Coffee

It’s not just for breakfast; never was. Coffee adds depth and flavor to meats and to chocolate desserts.

black coffee


Food Ideas

  • Love to Cook: Coffee-rubbed roast (lamb, beef, pork) with vinegar slaw and coconut rice
  • Weeknight Reality: Coffee-rubbed burgers with sweet potato fries
  • Need a Miracle: Veggie wraps with mocha chip ice cream for dessert

Recipe Links


Parting Thought

I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Tender

Where summer produce is robust, spring goods are tender, softer in texture and flavor. For dinner tonight, how about foraging (probably at a farmers market) for fresh spring lettuce or other baby greens?  You might find some young root vegetables to go with, and you’ll have the perfect spring salad.

tender


Food Ideas

  • Love to Cook: Lamb chops, sugar snap peas and spring greens
  • Weeknight Reality: Pan-fried chicken tenders over spring green salad
  • Need a Miracle: Spinach wraps with spring mix, goat cheese and smoked turkey (from the deli)

Recipe Links


Parting Thought

She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.

A.A. Milne, via goodreads

 

Untaxing

The tax man cometh; you can blame him for the temporary hiccup in delivery of your daily dinner prompt. Whether he’s writing you a check or you’re writing one to him, treat yourself to an easy dinner, perhaps a mix of lean and rich flavors together.

pears


Food Ideas

  • Love to Cook: Arugula salad with pears and candied pecans: warm peasant bread with Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam Cheese
  • Weeknight Reality: ditto above
  • Need a Miracle: Arugula salad with rotisserie chicken, dried cherries and pistachios

Recipe Links


Parting Thought

The wages of sin are death, but by the time taxes are taken out, it’s just sort of a tired feeling.
Paula Poundstone, via goodreads

 

Blood orange

So yes, it’s two words and not one. But it’s still one thing, one idea to get you thinking toward the many different delicious treats you can make using blood oranges. Haven’t tried them yet? Don’t be afraid. They taste like regular oranges, only sweeter. The juice of the dark varieties may stain, though, so be sure to wear an apron or work shirt.

blood oranges


Food Ideas

  • Love to Cook: Seafood with blood orange sauce; blood orange sorbet or panna cotta
  • Weeknight Reality: Citrus salad, topped with grilled chicken (or shrimp skewers)
  • Need a Miracle: Spinach salad with blood orange vinaigrette; mini grilled cheese sandwiches

Recipe Links


Parting Thought

One mustn’t ask apple trees for oranges, France for sun, women for love, life for happiness.
Gustave Flaubert

Leftovers

Here’s a different kind of prompt, one that might lead to more spring cleaning than actual cooking but that will help keep you cooking in the long run: get rid of the leftovers in your freezer.

leftovers

So what’s hiding in that freezer of yours, anyway? Could be a good time for a spring sweep, before everything gets freezer burn and winds up in the trash. Also, you’ll need room for blueberries when they come in season, so best get cleaning.

Likely finds might include a pizza, the two leftover chicken breasts from that five pound package, a half bag of flash frozen shrimp, last summer’s lima beans (or berries, or corn), the other half of the pot roast (or lasagna), and perhaps a bag of meatballs or some bacon. Tonight, Friday, start with the easiest dinner available from your freezer. If you have a pizza in there, you’re in luck. If the only thing that doesn’t require thawing, prepping and cooking is ice cream, then make a spinach salad and have dessert.

To cover the rest of your weekend, get the other things thawing today and be thinking about what you’ll do with them tomorrow and Sunday.

Here are some ideas:

Love to Cook: Tapas dinner. Since you may not have enough of any one thing to make a full meal, fix several different small plates (piri-piri chicken, sweet & sour meatballs, lima bean salad, etc.). Need more hints? Here are some, from Food & Wine.

Weeknight reality: Stew. Again, without enough of any one thing you’ll need to combine the freezer finds into one meal. Think gumbo, jambalaya, green chile chicken, vegetable soup, etc., or just make up your own

Need a miracle: Use this weekend to clear out what’s hiding in your freezer that you’re never going to use because it doesn’t work for your life at the moment. Restock with a few things that will actually help you on a regular basis. If you’re constantly in ‘need a miracle’ mode but don’t want to eat prepared foods, bags of mixed vegetables will be your best best. They work for a quick stir fry, soup or even some chopped salads.


Parting Thought

“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”

Calvin Trillin, via goodreads

 

Sweets

Would be a good day for a light dinner, followed by a good dessert, no? A salad or steamed fish and vegetables will leave room for a treat, whether it’s a homemade treat or one from a local bakery.

Macarons


Food Ideas

  • Love to Cook: Chopped kale salad with dried cherries & sliced almonds: homemade macarons
  • Weeknight Reality: Grilled chicken with stir-fried snow peas & mushrooms: homemade brownies
  • Need a Miracle: Spinach salad with red onions and clementines; assorted pastries from the bakery

Recipe Links


Parting Thought

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Mushroom

Little flavor sponges, mushrooms are, soaking up whatever gets cooked with them. Served raw they add texture to a spring green salad. Just remember to wipe (or brush) them clean or rinse very quickly instead of soaking in water, which will make them slimy and decidedly yucky.

mushrooms


Food Ideas

  • Love to Cook: Homemade mushroom ravioli with goat cheese sauce; spring herb salad
  • Weeknight Reality: Chicken and mushrooms over angel hair pasta; spring salad
  • Need a Miracle: Marinated mushrooms (from the grocery bar) roughly chopped, tossed with goat cheese and herbs and served on brioche toast OR grilled cheese with a spinach/raw mushroom salad.

Recipe Links

Parting Thought

“You’re not a man, you’re a mushroom!”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince (via goodreads)

Halibut

If you’re planning fish for your Good Friday dinner, halibut would be a good choice. Pacific halibut, a sustainable fish, is like a blank canvas – it works well in many different types of preparation, from simple fish sticks to French-style stew. The official Pacific season doesn’t start until May, but flash-frozen, wild-caught halibut should be available in the freezer section year ’round.

halibut


Food Ideas

  • Love to Cook: French-style fish stew (bouillabaisse, Bourride) with an arugula salad
  • Weeknight Reality: Halibut fish & chips
  • Need a Miracle: Pan-fried halibut with raw or lightly steamed spring vegetables

Recipe Links

Parting Thought

All I did was say to my wife, “That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah!”

Matthias, Monty Python’s Life of Brian

 

Eggs

Eggs are inexpensive, versatile, easy to prepare and well-suited to a multitude of flavors. From simple scrambled or baked eggs to more complicated preparations soufflés or dishes that involve hollandaise, there is an egg recipe for virtually any dinner situation. And if you’re buying eggs to hard-boil and then dip in dye, just buy an extra dozen for a quick dinner that won’t interrupt the fun egg-coloring activities.

the incredible edible egg


Food Ideas

  • Love to Cook: Eggs Florentine with a spring green salad
  • Weeknight Reality: Shakshuka with warm pita bread
  • Need a Miracle: Scrambled eggs with fresh herbs and goat cheese, served with cinnamon toast

Recipe Links


Parting Thought

“These eggs are broken. Cracked.”
“Yes, ma’am. That happens sometimes.”
“Does it?”
“Yes, it’s the unfortunate part of being an egg.”

Peter Hedges, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (via goodreads)

 

Fennel

As so many things are about to come in season, fennel is on its way out. Enjoy it one more time before it disappears for several months.

fennel


Food Ideas

  • Love to Cook: Pork roast (or fish) with roasted (or grilled) fennel
  • Weeknight Reality: Roasted sausage (or potatoes) with fennel
  • Need a Miracle: Fennel slaw, topped with shredded chicken or boiled eggs

Recipe Links


Parting Thought

Fennel, which is the spice for Wednesdays, the day of averages, of middle-ages people…Fennel… smelling of changes to come.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (The Mistress of Spices), via Goodreads