I’m proud to say that we’ve kept our New Year’s Resolution to cook at least one meal every single day. So far, so good (in fact we’re making two meals per day on average). This may sound strange to people who have always cooked their meals at home but being so busy and living in NYC it has become second nature to order food for delivery, to pick up prepared meals on the way home, or to eat at a restaurant. We know we need to make the transition, especially for Peace Corps, so Paul is even bringing his lunch to work, which is a big step in the right direction.
I thought I’d share some of the recipes I have used lately as well as a great tip for how to save on groceries. If you live in an area where Fresh Direct delivers they have a great selection of all foods you would find in your average grocery store plus extra features like recipes and chef prepared foods. More recipes for some of our favorites including Tortilla Española, Turkey Meat Sauce, Chocolate Molten Cakes, and Salmon coming soon!
Until January 31st, 2011 you can use the following coupon code for Fresh Direct: HOLIDAY60 to get $30 off each of your first two orders of $99 or more. I’m not getting anything from Fresh Direct for sharing this with you – I simply found the coupon code online and thought I’d share.
PAD THAI from The New York Times
4 ounces fettuccine-width rice stick noodles
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 to 4 tablespoons tamarind paste
1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small head Napa cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1/2 pound peeled shrimp, pressed tofu or a combination
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 limes, quartered.
Put noodles in a large bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let sit until noodles are just tender; check every 5 minutes or so to make sure they do not get too soft. Drain, drizzle with one tablespoon peanut oil to keep from sticking and set aside. Meanwhile, put tamarind paste, fish sauce, honey and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring just to a simmer. Stir in red pepper flakes and set aside.
Put remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when oil shimmers, add scallions and garlic and cook for about a minute. Add eggs to pan; once they begin to set, scramble them until just done. Add cabbage and bean sprouts and continue to cook until cabbage begins to wilt, then add shrimp or tofu (or both).
When shrimp begin to turn pink and tofu begins to brown, add drained noodles to pan along with sauce. Toss everything together to coat with tamarind sauce and combine well. When noodles are warmed through, serve, sprinkling each dish with peanuts and garnishing with cilantro and lime wedges.
Yield: 4 servings
BANANA BREAD from Bon Appétit
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 9x5x2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan or use cooking spray on 2 12-cup metal muffin tins. Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Combine chocolate chips and walnuts in small bowl; add 1 tablespoon flour mixture and toss to coat.
Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in mashed bananas, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat in flour mixture. Spoon 1/3 of batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of nut mixture. Spoon 1/3 of batter over. Sprinkle with remaining nut mixture. Cover with remaining batter. For loaf pan – run knife through batter in zigzag pattern.
Bake bread or muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 5 minutes for loaf pan, 20 minutes for muffins. Turn out onto rack and cool.
Yield: 9-inch loaf or 24 muffins
TRIANGLES from the Wilson Family
1 package (2 sheets) of puff pastry dough (usually comes frozen)
1/2 cup chopped spinach (can be fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup grated cheese (you can use Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or even Pecorino Romano)
8 oz. of cream cheese
1 large onion, diced
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out puff pastry sheets on a flat, floured surface (defrost to room temperature if necessary or transfer frozen sheets to refrigerator the night before preparing). Using a sharp knife, cut the puff pastry into squares – each sheet should make 9 small squares or 4 large ones. Mix the spinach, cream cheese, grated cheese, onions, lemon/lime juice, paprika, and salt & pepper in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Prepare an ungreased baking sheet, a small bowl of water, and a fork. Spoon about 1-2 Tablespoons of spinach and cream cheese mixture into the middle of each square (do not overfill – it’s ok to have some of the mixture leftover). Fold over into a triangle shape, wetting two of the inside edges with water from the dish. Use your fork to crimp the triangle edges, pushing hard enough to secure the edges but not so hard your fork pierces all the way through the dough. Use your sharp knife to create a half-inch slit on the top of each triangle and carefully transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat until all triangles are on the baking sheets.
Bake in oven until tops are golden brown, approximately 15 minutes.
Yield: 18 small triangles or 8 large ones
PAN SEARED LEMON SOLE from Real Simple
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 sole fillets
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lemon, ends trimmed (can substitute lime)
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
Place the flour on a plate. Season the sole with the salt. Lightly coat each fillet in the flour, shaking off any excess. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Slice the lemon into 12 thin circles and add them to the skillet. Cook until the lemon is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Push the lemon to the side of the skillet and add the sole. (You may need to cook it in batches.) Cook until the sole is the same color throughout and flakes easily, about 2 minutes per side. Add the remaining butter and the capers to the skillet. Remove from heat and tilt the skillet to swirl until the butter melts. Transfer the sole and lemon to individual plates and spoon the capers and butter over the top.
Yield: 4 servings