My mom’s favorite vegetable is asparagus. Between mother’s day and her May birthday we have plenty of chances to share it with her. I was a bit tired of the usual roasted asparagus we make though so I went for something quicker.
You can either snap the asparagus stalks one at a time or just cut off the bottom 2″ like I do. Rinse the stalks and set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Heat until the butter is melted and add the asparagus. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and black pepper. Toss the asparagus to coat it in butter and then cover the dish. Cook for 3 minutes.
Remove the cover, toss the asparagus and cook for another 2-3 minutes until tender. Transfer asparagus to a platter.
Turn off the heat under the skillet. Add the lemon juice to the skillet and scrap up any browned bits on the button of the skillet. Swirl the browned bits in the lemon juice and pour it over the plated asparagus. Garnish with the lemon zest and serve.
Skinny asparagus will cook faster than the thicker ones. Choose a bunch with all similar thicknesses throughout if possible.
Rummaging through the freezer I came across a bag of peeled, uncooked shrimp waiting for inspiration. After looking through a couple of cookbooks and scavenging the Interwebs I came across a recipe similar to the one below. I made a few modifications and, presto, dinner was served.
Lemony Shrimp with Garlic Rice
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup basmati rice
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 cups water
1 tsp. kosher salt (plus more for seasoning the shrimp)
1 cup chicken stock (unsalted if you can find it)
2 lemons, sliced into rings
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the rice and toss to coat with oil. Toast the rice for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the water, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover, return to heat and reduce to low. Cook for 15 minutes.
Pat the shrimp dry and season both sides with salt and pepper.
While the rice cooks heat the chicken stock, lemon rings and paprika in a non-stick skillet over low heat until it is simmering; about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the butter and swirl it among the shrimp to create a slightly creamy sauce. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and taste. Adjust salt and pepper as desired.
Serve shrimp over a generous helping of garlicky rice.
We have tended to avoid broccoli, both in the grocery story and in our cooking. Too often the stalks you find in the grocery store are dull looking, limp things that taste of dieting and regret. Recently though we enjoyed roasted broccoli at a favorite restaurant and it was a bit of a revelation. After trying it a few times at home here’s my go-to technique.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F.
Cut the florets off the the broccoli stalk; cut florets into bite-sized pieces. Remove the about 1/2″ from the end of the stalk. Using a vegetable peeler remove a layer from the stem and then slice the stem on a bias into bite-size pieces.
Toss broccoli pieces with oil, salt and pepper. Scatter onto a rimmed baking sheet, leaving some space between pieces.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing broccoli half-way through baking. Broccoli is done when a fork can easily pierce a floret.
Transfer roasted broccoli to a serving bowl. Toss with lemon zest and juice. Adjust salt and pepper as desired.
Any number of flavorful condiments can be used with roasted broccoli to up the flavor profile. Replace the lemon with Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil (add some sesame seeds for good measure), fish sauce, or sauteed garlic and red pepper flakes.
When cooking for just the two of us I have used an oven-safe stainless steel skillet rather than a baking sheet. As long as the skillet isn’t crowded it’ll work fine.
I have a strong affinity for can-shapped cranberry sauce. The log of congealed super-sweetened cranberry juice, laid out on a plate, the ridges from the can intact, is a memory from my childhood that holds a special place for me. As I’ve grown older though I’ve learned that there can be more flavor in something made fresh, even if you use a frozen ingredient.
Savory Cranberry Sauce
Servings: about 3 cups of sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups roughly chopped red onion (about 1 1/2 onions)
1 lb. cranberries (fresh or frozen, either is fine)
1/2 cup honey.
1 lemon, zested and juiced
kosher salt and black pepper
Add olive oil to a large sauce pan and place over medium-low heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Stir to coat the onions with the oil. Cook for about 10minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened. Lower heat if the onions start to brown.
Add the cranberries, honey and lemon zest. Stir until everything is combined, raise the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Cook for ~20 minutes, again stirring occasionally. As the cranberries cook they will burst, releasing pectin into the sauce, which will help it thicken..
Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and add salt and/or pepper to your liking. As it cools the sauce will thicken. Serve warm or chilled; either works.
You can use still frozen cranberries in this dish though it will likely take 5-10 minutes longer.
This will keep for about a week in the refrigerator.
I wanted a side dish that would combine some fresh vegetables (cukes/peppers) with some easy protein (canned beans). The dressing is based on one from FoodTV; they used it on a different salad however I liked the sound of it and it worked out well.
Cucumber and Bean Salad with citrus dressing
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas
1 14.5 oz. can black beans
1 cucumber, peeled, quartered, seeded and cut into 1″ pieces
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 2″ pieces
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Rinse the chickpeas and black beans, add to a bowl with the cucumbers and red peppers.
In a jar combine the remaining ingredients, shake well. Pour about half of the dressing over the vegetables, toss to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with remaining dressing available for those who want it.
The vegetables can be combined up to 2 hours in advance and the the dressing can similarly be made up to a day in advance. Store both in the refrigerator until 30 minutes before serving.
I used Goya low-sodium chickpeas and black beans in this dish. If you aren’t using low-sodium beans then you might want to cut the kosher salt by half in the dressing.
Last month I made a dish and this recipe appeared on the next page of the cookbook. I dismissed it until my husband said he thought it sounded interesting. I’ll give anything a try once so even though it seemed like an odd combination I gave it a try.
The result was garlicky, crunchy and colorful. Give it a try sometime.
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4″ x 2″ strips
1 cup 1/4″ bias-cut celery
1 cup pitted green olives, quartered
kosher salt and black pepper
Fill a large pot with 6 quarts of water and set it over high heat. While it heats you can make the dressing by combining the first 4 ingredients with a pinch of salt and 10 grinds of black pepper. Set the dressing aside and prep the other ingredients.
When the water has reached a boil add 1 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Allow it to return to steady boil and add the cauliflower. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until a piece is just tender to the bite. Add the pepper strips and cook for 1 more minute. Drain or use a sieve to capture all of the cauliflower and peppers. Transfer to a paper towel lined bowl and allow to drain for a couple of minutes.
Remove the paper towel, add the celery and olives, and stir until well mixed. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and toss until well coated. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes or up to an hour. Serve at room temperature; toss a couple of times before serving to redistribute any dressing that accumulated at the bottom of the bowl.
The original recipe, from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates, included raw red onion, which I find too sharp so I left them out. Next time I might try giving the onion a quick soak in ice water; it is reported to mellow the sharp flavor I don’t like.
I made this for our Saturday night gathering recently and it was a hit. It is based on a recipe I found in Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates. I adjusted a couple of ingredients and written the recipe up in my own words.
Combine the tomatoes, lemon juice, soy sauce, Sriracha and paprika in a blender. Puree until smooth and set aside.
Heat the oil in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened.
Add the tomato mixture and the chickpeas. Stir to combine and heat for about 10 minutes. You want the chickpeas to be warmed through.
Taste, adjust seasoning as desired, and serve.
I used Meyer lemons on my first attempt at this dish. It look 7 Meyer lemons to make 1/2 cup of juice. For regular sized lemons I’d normally need 2-3. Since regular lemons are more acidic than Meyer lemons I might add a tablespoon of honey to the puree mixture.
I prepped the tomato mixture an hour or more before cooking the dish and stashed it in the fridge. It made things less hectic at dinner time and, I suspect, gave the components in the sauce a chance to mingle.