Friday, May 15, 2015

Need Something New to Cook?

Days go by when I’m on autopilot in the kitchen.  It’s roast chicken one night, followed by chicken fajitas the next.  If there’s still chicken left, it becomes chicken salad. 

Then I turn to spaghetti for a night or two, and after that, lentil soup and salad.  Veggie burgers or turkey burgers might pop up occasionally, and I try to keep a bag of frozen shrimp handy.

What snaps me out of this routine is the need for a grocery run and the pleading look in my husband’s eyes: “Can’t we have something new?” 

So I give in and search through the hodgepodge of clipped recipes decorating the door of my fridge.  They inspired me when I first saw them, but now I wonder, “What possessed me to save a recipe for Rockfish Soup with Fennel and Potatoes since I hate licorice, which is what fennel it tastes like?  Or, did I realize it has to marinate for 24 hours?  Sure, I like duck breasts, but do I want to drive 15 miles to get them?”

I’ll keep looking until I find a recipe that meets some simple criteria. I ask myself

1) Do I already have most of the ingredients?
2) Do I really want to eat this?
3) How much time will it take to make?

It would be a bonus if the recipe took just a few minutes to cook, but I am willing to spend an hour trying something new just to break my routine.  Here is a recipe I’d been saving for years and finally got around to trying.  It’s become a family favorite, especially since half the family is vegetarian.
White Bean Spread – serves 4 as an appetizer

1 15-ounce can white kidney beans or other white beans
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white or black ground pepper
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1 crusty loaf of bread or 2 pita bread pockets

Drain the beans and rinse thoroughly.  Add them to a food processor or blender, along with the garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Process until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and serve on sliced or torn-off pieces of bread.

This spread could also be used for a sandwich.  Just add lettuce and slices of tomatoes and/or cucumbers.

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