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i do still cook.. i swear!

November 2, 2010

Looking back over my posts from the last couple of weeks it almost seems as though the meals I eat away from home are starting to outnumber those I actually cook for myself. While I have definitely been going out to eat more often than usual lately thanks to visiting friends, concerts, and anniversaries, I do still actually cook most of my meals for myself!

I haven’t done a lot of posting of those meals because I haven’t been feeling terribly creative in the kitchen lately, and have either been eating the same simple meals, ones that didn’t seem exciting enough to mention, or ones that just simply could not compete with Doughnut Plant doughnuts for precious blog photo real estate.

However, I think it’s important to give you a quick look at a few things I made over the last week or so and never posted about to balance out all those restaurant reviews, doughnuts, and macarons.

Most of the meals I’ve been having lately look something like this:

Variations on eggs on toast is something we’ve been seeing a lot in recent months. It’s pretty much just eggs fried in butter and topped with cottage cheese over some kind of sautéed or wilted greens, whatever veggies I have on hand on the side, and maybe a piece of bread or toast to round it all out. It’s very quick and simple to throw together, and has been one of my go-to meals this summer.

This particular plate is from last Monday, and features roasted broccoli and chili garbanzo peas (it actually says that on the can!), and sautéed garlic & ginger Swiss chard. The inclusion of Swiss chard is actually somewhat of a big deal. Normally the eggs would be on a bed of wilted spinach, but I happened to find a bag of Swiss chard at an import grocery store while out with Jessica a few days prior and snatched it up as fast as I could (after doing the dance of ‘OMG I’ve never seen Swiss chard in all my five years in Tokyo!’)

It was a pretty exciting moment to be me.

Here’s another dinner I threw together early in the week that provide us with hot lunches to take to work without having to find time to cook after getting home from our concerts.

This was a simple Baked Farro (spelt) Penne I made to use up several items in the fridge that needed using. It just a bag of cooked farro penne mixed with a very basic sauce I made with eggplant, zucchini, onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, and garlic, and topped with a sprinkling of imported  cheddar cheese we found in the back of the freezer. This made enough for five or six servings, and made a fantastic lunch when paired with the amazing Buckwheat & Apple bread I bought from my favorite bakery, Maison Kayser, last week on the way to work.

And lastly, something for which I can actually provide a recipe!

I had leftover naan from my dinner at Aladdin with Jessica on Friday, since I’d had a total mental lapse and ordered two when we usually only need to split one (they’re large and we had rice as well). Jessica and I each took half the naan home, and I thought the best way to use mine up would be to make something sort of Indian, so I made a quick coconut & dal curry.

Coconut Dal Curry

200 g green lentils, cooked
200 g canned tomatoes
100 g onion, chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter or ghee
1 tsp red chili flakes
5 whole cardamom pods, bruised
1 1/2 tsp garam masalsa (mine was given to me by Eric’s Indian coworker after a trip home)
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
150 g coconut milk
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Cook a batch of green lentils by simmering in water for about 45 minutes or until soft. Remove the amount needed for this recipe and store the rest for other uses throughout the week.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the butter or ghee and onions and cook until soft and slightly caramelized. Add the ginger, garlic, and all the spices and cook for about 30 seconds to toast. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute or so to let the flavors meld before adding the lentils, coconut milk, lemon juice, and cilantro. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, adding water as necessary to thin it out.

Top with a dollop of yogurt and more fresh cilantro before eating. Makes four servings with rice or naan, or two servings on its own.

So there you go. Proof that I actually do still cook, even when I fail to mention it. I also still bake from time to time, though it’s been slow getting myself to realize that it’s now cool enough to run the oven these days, so I haven’t gone back to my usual volume with baking. As I mentioned yesterday, I did turn out a couple batches of biscotti the other day, though. I’ll report on how those turned out as soon as I find the time.

What is your go to meal when you don’t have the time or energy to cook, or when it’s just plain too hot to be in the kitchen?


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