Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Back To Normal: Vegetable Tacos
Well the honeymoon had to end sometime, right? After nearly two weeks away we're getting back in the groove. We're working, exercising more, eating lighter. Somehow, we seem to be having just as much fun.
When I first began cooking "real food" for myself in graduate school, I relied religiously on the tear-out menus from Martha Stewart Living. I'd head to the grocery store over the weekend, then spend Sundays cooking a meal from start to finish: appetizer, main, salad/side, dessert. Next I'd sit down to eat it all by myself, saving the leftovers to lug to evening class with me for the rest of the week.
These days I cook more by feel and sight than ever before. Still, it's always nice to have Martha around, especially when you've just returned from a big trip, and everything in the kitchen feels a little unfamiliar.
There's something endlessly reassuring about the recipes in the "What's For Dinner" series: their pull apart, perforated edges, beautiful photos, and quick recipes -- easy enough to fit on the back of that small card. And this particular collection from the May 2011 issue was a hit. It's a vegetable heavy homage to summer. There's nary a meat in sight, but there's lots of greens and layers of fresh flavor that turned out to be surprisingly satisfying.
Beans and Greens Tacos with Feta (based on Martha's recipe, adapted for our tastes!):
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound Rainbow chard, stems and ribs removed, leaves washed well and coarsely chopped
1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock (I used a mix of water and white wine)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 whole wheat tortillas
1/3 cup crumbled feta
8 cilantro sprigs
1. Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Cook onions until soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chard, beans, and stock. Cook until greens are wilted and beans are warmed through, about 4 minutes. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and some pepper.
2. Warm tortillas. Spoon filling onto tortillas, top with cheese and cilantro and serve with fresh-from-the mercado salsa, or try Martha's tomatillo and chipotle salsa.
I served this meal with a big green salad with spiced pepitas, avocado, and a simple vinaigrette made from chopped shallots, olive oil and verjus from Venturi-Schultze winery in British Columbia (a honeymoon souvenir!).
Unlike my graduate school days, I didn't make the whole meal -- the recipe cards for salsa and horchata were saved for another day. But the feeling I got from whipping together a tasty and good looking meal in minutes was the same: I felt utterly capable in the kitchen; on top of my game in cooking and in life.
And that's not a bad way to start a week or a marriage.