One of the reasons why I love Trader Joe’s is because they have delicious frozen items that can be combined with fresh foods to make a quick meal. I’m no Sandra Lee of Semi-Homemade Meals (or whatever it’s called) but on a weeknight I really like that cooking doesn’t take quite as long. I’ve got things to do!
Anyway, this meal here uses TJ’s Melodious Blend (how can you say no to a title like that?) which has green and red lentils, green garbanzo beans and tomatoes. Along with that I made a quick creamy coleslaw of some ingredients in the fridge (a little bit of a spicy lime dressing I had, some Caesar dressing and other seasonings) and diced some red and yellow tomatoes from the CSA box. I pan-fried some red onions from the box to give it a little crunch. And on top of all of this rested a Trader Joe’s crab cake, which comes two in a package and is very tasty!
I really, really, really liked the different flavors at work here, and the textures too. There were the fresh tomatoes, and lentils for some wholesome earthiness, creamy and crunchy lettuce, crabby-creamy cakes and the bite of onions. It took maybe 30 minutes tops and was one of the best things I’ve eaten in a long time. Obviously, which is why I only have a half eaten dish to show you! (And I’m making that coleslaw again tonight!!)
The next day, while I was at the gym, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I’d loved this dinner. Since I’m also trying to eat healthier, I was going to have tuna for lunch. I thought that because I couldn’t have crab cakes I should just have tuna cakes instead. After my work out I hurried home and started constructing these little baby cakes. I used an egg yolk I had, some seasonings and I quickly processed a heel of garlic naan I toasted. Next time I’d use two yolks to hold them together even more because a couple of the cakes broke (but were still delicious!). I had a few more of those red and yellow tomatoes and SO MUCH BASIL from the CSA box so I decided to make a quick side salad.
The tuna cakes sat on a bed of cottage cheese that I seasoned very lightly with lime juice and salt. It really didn’t need anything extra, though. Around the tuna I arranged the tomatoes and drizzled a little olive oil.
Now, all this sounds normal and good. But the black plums you see are what elevated this dish for me. I picked up a few plums at the store recently, and I couldn’t get the image of their shining ruby colored flesh out of my mind. They stayed there like plump little jewels, making my mouth water with their sweet juiciness. I skinned one (which is fairly easy!) and quartered them. Unless they’re really unripe the pieces of plum will be a little messy, but you want them like that. More mess means more sweetness. Kind of like in life. The juices would also help make the dressing for this side dish. I tossed the plums in about two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar at the last moment, and arranged them around the tomatoes. I spooned the leftover vinegar over the plums and garnished everything with basil.
And that’s how I had two days of cake and two delicious meals.