Last week, I must admit I hit a homerun with the summertime supper I cooked. It’s a good thing, because it was the only meal I cooked all week long. How else do you think we come up with all these reviews???
My little girls and I are huge Rachel Ray fans. Ron gave me a magazine subscription as a gift and I have found several “go-to” recipes in those pages which I have prepared over and over. Tonight, I chose something new that I had dog-eared last year. It’s called “Spring Pea-sto with Whole Wheat Penne”. I had hesitated making it for so long because peas are not one of Ron’s favorite ingredients. The warm weather, the growing pepper plants outside, and the music of the ice cream truck put me in the mood for a meal that was full of fresh fruits and vegetables. It was time for the Pea-sto Pasta.
Since the entree is meatless, and Ron is a card-carrying carnivore, I felt I needed a second dish with meat. I chose another Rachel Ray creation as a starter, “Shrimp and Mango Cocktail”. The presentation in a martini glass was a great idea, Rach.
When Ron came home and caught me chopping away on an array of produce, using my Rachel Ray Furi knife (of course! I said I was a huge fan), I was a bit nervous about his reaction. But he was open to it - I guess he didn’t want the culinary responsibilty shifted to him due to lodging a complaint. We decided to put together a simple salad, concerned that my choices would not be filling enough for a buffet veteran like Ron. Actually, as I recall, Ron was supposed to make the salad himself, but all the ingredients ended up on my cutting board. hmm.
Kroger left me mango-less. I perused the fruit cases twice in case I had simply overlooked them. Plan B was to check the frozen fruit and in that aisle I happened to find a bag comprised of strawberries, pineapple and mango. I had to improvise on the fresh tarragon, too. I was looking all through the fresh herb packages, accidnetally knocking some of them onto the floor in my furious search. No luck. I used dried tarragon instead, but remember if you make a substitution of dried for fresh, dried herbs are more intense so you don’t need as much.
In my humble, non-biased opinion, my dinner was “Yum-O!” I think I liked the mixed fruit with the shrimp even better than mango alone. The combination of the sweet fruit with the spicy jalapeno was delicious. To make this easy dish even easier, you could use already cooked frozen shrimp instead of boiling it yourself. The fresh mint we grew ourselves gave such fresh flavor to the cocktail vinegrette.
The pea-sto pasta I made turned out to look just like the one in my magazine. The peas tasted great in the pesto, made with olive oil, own home-grown basil, toasted pine nuts, lemon juice, and lemon zest (my own touch). Ron kept saying that it would taste great with chicken. And it would, but it was a great vegetarian dish as well. We were both full and saved our impromptu salads for another day.
I give myself, channeling Rachel Ray, five forks. And I didn’t say “EVOO” a single time.