Monday, May 16, 2011

Lunch on May 17, 2011 - She never met a starch she didn't like

Today's lunch is full of carbohydrates because as my dad likes to say, Juju never met a starch she didn't like.

Lunch is penne pasta with chicken in balsamic vinegar (inspired by a lunch my friend Amy made for me a few weeks ago - more on that below), corn on the cob (it is everywhere now and so delicious!) and dried seaweed (in a sushi themed fabric snack bag).

The pasta salad is completely inspired by (and merely a halfway decent copy of) a lunch my friend Amy made.  I need to ask her for the real recipe; I just went off what I remembered she told me was in hers.  She started with "balsamic chicken" from Trader Joe's which is, I assume, chicken marinated in balsamic vinegar and other spices.  It was delicious.  She added it to some rotini with chopped onion, red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, and more balsamic vinegar.  She added a sprig of rosemary for color (you know how I love presentation!) and served it with some crusty bread.  Yum!  (I, like Julian, never met a carbohydrate I didn't like).

I didn't have all those yummy ingredients but I still wanted to copy Amy for lunch so I improvised with what I had at home.  I took plain (already cooked) chicken breasts, (if you are a vegetarian I am sure you could substitute this for Gardein or some other veggie protein that takes the place of chicken), chopped them up and marinated the pieces in some balsamic vinegar overnight.  Be careful when marinating in vinegar - a little goes a long way.  Then, I cooked the only pasta I had, penne.  Penne is not a great pasta for this dish; it's hard to pick up and doesn't absorb much of the sauce/marinade but it's what I had.  I took the pasta off the heat and let it cool.  Next I chopped several cherry tomatoes in half and I minced a medium sized shallot (again, this is what I had in my fridge, feel free to experiment with what you have in yours).  I then tossed the chicken, pasta, tomatoes, and shallots in some more balsamic vinegar (just a little), a small amount of olive oil and salt and pepper.  And, voila: a pretty pasta salad with lots of leftovers for everyone else in the house!  My chicken wasn't quite as tasty as Amy's, nor did the entire dish compare to what she served (the penne really killed it) but it was still a very yummy result with very little effort and no need to run to the store for any special ingredients.

For those curious, the seaweed snack is from Trader Joe's.  A kid on the playground turned us on to the idea of snacking on seaweed about 18 months ago and Juju is still hooked.  In fact, at one point last year Trader Joe's ran out of their convenient seaweed snack packs (too many kids in LA got wind of this snack idea) and there was nearly a seaweed riot as lunatic moms (like me) went to all kinds of organic and Korean marts to find a suitable substitute.  Fortunately Trader Joe's came to their senses and got control of their inventory of seaweed in the fall.  When it first reappeared on shelves, in a move my husband still can't believe, I went out and bought a case of the stuff for fear I'd never see it again.  Many months later, Juju is finally on the last bag from the case!  For the record, I'm totally grossed out by dried seaweed (I tolerate it in sushi but that's about it) but I'm told it's got some great health benefits so I hold my nose and continue to serve it.

1 comment:

  1. She's also like her non blood aunt in that way too!