Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Quickie Lemony Dinner

I have been obsessed with lemons since reading about food combining in the early 80's. We were told then that the best way to start your day is hot water with lemon. Also, we learned that vinegar isn't the best thing for our bodies for a variety of reasons. So, I changed my regular salad dressing from balsamic vinegar and olive oil to lemon and olive oil. I became immediately addicted because I found that it did a far better job highlighting the flavors of the greens, let alone the reds and yellows!

So, coming up with menus that are based on lemons is easy, and one of my favorite things to do. You can imagine my excitement when Trader Joe's started carrying Lemon Pepper pasta. This is one of the most flavorful pastas I've ever tasted. Literally, eating it with just olive oil or butter is very satisfying, but my favorite way to serve this pasta is how I prepared it for a recent five course Lazy Lemony Dinner Party. I'll share the full dinner party menu later, but for now wanted to give you a good Springy (or Summery) dinner recipe:

Shopping List (Enough for 2)

Dry Goods Aisle
Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta
Olive Oil (if you don't already have)

Veggie Section
Bag o' lemons
Two (2) bags o' sliced mushrooms
Fresh Chives
Bag o' your favorite lettuce

Cheese Section
Parmigiano Reggiano

Variations -- I like it plain and simple because I think the flavor of the pasta is best accented by the simplest of additions, so I suggest only one or two additions, but feel free to be creative according to your own tastes:
  • Grate Parmigiano Reggiano (from the CHEESE SECTION) -- on top when complete.
  • Add precooked sliced chicken (from REFRIGERATOR/PREPARED FOODS Section) -- throw into the sautee for the final couple of minutes to warm.
  • Add fresh or frozen shrimp (from the FROZEN FOOD SECTION) -- add frozen to sautee at the beginning, fresh after a minute or two.
  • Add asparagus, sliced zucchini or anything you love in the VEGGIE SECTION
  • Add artichoke hearts (from the CANNED FOOD SECTION)
What to do -- In about 10 minutes and you'll have a lovely light springy meal! You might think it's way too simple to be delicious. You will be amazed how the simplest combination of fresh ingredients can excite your taste buds the most!
  1. Walk in the kitchen!
  2. Get a pot of water boiling.
  3. Add salt and a dash of olive oil to the water.
  4. While it comes to a boil...Get out a sautee pan and turn on the heat.
  5. Add olive oil.
  6. When oil is warm, add mushrooms and sautee.
  7. Add juice from 1/2 lemon and salt to taste.
  8. When the water is boiling, add pasta. (NOTE:The package says it takes 8 to 10 minutes, but if the water is at a rolling boil I find it only takes 5 minutes.)
  9. Chop the chives.
  10. Put the lettuce in a bowl, put some large gratings of Parmigiano Reggiano - even thin slices are good. You just want to give it some texture.
  11. Squeeze 1/2 lemon, drizzle some olive oil on the salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Drain pasta. Toss in a bowl with the mushrooms and fresh chives. Add some grated Parmigiano Reggiano on top, if you wish.
Have a Lazy Lemony Yum-fest!

No comments:

Post a Comment