Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 15 - 20

I don't usually include weekend meals on this list (because, frankly, how much can one say about take-out pad thai?) but we had a lovely Saturday night dinner that we made ourselves, so I wanted to share. And also, the rest of the week's plan...

So, another fun Christmas present: A beeeeeautiful, white, solid, tough, KitchenAid stand mixer. I've coveted one from afar for so so long. We've used it three times now, twice for making pizza dough. And it makes very good pizza dough. I've been avoiding making my own dough since our breadmaker finally bit the dust -- I tried mixing it in the Cuisinart, but the consistency was never good. And I'm not a patient kneader. But I'm in love with this dough hook. The dough is easy, and only takes an hour to be ready to bake (which was WAY faster than the stuff the breadmaker would do):

About 2 1/4 tsp. yeast, mixed with a cup of warm water and stirred until it dissolves.
Add 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp olive oil, and 2 1/2 cups of flour (I mix white with whole wheat).
Mix in the mixer for about 5 minutes (speed 2), adjusting flour or water to get the consistency right. Put in a greased bowl, spray top of dough ball with cooking spray, and cover to let rise (about an hour). Flatten (I'm still trying to toss it in the air like pizza guys, but I'm afraid I'll drop it or rip it) and lay out on a baking stone. Top (we used pizza sauce, red onion, marinated red pepper, mushrooms, pesto chicken sausage, some leftover asparagus, mozzerella) and bake at 450 for 15 - 25 minutes.

Lamb shank and Cranberry bean soup (from Chez Panisse Cooking):

In olive oil, on low heat, slowly brown a lamb shank (ours is about a pound). The recipe says to cook it for 30 minutes, but it also calls for about two and a half pounds, so I think this whole meal will be more about "guessing" than "measuring".

Remove shank, pour off fat, then add some more olive oil to the pan and brown diced carrots, onions, and celery. (Again, measurements will be sort of random -- sorry, Alice Waters -- probably about 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 celery stalk.)

In a little cheesecloth square that I'll tie into a bag, put about 1/4 cup of peeled garlic, 2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs parsley, some thyme, and tie up. Add it to the pot, along with a can of tomatoes, a tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and about 4 - 6 cups of water. Put the shank back in, and bring to a gentle boil, uncovered. The recipe says to let this cook for 2 hours. We'll see. Meanwhile, cook about a cup of shell beans (I'm using cranberry beans). When the lamb seems done, remove from pot, let cool, and remove meat. Turn the heat up on the soup to let it bubble gently for 15 minutes. Skim fat and orange-ish foam. Add meat back to the soup. Drain beans, add them to the soup.

Serve with a gremolata (mix chopped parsley, 1 very finely chopped garlic clove, and lemon zest) on top.

Got another new cookbook recently: The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen. We're trying some pasta from it tonight (though I can't promise the meal will stay vegan -- I imagine some grated Parmesan cheese might show up)...

Penne with Porcini Mushroom Sauce

Soak an ounce of dried mushrooms in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Chop the mushrooms after, but strain and keep the water.

Saute (in olive oil) a chopped onion, a bit of oregano, basil, and sage. Add 8 oz chopped fresh mushrooms, dried mushrooms, and 2 chopped cloves of garlic. Cook for a few minutes, then add the mushroom soaking liquid, a can of tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, a tiny pinch of sugar, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Put it all together!

I'm wanting grilled salmon. It might snow. So we'll grill, if the weather is okay, or probably broil, if it's too yucky.

Runner's World had a recipe for brussels sprouts that we'll try for a side: (2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp grainy mustard, salt: whisk together, slice sprouts in half, toss with the sauce, roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes)

Beef stew (from the freezer: we froze leftovers in individual portions, so we'll use some of that today)

Potato-spinach soup (another Runner's World recipe -- lots of good stuff this month!)

Saute a chopped onion, add 4 c broth, a box of frozen spinach, a chopped potato, a teaspoon cumin, salt, and pepper. Simmer until potato is tender. Puree in a blender or with a stick blender. Add lemon juice and half a cup of plain Greek yogurt.

Have a good week! Stay warm!

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