Saturday, December 20, 2008

December (and I emphasize the brrrrr) 20 - 25

So, there's lots of holiday hullaballoo, so planning what to eat in advance is a bit tricky.  Hard to say what time we'll be home for dinner on Monday, where we'll be at all on Tuesday, you know.  So I've estimated this week.  And threw in some fallback soup, 'cause it's always good for days and days.  And so, our scattered menu for the week:

Saturday, December 20

We're eating in tonight.  Errands and baking all day, just want the couch tonight.  Flipping through my loose recipe file (all the odds and ends that aren't in a book, stuff I printed off years ago, hand-copied recipes where we forgot to write the title and so have no idea what it's for) I found a recipe for seared tuna from San Chez in Grand Rapids -- a lovely little Spanish tapas place.  I'd so recommend it.  Had this there, and they posted the recipe on their website, and it's easier to make than it looks.

Seared Tuna with Carrot and Leek Salad

1 lg. carrot, peeled and sliced lengthwise into wide ribbons
1 sm. leek, julienne
1 oz. rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. chef salt (make a big batch with 1c salt, 1T pepper, 1T Hungarian sweet paprika, 1t garlic salt or 1/4 t garlic powder)
1 T olive oil
1 lb Sashimi grade tuna, cut into 4 oz. steaks
1/4 c Jamaican jerk seasoning
4 oz. mango coulis (blend mango and sugar in a blender, add water until it makes a pourable sauce)
4 oz. scallion oil (heat oil in a pan, add chopped scallions and stir 10 seconds.  Remove from heat, put in small bowl, cool in fridge)

Here's what you do:
1.  Blanch leeks and carrots until just pliable.
2.  Combine carrot, leek, rice vinegar, chef salt and reserve in fridge.
3.  Heat oil in pan.  
4.  Dredge tuna in jerk seasoning and sear all over in very hot saute pan.
5.  Slice tuna into thin pieces, shingle on platter around carrot and leek salad.
6.  Drizzle with mango coulis and scallion oil.

Note:  I imagine there are several places for shortcuts here.  The mango coulis is easy, and I think I've even used a jar of pre-peeled mango before.  The chef salt could be improvised, I think, without making a big batch.  I imagine the scallion oil doesn't make or break the dish, but adds a nice touch if you have time.

We're having fried rice with this (the first time I tried to type it, it came out friend rice, which I think is lovely).  Saute garlic, scallions, ginger.  Add pre-cooked rice, some diced red pepper, maybe some other veggies (edamame?  broccoli?  hmmmm) and cook until heated through.  Make a well in the center, put a bit of oil down, then pour in 2 beaten eggs and scramble them right there in the middle.  When they're cooked, mix in the rest of the stuff around it, and add soy sauce until suitably yummy.

Sunday, December 21

Happy first day of winter!  Let's have soup!

Grilled cheese sandwiches

Monday, December 22

Miso Soup (from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home)

(I'll probably cut this recipe in half, since this is one I'll eat alone -- not really Phil's cup of tea)

4 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 1/2 c boiling water

Pour water over mushrooms, let sit until they get soft and squishy.

2 med. carrots, sliced diagonally into 1/4 inch thick rounds
4 c vegetable stock or water
1 1/2 cups shredded greens (bok choy, endive, chinese cabbage or spinach)
2 T red miso
2 T light miso
1 cake tofu
chopped scallions

Cover carrots with broth or water, bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Drain shiitake and add soaking liquid to carrots and stock.  Slice shiitake caps thin and add.  Stir in greens, simmer about 5 minutes.  In small bowl, blend both misos with a little bit of stock.  Cut tofu into half inch cubes.  Stir miso mixture into soup, add tofu, heat gently -- don't let it boil.  Garnish with scallions.

Tuesday, December 23 & Wednesday, December 24

I'm not cooking!

Thursday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

For breakfast, we used to get fancy, but realized we love pancakes the best.  So Christmas breakfast:

bacon, sausage, or maybe both?????

Christmas dinner:

We don't do big Christmas dinner, because that might interfere with the snacking.  So everyone brings a few things to nibble on, we have lots of stuff that can be put into slow cookers or big pots on the stove set on low, and we just graze all day long.  By dark, everyone's in a fat-and-happy food coma, and we lay around.

Our contribution this year:

(we don't use the sauce from the recipe, opting instead for Phil's favorite, Sweet Baby Ray's).  

Sweet and Sour Coleslaw:

4 c chopped/shredded cabbage
chopped red pepper (1 or so)
thin sliced scallions
1 c cooked corn kernels
1 T finely minced jalapeno
1/2 c chopped cilantro
1/2 c rice vinegar
sugar to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Mix it, refrigerate.

Cheese and crackers:
So I have an excuse to buy beautiful cheese that I can't always justify for just me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

December 14 - 19

So I've been wishing I could travel somewhere lately...  and that's not gonna happen.  But I felt a strong need to look through my Irish Farmers' Market cookbook I got in Kilkenny, Ireland a few years ago, and felt better after.  And so I'm cooking stuff from that book this week, so I can pretend I'm on vacation.

Sunday, December 14

Shrimp Bisque and Corn Scones (from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home)

1lb small shelled shrimp

1c finely diced onions
1c shredded peeled apple
2T butter or vegetable oil
1T unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
1t fresh lemon juice
1 2-inch long piece lemon peel
1/8 - 1/4 t curry powder (depending on how potent your curry is -- start with a bit, add more to taste)
1 t chopped fresh dill (1/3 t dried)
1/4 t salt
1/4 t ground white pepper
2T dry white wine
1c half-and-half

thin lemon slices

Rinse shrimp, set aside.
In a covered saucepan, saute onions and apples in butter or oil for about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle flour and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.  Stir in water/stock, lemon juice, peel, curry, dill, salt, white pepper and wine.  Simmer about 5 minutes until mixture thickens slightly.  Add shrimp and half and half, simmer until shrimp turn pink. 
Remove lemon peel.  
Puree about 1/3 of soup in food processor or blender, then return to cooking pot.
Garnish with lemon.

Corn scones

1/4 c butter
1/2 c low fat milk
2T brown sugar
1/2 c cornmeal
1 1/2 c unbleached white flour
1/4 t salt
1t baking powder
1/4 c currants
(Karen's note:  I'm not adding currants.  Just because.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Melt butter in saucepan.  
Pour milk in bowl and mix with brown sugar.  Add melted butter.
In another bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.  
Add liquid ingredients to flour mix.  Stir until combined.

On floured surface, press dough into 8-inch circle about 1/2 inch thick.  Slice into eighths.  Separate wedges and place them on oiled baking sheet.  Bake 15 - 20 minutes until puffed and golden.

Monday, December 15

Bacon and Cabbage soup (from Irish Farmers' Market cookbook)
It's an Irish cookbook, so the measurements were in grams and ounces.  I've listed the ounces in the recipe, but I'm figuring I'll just eyeball everything, like I usually do with soup anyway.  Just keep adding good stuff until the pot is full!

2 oz butter
3 1/2 oz diced bacon
4 1/2 oz potatoes, peeled and diced (Karen's note: I don't peel potatoes.  Just because.)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 1/2 oz onions
10 fl oz hot stock (chicken or vegetable)
10 oz chopped fresh tomatoes (though I'm thinking I'll use canned since it's December and fresh tomatoes taste like straw)
10 oz cabbage, shredded
salt and pepper

Melt butter, stir in bacon, potatoes, garlic and onions (can you imagine this smell?).  Cook about 10 minutes on medium heat, covered.

Add stock and tomatoes, bring to a boil.  Add cabbage, reduce heat and cook for about 5 minutes until veggies are tender.  Season with salt and pepper and serve with gorgeous bread.

Maybe have a Guinness with this.  Just because.

Tuesday, December 16

After fabulous soup the last 2 nights, I'm planning on leftovers tonight.

Wednesday, December 17

Sloppy Joes!
This is my mom's recipe.

1 lb. ground beef (we'll use a mixture of ground beef and venison)
chopped onions and garlic -- plenty
salt and pepper

Brown the meat.  Add in onions and garlic, cook until softened.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour in catsup until moist, add about a tablespoon or so of mustard for tanginess.  Simmer until thick.

Serve on hamburger buns.

If the mood strikes, eat a vegetable!  Carrot sticks seem appropriate.

Thursday, December 18

Steak Sandwich with Carmelized Onions (this is adapted from The Irish Farmers' Market Cookbook's Malahide Market Steak Sandwich with Carmelised Onions)

4 T olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium red pepper, seeded and sliced
2 T brown sugar or honey
2 4-oz fillet steaks (but possibly venison -- the freezer's full!)
arugula/greens for dressing
salt and pepper

Heat oil, add onions and pepper, cover and simmer until soft.  Stir in sugar/honey, turn up heat and cook, uncovered, stirring every few minutes, until they begin to carmelize.

Heat 1 T oil in another pan and cook steaks to desired doneness.  Season with salt and pepper.

Grill bread until toasted.  Remove and place on plate.  Cover each slice with greens and a drizzle of olive oil.  Slice steaks thinly and divide between sandwiches.  Top with carmelized onions and peppers and serve.

Friday, December 19

Take out, baby!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

December 7 - 12

Yay!  We have time to cook again (a little).  I feel like I haven't eaten a real vegetable in a week...


Oven roasted potatoes


good bread



Wild Mushroom and Venison Stew (from Phil's first deer ever)
The recipe is for beef, so we'll just replace that with venison and pay attention to the liquid to keep things moist.
More good bread


Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with honey mustard, oh yeah
Sweet potato fries
(The theme tonight is orange food)


Take-out, baby!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

November 30 - December 4

I think that life will get crazier before it gets saner, at least for the next few weeks.  Our strategy this week is to make two big pots of yummy food that we can eat all week long...  'cause we have no idea when we'll be where, or where we'll be when.  And so, this week we'll be eating:

With lovely homemade stock...  I rescued the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving dinner and will simmer stock today.   It's pretty easy -- just turkey bones, a whole bunch of water in a big pot, get it boiling, add some celery, carrots, a couple onions cut in half (keep the skins on -- they give good color) maybe a little garlic, some parsley, peppercorns, thyme.  Simmer for a good long time until the stock is reduced by 1/4 to 1/2.  Cool and strain everything out through cheesecloth.  Put it in the fridge, and use it tomorrow.  When it's cool, sometimes you can pull some fat off the top if you want to go low-fat.  Or just heat all that fatty goodness back in.

2.  Spaghetti.  This isn't my recipe -- it's Phil's creation.  I don't know what he puts in it, but it takes all day long and is spicy and sometimes has meatballs and is quite wonderful.  So, I can't offer any more than that.  But I bet there will be garlic bread, and we'll probably have a vegetable too. 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

November 24 - 28

Sorry, we're slacking this week!  This is a week of staying late at work (sometimes), visiting family (sometimes), shopping (sometimes) and just general unplanningness.  We're not hosting Thanksgiving, therefore I'm taking the week off from planning food.  Probably means that, when we do happen to be home, we'll eat PBJ.  But I love PBJ.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

November 16 - 20

It's cold and rainy and I want to stay in my pajamas and drink coffee all day.  That has nothing to do with dinner, but it needed to be said.  And, looking back, it might have influenced my choices for this week.  Lots of roasting, lots of comfort-food-in-a-big-pot sorts of things.  Yum.

Sunday, November 16

It's Jambalaya time!  

I'll also be making soup today to serve at school tomorrow.  The teachers are taking turns making lunch for each other, then we pay five bucks to eat, and all the money goes to United Way.  We get to do a fundraiser and eat well, too.  I'm making Pasta Fagioli soup, and my friend Elizabeth is bringing bread and a lovely dessert.

Monday, November 17

Salmon with bourbon glaze:  Mix up some brown sugar, bourbon, water and soy sauce.  Put some salmon (wild-caught, please -- the farmed stuff's bad for the environment and you) on a pan covered with tin foil.  Put the oven on about 400 or 425 (this is my standard temperature for everything, I think) and brush the sauce on.  After about 5 minutes, brush some more.  Cooking time depends on how big the salmon pieces are -- I think usually between 8 and 12 minutes, so I'll do one more brush a few minutes before pulling it.  Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper.

We're also having oven-roasted fingerling potatoes (picked these up on my giant farmers' market adventure a few weeks back and haven't had a chance to use them yet) -- coat lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper, roast for about 25 - 40 minutes.  So obviously, put them in before the salmon.

And broccoli.  We'll have that too.

Tuesday, November 18

Wednesday, November 19

Pasta with crumbled turkey sausage, veggies and homemade tomato sauce.

Thursday, November 20

Let's-Pretend-We're-Tailgating Sandwiches:
Take half a loaf of lovely multigrain bread, unsliced.  Cut it in half the long way, separating top from bottom (like a giant hamburger bun).  Saute onions, mushrooms, red pepper, zucchini, press into the bottom slice of bread.  A layer of cheese (I'm thinking provelone) on top of the veggies.  Some ham (or other deli meat) on the cheese, then some honey mustard and mayo.  Press the top of the bread on.  Wrap the whole thing in tin foil, put on a pan and into the oven (400, probably) for 15 - 20 minutes.  Slice in thin slices.  The name comes from the fact that we make these when we tailgate for Lions games, and we cook them on the grill.  

Also, sweet potato oven fries:  slice a sweet potato, toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, and fun spices (maybe some ancho chile powder, maybe just Lawry's...).  Put parchment on a cookie sheet, spread potato slices in a single layer.  Bake for 25 - 40 minutes.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

November 9 - 14

Sunday, November 9

We're going to the Lions game, but we're gonna skip the tailgating this time, as 40 degrees and sleet is too much for this fair-weather fan.  Therefore, we might actually be hungry for dinner tonight, and so I've made a plan:

Roasted brussels sprouts (toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper, pop 'em in a pan in the oven for about 30 - 40 minutes, on 400 or 425 -- can you tell I believe in exact measurements? -- and sprinkle some parmesan on for the last 5 or so minutes.  Lovely.)

Monday, November 10

Lasagna!  It's Phil's sister's recipe:
1 lb. ground beef
1 jar spaghetti sauce
uncooked lasagna noodles
3 c. shredded mozzarella
1/2 c chopped onions
28 oz. can tomatoes
24 oz. cottage cheese
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
garlic, oregano, Italian spices
(and sometimes I add chopped/shredded zucchini)

1.  Chop onions 
2.  Brown beef and onion
3.  Drain and remove from heat
4.  Add sauce, undrained tomatoes and spices
5.  In 13 x 9 glass dish, layer a bit of sauce, then:
3 noodles,
1/3 cottage cheese,
1/3 sauce mixture
1/3 mozzarella
6.  Repeat until ingredients are gone or the pan is overflowing.  Top with parm. cheese.
7.  Cover and refrigerate 8 - 24 hours
8.  Put in cold oven uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 - 50 minutes.

We're also having broccoli.

Tuesday, November 11

Tomato Garlic Soup with Tortellini (from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home)
I love this soup!

Make garlic broth:  
8 c. vegetable stock
3 T minced garlic
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp. paprika
sage, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper

You'll also need 2 c. undrained canned tomatoes and 9 oz. fresh or frozen cheese-filled tortellini as well as some Pecorino or Parmesan for sprinkling when the soup is done.

Boil stock.  In another pan, gently saute garlic in olive oil until golden -- not brown.  Add boiling stock, spices.  Simmer for 15 - 30 minutes.

Add tomatoes.  Simmer for 10 - 15 min.   

In a separate pot, cook tortellini.  Drain.  Put some in a bowl, pour tomato garlic broth over the top.

Wednesday, November 12

Grilled or roasted salmon (depends on the weather)
Oven-roasted sweet potato -- cut it in chunks, toss in oil, salt and pepper, spread out on parchment on a cookie sheet and cook for about 30 min. on 400 or 425.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November 3 - 9

So I hit the farmer's market on Saturday morning and, as usual, bought way more than we needed for the week.  Just doing my part to support the local economy, I guess (though I use that as an excuse every time I buy something that isn't online).  And now I've got to figure out how to use all the stuff that will probably go bad if I wait too long (the squash can sit, the bok choy, not so much).  And I bought lemongrass, because I'm forever seeing it in recipes.  And now I have to find recipes for it.  And so, our lemongrass-inspired menu for the week:

Sunday, November 2

We're gonna roast something.  Maybe a chicken, maybe lamb chops.  Whatever looks good at the store.  This dinner's all about the side dishes:

Roasted beast
Savory butternut squash:  cube 1 butternut squash, toss in oil, season with salt and pepper.   Place in single layer on jelly-roll pan.  Bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes or until tender.   Remove from oven, toss with golden raisins, 2 tsp honey, 1/4 tsp curry powder, 1T minced cilantro.
Roasted brussels sprouts:  Cut the big ones in half, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper.  Roast in oven (400 degrees-ish) until edges brown.  Maybe put some garlic in.  

Monday, November 3

Drunken Stir-Fried Beef with Green Beans

Tuesday, November 4
Happy Election Day!

Wednesday, November 5

Leftovers or sandwiches

Thursday, November 6

Sunday, October 26, 2008

October 27 - 31

Monday, October 27

Keeping it simple tonight -- we're playing the pasta card, and it's only Monday.  Feels like it's gonna be a crazy week, so we'll start off with baby steps.  And so:

Pasta with tomato sauce and Italian sausage.  Just like what it sounds.  Probably whole wheat penne, some sauce from the freezer (made sauce this summer, and found out that about 100 tomatoes makes about 12 cups of sauce...  so we savor it a bit at a time) and some sausage tossed in to keep the meat-loving members of the household happy!

Tuesday, October 28

Wednesday, October 29

Grilled cheese sandwiches!!!  (see Monday, i.e. crazy week)

Thursday, October 30

Grilled salmon:  mix up some maple syrup and balsamic vinegar, drizzle it on...

Friday, October 31

Happy Halloween!  I imagine dinner will be fun-size Milk Duds.   Maybe Hot Tamales.

Friday, October 17, 2008

October 20 - 27

Monday, October 20

Fish tacos:  Cook some flaky fish (whatever looks good at the store this weekend) and season with fajita-like spices.  Make tacos with chopped red bell pepper, red onions, shredded cabbage, whole grain tortillas, cheese, salsa, sour cream.  Maybe black beans too!

Tuesday, October 21


Wednesday, October 22

sliced tomatoes
sour cream for dipping

Thursday, October 23

Friday, October 24

Take out, baby!

Saturday, October 25

I think we might eat out tonight.  Meet up with Phil's high school friend.

Sunday, October 26

Believe it or not, we bought half a season of Lions tickets this year, so we'll be at the game today.  We'll probably be stuffed full of tailgating food.  Haven't planned that far yet, but probably some sort of ribs will happen.  Maybe burgers.  Something grilled and really bad for us.  But it will complement beer well.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

October 13 - 19

So, it's supposed to turn from balmy to cool and rainy this week...  I tried to think about that when I picked food.  Cool and rainy = soup!  I love soup!

Here goes...

Monday, October 13

Tuesday, October 14
Grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches
  • Lovely crunchy whole grain bread
  • Cheese:  maybe Edam...  I think there's some in the fridge
  • Big big slices of tomato
Sauteed broccoli with balsamic vinegar
  • Cut it up, saute it in some olive oil.  After a few minutes, a little bit of water to steam it.
  • Salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar right at the end

Wednesday, October 15

Thursday, October 16
Roasted salmon
  • Salt and pepper, put it in the oven at about 400 for 10 - 15 minutes
Brussels sprouts
  • Cut big ones in half
  • Put in pan in oven with garlic and olive oil.  Cook in oven at 400 about 20 minutes, until they begin to brown and crisp at the edges
  • Sprinkle a bit of parmesan, cook for 5 more minutes 
Couscous with onions and pine nuts
  • Saute some chopped onions
  • Toast some pine nuts in a pan
  • Cook couscous, stir onions and pine nuts in

Friday, October 17
Take out, baby!

Saturday, October 18
It's our anniversary, but it's also the night before I run the Detroit half marathon, so I'll need my typical pre-race carb meal...  pizza and beer

Sunday, October 19
Running the race in the morning, so we're going out to big brunch after that.  Probably just munchies the rest of the day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Dear Friend Dave...

I've heard you haven't been able to decide what to make for dinner.  I created this blog to give you some ideas.  Enjoy!  Love, Karen

Bookmark on Delicious!

How Many Folks Stopped By?