Ronnie Paul: Looks good enough to eat
I imagine that the delight I feel when I cook in the kitchen compares to the way my friend feels about sculpting time in her studio. It’s fun, creative and keeps us out of trouble. I’m especially excited when I concoct something that turns out to taste scrumptious and also looks like it would make a dazzling photo for my column. Sometimes my husband Jeff’s pictures are so luscious, I fantasize that Bon Appetit will want one of his photos on a cover.
The other day, I had high taste hopes and photo op fantasies for the red pepper quiche I took out of the oven. I flipped it onto a platter and surrounded it with lemon slices and parsley, and then topped it with a purple iris I found peeking through the frozen ground. Jeff was out, and since I was meeting a friend for dinner, I left a note about his awaiting photo opportunity.
Several Ninja sushi rolls and uncountable cups of sake later, I headed home. I opened the door to Jeff dabbing his lips with a napkin and burping appreciatively over a few remaining crumbs on his plate.
“Let’s see the pics,” I said.
Jeff paled. “Pics? I didn’t know you wanted any. I figured you left me a beautiful dinner because you went out.”
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Please try these recipes and make sure you appreciate that there’s even a picture of one of the dishes.
Creates 2-3 individual bowls
Here’s your opportunity to become a creative kitchen artist. Better have your camera ready.
1½ cups raw basmati, cooked according to directions. (or give quinoa or couscous a try).
2 hard boiled eggs, cut in wedges. (6 ounces of cooked salmon or shrimp, or baked tofu would also fit).
8 ounces of spinach (the veggie choice is up for grabs).
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 packed cup combined grated carrot and finely chopped red and green cabbage. (you choose the amount of each).
½ cup chopped mango (another fruit perhaps).
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 scallion, thinly sliced (how about red onion?)
Mung bean sprouts
¼ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon tamari
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Sauté the spinach in the sesame oil until the spinach wilts.
Toss together the slaw ingredients, mango, cilantro, lime juice and scallion.
For the picturesque set up, first select beautiful bowls. Scoop the rice onto the bottom, and decorate it with the remaining ingredients. Finally, pour on the dressing and dig in.
These impressive muffins whip up in a snap.
1 egg, beaten
¾ cup orange juice
4 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups white flour
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup sliced blanched almonds
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
Stir together the egg, orange juice, and melted butter. Then stir in the flour, baking powder, and sugar until smooth. Lastly, stir in the cranberries and almonds.
Pour the batter into a well-greased muffin tin, and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.
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