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.
It’s soup season and I finally found a package of the good green lentils at Trader Joe’s.
Here’s my (meatless) version of a basic lentil soup. Below are some pics of the soup in progress.
Green Lentil Soup
The Three Sisters Story
Modern day agriculturists know it as the genius of the Indians, who inter-planted pole beans and squash with corn, using the strength of the sturdy corn stalks to support the twining beans and the shade of the spreading squash vines to trap moisture for the growing crop. Research has further revealed the additional benefits of this “companion planting.” The bacterial colonies on the bean roots capture nitrogen from the air, some of which is released into the soil to nourish the high nitrogen needs of the corn. To Native Americans, however, the meaning of the Three Sisters runs deep into the physical and spiritual well-being of their people. Known as the “sustainers of life,” the Iroquois consider corn, beans and squash to be special gifts from the Creator. The well-being of each crop is believed to be protected by one of the Three Sister Spirits. Many an Indian legend has been woven around the “Three Sisters” – sisters who would never be apart from one another- sisters who should be planted together, eaten together and celebrated together.
Here’s the pattern for a woman’s knitted shrug, from 1950. Sizes: 12, 14, 16 and 18.
1950’s White Bolero
Here’s my version of this great homemade salad dressing:
Honey Mustard Dressing with White Wine
• 2 tsp. dried minced onion
• 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
• 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
• 1/2 cup white wine
• juice of 1 lemon
• 3/4 cup olive oil(preferably extra-virgin)
• 1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
• salt to taste
Combine lemon juice, mustard and honey in a small mixing bowl and whisk to blend.
Add onion, wine, spice mix, salt and oil. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and shake well to combine. Refrigerate until needed. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
I remember Turtle Candy from my childhood. It turns out that this recipe is easy and much better than any store bought version.
I actually made this up while trying to use up some veggies in the refrigerator. It turned out so good, it’s on the menu for an upcoming family party.
1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, baked and cubed
1 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed
1 sweet red pepper, diced
3/4 cup spring onion, finely chopped
3/4 celery, diced
juice of 1 large lemon
salt, pepper and lemon pepper seasoning to taste
Put cooked, warm prepared squash and potatoes in a large bowl. Add prepared sweet peppers, onions and celery.
In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and an equal amount of olive oil. Mix well. Pour the dressing over the veggies in the large bowl.
Now sprinkle the veggies with salt, pepper and lemon pepper seasoning.
Gently stir the salad to distribute the dressing and seasonings.