Eliza’s Thoughts on our Second Night of SinPollo

Eliza says, best dinner yet!

This is partly a blog to eat cheap and healthy, and we also want to not waste anything, so…

I found leftover orzo salad (recipe at end of post) from our dinner with Cathy and Betty and Carol.  We needed something that would compliment the pistachio/currant blend in that salad, bearing in mind Bill’s edict for vegetables and herbs to kick back and like each other, even though he was out-of-town.  Grace remembered we had a little bit of leftover mushroom/ginger/garlic saute from last night, and thought that would taste great mixed with braising greens.  In the crisper:  baby lettuces, a red pepper, a cucumber and an avocado.  On the counter, half a loaf of two-day-old homemade bread.  Hmm… and bourbon vanilla gelato.  Plus the ingredients for Maple Crisp cookies, and time enough to bake them, because I didn’t have to go to the store.

Cheese and crackers, first, for a little extra protein.  Also, really, what is the day’s end without cheese and crackers?

Our meal was:

  • Orzo salad
  • Bruschetta with greens and leftover mushrooms
  • Green salad with Bright Herb Dressing from June 2012 Bon Appetit, using thyme and parsley from our garden
  • Bourbon vanilla gelato with Maple Crisp cookies

Chartreuse greens melting darker as they wilt in the pan.  The smell of ginger and garlic rising in a palpable steam.  An easy and easy-going dinner, no fussing at all, Grace and I just cooked and talked and laughed.  I love this kind of meal.  I used to think vegetarian cooking had to be so work-intensive, and that I had to have time in abundance.  Not last night’s meal, and not this one.  No measuring!  No counting.  Which was good, as we were all trying, and failing, to remember the names of poets.  Walt Whitman!  That’s for you, Doug and Elsie.  He landed on my shoulder the minute you drove off.  I miss you so much during the winter… so glad you are here!



Curried Orzo Salad



1 TB curry powder

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp coriander

salt and pepper

olive or flax seed oil, or a combo, as needed (maybe ¼ to ½ cup, maybe less)

Juice of ½ or one lemon, or less



½ cup shelled pistachios, salted

11/2 cup or a whole box orzo

½ cup currants, plumped for ten minutes in hot or boiling water I pour out some of the water I’m boiling for the orzo), and drained well.


Combine vinaigrette ingredients.

Toast pistachios in oven or on the stove top until fragrant (not necessary if they are shelled and roasted already).

Cook orzo until al dente.  Toss, while still warm with vinaigrette, then fold in other ingredients.


This salad lasts a while in the fridge, several days at least.



Maple Crisp Cookies


1 stick butter, melted

1 tbsp. water

2 tbsp. maple syrup

1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 1/4 c. oatmeal


In a small bowl (microwave) or pan (stovetop), melt the butter, then add water and maple syrup.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt, then stir in the oatmeal, followed by the butter mixture.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving plenty of room to spread (they are almost entirely butter, after all… thank you, Julia Childs!)  Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Add nuts if wanted—optional.


Salad in motion

Salad in motion

Spring Mix lettuce, red pepper, cucumber, feta cheese crumbles, flax seed oil, olive oil, and dressing (one shallot, parsley, red wine vinegar, thyme, and olive oil– from Bon Appetite June 2012’s Basmati Rice and Summer Vegetable Salad recipe)

Bruschetta topping

Bruschetta topping

Heat olive oil, then add two cloves minced garlic and grated ginger. Chop the braising greens and add to sauce pan. We then added our mushrooms from last night (after chopping into smaller sizes) and saute until the greens are reduced…Yum! Top the toasted bread slices with this yummy mixture and you have a crunchy and satisfying appetizer!

mushrooms and greens and orzo–oh my!

This morning we woke up from a delicious meal of Mushrooms with Garlic, Ginger, and Shallots (the mushrooms were fabulous–Thanks to Carol for lending us her Asian cookbook.  But, due to lack of experience, the wild rice was completely undercooked. The jasmine rice from Bon Appetite June 2012 was flawless, as was the brown rice, which we have been cooking for many years. Julie and Julia was, as always, fabulous.)  My mom got a phone call this morning from a family friend, Elsie, who has just arrived in town for the summer with her husband, Doug.  Elsie and Doug are among my favorite summer residents in Maine, and we couldn’t wait to have them over for dinner.  My dad was away on business last night and will not be home until late tonight, so we are having two nights free of comments such as “You know what would make this vegetarian lasagne just a little bit better? Sausage,” yet still missing an opportunity to convince him of the wonders of veggie cooking! Also, with dad gone we are missing one person to finish up the rest of the meal, which means that our fridge is currently filled with left-overs and as much as my mom and I would love to make Elsie and Doug a fresh dinner, we just have to get rid of our food (a common problem, especially for broke college students!)  

Nevertheless, our menu is going to be a new take on greens, mushrooms, orzo, and salad fixings:

  • Bruschetta made with braising greens and mushrooms
  • Orzo with pistachios and currants 
  • Salad
  • Dessert: Oatmeal Crisp Cookies (my grandmother’s home recipe) with Bourbon French Vanilla Gelato

It is 5:47 PM and we have to get cooking…Photos will be uploaded soon! Buen Provecho!