Monday, November 26, 2007

What's cooking? A quick dinner aided by Trader Joe's

After an eight-hour drive home yesterday from Grant's Pass, where we spent the night, I was pretty pooped but happy to be home and back in my own kitchen. Because we had been gone several day and needed some groceries, I thought I'd dash out to Trader Joe's. So did everyone else, evidently. I guess everyone had finished their turkey leftovers and needed to stock up on more grub. Given how long it took me to buy ingredients for dinner, I didn't have much time to cook.

I started marinating a couple of lamb leg steaks in Meyer lemon juice, olive oil, pressed garlic, and a little seasoned salt.

Onward. I've been trying to incorporate more whole grains into our diet, but I'm not crazy about whole wheat pasta and only lukewarm on brown rice. Whole wheat couscous, however, is just fine. I really don't even notice the difference. Score one for Trader Joe's.

I follow the instructions on the box (add couscous to boiling water 1:1), except I don't add butter or oil to the water before it boils. It's quick (very important): boil water, add couscous, cover, turn off heat, let sit for about 10 minutes. Then I dump it out on a rimmed baking pan and let it cool a bit. When it's cool enough to handle I sprinkle a little olive oil over the top and rub it between my fingers to separate the grains and sort of fluff it up. Like this:

Then because it's not the most exciting side dish, I add halved cherry tomatoes, canned garbanzo beans, and crumbled feta cheese. And with some greens tossed in and a little vinaigrette, the leftovers make a nice lunch.

Next up, some more assistance from Trader Joe's. I normally do not buy produce there since it's comparatively expensive, overly packaged, and not local. I made an exception this evening for this:

It had all sorts of things: yams, squash, and turnips. Quick: into the steamer . . .

. . . into the food mill or processor with a little apricot preserves and then some butter and a little salt and

Lamb steaks on the grill (gas of course since we're in a hurry here). Bagged organic greens from Trader Joe's tossed with some homemade balsamic vinagrette, a jar of which always resides in my fridge, and we're good to go!

One last thing: a jar of my homemade mint jelly (notice that it's not a lurid green color?). Recipe to come. Good to have on hand if you like lamb and makes a great gift.

No picture of the final dinner, cause--as I said--we were in a hurry.

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