Ultimately the point of these lessons is to get Andrew out of fast/semi fast food places and into his kitchen. Imagine how my heart warmed (and that’s saying a lot) when we were in the grocery store buying this weeks sundries and the response to my query of, “So, how are you Andrew?” was, “I’m excited!” With that my foul mood that had been following behind me like a dirty redheaded stalker evaporated.
This was my ideal goal, to help him reconnect with food and be excited about what he’s about to eat. Our plan is to arm Andrew with a weeks worth of relatively simple dinners that he feels confident about making before we start to branch out into the more complicated and exciting dishes. When at the meat counter he spied a boneless lamb shoulder roast trussed up and his eyes lit up, “What’s that?” “That’s a lesson for about three weeks from now.” Ultimately it is economical both in the wallet and on the clock to roast a large piece of meat and freeze individually wrapped portions for quick meals.
Instead of roasting a several pound chunk of animal flesh we went vegetarian. We took a can of organic pinto beans pinto beans that Andrew thought he liked more than black beans cooked them with onion, pepper and a couple of spices.
Quick Spiced Pinto Beans
1 12 oz can organic pinto beans
1 anaheim pepper, minced (which we chose because it is very mild and Andrew isn’t a huge fan of hot pepper flavor)
1/2 large Spanish onion, diced
1/2 tablespoon of ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the diced onion and minced pepper until the vegetables are soft. Add pinto beans with most of the water from the can and add the spices. Stir until spices are blended and let simmer for 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
While the beans were developing their flavor we made a fantastic salad with some fun microgreens. The ingredients in this salad are both briny and fresh, a winter salad with some spring tossed in. The chickpeas give protein and the avocados much needed fat because I’m eating vegan at the moment.
Heart of my Heart Salad
1/2 head Boston Green Leaf lettuce shredded
1 12 ounce can of artichoke hearts in water
1/2 12 ounce can of hearts of palm
1/2 avocado diced
1/2 cup radish microgreens
1/2 cup wasabi microgreens (of which Andrew said, “Interesting”)
1/2 12 ounce can of organic chickpeas
Balsamic vinaigrette (NOT Andrew’s favorite)
Once that was on the table we sliced 2 ounces of Dubliner cheddar very thin (Andrew doesn’t have a grater yet and so the cheese melts but the outside of the tortillas don’t burn) and heated 1 1/2 tablespoons of safflower oil in a large pan. We put one whole wheat tortilla in the hot oil, quickly sprinkled it with 1/2 of the cheese, then a 1 bean thick layer of the quick spicy beans then half of the cheddar topped it with the second tortilla and cooked until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. We then made a dipping sauce of equal parts sour cream and salsa. And voilà yet another meal in less than 30 minutes.
The lovely thing about knowing how to make a quesadilla, which may seem like a simple thing to many, is that you can put anything want in those babies. One of my favorite combos is cheddar, mushrooms and kale, or jack, chorizo and red peppers, or queso blanco, black beans and avocado and the ever popular classic, pepper jack with just salsa and guacamole.