Friday, May 6, 2011

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

All of the above ingredients went into the dinner I made last night after a very rough day at work.  Cooking was the furthest thing from my mind when I got home; all I could think about was propping up the achy foot I walked around on all day (boo, plantar fasciitis).  I'm glad I did because I was getting sick of settling for a frozen Amy's Kitchen entree (even though they're good), chips and salsa, chips and hummus or a salad consisting of the salad greens and dressing (nothing to chop). 

Until yesterday, I also had a ridiculously overgrown parsley plant in the backyard with stalks - actual stalks, like five or six of them - that were making it hard for the newer leaves to grow in.  So, inspired by necessity, I chopped off all the stalks, snipped all the parsley with normal-looking stems off them and then used all four cups worth to make a parsley and walnut pesto, about half of which went into the risotto (same recipe as here but with ground sage sauteed in Earth Balance with the rice; the pesto instead of spinach; and no nutmeg).  The lentils were cooked in salt, rosemary and a few sprigs of fresh thyme.  Steve found the lentils a nice complement to the brightness of the pesto risotto, and the leftovers hit the spot after my 10-mile run this morning!  I also look forward to using the leftover pesto in a quick and easy pasta dish in the next day or two.

Tonight I made a recipe from this month's Food and Wine magazine that came together really fast by substituting canned chickpeas for dried.  I also left out the caraway and cilantro because I didn't have any and because the recipe seemed to have enough flavor without them. 

I was right!  I also substituted about six big, finely chopped spearmint leaves (one tablespoon?) for the teaspoon of dried mint because I have tons of mint in the veggie/herb garden right now and because the dried mint that I have on hand right now is the cheap stuff from the Mexican aisle that's chock full of stems.  (Double boo.  I should collect some from the backyard and start preserving it myself.)  With canned chickpeas, it only took a little over a half-hour to make, and the combination of wilted Swiss chard and a cool yogurt topping was a lot like something by a Turkish chef they profiled several years back.  Try it out sometime when you don't have a lot of time or energy to cook!  The recipe doesn't mention a starch, but a bed of couscous seemed like the obvious choice.

Hope everyone's enjoying this nice weather - I know I've been enjoying the rain in intervals that keep me from having to water the veggies I'll be cooking with this summer!

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