Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mama Bear cooks faster than she types

This boy likes white bean dip.
The cooking from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day continues:

Saturday night, my sister invited us over for dinner and I contributed Swanson's white bean spread and served it with crackers and cucumber slices.  I somehow got it into my head that the instructions included steeping a 5-inch branch of rosemary in olive oil. The resulting spread was delicious, but very, very, very piney and resinous. This struck me as interesting, because Swanson usually has such a light hand with the flavoring. I was puzzling over this until last night when I reread the recipe and saw that she calls for a teaspoon of rosemary. The dish is satisfying and hummus-like and I suggest you make it as directed by Swanson. You can find the recipe here.

That was Saturday. No one invited us to dinner on Sunday night, so we stayed home and I made Swanson's broccoli and potato gribiche. You roast small, thin-skinned potatoes and broccoli then toss the warm vegetables in a tangy dressing (gribiche) of hard-cooked egg yolk, olive oil, vinegar, shallots, mustard and herbs. Spectacular.

Three comments:

1. I might in future omit the potatoes, because the broccoli held the dressing better.

2. But if I were to make it with potatoes, I would steam or boil them, as soft steamed/boiled potatoes absorb dressing better than roasted potatoes.

3. I omitted the chopped hard-boiled eggs you're supposed to toss with the broccoli because I don't personally like hard-boiled eggs.
This boy likes gribiche, but won't let me photograph him eating anymore.
Monday night, I made Swanson's weeknight curry, a super-quick stew of Thai red curry paste, coconut milk, cauliflower and zucchini. It was exactly as billed -- an easy weeknight dinner.

The next morning, I baked her millet muffins. Having eaten almost no sugar for a month, I am probably not the best judge, but I thought they were outstanding.

Hunger is the best sauce.
I'm not sure what the tiny, chalky pellets of millet add to the muffin, but I don't mind them.

Tuesday night, I made Swanson's orzo salad, using whole wheat macaroni because I couldn't find whole wheat orzo. You blanch some broccoli and use about half of it to make a pesto. I'd never tried broccoli pesto and it was great. Toss the pesto with the rest of the blanched broccoli and your boiled pasta, add some chunked avocado. Rich, sharp, tangy, cheesy, nutty, much loved.

I am coming to the end of what I can do with Super Natural Every Day. There are a few more recipes I want to try, but I've pretty much powered through that book. I went to the library yesterday to try to borrow Swanson's prequel, Super Natural Cooking, but every copy in the Marin County Library system was checked out. Popular! So, regretfully, within a few days I guess I'll be moving on. The next cookbook has been chosen. Not by me, but with my consent. Owen has even gone through and folded back the pages of dishes he wants me to cook. It will be a test of my theory of dieting, which is that it's all about portion control.

Speaking of which, the other day a friend told me I looked thinner, that my face looked "less poofy." It's one of those compliments you turn over a few times in your head before you let yourself be truly happy about it.

Last night, I went out to dinner with my family and the waitress brought me a glass of wine and said, "Here you go, Mama Bear." It's one of those passing comments you turn over a few times in your head before you decide it's the waitress, not you.


  1. Have you ever had your throat corked by trying to swallow too much hard-boiled egg? I have. I still like them, though.

    I am on tenterhooks of vicious glee awaiting your experience with Guy Fieri.

  2. Mama Bear -- that is a very matronly characterization.

  3. the orzo salad is my favorite--here's my blog post
    Mama Bear? You don't strike me as the Sara Palin type ;)

  4. Ginny -- Thanks for linking to your blog. I didn't know about it and am bookmarking immediately. Now I want a lavender and gin cocktail.

  5. Oh no! Guy Fieri! Actually, I think his food always sounds good. I think it's his persona that is off-putting. Good luck!

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