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!

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