Friday, June 09, 2006

With the Cooking comes the Inspiration

No time to shop today. Seems like there’s been no time for much of anything over the last few weeks.

Creativity now called for. Damn. Might be a bit grim tonight.

We took everything out of the fridge. Scary. Things that were fuzzy. Things we had forgotten for some time. Things we didn’t even know we had. Somehow, this mess must be combined to form dinner.

But there were rays of hope.

Fresh raspberries and blackberries! How do you forget fresh berries? I don’t think I forgot them so much as put them off until I could find the right recipe. Well, they weren’t getting any fresher, that was for sure.

It’s a good thing that TeenGirl had read up on how best to store fresh berries. Removed from their plastic store contained, rinsed, and placed between paper towels in the fridge on a plate. It seems to have worked.

And some left over grilled salmon. We bought and grilled a huge piece the other day. Even I couldn’t finish it all.

Basil – unbelievably still ‘fresh’. Sort of. Well, mostly.

Yogurt – fuzzy. Another one, vanilla, still good!

A few odd vegetables, including a robust red pepper, still firm and ready to go.

Many types of cheeses, Fontana, goat, Pecorino, Ementaller, cheddar. Still look good.

And frozen peas. Even though I have almost nothing in my freezer except chicken bones for soup, I often have peas. Because they are just too hard to find fresh.

There are, of course, all sorts of rices, pastas, beans and other starches on hand as well. (No, no, not in the fridge!).

So here was a beginning.

I retired to the reading room hoping inspiration would strike.

Nothing. No strikes. Just a dull, fuzzy flickering of a bulb slowly fading into the night.

(Must force brain matter to function. Everyone looking at me. With big eyes. Expectant. Already hungry. Where’s that number for take-out? No! No! Must. Make. Dinner. So tired.

Quick. That’s the only hope. Quick. Eliminate complexity. Keep it simple. Berries – fresh – in yogurt. Done. Salmon – somehow – with the peas. Somehow. Somhow.)

I started with the berries. A simple parfait. Using the vanilla yogurt and a box of granola cereal. Very easy, but looks very nice when done.

In German, they have an expression, with the meal comes the hunger (sounds better in German!). To me, many times, with the cooking comes the inspiration. The act of doing leads to ideas. Connections. What ifs. Maybe I coulds. Etc.

So the Pasta with Peas, Goat Cheese and Grilled Salmon appeared during the parfait preparation. I was a bit afraid I had flavored the berries with salmon and garlic by making the two things at the same time. But no one complained.

And there it was. Quick. The pasta is a 30 minute meal. Or less. The parfaits only take time to arrange the ingredients. Longer for the picture glasses, no time at all for the other ones. And TeenGirl made a green salad as well.

So, like the old saying – With the Cooking comes the Meal!

Pasta with Peas, Goat Cheese and Grilled Salmon
Recipe by surfindaave

1 ½ pounds pasta, such as penne
1 onion, chopped fine
1 red pepper, chopped into pea sized pieces
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound bag of frozen peas (I know – but fresh are really hard to find!)
1 to 2 cups chicken broth
8 ounces goat cheese
10 fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade
1 ½ to 2 pounds of grilled salmon (left over from previous night!), broken into large pieces
Olive oil
Salt, pepper

Sautee onion and red pepper in olive oil until very soft. Add garlic, and sautee for 1-2 minutes. Add peas, and one cup of broth. Cover and let peas hear through over medium heat.

While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt. Add pasta, and cook till al dente. Drain and reserve.

When the peas are heated through and cooked, add the basil and the goat cheese to the pea mixture. Stir cheese until completely dissolved and a creamy sauce forms. Add additional chicken broth as necessary if sauce gets too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Carefully warm salmon until just heated through either in a sautee pan, or in the microwave.

When sauce is heated, toss with pasta. Thin with additional broth if too dry. Arrange salmon pieces on top of pasta. Serve. Enjoy!

Fresh Berry Parfait
Recipe by surfindaave

Serves 4

1 pint of mixed berries, I used raspberries and blackberries
1 pint of fresh cherries, pitted
2 cups fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 cup granola – your favorite

Spoon some yogurt into 4 clear serving dishes or wine glasses. Arrange a layer of cherries on top. Add a layer of granola, making sure to cover the cherries completely, or the yogurt will seep through. Add another layer of yogurt. Add a layer of berries, pressing them to the outside of the glass so they show. Hold them in place by adding some more granola to the center. Top with a spoonful of yogurt, and a few berries for the crown. Serve. Enjoy!

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Blogger gattina said...

very simply meal but so delightful! Pretty parfait you made... although I'd rather like full-fat yogurt

2:54 AM  

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