Mark and I are creatures of habit. If we have a salad for lunch or dinner, neither of us has to ask the other what kind of dressing we want to make for it. One of us just reaches for the dijon mustard, olive oil, and vinegar, and we create something with those ingredients as the base. We have about 3 or 4 places in our regular rotation for eating out….and we dine almost exclusively at a local greasy spoon for breakfast. My point? We like to eat similar things on a regular basis. I’ve been directing extra attention to listening to my body since getting pregnant…actually, I think I’ve been working on listening to me body for a while before that, when I first started doing the natural body cleanse. Luckily for me, my body and my husband are asking for the same things:
Pesto, Meat, and Asian
In the past week, we’ve had two very similar pesto dishes and two very similar Vietnamese-inspired dishes. Why mess with a good thing? Today, I am going to share my second versions of each (the firsts were previously listed).
Vietnamese-inspired Pork and Veggies over Rice Vermicelli:
1 package of rice vermicelli, prepared
1 lb of pork tenderloin, chopped into small chunks’
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
salt/pepper to tast
3 tablespoons of fish sauce
1. With a little bit of olive oil, saute the onions and garlic over medium high heat, until the onions are soft.
2. Add the pork, along with the salt, pepper, and fish sauce. Mix well. Cook for about 2 minutes.
3. Add the yellow pepper and mushrooms. Continue cooking, stirring regularly, until the the pork is cooked thoroughly.
4. Serve the pork and veggies over prepared rice vermicelli. Garnish with Vietnamese hot sauce, cucumbers, and a little squeeze of lime juice.
We didn’t love this as much as the beef version, but it was still pretty fantastic. I actually adapted the direction from how I cooked it, and I think the new directions will make for a better meal. Originally, I threw the pork, veggies, and seasonings into the frying pan at the same time. I think the flavors overwhelmed each other, and the fish sauce was unable to saturate the pork. So, I am suggesting that the pork go in first, with a little time to take in the fish sauce flavor, and then add the veggies later.
I may have Vietnamese blood running in my veins. Fish sauce is pungent. It smells like wet dog. It’s delicious, but it smells like wet dog (the better the quality, the worse it smells, in my opinion). However, I no longer flinch when first smelling it….now when I smell fish sauce, my taste buds come alive. I know something delicious will come from my pan. It makes my mouth water.
A real wet dog does not elicit that reaction, thank goodness.
Rice noodles ~$1.00
Pork ~ $3.00
Yellow pepper ~$1.00
Mushrooms ~ $1.50
Total: ~ $6.50
I think I’ve mentioned before that I have become obsessed with the blog Smitten Kitchen. The blogger creates the most beautiful and delicious food. Well, a couple days ago, she posted a recipe for a pesto made from fresh peas (the recipe is linked in the hyperlink above), which inspired me to make my arugula pesto the other day. However, I could not stop thinking about that pea pesto! I love peas. Split pea and ham soup reminds me of growing up in the cold, Ohio winters. If I were only able to survive on one canned food for the rest of my life, I’d choose canned peas (yes, I even liked the canned variety). I made a kick-butt pea soup a while back. Peas are delicious. While I didn’t have any fresh peas handy, I decided to try this pea pesto recipe with frozen peas.
I’m not going to retype the recipe, since I followed the one linked above. The only modifications I made were: I used pistachios instead of pine nuts, because I am the worst New Mexican ever and do not have pine nuts (or as we call it pinon) handy. Also, I had a beautifully ripe tomato sitting on my counter, so I chopped that up and mixed it with the pasta.
I LOVED this dish. It was so yummy. Pesto just screams summer to me, plus for a pregnant woman battling heartburn, it keeps the acid at a minimum, unlike tomato-based sauces. Also, it’s a pretty simple way to pack in the veggies. I think it’s particularly effective if you are using basil, spinach, or arugula….those wonderful leafy greens we should be eating all the time. Mark said it was good, but not his favorite….though he definitely had seconds! This dish was for me. He likes pasta with very light sauces (olive oil based). Actually, I don’t think he likes pasta much at all, but he doesn’t have the heart to tell his part-Italian wife the news. I’ll pretend I haven’t figured this out yet. 😉
Pasta ~ $.70
Peas ~ $1.00
Tomato ~ $.50
Total: ~ $2.20