I hear it a lot- “But I don’t know how to cook!” or “I don’t have any time to cook!” or “I don’t know what to do in the kitchen!” …. I’ve heard them all. And they are all valid concerns, but it’s all perspective. Cooking is easy. And cooking well? It’s even easier!
All you need is a little flexibility and an open mind. You’ll find you can create amazing “masterpieces” in mere minutes. Impress your family, amaze your guests. And smile all the while knowing you whipped that magnificent dish together in no time flat!
The other night I started thinking about steamed zucchini for dinner. This isn’t in and of itself anything new or earth shattering- I love steamed zucchini in the summer. But I was determined to make tonight’s dinner a meal my kids would enjoy. Something beyond my typical steamed vegetables. I remembered I also had picked up fresh green beans and red onions. Add to this one of my quick and easy go to dressings, and I had a dish to impress!
The beauty of this side is that it can be served hot or cold, which essentially means you can prepare the parts in advance and in batches, then just mix together when ready to serve! Simple, so simple!
Start first with making your dressing. I like to make this is large quantities and use for whatever I need throughout the week. Each week I can change out a few of the ingredients (like swap limes for lemons or mix up some of the herbs) and I end up with a whole new dressing.
Lime Cilantro Dressing:
- juice of 2 limes
- 1/4c. olive oil
- garlic, finely minced
- shallots, finely minced
- cilantro, 1 fresh bunch- washed and stemmed
- sea salt, to taste
Place all ingredients in a wide mouth mason jar and puree with an immersion blender until emulsified. You can also use your food processor. Set aside, or store in the fridge for up to one week.
Next, prepare your zucchini. Wash, then quarter or round it. Steam over boiling water for 5 or so minutes. I prefer mine to be lightly steamed, retaining a nice bit of crunch. Be careful to not overcook, or you will end up with mush!
While the zucchini is steaming, prepare your green beans. Wash and trim the ends. When zucchini is done, transfer to a bowl and place the green beans in the steamer basket. Steam for 5 or so minutes, allowing them to cook but still retain a bit of crispness.
While the green beans are cooking, peel and quarter or slice your red onion. Bring a small amount (1T or so) of avocado oil to heat in a pan over medium. Place the onions in the pan and allow to slowly cook. They will release their fragrance and become translucent. Eventually you will see them begin to become golden and crispy on the outside.
When all the vegetables are done, arrange on a platter however you wish. I placed the green beans down first, as a bed for the others. Then I lightly scattered the zuccini through the middle and topped it all with the sautéed onions. Add the dressing, lightly coating the vegetables and allowing to spread over the top. I chose to lightly toast some sesame seeds and top it all off. And voila! Dinner! It still answered my need of fresh cooked summer vegetables, but it gave my family the interest and variety they needed… plus the visual appeal to make it appetizing and satisfying!
If I can pull this together in a matter of minutes, so can you! And just imagine, the creative potential to mix and match ingredients is unlimited. Enjoy!