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!

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