Sunday, May 19, 2013

May 20 - 24

Oh, it's so wonderful and summery, isn't it?  Visited TWO different farmers' markets on Saturday, and so the fridge is overflowing with late spring veggies now.  The grill will be working overtime this week, as it rightly should when it's sunny and gorgeous out (and, frankly, in January as well.  I just love my grill.).

Here's our plan for the week!

Farmers' market extravaganza!  Got some lovely little tenderloin steaks from the folks at Maitland Family Farms (it's all grass fed and quite yummy), but they're not quite enough for a whole meal, so we'll add a few grilled scallops as well.

My favorite part...  the sides.  We're grilling purple asparagus, tiny little baby carrots, and wild leeks (aka ramps) brushed in a bit of olive oil and salted and peppered.

A bunch of kale in a bit of olive oil and salt, wrapped in foil and tossed on the grill.

Oven-roasted sweet potato wedges.

Here it is:

At first I was worried that the picture was inserted sideways.  But it's a picture of a round plate.  There isn't actually a top, is there?

Turkey burgers with sauteed mushrooms and onions
Grilled veggies (more carrots!  more asparagus!)
Salad (maybe with some blue cheese, but maybe with feta.  It'll be a game-time decision.  But there will be balsamic vinegar for dressing.)

Grilled veggies (you guessed it...  Carrots!  Asparagus!  But maybe also broccoli.  Or peppers.)


Crab cakes (my recipe is sort of vague, but it involves canned crab, an egg, some chopped red onion, chopped red bell pepper, mustard, a bit of sriracha, maybe a bit of mayo if it still needs something to hold it together.  Form them into cakes, pat with a bit of panko on the outside.  Heat oil in a pan, cook the cakes for a few minutes on each side (4 or so?) until the outsides are crispy and they're warmed all the way through.) Since it's grilling weather, I might try to cook these on the grill instead.  Have to think about this...

Oven-roasted sweet potatoes

Yum.  Have a beautiful week.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 5 - 9, 2013

Just spent my early Sunday morning drinking coffee, listening to birdies chirp, and plan recipes for the week. I started by checking the weather, which sounds absolutely perfect for most of the week: sunny and 72, pretty much. My initial instinct was to just pick a thing to grill each night and call it good, but I had to scan through some nearby recipes (Pinterest, magazines in the coffee table) and got a few other ideas. Besides, I wouldn't want to burn out on grilling too early in the year, right?

So here's our plan for the week!

Kebabs with meat and veggies (vague, I know). I know that in the freezer we have venison and chicken and shrimp and pork tenderloin... And I'm hoping when I go look, I might find some lamb as well. So the protein will be a mix of whatever appeals when I put on my flip flops in a few minutes and head to the garage. Veggies will definitely include mushrooms, chunks of Vidalia onion, bell pepper, and then whatever else we have: asparagus? Broccoli? Zucchini?

We'll marinate the meat in something pretty simple, involving garlic and basil and wine. The veggies will get a simple olive oil, vinegar (thinking red wine vinegar for this), salt and pepper seasoning.

We skewer the veggies together and the meat together. Mixing them is prettier, but they have different cooking times. Hate ending up with undercooked onions or black broccoli.

And then we'll grill! Green salad and maybe some roasted potatoes to go with.

Monday: Balsamic-Glazed venison rolls.
This is a straight-from-Pinterest recipe, but one that looks adaptable to whatever you have. So we'll use some thin-sliced venison steak, and then improvise the rest. The original recipe is here:

Grilled mahi-mahi and veggies.
Season the fish with a bit of oil, salt and pepper before grilling. When it's done, squeeze a bit of lemon juice and sprinkle some capers over it all. Grilled veggies on the side. We just got a new grilling basket in a clearance rack last weekend, so we'll be giving that thing a workout all week!

BLT chopped salad with avocado and poached eggs. This is something that simply springs from my Sunday morning desire for bacon and eggs. We'll make a lovely salad that has some chopped tomato, crumbled bacon, sautéed red onions, avocado, and blue cheese. Put on individual plates, poach an egg for each and pop it on top! Not sure about dressing, but the lovely runny egg sort of makes its own dressing, so maybe just a little balsamic vinegar to tart it up.

Chicken lettuce wraps:
Make a filling with chopped chicken, diced bell pepper, onion, small-chopped mushrooms, and maybe zucchini (carrot? Whatever other veggies made it until Thursday night in the fridge?). Sauté it all together until cooked, then season with a bit of soy sauce, sriracha, and rice wine vinegar. Serve in Boston lettuce leaves.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Brrrrr. Just brrrrr. (January 20 - 24)

The wind is whipping outside, and our little temperature gauge appears to be hovering between 12 and 14 degrees, depending on whether the sun is hitting it directly or not. So I thought it was a good time to think about what to cook, and to especially try to cook using things we already have, negating the need for a grocery store visit today.

Here's our plan. Stay warm.

Roasted venison chops
Brussels sprouts
Sweet potatoes

This is going to be an all-oven meal -- thus helping to keep the house even warmer. I don't know a temperature for the oven, but probably in the range of 425 -- that should be a good compromise for all the things that will be going in in there. We'll pan-sear the venison chop (it's about the size of a pork tenderloin, give or take) and finish it in the oven. We like it pretty rare, so we'll try to get the outside crispy and keep the inside nice and juicy. After we pull it we'll let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it thin.

We'll halve and roast the brussels sprouts, tossing them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. If we're feeling indulgent, maybe some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top for the last 5 minutes of cooking. The sprouts can probably go for 20 - 30 minutes, until they start to brown and some of the individual leaves that have fallen off get crispy, like little brussels sprouts potato chips.

And we'll chop the sweet potatoes into cube-sized chunks, toss them with olive oil and some lovely seasoning (maybe cumin, or chile powder of some kind, or both) and spread out on a cookie sheet and bake. Again, about 30 minutes, I think.

We might make a little sauce with some sauteed mushrooms and garlic and red wine for the venison.

  Veggie minestrone.
 I'll cook this on Sunday -- I've started making a soup for every Monday night, but making it on Sunday when I have more time. I get to have yummy soup every Monday, and leftovers for lunch the rest of the week, and it gets time to meld and make that good day-after flavor for the first go-round. And I get to use my enamel soup pot -- sometimes both of them going at once, if I need one for Sunday dinner too. Here's what our stove looked like last week:
The green one had stew for Sunday, the red one had soup for Monday.  The house smelled really really good.

Parmesan crusted tilapia

Spaghetti squash with tomato sauce

Just like it sounds -- I'll cook a spaghetti squash ahead of time, then heat enough of the "noodles" up to make dinner (we'll freeze the rest in single-serving freezer bags). I'll stir in some spinach leaves, maybe saute some onion and add that as well. I'm just using tomato sauce from a jar and sprinkle with some shredded parmesan.

Mongolian beef
Fried rice (with red pepper, carrot, onion, zucchini, spinach, and peas)
Crab wontons (we made a big batch on New Year's Day and froze some -- so I'll give the frozen ones a try and see how they worked).

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Seduced by Pinterest

About a year ago, my friend Amy started telling me about Pinterest.  "You'll love it," she said.  "It has tons of great recipes," she promised.  I put off joining until summer, and then Amy got me started and showed me around.  And I was hooked.  I DID love it!  It DID have tons of great recipes!  And so here's what happened...  this blog, that was always my digital storage area for the recipes I planned to use, became redundant.  And I ignored it for a while.  But after 3+ months of blogging hiatus, I'm realizing the other main benefit of this blog for me -- it's not just a place to store recipes I want to try, but it's also a record of the things I did cook -- and when, and how many weeks in a row exactly did I make homemade pizza...

So I still love Pinterest, but I'm trying to give this aspect of my virtual food life another go.  Because this morning, as I scrolled through my vast storehouse of pinned recipes, I realized I've lost track -- did I make this risotto recipe, or that one?  Have I tried that soup yet?  Relying on my memory alone means I have NO idea.

And also, I have way too many pins on that damn thing.  I need a pin board organizer, please.

So it's Thursday, and I don't have a plan for the upcoming week yet, but with a head-nod to the new year, I thought I'd mention our New Year's Day dinner.  We always try to cook something that might be a bit time-comsuming, but not necessarily hard (since we're home all day, but also feeling lazy).  This year's menu was built around the dessert -- I found a great recipe, then decided what food might taste best beforehand.

New Year's Day Dinner

Baked crab wontons with homemade sweet and sour sauce
Firecracker Shrimp
Lucky Stir Fry (from my new Christmas gift cookbook:  The Fresh and Green Table)
Coconut Lime ice cream

We make the wontons in mini muffin tins instead of folding them over -- just put a bit of filling in, and then squeeze all the edges of the wonton together.  It makes 36, so we had some and then tried to freeze the rest.  If they freeze well, we can have those when we get Thai take-out (instead of buying the random fried appetizer crap we love so much!).

My version of Lucky Stir Fry:

Make a sauce with about 2 tsp each of oyster sauce, lime juice, hoisin sauce, and brown sugar.  The recipe calls for 1/4 tsp of chili-garlic sauce, but I just gave a big old squeeze of sriracha instead.

In a big pan, heat some oil, then stir fry shiitake mushrooms, chopped asparagus, about an ear's worth of fresh corn kernels (ours were frozen -- from our corn-storing extravaganza after buying WAY too much at the farmer's market last summer), half a red pepper, half a green pepper, and a whole orange pepper (chopped into thin beautiful strips).  Add a little bit of soy sauce.

Toss in a bit of fresh ginger and garlic (I do way more garlic than ginger, since I like it way more -- but I bet you can adjust those two however you want) and about 3 chopped scallions.  Add the sauce mixture, then stir in some chopped peanuts and chopped mint.


So let's give this another go.  More soon!

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