weeknight wonders

If I had been working late tonight and Andrew was on his own, he’d probably be content to bake a frozen pizza and enjoy the relief from my disastrous kitchen messes.

But me? On the rare night Andrew’s working late, I go to town. Oh yes, something carefully and beautifully prepared all for me. In my book, that’s a great end to a long day in second grade.

I made this salad once before, and even featured it in the very first post of this blog. Tonight’s photos came out better than those from the dinner I shared with Andrew, Maggie, and Elijah a year ago. Though I made some substitutions tonight (spinach, pears, pomegranate seeds), I’m going to post the original recipe because it’s just that great.

Confession: While on a post-work stop at Target for household essentials, I did purchase this mandolin for $6. I’ve read these inexpensive little guys work just as well as the $100 versions, and cannot wait to use it for prepping tarts, onion rings, and money sandwiches!

Citrus Salad

a beloved recipe from January 2010 Vegetarian Times

serves 4


2 Tbs. agave syrup

1 1/2 Tbs. lime or lemon juice

1 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes


2 oranges or blood oranges

1 grapefruit

1/2 cup coarsely chopped arugula

1 shallot, peeled, thinly sliced crosswise, and loosened into strands (1/4 cup)

1 Tbs. coarsely chopped mint leaves

2 Tbs. crushed roasted peanuts or dry-roasted almond slivers, for garnish

1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

To make Dressing: Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Taste for balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy, adjusting seasonings as necessary. Set aside.

To make Salad: Slice ends off oranges and grapefruit. Stand fruit on cutting board, and slice away skin and pith from outside with knife. Cut fruit segments from membranes, and transfer to bowl; toss lightly with arugula, shallot, and mint. Toss with Dressing. Serve garnished with peanuts and sesame seeds. Lots of them!

While I really thought I was in an unusual mood for “salad night”, I got so hungry in my mental preparations (and grocery store excursions), I decided to whip up this divine pasta side. I told myself it was really so I would have leftovers for Thursday’s lunch… but I ate a few forkfuls from the pot before packing it up. After a plateful to accompany my salad.

The Danger of Eating Alone.

I hope you never encounter a shortage of pasta, olive oil, and fresh garlic in your pantry. You’d be amazed what intense luxury results…

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Romano and Roasted Garlic

a regular Linvention

whole-wheat angel hair or thin spaghetti (as much as you want)

one head of garlic

freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese

a few tablespoons of olive oil

red chili flakes

Start boiling your water in a big pot (so it will be ready whenever you need it). Place the garlic head in a sheet of aluminum foil, and drizzle olive oil over it. Seal into a little foil package and place on a baking sheet at 400 F. This is best in a toaster oven if you’ve got one (what a pain to heat an entire oven for this teeny thing). In about 15-20 minutes, poke a small knife though. When the garlic is roasted through, the knife should meet no resistance and come out cleanly. Set aside to cool.

Cook the pasta and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. With your hands or a fork, squeeze all the pulp out of the garlic skins. Mash it with a few tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Combine roasted garlic oil with pasta, a pinch of chili flakes, and a good sprinkling of the grated cheese. Add a bit of pasta water to melt the cheese. Top with more fresh black pepper. That’s it, but darn if it’s not simple and satisfying.



Filed under budget, dinners, health, lickety-quick, techniques

3 responses to “weeknight wonders

  1. feastonthecheap

    Oooh yum, that salad sounds spectacular! (how about that for alliteration?!)

  2. Alice

    I think this sounds like a delicious and easy meal for our trip to Charleston! The chicken lovers could grill some strips to add to their pasta.

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