Thursday, May 19, 2011

Try These On For Size: A day's worth of meal ideas

I've been feeling creative in the kitchen lately. Here are some "recipes" to try if you're fresh out of ideas. I use the term loosely, as you may recall, Rebe doesn't measure, so use that keen eye and soulful sprinkle and you'll be fine.

Breakfast: VEGGIE-PACKED FRITTATA (*and some fruity goodness)
Easy Frittata
  • 2 eggs whipped into a fluffy frenzy (for a healthier alternative try one egg and one egg white)
  • diced eggplant
  • diced onion
  • diced red bell pepper
  • sliced tomato
  • kale
  • fresh ginger
  • paprika powder
  • cumin powder
  • dried oregano
  • crumbled feta cheese (or your fave- goat cheese would be nice too)
Using a non-stick personal-sized pan, sautee all your veggies (minus the tomato) until onions are translucent and eggplant is soft. Season every layer as you go. Then grate some fresh ginger into the mix and let that cook and combine a bit. Throw in your kale and cover your pan with a lid to let the leaves wilt. Once those are nice and soft, pour in your beaten eggs. 

Now pay attention kids - this is how you can get a fresh, out of the pan frittata instead of a scrambly mess: Don't give it any attention! That's right, my trick is to swirl the eggs into an even layer with your mix-ins and leave it alone. Cover it, turn your heat to low, and you will get evenly cooked eggs, fluffy pancake style every time.
In the pan - Ready for the plate

In this recipe, after adding the eggs, layer your sliced tomato on top and then cover. Set it and forget it. Well kind of; once your eggs are cooked through, your frittata is ready for pan sliding! Just slip your spatula around the crisped sides to detach the egg from the pan, then scoop under and slide that baby out on to your plate. Garnish with the crumbled feta and Viola, you've got a hearty (and pretty) veggie breakfast frittata.

Cut up and sprinkled with the finishing touches


*Don't think I forgot about the fruity goodness. It is in the form of HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY JAM
I trialed it and couldn't believe how easy this was. Forget the added pectin, sugar, corn syrup and who knows what else in store-bought jams. Once you make your own you will never go back.
  • You don't need anything except a pan, strawberries, and heat - that's it!
  • Slice up your strawberries, turn your non-stick pan on medium heat, and toss them in. 
  • Let them cook for about two minutes until it froths and bubbles.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let them reduce to a syrupy sweetness. 
  • Mash them up every once and a while, depending on how chunky you like your jam.
Homemade Jam on (not homemade) Pancakes
As little as 10 minutes later you will have yourself a natural, fine-lookin' jam. It makes a sensible schmear on your morning toast or English muffin. Or pair likes with likes and slather the sweetness on your pancakes (as I did), French toast, or waffles! However you use it, you will certainly think it's jammin'.

Lunch: TUNA AND BEET-PULP MASH

It's time to revisit your lunch-time tuna, and don't discount beet pulp. Since acquiring a juicer (and living for it - borderline obsessed), I've been trying to use the pulp of veggies I juice in creative ways. Beets are my favorite and I'm consequently left with an ample supply of deep maroon shreds begging to be used. Enter canned tuna, its flakes a similar consistency to the pulp, and this mash-up was born.
  • canned tuna, drained
  • beet pulp
  • thinly sliced onions
  • diced zucchini
  • raisins
  • diced tomato
  • a beaten egg (as a binder)
  • dried rosemary
  • curry powder
  • ground pepper
  • sliced avocado
As the name implies, this dish is very simply all these ingredients mashed together in a skillet. First, sautee and season the onions, zucchini, and raisins so that all soften and render a bit of sweetness. Then throw in your tuna, beet pulp, and half of your tomatoes and let that warm through, constantly combining the mixture in the pan. (You'll see the purple pulp gloriously stains the entire mash.) Lastly, add the egg and move it through all the ingredients until it fully cooks and binds the entire medley. Pour the hot mash on your plate and serve with a side of avocado and the rest of your fresh tomatoes. Sprinkle everything with some more curry powder and rosemary, and give all things on your plate a generous squeeze of lime and a touch of red wine vinegar.
Up close and personal with tuna
The saltines of the tuna and the sweetness of the raisins are not surprisingly satisfying, and the pink mash would be ever so radiant atop a pile of cous cous or nestled between thick cuts of multi-grain bread. Who knew pulp could be so pretty?

*A LITTLE AFTERNOON SNACK FOR YOU JUICERS OUT THERE*
Red and Orange and Frothy All Over

We know that pulp came from a juiced beet, so if you have a juicer, try this delicious combination:
  • 1 large trimmed beet
  • 2 loose carrots
  • half of a large red bell pepper
  • half of a Granny Smith apple
All I can say is, YUM!







Dinner: BROILED GINGER SCALLOPS, CARROT & CAULIFLOWER PUREE, BLACK BEAN SALAD
Don't let the lengthy line-up intimidate you. Let's divide and conquer, starting with the scallops. It was my first time broiling them, as I usually grill them or use them in seafood soups. So how did this method turn out?

Ginger Scallops
Scallops swimming in marinade
Marinate them in fresh lime juice, freshly-grated ginger, ground pepper, garlic powder, and dried thyme. Spread them in an even layer in a shallow pan and pop it into the broiler. Every broiler is different and you don't want them to burn so check them often. After 4 minutes on one side, mine were ready to flip, and broiled on the other side for the same amount of time.


Broiled and Decorated
After seeing they had a nice golden crisp on the top I knew they were ready, but how did they taste? Scrumptious and succulent! I thought broiling would dry them out but they were buttery and moist, the ginger really emanating after being heated. And the lemony thyme was the perfectly fragrant herb. Garnish them with some fresh lemon zest and fresh mint. See, not so bad for the first time. Excuse my broiling bravado.

Carrot & Cauliflower Puree
*Since my trusty Magic Bullet has changed my blending life, I used that little guy for this. But if you have not been blessed by the Bullet, any blender should do.

Blend the following: (I steamed everything in the Magic Bullet first to make for easy blending)
  • carrots
  • cauliflower (half the amount of the carrots)
  • fresh ginger root, peeled (a finger-tip's worth)
  • two cloves of fresh garlic, peeled
  • fresh basil leaves (a palm-full) a tap of ground cinnamon
  • dried thyme
  • ground pepper
  • fresh lime juice
  • grated lime zest
  • dash of red wine vinegar
If you are not able to heat all the ingredients together pre-blending, pour your puree into a microwave safe bowl and heat in the microwave or temper over the stove.
Plump Puree

Garnish with a little freshly chopped basil and you've got yourself a vibrant puree to pair with your scallops. The textures together are magnificent and the echoeing lime and thyme flavors work well. Not to mention carrots with anything ginger are a match made in heaven!

Black Bean Salad
Just to add a little freshness to the complete the spread, toss together this simple scoopable salad.
Satisfying Salad
  • black beans, drained and rinsed
  • diced cucumber
  • diced avocado
  • fresh lemon and lime juice
  • ground pepper (a touch)
  • red wine vingar
  • fresh mint, chopped finely
  • crumbled feta

Easy, fresh and light, you will see how the heartiness of the beans, smoothness of the avocado, and the crisp crunch of the cucumber are perfectly balanced textures, elevated in refreshment by breezy mint and cooling citrus juices. Did someone say mojito?


Full Dinner Spread


Thus if you are paralyzed with kitchen fright or stuck with chef's block, try any of Rebe's Recipes to get your knife choppin' again.