A new year is upon us. It's time to become an artistic culinarian. Some kitchen things I can do.
I passed up a pod coffee maker as a present. I like to brew my own half-pot. Anyway, the $400 VST Coffee & Espresso Refractometer gizmo for remembering and mixing my exact espresso blend probably went into other stockings and sold out.
Also, while I try to decide how to replace one microwave oven in my kitchen with its handle broken and the other one too small to hold a rectangular pan of lasagna, I don't avidly await production of the award-winning Proinjector, a barrel-shaped microwave which projects an image of my bubbling-over oatmeal onto the wall.
A kitchen chore awaits me — us — today. Food left from holiday occasions should become peacefully extinct — one way or another.
Items that spent two hours on a buffet table should be thrown in the trash bag. Being ruthless is being kind to these remnants of holiday joy.
Other foods kept in the refrigerator not used in another dish today — like backup ham, roast beef or cooked veggies — can be chopped or sliced, then sealed in handy amounts in individual packages. Omelets are made in exemplary time from cooked remnants of turkey and canned soup with extra green beans almondine and baked beans celebrates any weeknight evening.
Easy homemade soup took a delicious lunch with guests recently. I like the recipes I share with you. This one started with Sausage and Lentil Soup, a Home Plate topic a year ago when McCormick and Co. put St. Louis 14th on its 'super-spiced" list. Take my hints for a leftover expedition.
I sauteed 1 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup diced celery and 1/2 cup diced carrot in a little olive oil. For liquid, add 1 quart (4 cups) no-salt-added vegetable broth and 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with their juices. One cup uncooked lentils (I soaked them, after rinsing, for 1 hour, although they do not need it) and a few leftover, little smoky sausages, cut up, provided protein. Leftover green beans gave color and flavor. Seasoning was 1/2 teaspoon (2 teaspoons leaf) thyme, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
Form of vegetables matters little in soup or stew. Thus, a frittata caught my eye, too. It came from ALDI in October when it opened its new Chesterfield store at 300 THF Blvd. The discount grocer's website provides recipes and connects to the MyPlate campaign with featured fresh fruits and vegetables and produce prices that encourage healthy eating. For my part, a co-worker taught me to swing by ALDI's to pick up its fresh pineapple when it is a featured bargain.
The frittata is equally delicious with broccoli, asparagus or another colorful, nutritious vegetable, or other cheese. Pack extra nutrition by including well-drained tuna.
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup onion, sliced thin
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. broccoli or asparagus, trimmed
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup (4 Oz.) shredded Swiss cheese
Set oven to broil.
Cut broccoli in 3/4-inch pieces, asparagus in 1-inch diagonal slices.
In 10-inch oven-safe skillet or pan, heat oil. Cook onion and salt, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add cut-up vegetable. Cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes.
Pour in eggs. Cook without stirring until almost done. At this point, add pepper and lightly beat eggs.
Sprinkle cheese on top. Broil just until browned and cheese melts.
Makes 2 to 4 servings.