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« Melon and Prosciutto Salad | Main | Use Your Noodle to Perk-Up Weeknight Pasta »

Kitchen Yoga

By Lori Powell

Cooking for one is highly underrated and might seem to some a tad lonely. My day job is to create recipes to serve at least four or more people and sometimes involves working in the company of others. So I embrace MY time alone in the kitchen where the only sounds I hear are from my knife chopping and slicing or something sizzling and speaking to me from the pot on the stove.

Being alone in the kitchen is when I can truly lose myself in the ingredients and smells of conjuring up a nourishing meal. Everything else that happened that day gets drowned out by the current task at hand. It’s not unlike a runner who gets in the zone on the track and their single focus is to move forward.

Another thing is, I get cranky if I haven’t had enough time to just cook for the sheer pleasure of it (without having to record all my steps on paper to develop a recipe). A lot gets worked out in the repetitive Zen-like act of peeling a bunch of carrots. It’s what I like to call my “Kitchen Yoga”…it frees my mind, which in turn, clears my head.

So the next time you might be dreading some prep in the kitchen…alone…it might just be a matter of changing your way of thinking and embracing the simple tasks at hand that will allow you to forget the trials of the day. Another upside is you will have made something delicious and nourishing to reward yourself with. Now isn’t that restorative? Speaking of carrots….

To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Pasta Primavera (my way)
Serves 1

1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme
2 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 medium carrots, shaved with a vegetable peeler to form ribbons
¼ cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups (1 ½ ounces) coarsely chopped baby spinach
2 ounces dried tagliatelle or spaghetti
1 tablespoon low-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or to taste
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a medium skillet over moderately-high heat, until hot. Cook shallot with thyme until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until mushrooms give off their liquid and are golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in carrot ribbons and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in spinach and cook 30 seconds. Remove skillet from heat.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup cooking water and drain pasta.

Transfer pasta to skillet with sour cream and ¼ cup reserved pasta water. Cook over moderate heat, tossing pasta with tongs, adding more of the cooking water if mixture seems dry, until pasta is heated through and spinach is wilted. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Eat immediately!

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