Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Night Fare

Working from home had its advantages.  Namely, she worked her own hours.  Sometimes early mornings, sometimes late afternoon.  Other times she'd worked in the evening.  One thing was for sure, when she was in a zone and accomplished her work, the next thing up would always be something the kitchen.

On this particular day she had done the early morning work routine.  Although it sometimes saddened her  bit to lack more professional opportunities at her disposable, she still completed her professional tasks with care and concern.  And then with the time her situation allowed her to be free, she decided to prep up a dinner to die for.  Well, not exactly.  But it would be delicious, nutritious, and might even look pretty.

The menu was set:
Juicy Baked Turkey Burgers
Tangy Sweet Potato Fries
Baked Potato Halves (b/c the others in her family loved)
...and finished with 
Broccoli and a Lemon/Oil Emulsion

Now at 1:30 in the afternoon there is only so much you can do to prepare for dinner.  She did exactly that.  A quick rinse of the fresh broccoli her mother had brought her from the CSA and she had it cut up and in the steamer.  She slyly noted the freshness of the broccoli as condensation bubbled from the truck as the knife exposed the flesh.  

Next up, potatoes.  The potatoes were a cinch and therefore, she'd make them for the potato lovers in her family.  She, however, was a sweet potato woman.  The potatoes were dressed lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper.  The sweet potatoes, however, took much more time, effort and energy.  After rinsing the large tubers, she sliced off four sides of each one, making the sweet potato flat on all four sides.  Then she proceeded to cut them, first in centimeter slices, then in long strips making them look like a French fry.  

The orange delights were put into a large mixing bowl topped with salt, pepper, fresh diced garlic and paprika.  She tossed the fries realizing she needed a bit more strength to get the job done.  This was something she learned through yoga, grounding her feet into the earth, she used her stability and core to power through the mixing of the sweet potatoes and spices.  She alternated with her non-dominate hand to double the challenge and get her other side interacting in this feat.  Finally she drizzled the olive oil, which made the mixing smoother to her delight.

Ground turkey.  Hrrrumph.  How would she make this something the three of them would enjoy? She thought a long time, googled turkey burgers to see the world wide web's takes on these lean patties. Eventually, she designed a plan for preparing the meat on her own.  She would mix the meat with a plethora of tasty ingredients and then make patties to bake.  The thought of some homemade guacamole to top her burgers seemed lovely.  An idea for later...

It was a nutritious dinner that even her child would enjoy.  Lots of flavors and colors and fabulousness.  To see recipes for each menu item, see following posts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Quick Kale Soup


Mid October was when she started dressing in layers.  The entrance of cold somehow bit her at the core and she was already striving for warmth even before the winter approached.  Having cleaned up and dressed in comfort, she decided to brew up a warm soup for her midday sustenance.  The kale had now been sitting in the refrigerator for over 2 weeks.  She couldn't bring herself to dispose of it. So precious in nutrients, born of the land, the kale must be eaten.

And that was that.  Into the kitchen she found herself preparing the raw vegetables that would encompass her soup di giorno (or du jour); Italian or French, whatever suits your fancy.  She started with dicing the onion just a quarter of a Vidalia and let that begin to sauté in some olive oil as she quickly washed the kale, massaged it, drained it and chopped it.  Next, 3 cloves of garlic were peeled for the press.  A last minute addition came as she opened the fridge and searched for any hot ideas: asparagus (out of season but something she was drawn to at the store- a longing).  

Into the onions after 3 minutes by themselves, she added the garlic and stirred.  Garlic is delicate and therefore she would only sauté it for 30 seconds.  The kale was ready and dumped in with enough oil from the beginning to cover the greens gently.  She tossed the vegetable mixture together then added a splash of Pinot Grigio and listened to the sizzle.  About a minute later the liquids were added with one part broth and three parts water.  Her friend had given her some Korean red mahtjang sauce (it is miso with Korean red pepper), which she added a few large spoons of and stirred into the liquidly, vegetable mixture.  She topped it off with a shake of sesame oil, soy sauce and a few dashes of salt.  There.  Lunch.  Yum she thought, although as she leaned over the bubbling brew to get a whiff, the scent was not enticing nor promising as it only smelled of raw kale.

At home in the kitchen, her easel, her medium, her art - she lowered the heat down to a light simmer, stirring once more and then covered.  She walked away with a sense that everything would come together in time.  And she was actually a little excited to see how it came out.  She let it cooked for 20 minutes.  

What she made was a masterpiece.

The smell had morphed into a deliciousness she couldn't explain.  The asparagus was tender and the kale was enlivened.  The golden brown sautéed onions added a sweetness to the taste.

Another lovely afternoon of caring for herself, practicing her art and making a concoction that was healthy and pleasant, extremely pleasant, to her palette. 

Quick Kale Soup
servings 2

2 T olive oil
1/4 sweet onion, diced
3 small garlic cloves
one bunch of kale
about 7 asparagus stalks
1 T white wine
1 cup broth
3 cups water
3 T red mahtjang (miso) sauce
1 t sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
1/4 t salt

1. Prep all vegetables first.  Chop onions, peel garlic, rinse and chop kale, rinse and snap asparagus. 

2. Warm oil in pot.  Add onions and sauté 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.  Crush in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.   Add kale and tossed to get all leaves lightly coated with oil.

3. Splash in white wine and cook for 1 minute.  Then add in all liquids.  Stir gently.

4.  Add in remaining ingredients, stir again, lower heat so that the soup is at a light simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

5.  Enjoy!