March 23, 2006

There's no place like home (or getting reacquainted with my kitchen)

Lazy, hazy Thursday meeting-filled afternoons present the perfect opportunity fantasizing about food. Uninspired by my out-of-town experiences with chain restaurants and dysentery on a paper plate, I was itching to get creative in the kitchen. So I swung by Whole Foods and rather than scanning the deli for soup and a salad or some pre-packages sushi, I found inspiration in the seafood section.

With an assortment of ueber-fresh mussels, scallops and jumbo shrimp from my shopping spree, shiitakes, asparagus and scallions from this week's CSA bounty, some soba noodles and a bottle of commercial "Lemon Goddess Tahini Marinade and Noodle Sauce" from the pantry, I was ready to create.

First step: evaluate the bottled sauce. Needs some assistance. Back to the pantry for a couple cloves of garlic, some ginger, and a drop or two each of rice vinegar and sesame oil. Much better. Peel and de-tail shrimp, toss shrimp and scallops in bag with half-cup of kicked up marinade. Wrap mussels in damp paper towels to ensure they live until I'm ready to...well... kill them.

Step two: prep veggies for stir-fry. Blanch asparagus tips. Cook soba according to package directions, drain and set aside.

Step three: saute shrimp and scallops while John steams the mussels. Remove seafood from saute pan and add veggies. Saute until asparagus is tender-crisp. Hmmm...notice browned bits of marinade and mushroom at the bottom of the saute pan. Reach for wine glass and toss in 1/4 cup of... Lizard Rock Sauvignon Blanc/Roussanne blend with veggies to deglaze pan. Remove from heat and add remaining 1/2 cup of kicked up marinade and seafood. Toss to combine. Add soba noodles. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Step four: realize step -1 should have been add batteries to my new digital camera... this dish will not live in photographic infamy in my chronicles of culinary curiosity. A shame, because it plated very nicely. Alas, text will have to do for now... I'm new at this blog thing.

Step five: enjoy. And ponder that when I'm in the right creative space, 15 minutes in the grocery store and 30 minutes in the kitchen produces a hearty, healthy, soul-satisfying dinner (and yummy leftovers for lunch tomorrow). No tedious menu-planning necessary. I need to find this creative space more often...