Cooking Marathon Mondays

So this semester I have Mondays off (yay!), so I try to plan my menu in such a way that I can do my more labor intensive cooking on Monday, before my school week starts. I'm at the beginning of a new menu cycle, and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen today, absorbed in preparing broccoli-potato soup and sausage cassoulet. I had to hang around the apartment anyway, because the annual termite inspection guy was going to show up. He surveyed my (luckily clean and tidy) apartment for all of two minutes with a flashlight. No termites. That's heartening news of course, but as I am going to be moving soon, I wasn't overly concerned with the termite population. As to the moving soon, more about that in a future post.

First I need to rate the recipes from my last menu.

Miso Shrimp and Rice:
This was something I threw together with things I had on hand, and it was OK, but doesn't merit a recipe.
Convenience: 5
Deliciousness: 3
Value: 4
Left-over worthiness: 4
Good for you-ness: 4

Roasted Potatoes in Romesco Sauce:
I adapted this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and I must admit I was a bit in over my head here. The Romesco sauce was complicated but ultimately amazing; the potatoes a hot mess. Prepared properly, the deliciousness quotient would certainly be more on this one.
Convenience: 2
Deliciousness: 3.5
Value: 3
Left-over worthiness: 3
Good for you-ness: 2

Convenience: 2
Deliciousness: 5
Value: 3
Left-over worthiness: 4
Good for you-ness: 2

Convenience: 5
Deliciousness: 4
Value: 4
Left-over worthiness: 4
Good for you-ness: 3

Baked Polenta with Mushrooms:
Convenience: 4
Deliciousness: 4
Value: 5
Left-over worthiness: 5
Good for you-ness: 3

Skillet Black Beans and Potatoes:
Now, I will probably post the recipe for this eventually, because the first time I made it I was so pleased with the results. It was one of those meals that I was sad about when there wasn't any left. This time around I made it with presoaked as opposed to canned black beans, and I really didn't prepare the beans that well. The result was disappointing. However, I know the potential is there.
Convenience: 3.5
Deliciousness: 4
Value: 5
Left-over worthiness: 4
Good for you-ness: 5

This reheats pretty well; the only negative is the spinach--pleasantly wilted on the first go--is listless and sad on subsequent re-heatings. I added a little bit of fresh spinach to my leftovers to brighten it a bit.
Convenience: 4
Deliciousness: 5
Value: 4
Left-over worthiness: 4
Good for you-ness: 4

Here's my menu for the next two weeks. I am incorporating made-from-scratch recipes with frozen leftovers, in an effort to clean out my freezer as much as possible pre-moving day:

Broccoli-Potato Soup x 4
Sausage Cassoulet x 4
Achiote Chicken and Rice (made with frozen achiote paste from Puerco Pibil) x 4
Ethiopian-style Yellow Split Peas (repurposing frozen Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup) x 2
Broccoli and Sausage Strata x 4
Onion Galette x 4
Cheesy Polenta with Roasted Root Vegetables x 4
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas (premade, frozen) x 2

As I mentioned above, my day was mostly taken up in the preparation of two rather labor intensive but satisfying culinary endeavors: Broccoli-Potato Soup and Sausage Cassoulet. Here are recipes for both.

This soup is at once light and healthy as well as pleasingly rich and creamy, thanks to pureeing, without the addition of any milk or cream. It's also quite easy to prepare, provided you have a food processor or immersion blender. It can be made vegetarian or vegan by subbing vegetable broth for the chicken broth, olive oil for the butter, and omitting the Parmesan cheese. A tasty vegan alternative to the cheese might be a topping of crushed toasted almonds or some kind of nut cheese.

Broccoli-Potato Soup

2 cups broccoli stems, peeled and diced into ½ inch chunks
2 cups red potato, peeled and diced into ½ inch chunks
2 Tbsps butter
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
¼ cup almonds, toasted and ground in a food processor or spice grinder
2 cups broccoli florets, finely chopped
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided in half
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large pot and sauté the garlic and onion about five minutes. Add the potatoes, broccoli stems, chicken broth, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat; simmer about ten minutes, or until the broccoli and potatoes are “crisp tender”; that is, tender but not mushy. Using an immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor, puree the soup to your preferred thickness. Stir in the broccoli florets, almonds, and half of the Parmesan cheese and simmer for five more minutes. Serve garnished with remaining Parmesan. Four servings.

If you're unfamiliar with cassoulet, it's kind of a cross between a stew and a casserole. It's a hearty French peasant dish made with white beans and some kind of fatty meat (often a combination of duck and sausage). I adapted this recipe from Real Simple. This humble version, which takes advantage of inexpensive winter root vegetables, carrot and parsnips, is an easier take on the more complicated all-day-long version. Still, it's quite satisfying. It's very flavorful, perfect for a cold winter's day, and preparing it will make you feel like Julia Child.

Sausage Cassoulet

2 large sausage links, casings removed (I used Polish, but Italian would be fine, too)

3 cups prepared white beans, drained (about 1 and 1/2 cans)

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced

1 red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup crushed tomato

1 tsp dried thyme

Dash of Cayenne pepper

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 cup buttered breadcrumbs (I used sourdough, which I recommend)

In a Dutch oven or lidded, range-top safe casserole dish, brown the sausage over medium heat, breaking it up with a spoon. When the sausage is browned, drain off excess fat. Add all remaining ingredients except breadcrumbs to the pot. Stir well to combine. If needed, add more chicken stock and/or tomato to the pot to keep the vegetables moist. Simmer covered until the carrots and parsnips are tender, at least 30 minutes. While the pot is simmering, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When the vegetables are tender, top with the butter breadcrumbs and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are toasted. 4 servings.

As Julia Child would say, bon appetit!


A Pasta For All Seasons

Tuesday is my long day on campus this semester, and this time of year it's already dark by the time I get out of class, and I'm more than ready for dinner. Riding my bike home in the dark and the cold makes me crave comfort food. Thus, the perfect meal for my Tuesday is something that will come together quickly and easily and appeal to my comfort-food criteria. A simple pasta dish is often the answer.

The great thing about pasta is that it is incredibly versatile. You don't always have to go traditional; it's an ideal canvas for experimenting with unlikely combinations of flavors, or bringing together that random assortment of things left in the fridge toward the end of grocery cycle. The meal I made tonight is just one of those things I threw together with some pantry staples and odds and ends I happened to have on hand. Because I suppose it ought to have a name, I call it patchwork pasta. Though it's not traditional at all, the flavors echo traditional Italian, and it's hearty and familiar enough to fit the comfort food bill. Yet, it's fairly light and relatively healthy. It tastes fresh and light in a way that suggests summer, but because it's made from items that are available year round, it's suitable for any time of the year.

The tangy, salty, and spicy and subtly sweet flavors of this sauce would pair equally well with shrimp or a firm-fleshed fish like tuna. The sauce is substantial enough and the flavor bold enough to hold its own without meat; to make this vegan, omit the butter and parmesan and replace the meat with a can of garbanzo or white beans, or just let the flavors do their thing.

Patchwork Pasta

1/2 pound penne pasta (1/2 a package)
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into ½ inch cubes
3 oz baby spinach, sliced (baby spinach often comes in 6 oz bags; use half a bag)
½ cup tomato paste
2 Tbsps almonds, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
10 green olives, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsps – 1 Tbsp Crushed red pepper
Coarse salt to taste
Fresh grated Parmesan to garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until just al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat, and add the olive oil. Add the chicken and allow to brown on all sides. Add the almonds while chicken is browning. Remove chicken and almonds from the skillet and set aside. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper to the skillet and cook until garlic starts to turn golden. Pour in the wine and lemon juice, followed by the tomato paste and salt. Stir well to combine. When it starts to bubble, add the olives and spinach to the pan. Once the spinach cooks down a bit, return the chicken to the pan and toss. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss until it is well coated with the sauce and heated through. Serve topped with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Four servings


The Sublime and the Beautiful in the Kitchen

I've been reading Burke for my Romanticism class, and in case you were unaware, the Sublime is something that is obscure and inspires terror. Rather like a daunting recipe you have never tried before. The Beautiful, meanwhile, is small, round, pleasantly varied in texture, and non-threatening. Like a frittata.

My current menu is a schizo mix of ambitious grand project meals and comfortable "I'd rather not cook tonight but I should" fallbacks. It's always good to have a little bit of both. The benefits of the ambitious meals are that, if you pull them off you have the satisfaction of being really impressed with your intrepidness and skill in the kitchen, and you also have a new thing that you now know how to make. The benefits of the fallbacks are that they are familiar and thus easy, and you know that although they may not blow your mind, they will always be good.

This is my menu:

Miso shrimp with rice x 3
Roasted potatoes in Romesco sauce x 4
Pork carnitas tacos x 3
Spinach and mushroom frittata x 4
Baked polenta and mushrooms x 4
Skillet black beans and potatoes x 4
Penne with chicken and spinach x 4

I present you now with recipes for one grand project (that I pulled off handily) and one fallback that never fails to please. The first is pork carnitas, a time-consuming but deceptively simple and maximally delicious way to prepare an inexpensive cut of pork. I reserve the right to apply my name to this recipe, because I made some changes to recipes I found online that I feel make these carnitas distinctive yet authentically Mexican in flavor.

Emily's Pork Carnitas Tacos

1 lb pork butt (aka pork shoulder), cut into 2” cubes

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 serrano pepper, minced

1 cup orange juice

1 splash of beer (preferably not a dark beer)

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp black pepper

1 tsp coarse salt

For the tacos:

Corn tortillas (I use Alejandro's corn gorditas--made here in Tucson)

Diced white onion, radish, avocado, cilantro and lime wedges for garnish

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Combine the spices in a bowl. Heat some olive oil in the bottom of a cast iron baking dish, or skillet with a lid, over medium-high heat. Toss the pork in the spices until well coated and braise in batches. Remove the braised pork to a plate. Add the orange juice, beer, garlic and serrano to the dish and return the meat to the dish. Add enough water to just cover the meat. When the liquid reaches the simmering point, remove from the heat and place in the oven. Cook covered for three hours, giving the meat a stir every ½ hour to hour. When the pork is done, move the meat to a dish to cool, reserving the cooking juices. While the pork cools, prep the taco garnish and set aside. When the pork is cool, shred it with your fingers. It should shred quite easily. Heat some of the reserved cooking liquid in a skillet over medium high heat until it simmers. Add enough shredded pork to cover the bottom of the pan and let it cook until it begins to crisp. Let it crisp on both sides. Scoop a little of the pork onto warm corn tortillas and serve topped with the garnish, a fresh squeeze of lime, and a pinch of salt. Yields 8 small tacos.

The second recipe is a simple frittata, variations upon which I make a lot because they are quick, tasty, light, and easily adaptable to whatever ingredients you may have on hand. If you're not familiar with frittata, it's kind of like a quiche without the crust--and while it might seem tricky, with a little practice it's quite easy. This is one of those great dishes that works equally well as dinner or breakfast. Although I've thrown every vegetable imaginable into frittatas before, this minimalist interpretation is one of my favorites.

Spinach and Mushroom Frittata

6 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used a combination of white and baby bellas)

2 cups sliced baby spinach

1/4 cup grated cheese + 2 Tbsps Parmesan (I used white cheddar this time, but almost any cheese will do. I've used Swiss, jack, smoked gouda, feta, even bleu in the past)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In an oven-safe non-stick skillet (about 12" in diameter), heat about 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and allow them to saute until they just start giving of their liquid. While they cook, beat the eggs with the milk and stir in the grated cheese, salt, pepper, and paprika. Add the spinach to the skillet, and cook until it just starts to wilt. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, give it a gentle stir, and sprinkle the top with parmesan and nutmeg. Taking care that the flame is not too high (you don't want to make the bottom of the frittata rubbery), cook the frittata just until the edges start to set. When you can gently lift the edge away from the pan with a rubber spatula, but the center is still liquid, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes, or just until it puffs up and the center is set. You can check by jiggling the pan. If the center jiggles, it needs more time. Once it is done, take it out of the oven and let it cool for at least a minute before removing from the pan. If you are adventurous and dextrous, you can remove it from the pan by placing a plate on top and quickly flipping it. If you are like me and prone to clumsiness, use a rubber spatula to gently loosen the frittata from the bottom of the pan and carefully slide it onto a cutting board. Cut into four wedges. Delicious served with a side of pears and walnuts with a little balsamic vinegar.


Culinary Adventures: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

This is a long post, since I haven't done this for a while, but just so you know there is a recipe at the end of it.

Well, I am now into another two-week recipe rotation. I have to say that since I've been getting back into the swing of the two-week menu planning, I've had some hiccups. I've had some quantity problems, and tried some recipes that really just didn't turn out that well, and perhaps most frustratingly I've been struggling with coming up with new things to try.

I've been reading Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, the very basic thesis of which is "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Mostly this book is about the disturbing rise of "nutritionism" in America. In a nutshell, nutritionism is what Pollan calls the gradual cultural shift from an emphasis on whole foods to foods as collections of nutrients (some healthful, some harmful) that has led to the mass marketing and production of "imitation foods," or foods that have been heavily processed or in other ways altered or modified to fit the nutritional science claims of the moment. These "foods" are promoted as being healthier than the thing in its stripped down, natural state, but often turn out to be worse for you. Margarine vs. butter is a classic example. All this has created a generation of Americans that is unhealthier than the previous one and confused about food, as well as a food industry that is environmentally harmful and economically nonviable.

I didn't really need to be told any of this (although it is interesting), since I have been in the habit of ignoring the dubious claims on food packaging and avoiding processed foods altogether for, well, ever. But what Pollan's book has made me think more about is not processed foods, but produce. I'm out of touch with what produce is in season when. I guess I know that there is summer squash and winter squash and the seasonal correlations there are obvious. I know that asparagus is an early spring thing. The best tomatoes are available in summer. Yet, we can get these things year round...or at least we can get a version of these things year round that has been tweaked and manipulated to meet our unrealistic demands. I don't mean to sound paranoid or project that I am skeptical of science. Science is neutral. It's our unnatural demand that drives bad science. I mean, it bothers me that because we crave and expect access to fresh tomatoes year round, this is how industry meets that need. I mean, that ain't right.

So I've been trying to think seasonally about the vegetables I consume, and planning menus accordingly, but I'm food ignorant in this area and I don't know what's in season. I mean, sometimes you know because there's a shitload of something or other at the store, and it's on sale. But I want to use seasonal food creatively, while still managing to inject variety into my diet. Anyway, all of this is just a really long way of saying that I'm having a hard time meeting that criteria in satisfying ways. I'm sweet-potatoed out for a good long while. I'm approaching my limit with regular potatoes, and winter squash just isn't sounding appealing to me. I can only take so much cabbage/carrots/cauliflower. Look's like I'll be eating a lot of canned and frozen veggies for the next few months.

My last rotation came to an end Friday-ish, and I have yet to rate those recipes, so I'll just go ahead and do that now. As the title of this post suggests, there were some successes, and some relative failures as well.

1. Cauliflower-chickpea ragout (win!)
This recipe will become a standard of mine. Success in all categories.
Convenience: 4
Deliciousness: 4.5
Value: 4
Left-over worthiness: 5
Good for you-ness: 5

2. Pork with braised cabbage and onions (eh...)
After my success with slow-cooked pork back in September, I was really hoping for more here. This meal was good, like something mom used to make, but it didn't blow my mind.
Convenience: 3
Deliciousness: 3
Value: 4
Left-over worthiness: 3
Good for you-ness: 3

3. Miso soup with tofu and soba noodles (mistake)
I bought some yellow miso a while back, thinking we used to do such great things with it at Avanti. I figured I ought, at the very least, to make some miso soup with it, but I wanted it to be substantial enough to work as a full meal. The result was both bland and ridiculously high in sodium. Also, I managed to make way more of it than I wanted or needed. I really try to not throw things out, but I threw a lot of this out.
Convenience: 3
Deliciousness: 2
Value: 3
Left-over worthiness: 2 (the soba noodles get bloated, the veggies ever blander and soggier)
Good for you-ness: 3 (on account of the high salt content)

4. Tuscan white beans and shrimp (win!)
As I noted in my post about this meal, I was skeptical about this combination of elements. This recipe exceeded all my expectations and is going to be in regular rotation for me.
Convenience: 4
Deliciousness: 5
Value: 4 (shrimp are pricey, but only if you eat more than you should. Dry beans are dirt cheap)
Left-over worthiness: 4 (surprisingly durable for a shrimp dish)
Good for you-ness: 4

5. Potato gnocchi with spinach walnut pesto (not a full-scale disaster)
I was a bit in over my head with this one. I love gnocchi, but they are a bitch to make, as it turns out. I had never tried it before, and I couldn't find any recipes that seemed consistent. I did find a lot of warnings about all the things that could go wrong. For a first effort, I think these weren't horrible. It just didn't turn out at all like I had hoped.
Convenience: 2
Deliciousness: 2.5 (OK, so these didn't taste bad. It's just that it was not as expected.)
Value: 3
Left-over worthiness: 3 (these actually held up better than I thought, and were better leftover)
Good for you-ness: 2.5

6. Spiced carrot and lentil soup (the ugly)
This seemed like a winning winter combo to me: lovely vitamin-packed carrots, earthy protein-rich lentils. I found this vaguely Indian inspired recipe that seemed to fit the bill. If you look at the picture, you can see how pretty and appetizing it looks. Not so with mine. Mine was not such a pleasing, smooth yellow-orange...the color and texture of my soup could only be described as "baby vomit." It did taste OK, but in this instance having an immersion blender, instead of pureeing in messy batches in the food processor would have made all the difference.
Convenience: 3 (would have been a 4 with immersion blender)
Deliciousness: 3.5
Value: 5
Left-over worthiness: 4 (would probably freeze well)
Good for you-ness: 5

7. Cornmeal breaded oven fried chicken with mayo-less slaw (win!)
Given my above failures, I wasn't sure how this would go. It turned out great, and has the added benefit of being both tastier and healthier than the fast food version.
Convenience: 4
Deliciousness: 5
Value: 3.5
Left-over worthiness: 4 (I was afraid the breading would get soggy on the leftovers, but another benefit of the cornmeal breading is that this didn't seem to happen. I packed it carefully, however.)
Good for you-ness: 3

I will leave you with the recipes for my most recent success. I am very proud of the slaw, by the way, because I came up with it all on my own. I really want to try this with some Japanese noodles as a light meal on its own sometime. I think the sweet and sour flavors would combine really well with cold noodles.

Cornmeal Breaded Oven Fried Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
1/2 cup milk
(or, you could sub 1 cup low fat buttermilk. I often use this half-and-half mix of plain yogurt and regular milk as a sub for buttermilk in recipes that call for it)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 Tbsps vegetable oil

In a sturdy ziplock, marinate the chicken in the yogurt and milk for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a pie pan (or whatever works for you) combine the cornmeal and spices. Remove the chicken from the bag, shaking off excess liquid, and toss one piece at a time in the cornmeal mixture until evenly coated. Place the chicken pieces on a baking sheet brushed with half the oil. Brush the remaining oil over the chicken pieces so they brown well. Bake for about twenty minutes, or until they are golden brown (if you feel like they aren't browning the way you'd like, you might want to flip the pieces over midway through the baking time). Serve with a little dijon mustard mixed with honey for dipping. 4 servings

Mayo-less cabbage and jicama slaw

1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced into very thin strips
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 apple ( I used Gala), cut into matchsticks
1 small jicama root (about the size of the onion), peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2-1 tsp powdered ginger
2 Tbsps white vinegar
1 Tbsp white sugar

Place all the ingredients in a large tupperware and shake well to combine. Let stand for at least 1/2 hour to let the sugar dissolve and the onion marinate a bit. Serve sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.


Big Shrimpin'

I couldn't think of a name for this post, but since it features a shrimp recipe, I decided to name it after this show on the History channel that my brother and mother are apparently obsessed with. I haven't seen it myself, but I hear it has even more suck-you-in-ness than Deadliest Catch. And that is a show I have been sucked into for hours on end.

Anyway, it's taken me a while to get around to this; I've had a lot of things on my to-do list since I returned to Tucson a week ago. I did massive amounts of cleaning and apartment downsizing yesterday, and it occurred to me that in the process I must have lost my shopping list from last week. No big deal, really; I was pretty inefficient as a shopper last week, and I went to Sunflower three times, I think, in as many days. Also, I have a car now, which means I don't have to be as locked in to a shopping plan. Having a car is really spoiling me, though. After things start settling down around here and I get into the groove of the new semester, I hope I'll get back to biking to the store. But anyway, here's the menu I'm in the midst of right now:

Cauliflower & chickpea ragout x 4
Pork shoulder with braised cabbage and onion x 3
Miso soup with tofu and soba noodles x 3
Tuscan white beans and shrimp x 3
Gnocchi with spinach pesto x 3
Pan fried chicken with fresh "slaw" x 4
Spiced carrot and lentil soup x 4
Miso glazed shrimp with rice x 2

As you can see, I'm trying to alternate meals featuring meat with meatless meals in an effort to be...I don't know. Something. I guess I have the impression that it's a little healthier to do it that way. It's more interesting, in any case.

Last night I made Tuscan white beans and shrimp. In trolling the internet for shrimp recipes (I never cooked shrimp myself until recently, but I've decided I really like to use it), I came across several that combined shrimp and white beans. It didn't sound all that interesting of a combination to me, to be honest, but I was intrigued by how many recipes seemed to be out there. I figured there must be something in it, so I thought I'd give it a try. I came across a recipe on Dragon's Kitchen that looked like the thing I wanted, with an Italian spin. I modified Dragon's recipe in some ways because I didn't have everything the recipe called for--also, the original recipe uses a LOT of olive oil! I've got nothing against liberal use of olive oil, but this sounded excessive and like the result would be, well, oily. I did it my way, and I really liked how it turned out. This is another one of those meals that I would definitely make for a special dinner. It's light, and flavorful, and it seems very elegant, but it's actually incredibly simple to put together and doesn't take a lot of ingredients. I definitely encourage you to give this one a try.

Tuscan white beans and shrimp

2 cups white beans, such as cannellini or great northern (either canned or pre-soaked and cooked works)
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup crushed tomato
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup packed baby spinach leaves (the original recipe calls for basil, which also sounds good--a combination would probably work well)
Juice of half a lemon
about a tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
dried basil (if you didn't use fresh), salt and pepper to taste

You need two skillets for this recipe. Put the beans in the first skillet and drizzle with olive oil. Add enough water, or reserved liquid from the can if you used canned beans, to keep the beans moist. Let them sit over low heat just to keep them warm while you prepare the shrimp. Stir occasionally to make sure they're not sticking, and add more liquid if need be. In the second skillet, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Cook the shrimp just until it is pink and opaque, about a minute. Tossing it while you cook produces better results. Use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp to a bowl. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook until the garlic begins to turn golden. Add the tomato and spinach (or basil) and stir to combine, and cook for about a minute. Add the lemon juice and spices. Return the shrimp to the pan and toss well in the tomato sauce, and cook just long enough to reheat. Toss with the beans and serve. This makes three servings, with 4 shrimp per. Enjoy!