Meal Plan #2

gran padano

I’ve become committed to eating more healthful food options and cutting out the junk.

I think that as a person gets older cutting out the junk food is imperative.

Our older bodies aren’t always as spry as we were in our twenties and thirties.

So it makes sense to cut out the junk. We can replace the junk with food that gives us energy and stamina throughout the day.

Here was yesterday’s meal plan:

Breakfast:

Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grains granola with skim milk

8 oz organic orange juice

A.M. Snack:

Plain yogurt (Greenmarket fare)

Lunch:

Caprese Salad

(Heirloom tomato slices layered with fresh mozzarella slices.)

P.M. Snack:

Plain yogurt

Dinner in photo above:
Organic zucchini stuffed with gran padano shredded cheese

Scoop out inside of zucchini. Sprinkle with parmesan or goat cheese.

Heat at 350 in oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

(I used gran padano because I didn’t have parmesan cheese.)

Night Snack:

1 organic Anjou pear

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Garlic Scape Dressing

garlic scape dressing

I received another CSA box with an unusual produce item that looked like scallions with a tiny green bulb at the end.

It was fortuitous: at a Greenmarket I found the item featured in an egg frittata sample to taste. I brought home the one-page recipe for the garlic scape dressing.

The person I served the salad to claimed the dressing I created was the tastiest he’d ever tasted.

This recipe is from thespruce.com:

Garlic Scape Dressing

Ingredients:

2 garlic scapes, coarsely chopped

2 green onions, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon honey

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard or similar brown mustard

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

dash salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions (see my clarification below this):

In a blender, combine the garlic scapes, onions, honey, mustard, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. With blender on low, slowly add the olive oil until well blended.

Makes 1 cup.

The trick is to add a little olive oil, PUT THE LID ON the blender, and turn the blender on low. REMOVE the lid, pour in a little more olive oil, put on the lid, and repeat.

I couldn’t figure out which button on my blender was the “low” option so I used the puree button to blend the olive oil into the mixture.

Listen: using lemon juice by squeezing real lemons is preferable to using the lemon juice in a plastic container. The store-bought lemon juice contains sulfur dioxide.

Real lemons are plentiful in produce departments at food markets so I recommend buying lemons instead of the juice in a plastic container.

This salad dressing recipe takes about five to seven minutes to create. It’s a quick and easy recipe for salad dressing you can use with summer salads.

I happen to think that red leaf lettuce is delicious. If you ask me it tastes better than the usual ho-hum spring mix salad greens.

Organic or not, I urge you to give red leaf lettuce a try in the summer. One head of lettuce can sometimes last a single person two days.

Forget iceberg lettuce.

Chilled Avocado Soup Recipe

Here’s a photo of a dinner where I created a chilled avocado soup recipe:

avocado soup

The salad is easy to make with red leaf lettuce.

In the summer, I run to butter lettuce and red leaf lettuce because they’re tasty. Just add colorful tomatoes, onions, and radishes. Even olives and chickpeas can be used.

The shrimp I cooked are from a shrimp scampi recipe I found in a Food Network magazine years ago.

Chilled Avocado Soup

1 large avocado

1/2 cup plain yoogurt

1 1/2 cups milk or cold vegetable stock

salt and pepper to taste

  1.     Peel avocado. Cut into large chunks.
  2.     Place the avocado in a blender and add the yogurt. Blend until creamy.
  3.     Turn off the machine. Scrape down the sides.
  4.      Add the milk. Blend for 15 seconds.

You can season the soup with salt and pepper. It can be garnished with some tomato salsa, chopped fresh herbs, or chopped green onion.

This isn’t one of my favorite recipes yet I repeat it here because readers might like it better than I do. The recipe is quick to make. The soup is a cool version of soup to have in the summer.

The recipe was found in The Jumbo Vegetarian Cookbook which is a collection of recipes for teens.

 

Mashed Potatoes Recipe

I buy a CSA box–a Community Supported Agriculture box–that is stocked with produce.

The latest offering featured dried chili peppers, mint, parsley, and thyme, two potatoes, and red leaf lettuce. I couldn’t tell what the other produce item was–it was a thick green frond. Not like Swiss chard–it was thicker and harder.

I figured out how to make mashed potatoes. The good news is you don’t need a recipe for them to come out right. It’s nearly foolproof so here goes:

For one person:

Peel two potatoes. Cut them into chips and cut the chips in quarters.

Boil the potatoes in water in a sauce pan with the water covering the potatoes.

Boil for about 40 minutes. Drain the water from the saucepan.

Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes until there are barely any lumps.

Pour in milk slowly from a measuring cup. Use a teaspoon or tablespoon to beat the potatoes.

Use a tiny amount of milk and add more milk as you go along.

Once the potatoes are as creamy as you’d like them:

Serve with butter and if you’d like you can salt them.

Voila: an easy recipe for mashed potatoes.

As you’ll see below I served them with a parmesan-crusted chicken cutlet.

I’ll be making another recipe for chilled avocado soup and will return with a photo of the soup.

It’s summertime–and the living ISN’T always easy. Yet if you ask me it’s a wonderful season for cooking from recipes. The abundance of fresh and tasty produce is a cook’s delight for at least the next six months.

mashed potatoes

CSA Boxes

A CSA is Community Supported Agriculture.

In New York City you can get a CSA box delivered to your house or apartment via Fresh Direct instead of having to travel to an inconvenient location to pick up a CSA box and then schlep it home.

The photo below features a salad created with CSA box produce: red romaine lettuce, red oak leaf lettuce, greenhouse tomatoes, and french breakfast radishes.

You can buy the indispensable book Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop.

I go running to this cookbook all the time in Greenmarket season.

Also in the box was kohlrabi and I’m going to make a recipe with this vegetable too.

The box contained yellow chard and baby red bok choy too.

greens

This is the spring table decor. A joyful table can put you in the mood to linger over your food.

I didn’t post the zucchini recipe. I realized I had posted a blog entry with this recipe years ago. It might be in the recipes category link on the right.

I will return in the coming week to topics I refer to in my upcoming non-fiction books.

Organic Zucchini Recipe

SDC10453

This organic zucchini recipe is quite simple: cut zucchini in half and hollow out center and fill with grated parmesan cheese.

Heat in oven for 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Voila–a healthful summertime and early fall meal or dinner.

The ceramic Starbucks Venti cup is a Rodarte limited edition design. Rodarte is a fashion house. The cups were available about five years ago.

You can buy some nice ceramic cups in Starbucks. That coffee shop has some OK bistro food selections.
I will return with other recipes in the coming weeks. As always, you can click on the recipes category to the right or on the bottom of this page if you’re on a cell phone. I’ve posted a number of other recipes that are in season now.

Happy Eating!

 

 

Quick Asparagus Recipe

asparagus

I don’t feel like it violates copyright to offer you this asparagus recipe because it’s quite simple.

Roasted Asparagus with Olive Oil and Salt

1 1/2 lb asparagus tough ends snapped off

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place asparagus in large baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the spears and toss gently to coat from end to end. Place the spears in a single layer.
  3. Roast in the oven until the asparagus are lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Shake the pan once or twice within that time to turn the spears.
  4. Transfer asparagus to a serving platter and sprinkle with salt.

This meal can be served hot, warm or at room temperature.

I used only 1 lb asparagus so reduced the amount of olive oil I used.

I heated the asparagus in a glass baking dish. You can get a glass baking dish on the cheap in a dollar store. They can be bought at a dollar store in various sizes.

Again: the scallops take only at most 10 minutes to saute in a pan and are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acid.

Total time for this late spring healthful dinner: 15 minutes to cook.