Chicken and Noodles with Peanut Sauce from Cooking Light. A lazy person’s chicken pad Thai: almost the same flavor, half the ingredients,and much less daunting. Fresh ginger and garlic in a thick, mildly peanutty sauce with tender chicken and plenty of sweet red pepper. The recipe called for chuka soba, which I used, but next time I might use regular spaghetti noodles (which is essentially what the wheat flour chuka soba I bought amounted to) or the wide rice noodles I associate with pad Thai. Maybe I’ll go nuts and complicate a super-easy weeknight recipe (as is my habit) by making some real soba with buckwheat flour and my beloved pasta maker.
Lapin à la Moutarde (Rabbit Cooked with Dijon Mustard) from Saveur. We recently discovered that our favorite butcher, Silvana Meats, carries rabbit. This was my first time cooking rabbit, but with this recipe in my files it certainly won’t be the last! Never before have I put a piece of meat, plain except for a schmear of mustard, into a hot pan and thought, not two seconds later, “Hot damn, that smells delicious.” You know my MO by now: this is one of those fancy-ass meals that’s secretly simple and easy. Mustard, herbs, bunny rabbit, wine, onion, and a glob of my favorite new dairy product: creme fraiche. I served it with roasted asparagus and a boule of crusty roasted garlic bread to sop up the copious, insanely savory sauce. The hardest part is learning how to joint a rabbit, because it’s a little different than the poultry method. (Rabbits, like deer, and unlike chickens, have backstraps.) I followed the instructions on Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. You can save this for date night, but if you have a line on decently-priced rabbit there’s no reason this can’t be a weekly menu item.
Pea Soup from Eating Well. Because everyone I’ve ever met (ever) has an extremely strong aversion to even the mention of pea soup, today was the first time I ever tasted it. (I have a bowl of it between my paws right now.) The complaints seem to center around the pork element and the dried split pea element. This soup has neither. I was keen to try this because I love peas, both fresh and frozen (although I have the same reaction to canned peas as most people do to pea soup: “Get a barf bag!”). All you have to deal with here is peas, a little onion, a little celery, a little vegetable stock, some herbs. You can mix in half a cup of cream if you like (or, if you are naughty, like me, a giant glob of creme fraiche). Tastes like peas! Sweet and summery and fresh and green. I think this would be a great accompaniment to a toasted cheese and/or tomato sandwich. The traditional broth-flavoring agent for pea soup is a ham hock, and while I am alone on this side of the Rockies in my love of ham hocks, I still think they would decidedly overpower the peas. However, I don’t think a strip or two of fried, crumbled bacon would be objectionable. Even with the cream this recipe clocks in at a super-low 131 calories per cup, so it’s going into my permanent lunch rotation.