Saturday, February 22, 2014

Lazy Girl's Solution to the Food Pyramid

OK, I have actually never been accused of being lazy, so maybe I am just plain tired out from all the shoveling and snow removal this winter.  We got another 12 inches on top of the nearly 2 feet we already had, and the wind is howling.  What's a girl to do?  
Make a quick, easy meal to enjoy in the cozy warmth of the house.
 The roads are impassable, so I had to use what I had on hand.  With every meal, my goal is to have a protein, a carbohydrate (the good-for-you kind), and a vegetable or three.  A quick check of the food on hand revealed sugar snap peas, spinach, and a beautiful lime.  I removed the zest of the lime with my trusty Microplane, then cut it and squeezed out all the juice.  You get a much more intense lime flavor if you use the zest in addition to the juice; just don't grate down too far, you don't want any of the white part, it's bitter.

 Here's my zesting Microplane.  Couldn't cook without it.  Well, OK, I could, but it is an indispensable tool in my kitchen.  I have another with larger holes, too, for grating hard cheeses, chocolate, or vegetables.  A note of caution:  please be sure to handle these carefully, or plan to have a Band-Aid at the ready.  They are super sharp!

 I blanched the spinach and the beautiful mange-tout peas together in the same pan.  Mange-tout is French for edible podded sugar snap peas - 'eat it all'.  The farro was simply pulled out of my freezer, as I generally cook a large batch, portion it into zippie bags, and freeze.  Actually, I do this with all of my grains.....wild rice, pearl barley, farro, brown rice, etc.  Note to the Ziploc folks:  Please stop printing that block at an angle.  It makes me crazy.
 To the lime zest and juice, I added some extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, sea salt, black pepper, and an avocado.  A quick spin with the immersion blender and the dressing was ready.
The final ingredients were some freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped pistachios.  That was a thinly veiled bribe to entice my hubby, as he loves pistachios but doesn't like cooked spinach.  
Mission Accomplished:  A Protein, two vegetables, and a grain.  The entire meal took about 30 minutes from start to plate.  This salad paired beautifully with the seared sea scallops, which I did with crispy shallots and a squeeze of lemon juice. At the last minute, I tossed in a couple shrimp, again to appease the big guy, who isn't crazy about scallops, but are my favorite!  Bon Apetit!

The Recipe
The Dressing
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
dash of sea salt
couple grinds of black pepper
juice and zest from one lime
1 avocado
1 clove garlic
1 minced shallot

Add all to bowl, blend with immersion blender until smooth.  (disclosure:  this makes more dressing than you'll need for 2 people, but it will be great on a lettuce salad tomorrow)

The Salad
1 cup sugar snap peas
4 cups washed spinach leaves
1 cup cooked farro (Emmer Wheat)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
1/3 cup chopped pistachio nuts

Add spinach and snap peas to boiling water and cook briefly, about 1 minute.  Pour into strainer and douse with cold water to stop the cooking and maintain color. Squeeze a bit with your hand to get rid of as much excess water as possible.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, add enough dressing to cover.  Serve cool or at room temperature.

Recipe copyright K. Cyriacks 2014

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