A new look at cooking and home decorating...with an attempt to add more greens to the plate, more vegetarian options & hopefully lots of new ideas to explore

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Feeling Inspired

After all the cooking that I do at Christmas, the days that follow are about relaxing. Plopping myself in front of the TV and watching Jacque Pepin whip up something tasty, or Lida travel to Italy. Afterward, I feel both inspired and rested, enough so that today I plan to get back in the kitchen and roast a duck.

My inspiration this week came not just from TV but also from a friend’s kitchen. My friend Maria has a lovely home and it is, I think, what you would call split level home. You walk in and then up a set of stairs into a bright open and airy space. Most notable is the kitchen. I affectionately call it kitchen stadium. Her countertops are black, she has a beautiful flat screen TV on which cooking shows are always playing, a very cool cookbook holder that hangs on the wall and a bunch of other nifty gadgets. I fell like Alton Brown will pop around the corner at any moment. Always, center stage is Maria cooking.

This week Maria invited me to sample some of her lentil soup. She makes lentil soup every Monday and serves it with pasta and fresh artisan breads. What inspired me here is that Maria has made her life simple yet very healthy. She uses a soy butter spread and whole-wheat pasta, the lentil soup is made in the afternoon with loads of carrots and other veg but with water in place of chicken stock so it can sit and simmer on the stove until dinnertime. She has mad a heart healthy yet easy dinner.

Another trick Maria used to save time is storage bowls. Something you might not think about spending money on, but Maria bough nice glass storage bowls in place of plastic so they can go from freezer to microwave to table- yes they are nice enough to serve a pasta course from! I ran out a bought some that afternoon.

I may never make as many heart healthy dinners as Maria dose (I think I smell duck fat..) but a few clever tricks sure makes it sound easy.

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