The Spring Equinox will arrive at CORNIE’S KITCHEN on March 20, at 11:57 AM CDT. Although this is less than a week away, our weather has turned back toward a late winter with falling temperatures and a cold rain. Yet we will see our sunshine and better days by the first day of spring.
Heating up the kitchen serves two purposes on a damp evening like this. Not only does the warmth of the stove make the kitchen cozy, but cooking in bulk saves energy. I baked six chicken breasts tonight. I used a combination of Rosemary and garlic herbs with olive oil brushed over the breasts. I like to do this “cook ahead” business when I have the time, so that I always have a healthy and quick option for a meal. These portions can show up as the protein power of a salad, a soup, or can be gently reheated for a main dish with pasta or rice. I can make a meal in five minutes, even when I’m tired and hungry.
I seem to be worn out lately with the time change. I travel without the benefit of a clock now that I don’t punch someone else’s Timeclock. This is one of the great privileges of working for yourself. It makes up for the lack of large amounts of money flowing into the bank account. However, retirement is that bonus time of life when a person can wake up early because they want to, drink excellent coffee in their own kitchen, take their thoughts to God, write in a journal, read the paper (actual or on line), and linger over a healthy breakfast.
I seem to be “at work” writing my novel for two hours before breakfast, then I take a meal break. I post my facebook pages, and I’m in my art studio by 10 AM. By 2:30 PM, I’m ready to eat lunch and then go take an afternoon walk. I’m done by this time. I come home to relax, eat dinner, sleep for eight hours and do it all over again. The loss of the hour on the clock means that my stomach and my sleep needs aren’t yet synchronized. I’m still on the “old” time, but I’m getting close to the “new” time.
What have I got planned for these breasts on the menu this week? Sunday and Monday will be cool, so I’m thinking CORNIE’S KITCHEN will go with a chicken, broccoli and black rice plate for dinner and a repeat of the sweet potato, asparagus and breast meal pictured for Monday. Tuesday will be a spinach salad with veggies, and a soup with chicken, black rice and veggies.
I don’t eat sandwiches too much anymore, for the commercial breads aren’t fiber dense enough to waste my carb servings on them. I’d rather have more fresh vegetables, which have more nutrients, fewer carbs and fewer calories than the bread. I’m crazy about the sweet potatoes, for they have fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. They have 20 grams of carbs per 1/2 cup serving.
Asparagus will keep better in the ice box if you wrap the bunch in a paper towel. It has a high respiration rate, which means that it will lose water and wrinkle. Eat what you buy within 48 hours. Asparagus stems don’t break down completely on our insides, but become food for bacteria like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli that are associated with better nutrient absorption, lower risk of allergy, and lower risk of colon cancer (prebiotic). Only persons with gout should avoid this wonderful vegetable due to the purines.
Sauté your asparagus in a bit of olive oil with a bit of fresh garlic crushed into the pan over medium heat. All the prep work the spears need is washing and cutting off the pale woody stem ends. Don’t salt them in the pan, as this will draw water out of the stems. When they are tender, but still al dente, transfer them to the serving dish or the plates.