Sunday, June 28, 2020
In my last food related post I promised that there will be a part 2 to the food that we ate during the shelter-in-place. This is more of a look back now since the county has re-opened and it seems that people are getting out more. Restaurants are open for dine-in - most of them using patio space and dining outside which here in Northern California is a no-brainer, really. But I do wonder whether is has been such a smart idea to open up while still being in the middle of a pandemic. Ignoring it doesn't make it go away. No surprise that the number of newly infected cases is going up almost everywhere in the country.
But - back to food. Very often I cook without any recipe, like the dish in the photo on top. Seafood mix, red bell pepper, edamame and chow mein noodles all thrown in a wok with some good spices make a satisfying dinner. My secret ingredient for this is sesame oil, and apart from that any food you can find in your kitchen. Just use your imagination and experiment with different spices.
One of our favorite dishes from Italy is pesto. I don't make my own pesto since I found a wonderful pesto from Italy that always reminds me of Tuscany and the wonderful time we had there. Of course it's accompanied by a glass of California red wine.
When we had pesto we usually have some spaghetti left over that easily makes another meal. Again, I just use what I have - spinach and Bavarian bratwurst, broccoli and Bavarian bratwurst, eggplant and pancetta. There is no limit to your imagination.
Or you can make fritata with a salad on the side. Just make sure not to burn it like I did!
We do love that Bavarian bratwurst. I find this one at Trader Joe's, it comes right from Munich and is a true German bratwurst. We eat it with a broccoli-cauliflower gratin on the side and sometimes I eat it as a curry wurst just like in Germany.
Trader Joe's Instagram page also inspired me to try some of their ideas, like the "sweet balls of fire" - meatballs cooked in a sauce made from their sweet chili sauce and raspberry jam - so good! Even better with focaccia - this was my second try and it already was a big improvement from my first one.
I do love to cook seafood, so I made puff pastry shells with shrimp and a creamy sauce with cremini mushrooms, zucchini and red bell pepper (my own creation) as well as a lovely lemon baked cod (I found the recipe on Pinterest here). I'm always happy when I find a fish recipe that everybody likes and doesn't amount to a ton of work.
Have you heard of Shakshuka eggs? While it is a breakfast dish I made it for dinner once, first time I tried it because I wanted to bring a Middle Eastern dish to the table. While it wasn't a favorite, it was certainly very flavorful and delicious.
Let's not forget about desserts. While usually we just have a piece of chocolate to round out our dinner I sometimes make the effort to make a special dessert like Tiramisu which has been a favorite since I brought the recipe from Italy 25 years ago or so. Here is the recipe.
In our paper (or the New York Times, I can't remember) I found a recipe for a crumb cake that sounded easy enough. It doesn't look like much, but the taste was okay. I think I would like to add some fresh fruit on the side - strawberries or peaches - and some whipped cream.
And just to make this pandemic time a bit easier to endure, a good drink is never wasted - be it a maitai on a Sunday afternoon, white wine with the fish or a traditional German Erdbeerbowle.
Now go in the kitchen and make something beautiful!