Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. As Catholics, we abstain from meat on this day and every Friday for the next 40 days known as Lent. I don't know what it is about this time of year, but all of a sudden every meal I know that does not involve meat or chicken whooshes out of my brain.
How do I make pasta without chicken?
Chicken-less chicken pot pie?
Steak au poivre? .... minus the steak? Mushroom au poivre? (mental note... try that!)
Why must I focus on an elaborate feast? Why can't it just be a grilled cheese?
I don't know. But it must.
As I sat in front of google researching "Lent Recipes" (and not in any number of cookbooks I possess in the "seafood" tab), I made the discovery that there are not a lot of Lent Recipes out there.
"Canned Tuna Casserole?" GAH!
"Dampfnudeln?" If I can't pronounce it and have to copy/paste it to spell it- I ain't making it.
"Pizza Soup?" Honestly? HONESTLY?
"Salmon Quesadillas?" Are you kidding me? I like seafood quesadillas, but ... this sounds like it should be saved for another day, another family, or another anything.
Which leads me to a second (or fifteenth) question-- Why must every meal be either a soup or fish from a can?
We do not eat meat- it does not mean we cannot eat well.
My goal this Lent is to make an effort to share what we are eating to give you some inspiration and me a reminder for next year when I am feverishly scouring the world wide web looking for a meal and getting grossed out at contemplating chickpea casserole.
Yesterday, Bennie's godmother came over with her two daughters for supper after the Ash Wednesday mass. We didn't make it to church, but you already know that.
Our appetizer was excellent:
Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
olive oil (about 1/4 cup)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into wedges
combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Drop wedges into oil, turning to coat. Place on a hot grill for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through. Place on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven to keep warm until ready to serve.
Serve with ranch dressing.
We had a cold tortellini pasta for dinner while the girls quickly devoured grilled cheese sandwiches and fruit roll-ups.
Cold Tortellini Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is crazy easy- cook pasta. Drain. Combine salad ingredients. Toss. Fridge. Done.
a pound of shrimp, chopped- sautéed with three cloves of garlic (I really like garlic. Almost as much as I like nutmeg) and half of a red onion.
Did you know you can sauté a red onion? I didn't. It was really good.
a small log of honey goat cheese
four chives, finely chopped-- only using the green part, so they can rejuvenate and be used again
Olivier White Truffle oil- Spring onion (Garlic, Shallot, and Leek)
Pepper-- lots and lots of pepper
After sautéing the onion, adding the shrimp and a splash of wine, I drained it and left it in the colander. I dumped the tortellini on top of it and put it all back in a large bowl. Mixing in the oils and seasonings, it sat in the fridge for a few hours before serving. Right before we ate, I pulled it out and chopped up the goat cheese and the chives, so the cheese wouldn't melt and the chives would not get soggy.
As Dorothy would say, "Do write and speak of your mistakes!"