Saturday, May 11, 2013

10 simple spring suppers

Ever wish you had a dinner fairy? A shimmering apparition to cook your food and whip up sauces? If such a creature existed, I would gladly import him or her into my kitchen, but in the meantime, I've compiled a list of my I-don't-want-to-cook-dinner-right-now healthful-easy recipes. Since it's spring time, I've stuck to spring-y foods, things you can get cheaply in season right now, and alternated between hot and cold dishes, since the fickle evenings are alternately cool and sweltering. Look for a summer list in a month or two!

1. Asparagus Scramble: mix up eggs, cream, and salt in a bowl. Cut up asparagus and scallions and saute for 1-2 minutes in butter - they should still be crispy fresh when you add the eggs. Add the egg mixture and cook slowly over medium heat, constantly stirring in slow circles to get fluffy eggs. Dollop with goat cheese.

2. Mock Pad Thai: mix peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, salt, and sugar together. Toss in chunks of vegetables (cucumber, cabbage, broccoli, onion, peas, whatever's on hand) and chicken or shrimp (or not, if you prefer to be vegan for the evening), and serve over lettuce or pasta.

3. Ethiopian lentils: boil red lentils in a 1:3 lentils:water ratio (ie, 1 cup of lentils and 3 cups of water) for 30 minutes. Add berbere spice mix and a little salt and cook for 10 minutes more. If you don't want to toast the spices, don't worry - mixing them together without toasting works just as well, and you can leave out a spice or two if you're missing it (I almost never have fenugreek). Serve with injera or naan.

4. Slice an eggplant in half lengthwise. Make diagonal cross-hatches in the eggplant flesh, and salt the eggplant. Go read a book for 30 minutes (I'm reading As Always, Julia and just finished Salt Sugar Fat). Come back, squeeze out the eggplant juices. Cut up a clove or two of garlic and slip the garlic into the eggplant cross-hatches. Put some olive oil and rosemary or thyme on top of the eggplant flesh, flip the eggplant flesh side down onto a baking dish, and roast at 400 degrees for an hour. Once out of the over, let cool for a bit before you serve. Eat a green salad with it!

5. Green eggs, ham optional: boil green lentils in a 1:2, lentil:water ratio (ie, 1 cup of lentils to 2 cups of water) for approximately 45 minutes (stick a bay leaf in if you have it). Add salt, olive oil, and either some lemon juice or vinegar. Add a fried egg on top. If you're feeling porcine, dice up some ham, bacon, or pancetta to go with it. Or, crumble some feta on there for a kick.

6. Caesar with a Twist: cut Tuscan kale into bite sized pieces, and top with parmesan, anchovies, olive oil, lemon wedges, and bread crumbs.

7. Root Vegetable Rockout: roast some beets (and see my first blog post from last year!), once cooled, toss with cleaned and cut radishes and carrots, olive oil, salt, and vinegar. Add some feta if you're feeling fancy.

8. Sweet Potato Swoon: roast sweet potatoes at 425 degrees for about an hour, or til you can stick a fork easily in the potato. Pull out of the oven and let rest about 5 minutes. While it's resting, saute a green vegetable (broccoli, spinach, snap peas, kale). Cut open the potato, and top with the greens. If you have cheese or leftover chicken in the fridge, top it up. Or, if you're feeling saucy, add salsa to the potato and greens for a Mexican flavor.

9. Italian Stallion: arugula topped with shaved parmesan and olive oil. Add prosciutto for a "kick."

10. Bean Bonanza: if you're super well prepared, stick black beans in water before you go to bed. If you forgot, stick them in cold water before you go to work. Come home, drain the beans, and boil them for an hour or so. Once they've finished boiling, heat a saute pan with olive oil and get some onions and garlic going. And the boiled beans and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes. Grate some cheddar on top, grab salsa and an avocado, and dig in.

Cherry Blossoms sing "SPRING!"


  1. Hmm that Bean Bonanza sound familiar. :) I can vouch that this one is delicious! Everyone should try it. Thanks for these spring-y recipes.
    I always enjoy what you write. Keep it up!

  2. I, Beanie, wrote that Bean Bonanza comment. Forgot to add my name.