20 minute dinner

Since starting to write about food I feel this urge to take photos of all the food I prepare and keep lists of what food I eat throughout the day. But the purpose of this blog is to talk about thinking about food and recipes and how it plays a part of ordinary life. After all, one must eat, and if one has a family, must feed those folks too. I think about food a lot. I think about food in the morning: “What to fix for supper tonight?” “What can I take for lunch today?” “Do I need to go to the store?” “Which store?” I often look through my recipe books and find new things that look like they would be fun to make or sound really good tasting. I usually have two or three off the shelf and on the counter so I can peruse them when I come home from work. I do tend to pass up very fussy recipes that require too many steps or unfamiliar ingredients. I tweak some of the fussier ones to make them more ordinary kitchen friendly.

I recently went through three of my cookbooks to mark out the recipes that I would be interested in making. I listed the name and page number on an index card. I would like to leave my children the recipes that I use the most as a memory. I could tape the index cards in the front cover for reference. The problem is I like different recipes from different books and I don’t want to copy and put everything in a notebook, or two or three or four! What to do? Well, to be honest I do compile recipe clippings and print-outs. I have three notebooks already and have just started on a fourth. I cooked basics for my two children when they were growing up. I did try to recollect those and put them in a notebook that I gave my daughter when she got married. I don’t think she knows where it is at this time. But it is in her house somewhere and if she is like me she will drift back to her upbringing as she gets older.  The basics are spaghetti with meat crumbs, baked chicken leg quarters, best ever chocolate cake, eggs in a frame, lettuce salad and a snack cake I got off the back of a flour package. Oh let’s not forget the Fleishman’s bread cinnamon roll recipe for Christmas mornings.

One weekend I was poring over the books wanting to bake a cake or muffins or some sweet. I chose in the end the snack cake but used white wheat flour. It bakes in an 8×8 pan and uses no eggs or butter. It is quite tasty and easy for a bite of chocolate when desired. There were too many choices from the books which drove me to an old staple (from one of my notebooks of recipe clippings).

But not every meal must come out of a cookbook.

For one of our weeknight dinners we were grilling a filet of salmon. It was one filet from a package of frozen. I had bought fresh asparagus and had found two recipes, one with pine nuts and one with lemon zest. But I just threw it in the grill pan and my husband grilled it along with the salmon. It was quite tasty with nothing added. The salmon had a bit of pepper on it and that was all. For the starch I “nuked” two smallish russet potatoes and we piled those with butter, sour cream, and freshly chopped chives. A yummy meal all in 20 minutes. And for dessert I whipped a bit of heavy cream and put it on top of bowls of fresh raspberries.  A perfect example of whole food simply prepared that is satisfying and enjoyable, both to prepare and to consume.

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Fish was known as brain food. Food for thought.

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