Sunday, November 11, 2012

Use Those Celery Leaves!

Fresh celery leaves.
Since Hurricane Sandy hit in late October, my mother has been staying with me while her apartment is under repair. I'm very much enjoying her company, especially when we work together in the kitchen. Although I learned most of what I know about cooking from my mother, we do have our differences when it comes to certain things--like what to do with the leaves on celery stalks.

Today we're making a pot of vegetable soup. Mom is cleaning fresh celery stalks before mincing them to add to the soup. I see that she's prepared the large, outer stalks of the bunch and is now eyeing the more tender, smaller interior stalks that are topped with a dense cluster of beautiful, pale green leaves. I see her mental wheels turning. She's thinking, "I'll chop the leaves and put them in the soup."

That's certainly one good use for the leaves, but I have a couple of other ideas. I manage to snatch the leaves from under her knife just in time. She gives me a puzzled look. But I think she'll be happy with one of the alternatives I have in mind.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Quick and Easy Pad Thai Rice Noodle Suggestions for One

Annie Chun's Pad Thai Noodles, 8-Ounce Packages (Pack of 6)
I was in a situation yesterday, once again, about needing a quick meal I hadn't planned for. Life's been like that for a few weeks now, with things going on in the family and a recent hand injury. Until my hand heals, driving and shopping are out of the question.

Since I went through all of my frozen emergency supplies last week, I had to come up with something clever for yesterday. Ordering out Chinese or Italian would be the easy thing, but also the more expensive.

So, I settled on my stash of Pad Thai rice noodles and organic vegetable stock. I cooked up an ounce of the noodles, heated up a cup of vegetable stock and a small can of cooked, drained black beans, poured the stock and beans over the noodles, and added a generous dose of Parmesan cheese and chopped scallions, and a pinch of salt and pepper. The resulting dish was filling and also healthy. I followed it up with two clementine oranges fresh from South America which my daughter had brought me the day before.

The Pad Thai noodles I buy come in an 8-ounce package, and they are the flatter noodles that look like

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Keep Your Freezer Stocked with Single Servings for Emergencies

I've been distracted this last week with an illness in our family. My normal routine is disrupted, and frankly, meal planning, shopping, and cooking have been the last things on my mind. But that doesn't mean that I haven't been hungry, just that I don't want to plan anything, and I really don't want to put the effort into cooking anything, either, not even the effort it takes to cut up greens for a fresh salad.

This week, I was grateful that I had a well-stocked freezer.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Salads, Sandwiches, and Smoothies - A No-Cook Summer Meal Plan for One

Since it's been so hot lately, unusually hot this summer, I haven't felt much like cooking, so I'm devoting this week to foods I don't have to cook, in other words, salads, sandwiches, and smoothies. My plan starts at my local farmer's market.

I'm Going Shopping

I get excited when my local farmer's market opens on Wednesday in the summer for a five-day week. They're closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so when Wednesday comes along I'm waiting at the door first thing in the morning, eager to stock up on freshly pulled and picked produce from their farm and from produce they stock daily from the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market for their customers' convenience. So here's what I'm buying tomorrow and then I'll tell you what I'm going to do with it all.