Wish Upon A Dish: Stressless (adj.) Dinner (n.) the new name for "30 minute meal"

November 6, 2010

Stressless (adj.) Dinner (n.) the new name for "30 minute meal"

I love dishes like this, just like dinner yesterday, just like every 1 pot lovely that makes dinner stressless.

Yes, that is a word even if not in the dictionary. Every cook knows that word.

Anyone, and I am sure many any ones, who get involved with life.....maybe a soccer game in overtime, a professional with a last minute deadline, a volunteer getting caught up with just doing, realizes that they still have to make dinner and all of a sudden you can feel the stress level soar. As much as you love to cook and feed for your family (or yourself) no one wants to cook when they have no time to enjoy it.

These dishes are the ones that save the day. Small amount of prep, 1 cooking vessel, great fresh ingredients (usually 5-6), 20 minutes and BAM....
dinner is served.

I believe that if you keep a bottle of white wine in the fridge all the time, a chunk of parma cheese, a bag of fresh greens (certain frozen...ok), aromatics (garlic, onions, carrots, fennel, mushrooms) that keep well, a pound of pasta (a cup of couscous) or a foil bag of parboiled rice and you have dinner.

A piece of protein (about 8oz), a bag of frozen shrimp, cut into bite sized pieces is ok but not a must.

I will serve this dish with bulgur just to round it out.

Shrimp, Chickpeas & Spinach with Ginger & Cumin
(Adapted from Fine Cooking)
Serves 3-4

* 3/4 lb. large shrimp (31 to 40 count), peeled and deveined
* Kosher salt
* 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 large lemon, cut into 5 wedges
* 1 small onion (about 4 oz.), chopped
* 1-1/2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger
* 2 small cloves garlic, minced
* 1 tsp. ground cumin
* Pinch cayenne
* 1 14- to 16-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
* 10 oz. mature spinach, well washed, stemmed, and coarsely chopped
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a small bowl, toss the shrimp with 1/2 tsp. salt. Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the shrimp and cook until one side is pink, about 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and continue to cook until pink all over, still a bit translucent in the center, 1 to 2 minutes. Take the skillet off the heat and transfer the shrimp to a plate. Squeeze one of the lemon wedges over the shrimp.

Put the skillet over medium heat. Pour the remaining 1 Tbs. oil into the skillet, then add the onion. Sprinkle with a big pinch of salt and cook until the edges of the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the cumin and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add 1-1/2 cups water, the chickpeas, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Simmer over medium-high heat for 5 minutes to develop the flavors.

Using a potato masher, mash about half of the chickpeas right in the pan. Add the spinach and cilantro. Using tongs, carefully toss the greens to help them cook evenly and wilt, about 2 minutes.

Add the reserved shrimp and any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Cook for another 1 or 2 minutes to reheat the shrimp and cook them fully (be careful not to overcook them). Season with salt to taste. Portion into warm bowls and serve with the remaining lemon wedges on the side.

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