Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Five-minute dinner

I recently enjoyed this delicious 5-minute dinner for one, which, considering  I don't own a microwave and I'm hesitant to eat meals that come from boxes, is pretty good I think.  Not that I have anything against microwaves.  Really, I don't.  I just never got one when I moved into a new apartment last fall.  (The previous place came with a microwave.)  I manage pretty well with my toaster oven.  

Sometimes you just don't have an hour to devote to making dinner.  I love taking the time to make something complex and delicious, particularly in the company of great people and a wine, but this scene simply doesn't take place every evening of my life.  So the other night, I grabbed a few random ingredients and voila! had dinner in just about five minutes.  No box, can, or microwave required!  First off, chop a little garlic and slice a few mushrooms.  Throw them in a small skillet with some olive oil and saute until the mushrooms have softened.  Then, throw in some leftover cooked noodles (I had buckwheat soba in the fridge) and a handful of fresh spinach.  Toss until all the ingredients are getting cozy and the spinach is wilted and bright green.  Turn off the heat and throw some shredded parmesan and fresh cracked pepper on top.  Eat!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Plain Yogurt: It's good, I promise.

While wandering through a Northfield bookshop not long ago, I noticed Michael Pollan's book "Food Rules".  (No wonder; it's everywhere!)  I flopped it open to a page about food trying to be something it's not (and how you shouldn't eat that which falls into this category).  I think this makes pretty good sense.  I'm all about genuine-ness and being true to yourself, so why shouldn't I hold the same standard to the food I eat?  

I think yogurt is, in a lot of ways, a victim of the food marketing machine.  Food marketers have done a good job of making the American public think they can get a tall order from yogurt: cancer-fighting stuff, digestive medicine, weight-loss magic, and even a good dessert.  Those things might all be true, but I don't think you have to buy a pack of six individual containers of chocolate raspberry Yoplait Delights to get them.  Much of all that could probably be attained from good old plain yogurt.  

Plain yogurt often gets a bad rap:  it's boring, sour, bad-tasting, etc.  But when you think about it, actually all yogurt was "plain" once.  So why not take out the middleman (chemical/food engineers?) and add your own flavors?  I discovered a good trick for weekday yogurt breakfast on the go.  First, buy a big container of plain yogurt.  Before heading to work in the morning, put a serving of it in a tupperware container and add frozen banana slices (about half a banana).  If you're really feeling indulgent, also add a spoonful of jam or drizzle of real maple syrup.  Once you get to work, open, stir and pour granola on the top.  Voila!  In the time it takes me to get to work, the bananas have melted enough so they're soft and juicy, and they've kept the yogurt cold, too.  

With a little more time on my hands, I may add other fruits, such as dried apricots or strawberries and enjoy my yogurt from a pretty bowl like the one pictured (thanks Grandma).  Poor yogurt needn't be forced into something it's not.  I think the calcium, vitamins, and live cultures on plain yogurt don't need food marketers' help.  

Monday, May 10, 2010

Inagural Farmer's Market Buys

I made my first farmer's market purchase of the year, hurrah!  A sign of more good things to come (namely... summer?).  I quickly snatched up some spring onions and chives from the Minneapolis (Nicollet Mall) farmers' market, both of which are beautiful and fresh and green, like spring is.  Now if only I hadn't recycled that March issue of Edible Twin Cities, which featured loads of chive recipes....