Recent Culinary Triumphs

I’ve cooked some tasty new dishes in the last week, so I thought that I’d share.

First, regular readers know that I’ve been experimenting with more vegetarian and vegan options which are generally received with groans of disdain.  However, I tried a new dish that W likes.  In fact, it’s the first time I’ve successfully prepared a quinoa dish that he enjoys!!  Woo, hoo!!  I got the recipe here, although I was intimidated by all of the super-food-aware speak and slacked off a bit.  For example, instead of soaking and dehydrating raw cashews, I just. . . threw some cashews in.  And instead of “Celtic or pink Himalayan sea salt,” I went with salt.  Or, actually, I didn’t even have to add any, because of the roasted and salted cashews!

So mine looks a little different from the picture with the recipe (I also added some black olives in this version).  But I have to tell you:  it was super-tasty.  And an excellent potluck sort of dish, because it’s pretty and it’s good at room temperature and it’s vegan.  Incidentally, my children had no interest.  They’re anti-quinoa, too.  Which I really don’t understand, especially since M will sneak cold, cooked brown rice or barley out of the refrigerator as if they’re some sort of illicit pleasures.  It remains an uncommon item on our table, and always causes W to practice, “KEEN-wah, right?  Or is it Kee-NO-ah?”  Still, even if I haven’t achieved YumUniverse greatness, we’ve made progress.

When I’m not aspiring to be more vegan-ish, I’m aspiring to enjoy fish more.  I genuinely like shrimp, musels, and lobster, but everything else I tolerate at best.   I had made this tilapia recipe once before, and I’d enjoyed it, even though I’d blown off one of the main ingredients:  the green peppercorns.   I just couldn’t bring myself to shop for 1 1/2 teaspoons of something for an untested recipe.  When I tried it again this week, I decided to throw in a couple of additions.  First, I sliced up 4 or 5 crimini mushrooms and put them in the pan before I added the tilapia.  Then, I added a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice to the broth mixture.  And at the end, I added a tablespoon of capers.  Mmmmmm.  It was truly delicious.  I was eager to continue eating, and a little bit sad when it was over.  I think I’ve finally found a non-shellfish fish recipe that I love.

Then, still high from my improvisational success with the fish, I took a stab at a new stir fry with some coaching from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express.  I just checked this book out of the library, and it’s great for people who basically know how to cook and don’t mind a little experimenting.  There are just short little paragraphs telling you what to do, but without any measurements or specifics.  I made Shrimp with Toasted Coconut, which had a sauce of coconut milk, some soy sauce, curry powder, and fresh cilantro.  I became a bit overzealous and added some red pepper flakes and lime juice, plus just about every vegetable I found in the fridge.  This is actually a problem of mine:  whenever I stir fry, I just pull out whatever vegetables I can find, and then I end up making enough for eight people, even though my kids will probably only pick out the baby corn, water chestnuts, and maybe the carrots on a good day.  Anyway, the result was yummy-yummy-yummy:  it really looked and tasted like something we’d order at a Thai restaurant.  Even better than eating delicious food is eating delicious food that you just quickly and easily made up.  Now that’s satisfaction!


  1. Thanks Heather. You’ve made me lust after a food dehydrator, by the way. I made/burned some beet chips in the oven today.

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