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.

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