I really need to get back to menu planning. When I don’t have the whole week’s dinners planned out on a piece of paper, dinner prep turns into a mad scramble at 5 pm and there never seems to be anything in the house. Rather, there’s plenty, but it’s not the right combination of ingredients to make what I want. This results in some unsatisfactory meals, but also a few pleasant surprises — like this week, when a hunt for food turned into a delicious Asian-style dinner (thank you, Mark Bittman!).
First up on the menu, pan-fried salmon with sesame-soy drizzle sauce, which was astonishingly quick and delicious:
Heat 2 tbsp each sesame oil and vegetable oil; add 1 tbsp minced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, till softened (1-2 minutes). Stir in 2 tbsp water and 2 tbsp soy sauce (I use tamari). Add 1 tbsp sesame seeds, if desired, and 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro. Drizzle over hot pan-fried salmon.
Next, I found a package of soba noodles that I’ve been ignoring in the pantry for too long. They turned into cold soba noodles with dipping sauce, also really yummy:
Bring a big pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook noodles till tender but not mushy. Drain and rinse quickly under cold running water. Drain well.
Meanwhile, combine 1 cup chicken stock, 1/4 cup soy sauce, and 1 tbsp mirin or 1 tbsp honey mixed with 1 tbsp water. Taste and add more soy if flavour needs to be stronger.
Serve noodles garnished with 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, 2 tbsp minced scallions, and toasted sesame seeds. Dip noodles in sauce to eat or spoon sauce over top. (I submerged them in the sauce because it’s easier for the little guy.)
Finally, I rounded out the meal with stir-fried bok choy with onions and garlic:
Slice 1 onion and fry it in a hot pan with olive oil and 2 cloves minced garlic. Wash and chop the bok choy, and add the white stems first. Stir-fry for a minute or two, then add the green leaves (they cook much faster). Cook till stems are tender but still firm. Add a dash of soy sauce before serving.
All recipes from Mark Bittman’s fantastic cookbook, “How to Cook Everything: 2000 simple recipes for great food.” I highly recommend it for anyone learning to cook or needing basic, straightforward food ideas.