June 28, 2006

Odds and Ends

What do you make when you have a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and it all needs to be used up promptly? For my mother, the answer was variously soup or omelettes. For me, the answer used to always be "pizza." I've made pizza out of some astonishing things (leftover Dijon rabbit comes to mind). In the past year or so, I've become enamoured of quesadillas, and that took centre stage for a while. Pizza was out of the question, with the weather being entirely too hot to have the oven on at such a temperature, and I've been eating a lot of quesadillas, lately. What else is there?

Ultimately, when your ingredients are delicious fresh vegetables and a handful of frozen shrimp, the answer has to be that old college standby: the stir-fry. To complement the shrimp, I added ginger, and to complement everything, a lot of fresh garlic and some chile flakes.

I've had to replace my beloved jasmine rice (off the charts on the glycemic index, so a rare treat instead of my default choice) in my pantry, and have experimented with a number of different rices. Often, I choose basmati, but this time, I used simple parboiled rice (the kind I keep on hand for making Jamaican Rice & Beans, or jambalaya) , but served as seen here, the rice felt a little uninspired. After the camera was put away and I was sitting down to eat, I found myself mixing everything about so that the buttery juices of the shrimp and vegetables would be soaked up by the rice. It was the right thing to do, if a little less photogenic. Still, if hunger hadn't been the driving force at the late hour of my dinner, I would have photographed it, too - little brightly coloured gems of pepper and glistening jagged tops of asparagaus peeking through the white grains of rice - it was entirely tolerable, aesthetically.

Dinner on the table in 18 minutes. Take that, FoodTv! Plus, I managed to use up not one but three ingredients that were riding on the edge of their expiry dates.

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