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