One adage that I often heard when I was teaching was, “if you come across a good idea, steal it . . . but then pass it on.” It was good advice then, and I think it applies just as much to recipes and cooking. If you find a good recipe, use it . . . but then pass it on. I try to link to recipes whenever I can, but sometimes our meals are just things I put together, no recipe required.
I once shared a recipe though that I felt that someone “stole,” because the woman I shared it with entered it into a contest as her own, and actually won first place! One day at Trader Joe’s, I was picking up a bag of their frozen potstickers, and a woman standing next to me asked, “how do you eat those?” I told her that we usually just fried/steamed them and ate them plain with some dipping sauce, but that sometimes I used them to make dumpling soup. It was a simple recipe: combine chicken stock, grated ginger, and a little soy sauce for the broth, and then add a bag of baby spinach and a bag of the frozen dumplings and heat through. She thanked me and took a bag of the dumplings with her.
Two weeks later, our local paper, The Oregonian, published the winners of their “five ingredients or less” recipe contest, and the first place winner was . . . my dumpling soup, right down to exact amounts of soy sauce and ginger I recommended, the bag of baby spinach, and the bag of Trader Joe’s dumplings! This woman submitted it under her name, and got bragging rights for MY recipe! I was very angry at the time, both for this woman’s nerve, but also because I could have been the winner (although I hadn’t seen the announcement for the contest). I thought about calling the paper, but in the end realized it didn’t really matter . . . I was happy to share the recipe with the woman in the store, and happy to share it with others, even if someone else had become the vehicle.
There is only one recipe to link to this week, but I will share another family recipe that I made this last weekend, a family favorite when I was young. I have no idea where my mom got the recipe – I don’t even know if it was ever written down:
California Herbed Butter
Melt one stick of butter. To this add: chopped fresh garlic, chopped basil (either fresh or dried), chopped green onions (including green tops), and fresh lemon juice. Add however much of these ingredients fit the flavors you prefer, i.e. you might like more garlic, or more lemon flavor, or have a lot of fresh basil to use up. The butter makes a wonderful topping for toasted bread, or can be put under the skin of a chicken before roasting. Unused butter can be kept in the refrigerator, or frozen, and then softened and spread later.
Hopefully this recipe will be a winner for someone, whether it’s entered in a contest or not!
Here’s what we’re having this week:
- Tuesday (this evening): Grilled teriyaki chicken; zaru soba; cole slaw (This was bumped from last week. I’ll be dipping zoodles instead of soba)
- Wednesday: Pad Thai with chicken; cucumber salad (not sure what I’m having)
- Thursday: Grilled jalapeño-cheddar bratwurst; sauerkraut; grilled zucchini
- Friday: Leftovers (WenYu works Friday evenings, so it’s become our leftover night)
- Saturday: Mabo dofu; steamed rice; cucumbers
- Sunday: Loco Moco; fruit (no rice for me)
- Monday: Slow cooker balsamic pork roast; pilaf; green beans (I’m skipping the pilaf)
We’ll be getting lots of cucumbers, zucchini, bok choy, mung bean sprouts, and fruit at the farmers’ market this week. Otherwise, everything is on hand, so no other trips to the store will be needed.