Winter Menu Ideas

18 Jan

These are some odds and ends of our winter meals, enjoyed for lunch or dinner.

Cheater’s Congee Soup

Congee is basically a rice gruel which can be embellished with all manner of leftovers for a delicious soup.

Here’s my speedy version:

Start with a batch of cooked and cooled sushi rice or other Japanese short grain white rice.  Get out your food processor and put about 2 cup of cooked rice in it.  Add 1 1/2 cups of water and pulse to get a slightly chunky puree.

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Transfer the rice puree to a large microwave casserole dish (I use Corningware) and add 2 tsp. finely chopped crystalized ginger.  If you prefer fresh ginger, use 1 T grated ginger.  Add about 2 cups of additional water and microwave for 6 minutes.  Cooking time is not exact – you want a creamy mixture that is not too thick.  Add a pinch of salt, if desired.

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Before serving, assemble all the garnishes – today I have cooked vegetables, shrimp, spring onion and mint.

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Cheese Spread and Date-nut Spread

For the cheese spread, I combine an equal proportion of light cream cheese with goat cheese or fresh mozzarella cheese.  You can blend the cheeses in a food processor or electric mixer.  Serve with Date-Nut spread on toasted whole grain bread. This cheese spread freezes well.

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Date-Nut Spread

Start with dates that have the pits removed.  Put dates in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop coarsely.  Then add some walnuts and pulse the mixtures a few more times.   Last, add a glug of Triple Sec liqueur and pulse to get a spreadable texture.

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Shrimp and Spaghetti

I heat up some Costco cooked shrimp, and remove the shell part on the tails.  I serve the shrimp over veggie (tomato) spaghetti, usually with a cream sauce and fresh parsley.

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