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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Accept Help, Eat More

On Thursday night, I did what I like to call a little half-and-half.  Half new recipes, half help from the store.  I couldn't resist starting my meal with a beet and goat cheese stack from the prepared foods section of Whole Foods.  I never tried beets until I moved to New York and now I'm obsessed with them.  I never make them myself, but I was happy Whole Foods had put together this perfect salad course.  For the main meal, I took a little more help from whole Foods with some of their lemon-thyme marinated tilapia that I threw in a pan while I put some cous cous in the rice cooker.  I wanted to make the boxed cous cous a little more interesting, so after it finished cooking, I tossed it with some rosemary mushrooms (another fave from the Whole Foods counter) and pine nuts.

Then it was time for the recipe half of my dinner to take over.  For the vegetable, I made broccoli with white bean dip that I found on Epicurious.  The dip was a blender masterpiece.  I threw in canned white beans, tofu, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, and cayenne and let it whirl.  The result was a hummus-like dip that gave a little life to the broccoli.  I misread the recipe and didn't notice it said to add just a pinch of cayenne.  I added plenty of pinches so it was a little spicy, but I think it only made it better.  It was good as a side dish, but I think it would be even better as a healthy appetizer.  It only took about 5 minutes to make, start to finish, so it would be easy to throw it together for a last minute party.

The other new recipe I tried that night was dessert.  As a non-baker, I usually leave the dessert to the professionals, but when I saw this recipe I knew it was one of the few desserts I could handle.  I made a parfait: The first layer was crushed ginger snaps, the second layer was raspberries, and the third layer was greek yogurt mixed with honey and cinnamon.  Repeating the layers probably would have looked better in the dish, but I had already eaten so much, that I knew I should stop at three.  I made sure to get some of each layer in every spoonful to get a little spicy, a little juicy, and a little creamy all at once.  I think of berry desserts as very Summer, but the gingersnaps rooted it in the colder season that currently seems neverending.

I don't usually have a three course meal on a school night because it can be a lot of trouble and I like to eat before 10 PM.  But since I allowed myself a little help from the store, I was able to enjoy more courses and still get the satisfaction of cooking a couple new recipes.  Half-and-half is the way to go!

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