Saturday, April 11, 2015

If you have a sunny window...

Everyone can grow flowers and vegetables indoors if there is light and warmth and a bit of inclination. Why do you need to grow your own if you can purchase what you need at the local market? You don't need to, but you may want to just the same to appreciate the wonderful world around you and to have easy pickings for those times when you are just too tired to run and get the scallions you need for that recipe...

To grow your own scallions, you just need to save the root end of a scallion and place it on a soaked napkin by a window sill, roots down. Check it daily and keep it wet. In a day or so, your scallions will send up shoots of new life. There. Food for the asking.  You can do this, grow your own herbs and vegetables if you have no green thumb, actually.  Anything with a root, carrots, onions, radishes. Try to buy stuff with roots. They will keep on giving. Before long, you'll feel you have to cook something.

How about an omelette? Break two eggs in a bowl, add chopped scallions, chopped radishes, salt, pepper and some slivered cheese. Swirl with a fork as you wait for your skillet to get hot. Drop a pat of butter with a swirl of olive oil and shake the pan to coat the bottom. Drop your egg mixture and swirl this around so the bottom of your skillet is covered. Turn off the heat for two minutes and let the egg mixture cook without interference. Then, with a rubber spatula, fold the omelette and let it sit this way for a few minutes or while you make toast. Time required? Five minutes top.

The real trick is not to bother the eggs while they get golden at the bottom.

There. You have food for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or anytime, really.  Your friends will be so amazed at the flavor you concocted and you didn't kill the plant. You just trimmed it a bit. In a few days, those strands of flavor will have grown by that window enough to invite you to scramble some more eggs.

Life couldn't be more generous!
Buon appetito!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Timing is everything.

I've always looked forward to a grand family get together so that we could all share a traditional meal. What is that, you ask? Turkey at Thanksgiving, prime rib at Christmas, ham at Easter. Mind you, none of these meals were traditional holiday meals where I grew up.
This is what we ate at Easter: a slow cooked stuffed rabbit or stuffed leg of lamb. The rabbit was easier to cook because of its size. Mother could easily stuff it in her big sauce pan and set it on a slow fire in a savory tomato stew that perfumed the house for hours.

Nowadays, if I do get a crowd for a holiday, or any occasion, I try to prepare food that can be cooked in advance:

1. Eggplant parmigiana
2. Mushrooms and spinach strudel
3. Roasted leg of lamb
4. Roasted root vegetables

The timeline is easy: Cook the lamb and the root vegetables ahead, even a day ahead. Prepare the strudel and the eggplant ahead of time as well,  but bake it the day of the meal. Before your guests arrive, an hour ahead, slip the eggplant and the strudel in the oven and cook as recommended. Make a gravy for your lamb and slip the sliced lamb and root vegetables back in the oven for fifteen minutes or so after you pull out the eggplant and strudel. Turn the oven off and let the food rest and wait for the time when you are all hungry.

All of these dishes can be prepared and cooked ahead. You can serve them cold if you want, or slightly warmed. Add a salad of mixed greens, and a dessert, and your celebration dinner is ready. Notice that you have lots of veggies, enough for a vegetarian to feel full.

p.s. search for recipes on the sidebar or use your own recipes