took quiche out of oven to cool and set. Paused to pour a glass of wine. (A-Z Pinot Grigio, and I’m too lazy to run downstairs and see whose label it is. But if you’re looking for a good summer cocktail recipe, check Steve’s blog.)
* Started a variation of Steve’s Greens n Spuds recipe. (Got inspired by this recipe, too; left out the spuds; added a bunch of hot sauce; and compromised between cooking them Stevie Style and Dear Granny Style. His: cook them just long enough. Hers: start them on Thursday they’ll be done next Tuesday or so. I added garbanzo beans and shallots from the market, nice. Also some packets of random spices and hot oils, from the cupboard. I have no idea what they were, but they worked.
* Made a fruit salad with fresh, sliced strawberries, frozen blueberries (they defrosted quickly), a couple of spoonfuls of sugar and a can of crushed pineapple that I found when I was looking for salsa to make nachos, last night. (Wait… that’s why we ended up getting pizza. There were no nachos for the nachos, basically.)
But wait, there’s more…
* Cooked baby carrots that I mashed with orange juice, honey, butter, salt and pepper. Sooooooo good.
I lit some candles (??? seriously) and told the kids, No taekwondo, kids, we’re taking the night off (“Awwwwwwwww!!!” they love to kick things, it’s the perfect sport for them.) Then Hockey God got stuck in traffic, which, y’know. Drag for him, but bought me more time.
That’s right — I took a shower. Since I’d had the major work-out and all. (me 2 kids: I’m working out, you’re not, sorry!)
Excellent dinner, we’re all happy. (Did the children eat any of that healthy, colorful and fantastic food, you ask? Wacky Girl took small bites, to be polite. Wacky Boy refused it all. It involved vegetables. And fruit. He doesn’t eat vegetables or fruit, see? Except french fries and ketchup. So he’s going to raid the cupboard for cereal later is my guess.) (If I never see a purple box of Annie’s mac n cheez again I would say, About frickin’ time.)
On another side note: The kids now have GarageBand and PhotoBooth which I don’t fully understand WTF those are, but they’re rocking out.
HAPPY LONG WEEKEND, Y’ALL. (If you get one. If you don’t — I’m sorry. Er, happy Thursday night? Party on, dudes.)
Here, I’d better just include those other recipes, since who knows if the links will go dead later:
Swiss Chard and Garbanzo Bean Soup
Makes 8 servings
This soup is super easy to make because you only have to chop one vegetable — the onion — which allows you to put it together in less than an hour. Serve with baguette slices and a green salad to round out the meal.
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon nonhydrogenated margarine
* 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
* 1 bunch (approximately 1 pound) Swiss chard, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
* 4 cups (24 ounces) chopped canned tomatoes
* 1 to 2 teaspoons chili sauce, such as sriracha or Frank’s Red Hot
* 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
* 2 cups vegetable broth
* Soy sour cream substitute for garnish
In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and margarine until they melt together. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion turns translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add the chard to the pot. The leaves should come almost to the top of the pot but will shrink when they cook. Cook until greens begin to wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chili sauce and garbanzo beans. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes more.
Add the broth and bring soup to a boil; lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Serve, garnishing each serving with a couple of teaspoon-sized dollops of soy sour cream substitute.
Adapted from Blue Earth Farms, Chehalis, Wash.
And this Creamed Spinach recipe sounds really nice:
White House No-Cream Creamed Spinach
Makes 6 servings
This side dish is one of Michelle Obama’s favorites because it has a creamy texture without a lot of calories and fat. One person who’s not a fan, however, is Sasha Obama, who is turned off by the bright green color — a shade of the vegetable rainbow she has yet to embrace.
* 2 pounds baby spinach
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 4 shallots, minced
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash and clean the spinach. Place a large bowl of water near the sink, and put several handfuls of ice cubes in it. Place a colander in the sink.
Fill a medium-sized pot with water, and sprinkle in some salt. Place the pot on the stove and bring to a boil over high heat. Carefully add 8 ounces of the spinach (about a quarter of the leaves) and let it boil for just 30 seconds.
Carefully pour the spinach and water into the colander to drain the spinach. Then, using tongs or a fork to handle the hot spinach, immediately “shock” the spinach by putting it into the ice water to stop the cooking process. Let the spinach sit in the cold water for a minute, then drain it again in the colander. Squeeze the spinach with your hands or press the spinach against the colander with the back of a spoon to remove excess water.
Place the cooked spinach in a blender and purée. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add shallots and garlic and cook until the shallots turn translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the rest of the spinach leaves, tossing with a spoon and sautéing until the leaves are wilted. Add the puréed spinach and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
Adapted from White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford