class=”aligncenter” alt=”Salmon on Curried Spinach” src=”http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8252/8508655362_f76ccc6ca2.jpg” width=”333″ height=”500″ /> I told my husband last night that I loved him but what I really need is a 1950’s wife. Someone who will hand me a cocktail and my slippers when I walk in the door so I can relax, pat the kids on the head and send them off to bed while sipping my scotch. Sadly, my reality is more along the lines of leave work, pick up the baby, drive drive drive drive drive, come in, immediately rush to find dinner for the Nuni and Bootsy, feed the kids, bedtime routines, fix grownup dinner (if we didn’t eat with the kids), eat grownup dinner, and then start in on the laundry before I even get to think about a cocktail. Since weeknights are a little crazy (to put it mildly), I’m always on the lookout for meals that are a) healthy and b) quick to prepare. And that doesn’t mean 30 minutes or an hour quick. I mean on the table in 20 max, so I can get to my cocktail faster. This salmon on curried spinach, which is an old recipe of my mom’s, just fits the bill.
Of course, once we got home, I had Maine withdrawal. Lobster in California is never, ever, ever $2.99 a pound. So I made do, in a thrifty New England way, and came up with these crab rolls (which I have, incidentally, also seen served in Maine. I just never ate them because, hello! LOBSTER.) Crab salad, bound with mayo and brightened with citrus (I happen to love grapefruit juice, but lemon juice will work as well, on a toasty buttered bun with a little green lettuce for crunch. It’s a simple and super quick way to get a little piece of New England on your table for a casual dinner or weekend lunch.
In the summertime, I’m usually all about the simple food. The amazing fruits and vegetables practically prepare themselves for dinner, and a typical weeknight menu will look something like this: BLT, Caprese Salad, Sauteed zucchini on toast, pasta with tomatoes and olive oil, and another BLT (I really like BLT’s). But sometimes the occasion calls for a little more sophistication. Something that’s a little more exotic, that requires some more thought, some more layers of flavor. But at the same time, you don’t want to lose the wonderful casualness of summer dining — the feeling that every meal should be eaten outdoors and barefoot. When I saw this recipe in last month’s food and wine, I knew I had found my summer dinner party dish. The prep is incredibly simple – no marinating required, no fancy cooking. And the flavors are fantastic — complex, bright, nutty, and utterly satisfying. The shrimp are intensely flavorful from the miso marinade, while still tasting of shrimp, the scallions add a savory hit, and the slaw has wonderful crunch — even the water chestnuts add a nutty flavor that I never realized water chestnuts possess. And despite all these layers of flavor and texture, this is still, at its heart, a sandwich, perfect for eating barefoot in the back yard.
I don’t eat much seafood any more. I know that all those omega-3’s are supposed to be good for your brain, but the conflicting horror stories – of mercury levels and PCB’s, of devastating overfishing and pollutive farming practices, are enough to make me swear off fish forever. The problem is that I actually LIKE fish — I just can’t keep straight the do’s and don’ts of seafood. Fortunately, there are a few resources I can turn to in times of need. For years, I’ve looked to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program for guidance (though I admit to finding those little cards confusing — I can never remember if the fish has to be trawl caught or net caught). You can look up many different fish on their site to see the environmental and health impacts of eating it. Recently, they’ve made the process even easier by releasing the “Super Green” list — a short (and easy to remember) list of fish that are super healthy and environmentally friendly.
I'm Kate, and between my day job and my home job, life is pretty full. Look around to find some of the recipes, projects, stories and tips that keep me sane on the domestic front. Read more about me here and feel free to email me with any questions or feedback!