Menu of the week: Watercress

This week’s menu swap is hosted by Cooking and Uncooking.  Since I have no watercress and am not a huge fan of it, I will just mention that I tried to grow some wild water cress last year.  It was pretty hot and bitter and didn’t live long.  So, no watercress right now unless my store suddenly stocks it.  If it does, I will use in in a salad.


Vietnamese lunch: Chicken pho – lots of Thai basil left from last week and the cilantro and mint need to be harvested.

Dinner: Over at a friends for fun!

Sunday:  Thai chicken bamboo curry with basil and coconut milk, fresh spring rolls with mint,dill, cilantro, basil and shrimp.

Monday: Mexican Jalisco

Carne en su Jugo, charred green onions, salsa and chips

Tuesday: Italian bistro

Grilled scallops with angel hair pasta and fresh herb pesto, garden salad

Wednesday:South American

Chimichurri steaks and mini arepas with avocado crema and maybe shrimp ceviche

Thursday :  On the road North for the Fourth

Friday:  Up North at the farm :Strawberries, pontooning, Lake Michigan and grilling oh, and the Polka Fest!

i’m out

Menu of the week: Oregano!

Herbs.  Herbs are a vital part of my cooking experience.  I just can’t cook without them.  It is always hard when I go up North for a weekend or to someone’s cottage and they don’t have the same stock of herbs as I do.  I love to cook wherever I go, so I have learned to snip a variety of herbs from the garden and bring them along with me.

Oregano.  I have two types growing in large pots in the potted garden.  Greek and regular.  I would like to get my hands on some Mexican oregano plants.  I keep them in pots as I learned long ago that both oregano and mint will overtake anything else growing in it’s path over the years. I use oregano a lot, both dried in rubs and soups and fresh in everything.
Below is a picture of my portable garden. Oregano is in the giant green pot and Greek oregano in the sky blue pot.  Keeping it in containers allows me to bring the pots in for the winter and use them all winter long.

the portable herb garden

Menu.  This week’s menu swap is hosted by Karen of Gluten Free Sox Fan and you may have figured out that oregano is the ingredient of the week already (the title of the post being the first clue).  Make sure you check out her blog and what everyone else is cooking, I always do!

Saturday: Smoke

Smoked pulled pork butt  with black pepper vinegar sauce (we still have our friend’s smoker) over hickory smoke.  This recipe is courtesy of Bobbie Flay – who makes great rubs (this rub has oregano).  I first noticed this recipe when I was looking for slaw recipes a long time ago.  My slaw will be different as I did a little experiment last week (I was out of town most of the week and didn’t bother with a menu – I felt lost the rest of the week) .  I used this recipe from except I didn’t grill the cabbage (and just used purple and half the sugar), I smoked it for about 15 minutes.  Incredible!  It was addictively smokey, tangy and crunchy.  I throw in some fresh green onion at the end for a bit of bite.

Sunday: Italianish

Polenta Sausage Mozzarella casserole from Elise and of course there will be oregano in the sauce.  Garden salad with fresh herbs mixed in.  I am really ready for a tomato or cucumber in my salad, but am trying to stand strong and wait for the garden to bring them in.  I am adding shallots and fresh oregano to the polenta for extra flavor.

Monday: East Coast

Crab Cakes with aioli.  I still need a side dish for this one.  Garden salad with fresh herbs for zing.

Tuesday: Flat bread of the week

Jim Lahey’s potato pizza altered to be GF and adding, creme fraiche, chives and bacon – that is as long as it isn’t 90F outside.  So I guess the only resemblance will be thinly sliced potatoes and onion to the original.  I suppose I could sprinkle some fresh oregano and rosemary on the flatbread after baking, in keeping with the theme.

Wednesday:  on the road for work

Perhaps I will make a wrap for the road, I guess as long as I am making a flatbread the night before I might as well, eh?  A corned beef wrap sounds interesting – Reuben in a wrap.  Probably not the best thing cold.

Thursday: Thai

Spicy chicken and basil fried rice or kao pad gkai gkaprow .  Really what I am trying to do is replicate my local Thai hole in the walls’ kau pad ped – but every recipe site spells Thai words differently.  This recipe looked closest to what one of my friends ordered.  Some sort of Asian themed salad to go along with this and of course, fried GF spring rolls.

Friday: Indian

I still have to flesh this one out, but I am in the mood for dosas (of course), a potato curry of some sort (perhaps South Indian) and a kofta curry made with our grass fed beef.

So, who’s coming over for dinner what night?

i’m out

Happy Solstice…Ode to the Garden

It is the longest day of the year!  I love solstice and this year it is on a Friday.  Our gang is celebrating with a grill out and that likely will include a bonfire by the end of the evening, that and a few bevies. Luckily for me, several of my friends are trained to memorize ingredients so they can tell me what is in something and several will make a dish that is gluten free (like potato salad).

It is the happiest day of the year for my garden, which is growing gangbusters now that the weather has turned into summer.

the garden just after rain

Since I am a green thumb blogger, I thought I had better get on with some garden gushing.  It amazes me how different the yard can look from one year to the other.  This year we added 10 4’x4′ raised beds for the garden.  The old garden space is still being used too!  It has three rows of potatoes, pole beans and cucumbers in it, along with a gigantic compost bin, well two of those.  The strawberries and asparagus are in that area too.  We already can’t keep up with the lettuce and greens. The raised bed closest to the house has herbs and the other one has lettuce to make it easier to run out and grab a fresh handful on a second’s notice.

Potatoes and pole beans in the dark

We have quite the list of veggies this year:

Leeks, bunching onions, onions, shallots, 31 heirloom tomato plants, 25 anaheim green chiles, poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers, okra, sweet peas, 3 types of eggplant, fennel, collard greens, swiss chard, purple cabbage, spinach, escarole, red lettuce, butter leaf lettuce and romaine lettuce, broccoli, broccoli rabe, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, pole beans, potatoes (all red throughout, all purple and muddled purple and russian bananas), one artichoke plant (keep your fingers crossed), asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb and carrots.

The herbs get their own list:
parsley, both flat and curly, garlic and regular chives, thai basil, holy basil, sweet basil, 2 varieties of cilantro, marjoram, savory, 2 varieties of thyme, lemon verbena, chervil, sage, rosemary, oregano, spearmint, and dill. Hops too, I guess I will count that as an herb.

the portable herb garden

Even though most of the veggies are in the raised beds, I still find it necessary to weed. Until the plants grow big and close, I guess I will get my weeding exercise.

garden in sunlight

i’m out and happy solstice

Knees Bees photos

I thought about calling this the cocktail of the week, but that seems a bit like a cop out since you all can’t replicate this at home. I am going to do my best to replicate it and have some sorghum malt down stairs to use.

Old Hat Knees Bees GF beer

Knees Bees GF beer

Old Hat Knees Bees GF beer

It was tasty, not to heavy, good mouth feel and not to sorghum tasting and best of all an ale. I would perhaps add a few more hops to it, but to do that, I will need to make my own. Encourage your small local breweries to consider making a gluten free ale and if they can’t do that, then ask them to offer hard cider.

i’m out

Knees Bees Honey GF Ale

I am so excited that I just have to make a quick post and I also resolve to actually write some real posts, not just my menus, in the near future.  I certainly have lots to post on, but where does the time go?

For the moment I am eagerly anticipating delivery of my first growler of gluten free ale!  I found out a while ago that Old Hat Brewery in Lawton MI always has a GF beer on tap.  One of their patrons has Celiac.  Somehow Lawton is in a location of the state that I rarely every travel too, but one of my friends has to go there more frequently to check tart cherry traps (looking for plum curcuilio ) as part of a rigorous IPM program.  Today, on a Saturday, when the pub opens at 11 instead of at 4 as they do during the week, he must travel there for work.

Happy ale coming my way.  I have only had the GF lagers, New Grist, Bard’s tale and Redbridge, for the most part.  I am not a fan of sorghum lagers, I would rather drink vodka (well, you all know I love vodka anyway).  An ale, however is a different beer making method that results in a very different body and flavor.  I can’t wait and just wanted to share my excitement with you.  I will report back on it later this evening or tomorrow.  I am changing today’s menu as we are running to the farmer’s market in Okemos and I hope to find some baby veggies since my garden is producing mostly greens from the broccoli family right now.  Strawberries are just coming into season here this week – those are on the list too.  I am craving a nice grilled steak and grilled baby veggies (thanks to opening this month’s Bon Appetit before eating lunch or breakfast).  So, the pork ribs will have to wait, but we are picking up the smoker today.  Big juicy grass fed beef steak, grilled veggies (I like their grilled slaw idea a lot) and cold microbrewed GF ale!

Summer is here!!

i’m out