Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Power of Chain Mail to Solve the Disturbing Question: "What's for Dinner?"

You would think with all of the ways to be a part of the world that the old fashioned chain email would have died.  You just don’t know how intrigued we all are with “What’s for Dinner?”  It’s a far more universal problem than one would have imagined.

The other day, my husband forwarded one of those FW chain mails to me.  I was a bit surprised but it was the subject of food and cooking that caused him to send it to me.  It was from a well respected fly fisherman no less.  Here’s what it said:

Sent: Sun, Nov 21, 2010 3:49 pm
Subject: recipes

 I am participating in a collective, constructive, and hopefully TASTY experiment. As such: You have been invited to be part of a recipe exchange concept. I hope you will participate. I've picked those who I think would make this fun. Please send a recipe to the person whose name is in position 1 (even if you don't know him/her) and it should be something quick, easy and without rare ingredients. Actually, the best one is the one you know in your head and can type right now. Don't agonize over it, it is one you make when you are short of time.
After you've sent the recipe to the person in position 1 below and only to that person, copy this letter into a new email, move my name to position 1 and put your name in position 2. Only mine and your name should show when you send your email. Send to 20 friends BCC (blind copy). If you cannot do this within 5 days, let me know so it will be fair to those participating. You should receive 36 recipes. It's fun to see where they come from! Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new ideas. The turnaround is fast as there are only 2 names on the list and you only have to do it once.

 So my husband sent a recipe for us.  I told him, whatever you do; don’t put me on your list of 20 friends.  Here’s what happened next:

Sent: Mon, Nov 22, 2010 5:49 pm
Subject: Re: recipes

 I like the sound of this recipe, but you sort of "over-adapted" it, i.e., you left out the peas and spinach amounts, and stuff like what kind of peas, is the spinach chopped, etc.  I'd like to make this recipe, but feel I don't have quite enough information.  Plz. respond.  thanks.  
 Whoa! Not only had our recipe been received but there were at least two people who had read it and wanted to prepare it.  So we quickly sent out an updated recipe with the proper amounts of peas and spinach. 

In the meantime, even though this is a short work week and folks are busy preparing for the holidays, my husband got the first recipe back from his own list of 20 folks.  Here it is:

Sent: Mon, Nov 22, 2010 9:34 pm
Subject: Recipes
Sautéed Leeks    Delicious!
2 medium servings
Cooking time 30 minutes
 2 medium leeks, spray olive oil, salt and pepper
Rinse the leeks well. Cut the stem end off and any dried leaf tips of the dark green tops.
Slice in half lengthwise. Rinse again to remove any dirt from the inside of the leeks. Slice the leeks crosswise to separate the dark green tops from the white.
Slice both the tops and the bottom part of the leeks lengthwise into strips 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch wide. Keep the dark green tops and the bottom part of the leeks separate.
Spray a large skillet with olive oil and place the pan over medium-high heat. Add the dark green part of the leeks. Let the strips cook for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. They should brown only slightly. 
After they have wilted somewhat, add the light green-white bottoms. Simply place them on top of the cooking dark green strips. Reduce the heat slightly. Let them cook for about two minutes and they will steam slightly, then begin to toss them to mix together with the dark green tops. 
Add the salt and pepper. As you toss the leeks, adjust the heat to be hot enough to wilt the leeks and brown them only very lightly. They are done when the dark green tops are easily cut with a dinner knife -- about 20 minutes total cooking time.

 Can you believe this?  Feel free to take the text and forward to your own 20 folks, even better, share your go-to recipe here.

Oh, here’s the recipe we sent. 

Pea and Spinach Soup with Coconut Milk
 Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Tome: 15 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
 Adapted from "Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's
Farmers' Markets by Deborah Madison
 2 T.     unsalted butter
 2c.      thinly sliced sweet onions
 1 c.     water
 2 T.    white basmati rice
 2 t.     curry powder
 1 1/2 t salt
 1        quart vegetable broth 3/4 c. coconut milk
           2 c.    green peas (fresh or frozen)
          4 c.    rough chopped fresh spinach


 1.     Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat; add onions, water,
 rice, curry powder, 4 cilantro sprigs, salt & pepper to taste. Simmer
 over medium-low heat 12 minutes.
2.     Add spinach, peas, and broth. Heat to a boil; cook 3 minutes.
Turn off heat; add coconut milk. Puree about a cup of the soup in a
blender(optional); return to pot. Season to taste. Puree all of the soup until smooth,
about 1 minute, and pass through a strainer. Or leave completely

This warming soup, with the fantastic scent of coconut milk, reminds me that warmer weather is nearby.  It helps that it is good for you as well.

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