An attorney writes about stuff she'd rather be doing: cooking, eating, wining, dining and traveling.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Locavore Whore

I cannot say this enough: I big fat hot pink sparkly puffy heart the Green City Market.

I have not eaten a single piece of fruit or vegetable from a commercial grocery store in months. Nor do I plan to.

There is something very satisfying about creating a simple meal from the freshest ingredients, with very little fuss or flair and having it taste so amazingly fresh. Strawberries that are red all the way through. Lettuce so delicate, but crisp. Tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes. Teeny tiny potatoes in 30 varieties. Carrots in a whole rainbow of colors.

Pasta Puttana is one of my favorite vendors. At $10 for a bag of pasta, I thought I'd buy it once, say "that was nice" and never buy it again. Wrong. Pasta Puttana (aka Pasta Whore) is one of my first stops every time. It's a one-woman shop, and she turns out the best, lightest, most delicious pasta you will ever have. I'm hooked.

Tonight's dinner featured the Pasta Puttana Cremini Mushroom Tagliatelle, and I used only purchases from the Green City Market, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and a tiny bit of butter and a healthy dash of white wine (both in the pan and in my glass). Honestly, I didn't need anything else.

Mushroom Pasta
1 white onion, chopped
1 lb. mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, portabella, oyster, shitake, etc., chopped
2 cloves garlic
Olive oil, salt, pepper, white wine, butter
1 bag Pasta Puttana pasta (preferably cremini, but I've made this with other varieties)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic and cook for one minute
Add mushrooms and saute for about 2-3 minutes
When the mushrooms are slightly browned, add a big splash of white wine
Let the wine cook off and stir in 2 tbsp. or so of butter
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta per package directions, drain well and toss with mushrooms

Red and Gold Beet Salad
2 red beets
2 golden beets
Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper
Mixed greens

Heat oven to 400
Wash beets and wrap each beet individually in foil
Roast beets for about 45 minutes or until pierced easily with a knife
Allow beets to cool and then peel and dice
Toss beets with a bit of balsamic and olive oil and season with salt and pepper
Serve over mixed greens*

* Note: the greens I bought were very fresh and delicate and didn't need dressing. If you use commercially packaged greens, I would think you might want to make a bit more balsamic vinaigrette and toss the greens with the vinaigrette as well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Avocado Salad

Like the black beans side dish below, another very simple side that makes frequent appearances in the Foodie household. The avocado and a drizzle of olive oil provide a good dose of heart-healthy fats!

Avocado salad
1 Hass avocado, diced
1/2 tomato, diced
1/4 red onion, minced
A small amount of minced jalapeno, to taste
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Splash of red wine vinegar
Olive oil, salt and pepper

Combine avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro in a bowl
Add lime juice and red wine vinegar and toss
Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Black Beans

We have this particular side dish quite often. It's a great match for spicy foods, tacos, grilled meats or anything with Latin flavors.

Black Beans
1 can black beans, rinsed well and drained
1 can chicken stock
1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. adobo sauce (or more to taste)*
Juice of 1/2 lime
Olive oil, salt and pepper

* From a can of chipotles in adobo sauce, or the San Marcos brand sells large bottles of chipotle sauce near the salsas. I use the chipotle sauce in this recipe.

Saute onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil, about 2 minutes
Add black beans and about 1/2 cup of chicken stock
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, stirring well
Add cumin and bay leaf
Simmer, adding stock as needed, for about 30 minutes (you will use the whole can of stock)
Stir in chipotle sauce and lime juice
Add salt and pepper to taste (easy on the salt)

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm back, bitches: Szechuan Pork

So June and July have been CRAZY. Besides three weddings and a funeral (literally), we've also had myriad bachelor/bachelorette parties, bridal showers, baby showers, etc. Oh, and I billed nearly 400 hours between the two months. Needless to say, "cooking" at home was relegated to slapping a couple burgers on the grill or calling for takeout.

But I'm BACK. Five of my cases have settled or successfully gone through arbitration, and my pro bono client's appellate brief (and his fate) is now out of my hands and in the hands of the Seventh Circuit. I left work before 7:30 without having worked a 12 hour day for the first time in what feels like forever. It's 8:30 and I've been home from work for what feels like an eternity. I have a fridge full of veggies straight from Green City Market. It's glorious. And I cooked, dammit, I cooked.

Szechuan Pork
2 boneless pork chops, sliced
1 broccoli crown, cut into florets
6 purple carrots, peeled and cut into sticks (regular carrots work, but I had the fancy carrots from the farmer's market)
1 large handful combo wax and green beans, cleaned and trimmed
1 large handful oyster mushrooms
1/2 c. hoisin sauce
3 tbsp. Szechuan sauce (more to taste)
White rice, for serving

Heat oil in skillet
Add pork and let brown.
When pork is halfway cooked, add the carrots, broccoli and beans
When pork is cooked through, add the mushrooms, hoisin and Szechuan sauce, mix well, and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve over rice.