There was a time in my life when I couldn’t wait until ramen noodles were no longer in my pantry, a rite of passage sort of feeling. As if it were one of those predictors on a spreadsheet that indicated that somehow I had arrived into my own, into a life that is better than, other than; that I had parked my behind in that glorious lawn chair and was sipping my mint julep on that green grass on the other side.
Ahh, but what a little grasshopper I was! Things definitely got more complicated as an adult and with adulthood came responsibilities. The simple sack of ramen began to represent the memory of an easier, less complicated life. Now, I keep it in my pantry as a good luck omen and broke some out this week to make an Lo Mein dinner. Enjoy!
Green beans are definitely one of my favorite foods that I wait to get fresh all year. Fresh picked green beans have an earthy sweetness that are absolutely magnificent. It reminds me of wearing sundresses barefoot in the garden with my dad, picking the low hung beans from the trellis that my dad welded together just for his crawling veggies and fruits. Dad called them pole beans, grandma called them string beans, but all I know is I love them.
Really you could serve green beans freshly steamed with a little sprinkle of salt and I would be in heaven, but of course I would have a few recipes up my sleeve for these guys. So enjoy the following recipe that I used to make at a cafe that I worked at years ago. It’s super simple, super quick, super cheap and super good!
One of my favorite composed salad recipes is one that I adapted from Bobby Flay. It is crunchy and refreshing with all the sweet, sour and spicy components rounded out by the earthy flavor component of peanut butter. I give my chicken an extra little kick of flavor with an easy marinade. A nice healthy addition to any meal rotation during the week.
Asian Chicken Salad with Red Chile Peanut Dressing
When I lived in the Midwestern part of the U.S. I learned about a true winter. The winter’s were quite brutal and for the most part access to restaurants were limited. I mean, who wants to brave the roads during those winter storms. Even driving 5 miles down the road could be treacherous at times.
Necessity is always a breeding ground for innovation. Out of boredom, some people need a wardrobe variety. You know the type, a new outfit for everyday. You will never see them wear the same thing twice. It is their way of expressing themselves. For me, I like to keep a varied diet. Constantly changing it up. I will eat left overs, but for the most part I try to keep things moving along with a fresh, clean slate.
During those longs winters, I had to learn how to cook a lot of things that I have never cooked before. You laugh at the statement “had to,” but for me, I did. My other choice was to be sad and mull around thinking about not being able to leave because a 5 foot snowdrift was blocking my garage door in white out conditions. Nope, I chose to accentuate the positive and keep myself busy in the kitchen in between any number of the renovation projects that we had taken on. I think of that period of time now and how much it changed me as an individual. I learned so much during those few years about self sufficiency and as always, there were growing pains.
The other night, I made this filling soup, perfumed with deep earthy tones and it reminded me of the winter’s that we moved away from. The perfect ending note to a winter day.