Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Return of Omnieater's Sister


“Recipe: A series of step-by-step instructions for preparing with ingredients you forgot to buy, using utensils you don't own, to make a dish even the dog won't eat”
- Unknown (even though I swore my sister said this)
           
If you have been reading the blog, you might be familiar with Omnieater’s sister - the one who can’t cook? The queen of the dial-up menu?  She just came back from SXSW and well, she has friends – lots of them.  And beyond their mutual love of technology, they also seem to be as cooking-challenged as she is (I suspect it has something to do with all Twitter ADD, but I could be wrong).  Most of them are busy career persons that love eating well, but cannot find the time to cook or shop properly. You know who you are – the Trader Joe’s raiders, the beer-and-mustard hoarders, and the lazy gourmet.  So today’s post is going to easy, tasty and sustainable meals that hopefully do not take more than 5 main ingredients (salt, pepper and oil don’t count - this is not Top Chef here). And no, you will not have to go to get the ingredients from some fancy-shmanzy grocery.  Ralph’s, Safeway, your neighbor’s fridge – they will all suffice.  Now stop eating ramen and eat something good for you!

Roasted Beet Salad

Find some pre-cooked beets, vacuumed-packed or alternatively, scrub some beets clean (that way you don’t have to peel them), trim edges and bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes or soft.  Slice thinly; add goat cheese (I like feta), walnuts and parsley.  Dress with oil and vinegar. If you add some cooked barley or other whole grain, you could even call it a meal.

Borscht

While you’re at it, you might as well roast a couple more beets.  Take 4-5 medium to large beets and chop into cubes.  Heat beets with some stock to cover about 2 inches over (vegetable, chicken, whatever is on hand).  Take immersion blender and puree, adding more stock as necessary.  Season and eat with sour cream and black bread.

Winter Greens Pesto

Take a bunch of whatever winter greens you have lying around (they are super cheap and easily available organic).  About 3 cups packed.  Dump into a food processor with a handful of pine nuts or walnuts, 1-2 cloves of garlic, good pinch of salt.  Add a glug of olive oil and process, gradually adding more olive oil until it becomes pesto-like.  Serve with hot pasta and some grated Parmesan.

Sautéed Winter Greens

If you happen to have more of those greens lying around, take a bunch of them and clean them thoroughly.  Coarsely chop into pieces about the size of your palm (they cook down).  Crush about 2 cloves of garlic.  Heat a pan with some olive oil until shimmering; add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.  Add as many greens as will fit in the pan (they will cook down) and toss.  Season with salt and pepper.  Squirt with some juice of lemon before serving.

Sort of-Indian Version of Sautéed Winter Greens

To the version above, add minced ginger and chili pepper (whatever you have is fine) to the garlic.  When fragrant, add 2 tbs. of black or brown mustard seeds and sauté until seeds start popping.  Add greens and proceed as above, minus the lemon juice at the end.  You can add some yogurt at the end instead.

Winter Greens Frittata

Heat sauté pan.  Add some chopped bacon (2 strips worth).  Fry until almost crispy. Add some chopped onion (about 1/2 an onion). Sauté until onions are soft.  Add a big handful of chopped greens.  Sauté until tender.  While sautéing, beat about 3-4 eggs.
When greens are wilted, add eggs with pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook until eggs are set.

Vichyssoise

Peel about 3-4 big potatoes (this is a nice way to get rid of end-of-season potatoes).  Cut into cubes.  Clean a bunch (2-3) of leeks.  Chop into 1/2 in. lengths.  Take a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat and melt 2 tbs. of butter.  When bubbling subsides, sauté leeks until soft.  Add potatoes and coat in butter.  Add about 2 qt. of chicken stock.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 min. or until potatoes are done.  Pour in 1/2 c. cream, whole milk or evaporated milk (NOT condensed!) and pinch of salt and pepper.  Whir in blender.  Done-you can even add some bacon if you have it around.

Roasted Cauliflower with Cannellini Beans

Take a whole cauliflower and break into florets.  Coat lightly with olive oil.  Roast in a pan at 350ºF until browned at the edges (about 30-40 minutes).  Drain can of cannellini beans (or any other nice white navy-type bean).  Add juice of 1/2 lemon, chopped parsley, salt, pepper and some minced garlic with the beans (if you have good anchovies, you can smush them into the dressing-just leave out the salt).  Toss with roasted cauliflower and add some grated Parmesan if you want to get fancy.

Indian Cabbage

Take a cabbage (Savoy is best), core and finely chop. Take two cooked potatoes, cube and brown in a pan with a bit of ghee or oil. Put aside. Mince together 1/2 in. fresh ginger, 1 fat garlic clove, and 1/2 hot pepper. Heat same pan and sauté aromatics briefly (30 sec.) Add cabbage and 1/2 cup of water and cook until soft. Add 1 tbs. of good curry powder, potatoes, salt and pepper to season and cook until combined and heated through, about 3-4 minutes.  Serve with rice and yogurt.