Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 31 - February 4

Oh, it's so cold. How could we make anything else but chili?

Chili -- this recipe, but I think we'll try buffalo in it instead of beef.
jalapeno poppers -- haven't tried to make them before, but Phil's thinking he'll hunt down a recipe and give 'em a go.

Roasted sole, with olive oil, salt, pepper and capers, and then a bit of lemon juice at the end
Roasted potatoes

Quesadillas with black beans and shredded chicken
Shredded cabbage, diced tomato, diced avocado, lime juice, salt for a nice little salad to go with

salad (balsamic dressing, red bell pepper, sunflower seeds)

Pork Chops Oreganata -- we got this giant chop in a CSA share a while back, and haven't been sure what to do with it. This recipe has us marinate and broil, and make a lovely bulgur, tomato, spinach and feta salad to go with.

In addition...
A co-worker just had a baby a couple weeks ago, and we're making a whole bunch of food for her and her family so they don't have to think about cooking. I'm making lasagne -- easy to freeze if they don't need it right away. This is based on my sister in law Sharon's recipe. Thanks, Sharon!

1 chopped onion
1 pound ground beef
28 oz diced canned tomatoes
16 oz spaghetti sauce
spices & herbs -- garlic, oregano, basil
3c shredded mozzarella
24 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese
lasagne noodles

1. Brown beef and onion. Remove from heat.
2. Add sauce, tomatoes and spices.
3. In greased 13 x 9 glass dish layer:
noodles, then
1/3 of the ricotta, then
1/3 of the sauce, then
1/3 of the mozzarella & Parmesan, then
repeat two more times.
4. Cover and refrigerate.
5. Put in cold oven uncovered at 35o degrees for 45 - 50 minutes.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

January 24 - 28

I wish I could eat more dinners. I realize it would be unnecessary, as well as expensive, as well as make me fat. But I was a little struck this morning by the cookbooks on my shelf that I haven't looked at in a long, long time, and so I stacked about 8 of them and brought them to the couch. And I found about seventy-three dinners I'd really like to try sometime soon.

If only I was adventurous enough (and had enough time) to make pad thai for breakfast... or carmelized butternut squash for lunch... then I'd be able to squeeze in more yummy experiments. Alas, I'm an apple-and-peanut-butter-for-breakfast kind of girl (quick, juicy, and you can eat it on the run!) and lunch is often leftovers from the previous night's dinner. So I'm stuck to once a day, not counting weekends (because we have to allow for take out, or even a restaurant, at some point). There are worse problems, I guess.

Anyway, here's what made the cut for this week:

Roasted chicken
Roasted veggies -- onion, tomato, mushrooms, red pepper, garlic
Roasted sweet potato

I'm trying a new chicken recipe on my endless search for the perfect roasted chicken. And in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, there's a recipe for... Perfect Roast Chicken! How could I not try it?


Leftovers... soup, chicken, salad...

Huevos rancheros:
Saute an onion, add some garlic, some black beans, some spicy spices. Spread on a tortilla, sprinkle a bit of cheese, put in the oven (400 degrees) for about 10 minutes. Fry an egg. Pull the tortilla and beans out of the oven, pop the egg on top. Maybe salsa.

Fried rice, from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home

I'll make half this recipe, because if I make all 4 servings, I'll just eat 3 of them right then and there.

Mix: 1 T grated ginger, 4 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 c soy sauce, 2 T rice vinegar, 2 tsp molasses, 2 T dark sesame oil, 1/2 tsp chili paste.

Slice 1 cake tofu into strips, marinate in the above mixture for 10 minutes.

In oil, saute:
2 bell peppers
6 oz snow peas

Add the marinated tofu.

Add rice, scallions, pour on marinade, mix and heat.

I might also add a few other veggies when I saute the bell peppers and snow peas -- maybe mushrooms, celery, or an onion. Depends on what's still around on Thursday.

Have a good week!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 17 - 21

I'm in the midst of the weekly menu planning, and it's a bit of a mess here at my table. Recipes, food magazines, cookbooks, three different lists and rapidly cooling coffee are strewn all around. See, I'm trying to find some balance.

We are beginning to learn the use-what-we've-got instinct, and have created a freezer inventory to keep track of our latest goodies from the CSA, our cuts of venison from Phil's deer, and all the other stuff. So when I plan our menus, I get out those lists and start from there.

But then, I also try to find some balance in what we eat on a weekly basis. I try (not always successfully) to vary the kinds of food -- at least one vegetarian meal, at least one fish, not too many different kinds of soup, not too much beef and pork. And making these two things mesh felt extra tricky this week.

For example: we got emu in our CSA delivery yesterday. It's dark red. Poultry or red meat? I know it doesn't really matter. But when I'm already feeling indecisive, little questions like this can be a big roadblock for me. Fortunately, my desire to clean off my table won, and I came up with a sort of workable menu for the week. But I might change my mind:

Emu steak with wild mushroom sauce: based on a recipe from High Lonesome Ranch (see the recipe for Emu Fillets with Wild Mushroom Sauce)
Garlic mashed potatoes
Salad with vinaigrette


Meatball Broccoli Spaghetti: This was my favorite thing to cook in high school, and I usually crave it about once a year. This is the lucky day. I'm revamping a little bit so my arteries don't shriek, but here's my latest variation:

Sliced mushrooms
olive oil
2 c. broth (I'll probably use chicken, as I just made a bunch last week)
1 lb (or a little less, if I can find a small enough package in the freezer)ground venison or buffalo
1 c broken whole wheat spaghetti
3 c chopped broccoli
salt, pepper
parmesan cheese

1. Saute mushrooms in a bit of oil.
2. Add broth, bring to a boil. (This is rhyming so far!)
3. Make little meatballs with burger, salt, pepper. Drop in broth, simmer about 10 minutes.
4. Add spaghetti. Simmer 10 more minutes.
5. Add broccoli. Simmer 10 minutes, or maybe less -- depending on how done you like your broccoli.
6. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle some cheese on top.

Lentil soup: Based on a recipe in Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home:

3/4 c lentils
3 c water
bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, chopped

Put in a pan on high heat, covered. While you're waiting for it to boil, do this:

1 c grated carrot
1 chopped tomato
1/2 c finely chopped bell pepper

Add them to the pot. When it boils, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes -- until the lentils are tender. While that's happening, do this:

Saute 3/4 c chopped onion. Add:
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
pinch of cayenne

Remove from heat. When the lentils are done, take out the bay leaf and ginger. Add the sauteed onions and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.

Maybe some pita for dipping?

Split pea soup:

Not entirely sure on the recipe for this yet, but here's what I'm thinking right now:

Trim a pork steak. Sear it in a pan. Remove.
Saute an onion in my big soup pot.
Add some diced carrot and celery and garlic.
Add about a cup of dried peas, some water, the pork steak, a jar of tomatoes.
Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for about an hour or so, keeping an eye on the liquid.
When the peas are done, pull out the pork steak and chop/shred it. If the consistency of the soup isn't right, mash it up a bit. Put the pork back in, season with salt and pepper.

I think toast for dipping.

Have a good week!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 10 - 14

We went snowshoeing today! Now we're hungry, hungry, hungry, so we're inventing a stew recipe. Perfect for a mid-January Sunday (as long as it turns out)!

Lamb stew
Good bread
The story on the stew: we have various lamb parts in the freezer we've been saving from different things... some bones, some oddly-shaped scraps left over from when we made kebabs a few weeks ago. Dusted it all with flour, salt and pepper, browned it in a bit of olive oil, then tossed it in the slow cooker. Added onions, garlic, leeks, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes and some canned tomato. A little bit of beef stock, some water, salt and pepper. It's been bubbling away for about 5 hours now. Soon, I'll check the bones and remove any meat still clinging to them, and then simmer it for a while longer. It's an experiment, but I'm hopeful.

Oven roasting tonight!
Salmon, roasted in the oven
Brussels sprouts, also roasted
Cauliflower -- I'll probably steam this, just to mix things up a little.


I'm guessing it'll be more chili

(Ground venison simmered in spices, then probably onion, tomato, cheese, salsa, sour cream, maybe lettuce or shredded cabbage)

Have a good week!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

January 3 - 7

As promised, this week has lots of fish and veggies. And no cookies for dessert.

Homemade pizza: half whole-wheat, half white flour crust... topped with anything in the fridge that looks good!

Scallop scampi (quickly sear the scallops and remove, saute garlic and chopped tomatoes, add a bit of vermouth, put scallops back in and cook until done. Season with salt, pepper, maybe something spicy -- chili pepper flakes? Tabasco?)

Omelet with tomato, mushroom, spinach, onion, feta

Cod with scallions and ginger (Make sauce with ground ginger, scallions, garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, drizzle on fish, bake the fish at 400 for about 10 minutes or so.)
Sauteed cabbage with sesame oil

Pork tenderloin (slice into little pieces, saute in a bit of olive oil, make a sauce with some balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper)
Roasted veggies (zucchini, peppers, onion, anything else that's hanging around in the fridge)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Just wanted to share...

Just the news about the fabulous eating the last few days, and my new cookbooks I got for Christmas this year.

New Year's Eve dinner
We had courses, spread out over several hours, so our tummies wouldn't get too full.
Prawns, sauteed in garlic and chili flakes, with a bit of white wine at the end
Venison tenderloin, quickly seared in butter, then sliced with bits of bread for rescuing any sauce
King crab legs, grilled, with butter for dipping, salad and bread on the side
Creme brulee for dessert!

New Year's Day dinner
One of my new cookbooks this year was Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. More on that later. We had a lovely roast from our November CSA delivery, so boeuf bourguignon seemed necessary. Homemade chocolate-peanut butter ice cream for dessert.

Fun Gifts!
Three lovely cookbooks:
Adventures of an Italian Food Lover, by Faith Heller Willinger
Simply Organic, by Jesse Ziff Cool
The aforementioned Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. I've long thought that this cookbook wasn't really for me, as it seemed fussy and full of butter. But I changed my mind after seeing Julia and Julia this summer (reading the book twice didn't convince me, but seeing the food being cooked was enough to push me over the edge). Don't know how many recipes I'll try, but I'm having fun just reading it.

Also, I got some gorgeous 18-year old balsamic vinegar and basil olive oil from Fustini's Oil and Vinegar (yes, I got vinegar for Christmas, and yes, I'm that excited about it).

And fun tools! A kitchen scale, so less guessing of measurements, and a mandolin, so cool slicing and dicing and pretending to be on Top Chef.

Alas, I did not get any big giant elastic fat pants for Christmas, so I'm gonna have to be good for a while. Expect lots of fish and salads. Happy New Year!

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