Morning shows are not generally my thing…unless we are talking Sportscenter – then I am totally game. As a female, I feel the need to explain this habit. You see, I grew up with brothers…therefore, mornings were comprised of Frosted Flakes and SportsCenter and after 18+ years of this ‘torture’, don’t ya know I found myself actually enjoying the darn show. To the point that I continued to watch it throughout college (where I then insisted that my roommates watch – a childhood without control of the remote makes you quite the dictator later in life). During my pre-cable-lessness days (aka Amish living) – I have begun dating my life pre and post cable... ESPN/SportsCenter is what you would find on my TV, all morning long – because as you know (or maybe you don’t), SportsCenter will replay, hour after hour, until about noon. It restarts without much warning and before you know it – you have watched the Top Ten Plays 3 times and the morning is gone. It happens to the best of us. But post cable world…I am SportsCenter-less. Whomp, whomp! And honestly, it was the hardest part to the whole no cable thing…ESPN. But I have survived and while my mornings aren’t the same (besides being a tad bit more productive) I have found a replacement of sorts, NBC. It isn’t a fair trade or even remotely a good substitution…but it is what it is and I am too damn stubborn to return to cable because of the remarks from the peanut galleries of the world. And in all reality, I don’t miss paying the cable bill. So NBC it is.
What does ESPN have to do with a stir-fry? Well hold your panties…I will tell you… had I been watching SportsCenter I would not have seen this dish being prepared on Hoda and Kathy Lee – ya know, the 20th hour of the Today Show. In the 20th hour, there is a lot of wine and mishaps and bad jokes – my kind of morning entertainment. Cooking on morning shows generally drives me up-the-wall- bonkers…you can not properly show how to roast a chicken (with 3 sides) in a 10 minute time slot. You are not serving any purpose and confusing/intimidating instead of encouraging folks to don an apron and get cookin. But a stir fry…these are meant for 10 minute time slots…and perhaps that is why this recipe caught my eye.
Asparagus season is upon us and I am jumping whole heartedly into this shindig. I have eaten it nightly for the past week or so -which also means that my pee has smelled gawd-awful for the past week or so – but you probably didn’t need to know that, but whenever someone brings up asparagus, talk of pee is sure to follow. But let’s get back to the tender skinny stalks of green with the spiky spear heads that just asked to be sauted or roasted. Or made into soups or dipped into a creamy hollandaise sauce.
Asparagus is what dreams are made of. At least until I eat so much that I can’t stand to look at another spear…but that takes a bit of time. And when it is mixed with the fresh bite of ginger and toasted sesame seeds and tossed with briny sweet shrimp and nutty farro…I may never tire.
I recommend this served hot for a quick and healthy week night meal and then eaten cold the next day as a cold farro salad in the lunchroom – surrounded by drooling co workers who wish you had made extra.
And I was just thinking…red bell peppers would be a great addition to this. Toss it in if ya got one hanging about.
- 1 cup Farro, cooked according to package instructions
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon Toasted sesame seeds (you can toast them or buy already toasted)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound large shrimp, cleaned and pre-cooked (found in the frozen section of grocery)
- 1 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
- In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and grated ginger. Set aside.
- In a medium sized skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add asparagus and cook until tender, but still crisp (taste one to test) – about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add cherry tomatoes (keep whole, I cut mine in half and it produced too much liquid.). Cook mixture for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir in the soy sauce mixture and add shrimp to skillet. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes to heat through.
- Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil.
- Toss with cooked farro and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
- Serve immediately (also, very good cold!)
I made this soup Monday evening for dinner. It was after I had made a crisp ( to be posted about later this week) and was feeling like I needed to make something more , ah-hem, healthy to exist on.
Monday was my day off/pay off for working the weekend. I find it to be a fair trade. I didn’t have anything planned beyond running ( umm…that marathon is LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY!), haircut/trim/got-my-bangs-back-that-were-no-longer-bangs, and puttering around the kitchen…all completed, just not necessarily in that order. OH, and a total un-necessary, necessary trip to Target. A little retail therapy if you will.
Once home and coming off my caffeine buzz – I am sucked into Starbucks in the front of Target each and every time. I don’t even try to resist anymore, I just get in line. Any who… I realized I needed actual food for dinner…besides the crisp. Something healthy, yet substantial. With a bit of green, because I hadn’t any veggies all day…and yes, I try to get some sort of green into my body each and every day. Also, it needed to last a few days…you know, easy lunches all week are a total requirement for any meal I make.
Therefore, soup is what I came up with. Real original right? I just love the stuff. And if I am adding requirements to lists…then I might as well add one to my list of requirements in the dude department. They must LOVE soups, or at least enjoy them from time to time. And by time to time I mean at least once a week. Otherwise, they might end up hungry or fending for themselves.
As you can guess, this soup contains sausage, beans, and swiss chard. I was a bit hesitant to toss in swiss chard because I was afraid it would get slimy…but thankfully it doesn’t. What a relief! I prefer thick soups or creamy soups and while this one has a bit of broth, it is chunky….which is a trade-off I can deal with. Brothy soups are for those that are sick and ailing. I need substance if the soup is going to be the main dish. Substantial is this soup’s middle name.
P.S. Check this out…had me giggling all day long.
Sausage, bean and Swiss Chard Soup
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion, diced small
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Lb Hot Italian Turkey Sausage ( or mild) – if using links, remove casing
2 Cans ( 15 ounce) Cannelini Beans, drained and rinsed
2 Cans (15 ounce) Chicken Broth
2 Small Bunches Swiss Chard, stems removed, roughly chopped (about 4 cups packed)
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan Cheese for garnish
In a large pot/dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and cook until onions are soft and translucent. Add sausage and continue to cook until the sausage is browned and cooked through (7-10 minutes). Use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage into bit size pieces. Once the sausage is cooked through, add beans, chicken broth, and swiss chard. Stir to combine, scrapping the bottom of the pan to get all the sausage tidbits. Bring soup to a boil and then reduce to simmer and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve immediately. Top with parmesan cheese.
Store covered in fridge.
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. ‘
I just searched my closet…I haven’t a green piece of clothing in my closet, in my dresser, in my hamper, on my floor…
Please don’t pinch me…I bruise like a tomato. And why the pinching? I would never pinch you…unless you were just sitting there, minding your own business…then I might pinch the back of your arm (tricep region) for no good reason at all…just to make you jump. I have an evil streak…it is true.
Truth be told…One of my best St. Patrick’s Days was spent in a blue sweatshirt. While I felt like an oddball (at first) it just gave me more reason to keep a green beer in my hand at all times And green beer…I wish it was more than just green food coloring.
And on matters of food…
I forgot to bake a cake with Guinness. I didn’t make any cornbeef something or other…There is no cabbage to be had here. I didn’t even use a shot of whiskey in one dish. And Baileys…still sitting on my counter. Yikes!
But in my defense…I don’t need a holiday to put Irish something or other into my dishes. Brownies made with Baileys…out of this world. Pot roast made with Guinness….bonkers good. And Irish coffee….spend a weekend morning with my dad, and you will have your fill.
So if you want a recipe for something festive and Irishy – check out….
Oh and me… I did make these once.
But if you want some pasta…tossed in a creamy mustardy sauce with sausage and basil…keep reading. Basil is green…totally counts for a St. Patrick’s Day meal. Do Italians celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or is it just us and Ireland…or is it just us?
Happy St. Patrick’s Day…stay safe, enjoy a green beer or two, and please…please, keep the festive green clothing classy…
Creamy Mustard, Sausage, and Basil Pasta
2 Cloves Garlic Minced
1 lb Penne Pasta
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 lb Mild Italian Sausage
3/4 to 1 Cup Dry White Wine (Pinot Grigio)
3/4 Cup Half and Half
3 Tablespoons Grainy Mustard
Pinch Crushed Red Pepper
1 Cup Basil, thinly sliced
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain.
Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven/deep skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute for about 1-2 minutes. Do not brown. If it begins to brown, reduce heat. Add sausage and brown for about 5-7 minutes. Break up the sausage as it cooks.
Once sausage is cooked through and browned on all sides, add wine and bring to a simmer. Scrape up the browned tidbits on the bottom of the pan (where the flavor is). Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half (about 5 minutes).
Stir in half and half, mustard, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes…it will thicken slightly. Remove from heat and toss in pasta and sliced basil. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Best served with crusty toasted bread and a nice glass of wine.
Have you ever turned yourself a color? A color different from what you were born with. A color different from what sun exposure can create. And no body paint was involved? Because, unless you are a Blue Man, you shouldn’t be using body paint….that is just plain strange. And strange…well I may not have the right to speak of strange in a little bit.
So, let’s get this straight… besides becoming sun burnt or if you are lucky…tan, you probably have never turned yourself a color. This I think I am safe in assuming. And you are probably assuming that I have turned myself a color.
And you would be right.
Between the first year of college and year 4ish….I slowly turned orange. When they say, you are what you eat…they aren’t joking. Especially when you are eating carrots…by the 5lb bag…weekly, or biweekly…Which happened more often than not. Carrots are crunchy and sweet and packable and quick…and delicious.
The shift from freakishly pale to freakishly orange was slow and was most noticeable on the souls of my feet, palms of my hands, tips of my ears and nose. And at the peak…my complexion was a tad orangey. You might say I went a bit overboard. Thankfully, I came to my senses and slowly backed off the carrots and right now, I am back to my freakishly pale skin tone. But, I still love carrots and eat them (in moderation) on a regular basis.
I prefer actual carrots that you have to peel to the ever so popular baby carrots. Baby carrots don’t have much flavor and often taste strange…and why all the water in the package? No, I like real honest to goodness carrots. The peel and chop kind. They are sweeter, crunchier, and more flavorful. A little bit more work, but totally worth it. Now, carrots are also great transportation vessels of tasty dips. I think I have dipped a carrot in anything and everything. My favorites include peanut butter, cream cheese, blue cheese dressing, Parmesan cheese, and yellow mustard. But, I normally eat mine plain…maybe with a sprinkle of black pepper.
I think the next time I turn myself orange, it will because of carrot soup. If I had known that carrot soup was so good and simple to make while in college…well I would have looked more like Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax – and I would have turned orange in record time.
Smooth and creamy and slightly thick…this soup is pure comfort food. I added a bit of zing with grated ginger….adds flavor and a touch of spiciness. And the roasted garlic. Well, it’s roasted garlic…I don’t think I need to explain that one. With a touch of cream and some chopped chives on top…For this carrot lover, it is simply heaven.
The next time you see me…I might be orange. And please tell me…because I won’t notice until I am too far gone.
Roasted Garlic and Ginger Carrot Soup
Servings: 2 Large Bowls or 4 Small
1 lb Carrots, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 Large Head of Garlic
4 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Large Shallots, thinly sliced ( or half a yellow onion)
1+1/2 Tablespoon Ginger, minced
1 Can Chicken Broth ( 14 ounces)
1/2 Cup Half and Half
3 Tablespoons Honey
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil. Lay carrots out onto cookie sheet. Drizzle about 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil over carrots and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and arrange in a single layer. Also, prepare garlic for roasting. With a sharp knife, cut off the very top of the garlic head (where it comes to a point), exposing the individual garlic cloves. Place garlic onto a square of tinfoil. Drizzle about 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon of olive oil onto the garlic head. Like a Hershey Kiss, bring up the tin foil around the head of garlic and wrap it securely. Place both the carrots and garlic in the oven and roast. The carrots will take about 20 minutes and the garlic about 30 minutes. Toss the carrots half way through roasting. Remove from oven when the carrots are fork tender and the garlic is soft/tender to the touch. When cool enough to handle, remove garlic cloves from their skins.
In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once warm, add shallots and minced ginger. Saute until shallots are tender and translucent.
Grab your blender. Add roasted carrots, roasted garlic cloves, shallots, ginger, and chicken broth to blender. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture back into a medium pan over low/medium heat. Stir in honey and half and half. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once soup is warmed through, ladle into bowls and enjoy.
I like to top my soup with a dollop of sourcream or Greek yogurt and chopped chives.Read More
I like to eat food out of large bowls.
Or large plastic containers, when it comes to eating lunch at work.
Some of my favorite dishes to eat out of large bowls are:
anything pasta related
salads…I am Elaine-esque when it comes to salads…
anything with mashed potatoes
a favorite combo is mashed potatoes, turkey, and corn… all mixed up – Thanksgiving in a bowl!
Especially cake and ice cream or pie and ice cream…..
Chicken and Noodles…over mashed potatoes of course
Mac and CheeseRead More