Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gnocchi Vegetable Soup

A really good quick and hearty soup:

Chicken broth
Leftover vegetables sleeping in your fridge or pantry -- cauliflower, carrots, celery, onions, potatoes
Any herbs? Dill, basil, thyme -- anything you like
If you have some chicken, dump it in -- I used lots of chicken dr
umsticks I had to use up.

Simmer everything together, until the veg and chicken are nice and tender. Remove meat from bone and tear up into bite size pieces and return to pot.

Add a bag of Trader Joe's Gnocchi alla Sorrentina (frozen gnocchi with tomato sauce and cheese) and bring to a boil. Simmer until the gnocchi is tender and serve.

The tomato sauce for the gnocchi pulls the soup together.

Not the most appetizing photo
I should have put some gnocchi on top for you to see!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Our Harvest

We left town for the Oregon coast just as the snap peas were becoming ready for picking. Things just work out that way sometimes.

But we managed to harvest a few still-tender pods
and stir-fried them up for dinner tonight. The Kid is so proud that we are officially "organic farmers" now.

Note the place mat The Kid painted and insisted that we use.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Leaving the Raisins Out

Growing up, there weren't many things I didn't like to eat. I was lucky that I was brought up by a father who's philosophy was to try everything at least three times before rejecting it. The first time, he said, you might be shocked and not pleased by the taste or texture. On the second try, you may get past the initial shock. By the third taste, you often appreciate the food for what it is.

Thanks to my dad, I can eat almost anything and enjoy it.

But there were things that my mother cooked or rather, things she put in certain dishes that I disliked. And while I ate everything served to me through childhood dutifully, I thought I would make changes once I had my own kitchen and had the opportunity to cook for my own family.

Take for example, Japanese curry rice. It's a delicious, soupy, curry sauce that's typically made with some type of meat (beef is my favorite) and vegetables such as potatoes, onions and the thing I most dislike, carrots. I don't have a problem with raw carrots or even oven roasted carrots, but slimey carrots, I cannot eat.

It reminds me too much of the time we ate at a diner in the early 70's and were served canned carrots. My father insisted on my finishing everything on my plate. I did. But as soon as I did, everything spewed out, like a flood, right back onto my plate. In the middle of the diner. Let me tell you, it was a lovely moment.

Since then, I detest steamed, boiled or stewed carrots -- and th
e carrots in curry rice remind me too much of that awful night at the diner. All through my childhood, I swore that when I became an adult, I would never, ever put carrots in my curry rice.

But here's the thing, you get used to something and it's hard to change. Now that I'm a grown up with two kids, I still put carrots in my curry. Do I like it now? NO. And a big NO at that. Actually, I take the trouble of eating around the carrots or try to avoid scooping up any carrots when I ladle the curry sauce onto my plate. Funny, but that's t
he way it is.

Same thing for curry pilaf. My mom had a habit of putting in raisins into a perfectly nice chicken curry pilaf. Ugh, mixing sweet and salty together -- like pineapples in sweet and sour dishes or Hawaiian pizza with pineapples and ham. It's just not my thing.

But what did I do last night? I put raisins in my curry pilaf. I ate it, while thinking it was a little odd, but I thought I could just igno
re it.

And when I did, a little voice next to me said, "Mama, can you not put this sweet thing in the rice next time?"

I think next time, I will be leaving the raisins out.