Three lunches…

October 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve decided to be more patient.  There.  I said it.  So when you hear me complaining about a line being too long, or a driver taking forever to merge, or a “maintenance” man pretending to know how to fix a broken refrigerator by blankly staring into it, as if he can fix it through sheer will power, you can hold me accountable for saying that.  You can nudge me in the arm and say, “I thought you decided to be patient.”  You can stop me mid-sentence, singing, “Paaaaaaaatience…”  Or you can just intentionally put me in situations that test my patience. No, actually, don’t do that.

You see, I’m learning that patience is a virtue, and it’s not God-given.  It’s something you (I) really have to work at continually.  So it may be easier to cry with tears of frustration, yell at strangers, or snap at people I love, but is that really solving the issue?  Wouldn’t it just be better to go with the flow and not sweat the little things in life?  I think so.

But, I think there are times when impatience is hard to overcome.  Like when I’m hungry.  I can turn into the Incredible Hulk if I-Don’t-Get-Something-To-Eat-Right-Now!  Come on, you know what I mean. So I picked out some quick and easy lunches this week to encourage my more patient outlook on life.   I’m all about quick.  And easy.

Oh yeah, did I mention delicious?  And Delicious.

Chili-Lime Chicken and Squash Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

By the way I quartered this recipe to make it for one person.  That’s me. Oh yeah, and the original recipe used acorn squash, but I like the sweetness of kabocha.  (Actually it was all I had, but worked really well.)

  • 4 6 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened to 1/2″ thickness
  • 1 kabocha squash, peeled and sliced into 3/4″ slices
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 red chili, minced
  • 2 tbs chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 230C (450F).  Season squash with salt, pepper, and olive oil, then arrange on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

While the squash is cooking, heat a medium size skillet on medium-high heat and drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook 3-4 minutes per side.  When chicken is done, remove to a plate and allow it to rest for about five minutes.

In a small bowl, combine garlic, lime juice, chili, and cilantro.  Whisk in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Set aside.

Transfer squash and chicken to a platter, then drizzle with the chili-lime vinaigrette.  Really, really addicting.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos From Joy the Baker

Again, I just quartered this recipe to make it for one instead of four.  Also, I added corn and red bell pepper to the cabbage slaw.  I didn’t include it in the recipe below though.

For the potatoes:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • olive oil
  • salt and chili flakes, to taste
  • juice of 1 lime

For the cabbage slaw:

  • 2 cups of cabbage (I used a red and green mix)
  • 1/4 c yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tbs cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 2 limes
  • salt and red chili flakes. to taste

For the beans:

  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 c yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 (15 oz) can of black beans
  • juice of 1 lime
  • small corn tortillas
  • optional: hot sauce and cheese

Preheat oven to 200C (400F).  Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and season with salt and chili flakes, squeeze on the lime juice, and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss together, then bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until tender and brown.  I like to shake them a couple of times through the cooking process.  But that’s just me.  Remove when cooked through and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the cabbage, yellow onion, and cilantro for the slaw.  Add the lime juice, salt, and chili flakes.  Set aside.

For the beans, heat some olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add the onions and cook until translucent, about five minutes.  Add cumin and stir until fragrant.  Add the beans and lime juice and cook until heated through.

For my tortillas, I drizzled my favorite hot sauce (Valencia) on top, then sprinkled them with some grated Monterrey jack cheese.  I put them in the oven to broil for about five minutes, until brown and bubbly.  Serve with potatoes, beans, and slaw.

Avocado and Edamame Salad Adapted from Joy the Baker

This is the recipe for ONE PERSON.  I divided it for you.  Go me.

  • 15 shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • squirt of honey
  • 2 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 sliced green onions, white and green parts
  • 1 tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup avocado, diced
  • sesame seeds

In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over edamame until covered.  After a few minutes, drain the water and allow them to cool.  Set aside

For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, garlic, ginger, lime, salt, and pepper until combined.  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the cooled edamame, green onion, cilantro, radishes, spinach, sesame seeds, and desired amount of dressing.  Toss together.

Hopefully you were patient enough to read all these recipes so you’ll never ave to be patient for food ever again.  Just focus on being patient for everything else.  I know I will.


Strawberry Cupcakes and a Baby Shower…

October 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

Marrying into a different culture has afforded me many opportunities to make a complete ass of myself, although through no fault of my own.  The latest blunder being a baby shower for my sister-in-law.  Rakesh and I had bought a gift that wouldn’t be delivered until a few days after the event, and not wanting to show up empty handed, I thought I would make some delicious strawberry cupcakes.  I wanted them bright pink, since the baby will be a girl…Duh.

I got there a little early, so I signed a huge congratulations poster at the front of the room, then sat down at a table next to my mother-in-law, who speaks very minimal–minimal–English, and one of my sister-in-law’s friends.  As I chatted with the girl, I noticed that next to decorations saying, “It’s a girl!” were an equal number saying, “It’s a boy!”

“Why do they have boy decorations up?  That’s so weird,”  I said to the girl.

“Oh, because they don’t know the sex of the baby yet.”

“No way, really?” I asked, completely confused because the whole time I’d been told it was a girl.  “But Rakesh and I got them all girl stuff!”  I then called over to my sister-in-law to confirm whether or not the baby was a girl as I thought, or if I was going crazy.

“It is Indian tradition,” she said, “that only the family should know the sex.”  Oops.  I hoped I hadn’t spilled the beans too much, and looked guilty over at my bright pink cupcakes.  I was able to move past the incident, until a few days later when I saw pictures posted of the shower.  Someone took a picture of the giant poster/card and posted it with my announcement that I couldn’t WAIT to meet my new NIECE!  Oh the horrors.

Sprinkles’ Strawberry Cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart Show February 2008

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

  • 2/3 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup strawberry yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

Place strawberries in a small food processor and process until pureed.  You should have 1/3 cup of puree.  Add more strawberries if necessary.  In a medium bowl, sift together flower, baking powder, and salt.  Separately, mix together milk, yogurt, vanilla, and strawberry puree.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about five minutes.  Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined.  Reduce the mixer speed and slowly add the egg and egg whites until blended.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the milk mixture, until blended.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula until blended.  Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.  Bake until tops are dry to the touch 20-25 minutes.  Cool cupcakes completely before icing.

Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting from Martha Stewart Show February 2008

I found that this recipe made WAY too much frosting, even though it says it’s for a dozen cupcakes.  I only used about half  that the recipe called for.  I’m writing the recipe as is, but it can–and should–be halved if using for 12 cupcakes.  Just saying…

  • 1/2 cup whole strawberries, thawed
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Place strawberries in a small food processor and process until pureed.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Reduce mixer speed and slowly add sugar.  Beat until well combined.  Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons of strawberry puree; mix until blended, but be careful not to overmix.  Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy.

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