Tuesday, March 29, 2011

One Spring Day that Inspired a Dinner!

Happy Spring!
Spring Calla Lillies


Garden Roses

One Spring Morning, quite early for me, I went to downtown Los Angeles to buy some flowers.   I got distracted taking photos and kept clicking away.  The result was like being immersed in a palette of colors that stayed with me throughout the day.  Someone was teasing me as I had so much energy, I did some gardening, then, did some housecleaning, and even a trip to Trader Joe's.  Whew, I did not get tired..oh yes, I did, but it simply took me a few minutes to re-center myself.  

Flowers give me their innate nature's energies.  They inspire me so much.  I witnessed so many beautiful wreaths that surrounded my father's casket that I told my family, I prefer to get my flowers now, rather than later when I am six feet under.  So, my good hubby gives me the best looking orchids for our wedding anniversary and my birthday.  Once, my cousin, Alfred teased him and said, you mean Kuya your love is only seasonal?  Ha, ha...do  jokes have their underlying subtext of truth or not?  Well, I have gotten flowers for over three decades now, so there is an enduring sweetness to that.

Inspired by that thought and recalling memories of flowers for three decades,  I created my husband's dinner tonight, which included me of course, using colors.  Yes, I love colors for my meals.  

Here is what I created.

Ravioli with Arugula and Cheese in Olive oil and Sage, with Snap and Sweet Peas and Shaved Parmesan

Boil ravioli until they emerge to the surface.  Set aside.   In a separate pan, boil for few seconds, the sweet peas and snap peas.  

I love the combination as the snap peas have the crunch, while the sweet peas have the sweetness.  Harvest them after a few seconds, they turn from raw color to bright green cooked color; set aside in a platter.

In a hot pan, add a combination of olive oil and few dabs of butter. You need to combine oil and butter to prevent the burning of olive oil by itself or burning butter by itself, but together, they mellow each other out.   I suppose that might be true for how a person mellows out when with a partner, as the partner mirrors to the other, her strengths and weaknesses.  

Okay, back to the sauce.  Add the sage leaves and herbes de provence to the heated oil/butter combination.  Add the cooked ravioli and toss lightly.  Plate the ravioli in your favorite platter, and surround it with sweet peas and snap peas.  If desired, add parmesan cheese shavings.

My side entree was pan - roasted brussel sprouts in garlic and olive oil, pictured below, that was then baked for a few minutes until done.  Keep an eye on brussel sprouts, if overcooked, it tastes not just soggy but slightly bitter.  If cooked just right, they taste somewhat sweet and a bit crunchy.  If undercooked, they taste inedible.  

So, keep an eye, it is about patience when cooking, patient to wait till the flavors mellow into one another.  It cannot be rushed, for the flavors are raw and have not quite marinated well together. 

I suppose that is like life, or nature, one cannot rush the ripening of fruits or for veggies to be harvested at a given moment.  Instead, with careful investment of labor, water, attention, weeding, the fruits of the tree are ready for picking!  

Happy Spring to all of you! 

Brussel sprouts, pan roasted with garlic in olive oil, then, baked till cooked and served with shaved parmesan cheese.


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