Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Midweek Food Musings: Quick Post-Berlin, Still-in-Jet-Lag Dinner!

When I was in college many moons ago I dated a chef (always had a sweet spot for those kitchen types) who could walk into just about any kitchen, pull from the fridge, counter, and pantry, and create a delicious meal. He said it's all about how you combine flavors and textures. The key, he added, is to make sure you have a good base of ingredients on hand. I think this is all good advice, and I try to follow it...always.

So on Tuesday, when I was still (am still!) recovering from a wonderful week in Berlin and the time difference and jumping right back into an 8+ work day, I wanted (okay my husband wanted!) something fresh, fast--and of course tasty.  Here’s what I had: frozen organic corn (which--except for during corn season--I keep on hand), red onion, red pepper, fresh cilantro, some mozzarella cheese, pasta—and salad greens. VoilĂ ! Dinner was less than 20 minutes! Here's my "recipe," though--as always--it's open to interpretation depending on what you like, and what you have on hand

Colors and textures: Crunchy-sweet kernels of white corn, soft red onions, slightly crunchy red pepper , plus the sparky kiss of red pepper flakes, cushion of mozzarella, and breath of cilantro.

Super quick pasta topping 
Serves 4 to 6 

Canola oil
1 pound frozen organic corn kernels
1 red (or your favorite!) bell pepper
1 red onion
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated mozzarella (or your favorite!) cheese (optional)
Hot pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or basil) leaves  

Start your water for pasta.

Heat  about 1 1/2  tablespoons of oil (enough to cover the bottom of a pan) over medium-high heat. 
Saute the red onion and bell pepper for about a minute, stirring frequently. Add the corn, and let sit for a while (it's best when it caramelizes...and gets that toasty color and sweet flavor) before stirring. Cook until the onions are soft, and the corn is tender but not mushy. Add the cilantro leaves. 

Cook your pasta and drain. Add the cheese and hot pepper flakes. Stir in the corn mixture. Serve--along with a leafy green salad. 

"Prost" from Berlin's oldest Beer Garden: the Prater Biergartenn-


--And though I have so much to share (just need time to organize photos and write it all up!), I'm not quite ready to do so...but will be soon!

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