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You Can Call Me Betty

April 17, 2010 Food, Friends No Comments

As in Betty Crocker, that is.

I’ve been in the mood to cook lately. It might be the rainy weekends we’ve had. Having garden-fresh vegetables on-hand was probably a contributor as well. And there was certainly the pressure to fix a delicious meal for my book club last week. I enjoy cooking and I’m getting better at it all the time, so I consider it a beneficial hobby. (I’ve just got to get better at photographing what I’m doing!)

Last week, I went for a rainy bike ride on Sunday and came home instantly craving comfort food. I had all the ingredients on-hand to make a white bean tortellini soup for lunch and got to work on that. I make a few modifications to this recipe based on our tastes. I usually add a can of tomato sauce that adds more liquid and a heartier flavor overall. I also add red pepper flakes because we like it spicy. I have found that the smaller the tortellini, the better (thank goodness for Trader Joe’s). Once this was done, I proceeded to eat 3 bowls of it (Greg had one). I absolutely love it and it really hit the spot on that rainy, miserable day.

While I was putzing around in the kitchen over this soup, I also decided to make a pavlova (I actually halved the recipe for just the two of us). My friend Suzie fixed this dessert for a few of us last month and I fell in love with it. The crust is a little bit high maintenance, so I was preparing it for our after dinner treat. Everything worked out beautifully and we gobbled the whole thing up. It’s got a fair amount of sugar in it, but is otherwise not a horrible treat to indulge in. I used a thawed frozen berry medley, a fresh peach, and a fresh mango. DELICIOUS!

The dinner that preceded the pavlova was equally healthy and delicious. I was really on a roll that day! We had mahi mahi with harissa. This was a recipe from Women’s Health Magazine and the picture looked delicious. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of mine and can’t find the picture online. Hmmph! I served this with sauteed spinach, as suggested. The sauce didn’t overpower the fish and the garlicky spinach was the perfect accompaniment. Completely low carb as well. We ate like kings on Sunday!

For book club this week, I made a truffled asparagus crostini appetizer, then whipped up a skillet ravioli with chard and white bean main course (I substitute tiny ravioli instead of gnocchi as a matter of taste) served with a fairly standard issue green salad and then a mixed berry cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream for dessert. Oh – and wine. LOTS of wine. Our book club has been dubbed a “wine club with a reading problem” and that sums it up pretty well. I had the hangover yesterday to prove it…

I’ve got a refrigerator full of fresh vegetables — broccoli, chard, cabbage, spinach, Japanese sweet potatoes — to use up this week. I love being part of a CSA and the challenge of finding delicious ways to make use of the simple abundance of each week’s bounty.

What’s cooking at your house?

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