Menu of the Week March 22: Latin Theme!

Happy Spring!
Here is a photo of my garden to be:
garden starts
One of my favorite themes for cooking here at home is the Americas, South, Central and North. To celebrate, we are embracing not one, but three Latin themed dinners this week (Eby was actually ready to do every night in a Latin theme), somehow they all involve pork or chicken, as of course that is what is in our large freezer.  Elizabeth of Weird and Surprisingly Good is the menu swap host this week.  Make sure you click on over there and check out the Latin-y menus around the Gluten Free blog world.

Sunday: GF Matzo ball chicken soup with dill – first attempt at Mazto balls, GF or non GF and well, it didn’t work.  Tasted good though.

Monday: Arepas with pulled pork and pickled onions maybe some pintos and salsa too.

Tuesday: Thai pad ped with Thai basil, beef and red curry (following my local Lamai restaurant style), fresh spring rolls with veggies and dipping sauce.

Wednesday: Puebla Chicken and potato stew

Thursday: Grilled fish (cod probably) with parsley, garlic, lemon and olive oil, grilled asparagus

Friday: Pork with Negro Mole Sauce ala Rick Bayless and Saveur Magazine.  Not sure what sides we will have, maybe a cucumber salad.

Ending with a photo of Truffle, our kitten laying next to the indoor garden in the sunlight, in bliss.
truffle in sunlight

i’m out

Menu of the week: Nuts and St Patrick’s Day!

This week we get to celebrate one of my favorite holidays, St Patrick’s Day.  I do have Irish roots and that combined with red hair makes it one of my favorite days of the year. Plus, it’s a good excuse to drink whiskey and drink hard cider with friends, be rowdy and chant Irish slogans all day in Gaelic.  I take the day off every year and will do so again this year.

St Patty's Day prep, Irish coffee and bling

The ingredient this week is nuts and our lovely host is Sea at Book of Yum who always has some tasty eats cooking.  Make sure you visit her blog to get the scoop on all the nutty menus around this week.

Sunday: The ultimate Mac and Cheese!  I found my recipe that I thought was long gone and I couldn’t remember how to recreate it as I had only made it once.  Where was it?  In my pile of recipes to blog.  Irony.  It is based on Martha Stewart’s Mac and cheese with my adjustments of course.  I will post this one.

Monday:  Pizza, when I start to crave tomato, then I start to crave pizza toppings shortly after that, so it’s time for some pizza. Using the Chebe pizza crust this go around to try it again.

Tuesday:  Happy St Patrick’s Day!  I will leave the house for the bar hopping bus crawl with a crock of Irish Stew with lamb to come home to.  Using the last of the lamb in the freezer.  Lots of leeks, carrots and potatoes.

Wednesday  Jap Chae Korean Glass Noodles ala Jaden at Steamy Kitchen and kalbi, slow braised beef short ribs.  We must have some rice and kim chi of course too.

Thursday: On the road for work, traveling with some Indian spiced cashews that I found in Chicago at the market.

Friday:  Black vinegar ribs with some of the pork ribs from our freezer, rice and maybe a green bean stir fry to go with it.

i’m out

Cilantro Mint Chutney and Pakora

cilantro mint chutney

I am certain I posted this recipe before, but every time I search for it, I can’t find it.  So since we made pakora this week, here is the recipe for the chutney, two years late! I make this two ways, sometimes adding yogurt, sometimes not. I am leaning towards favoring the sometimes not, however all of my photos are with, so keep that in mind. It is stronger flavored without the yogurt, with the yogurt, more creamy and tangy. This chutney goes great with pakora, dosas, samosas and really all things Indian in nature. It is a bit addictive, so fresh and green tasting, salty and tart at the same time.

We made some of our best pakora and chutney yet this week, but the photos, well, someone chose to use natural lighting and we really have no natural lighting in our kitchen at 8 pm. So they won’t be used. That is why I have to use the flash for my photos unfortunately. Or cook at 2 pm to get the sunlight streaming through and that will never happen. At anyrate, the amounts listed below are from my memory, I really don’t measure, but came closest to measuring stuff this last round as I was instructing my Aunt as to what to toss in as I was making the pakora batter. So I figure I owe it to you to type it up while it is fresh in my memory and there is still some in the fridge. This does freeze ok if you need to, it is not as bright as when fresh, but better than none at all!

Cilantro mint chutney

1 bunch cilantro, at least one cup of leaves and small stems
1/2 bunch mint, maybe 1/4 cup of leaves?
1 medium onion roughly chopped
1/2 tsp coriander powder
2 cloves garlic
1 inch nub grated ginger
2 small green chiles deseeded
2-3 tbs lime juice but start light and add more as you go to help blend
small glub or splash of vegetable oil
splash of water 2 tbs or more
plenty of salt

Blend (or use a food processor) together and emulsify with a little oil and add a bit of water to help blend. Taste for saltiness. It should be a bit salty.

This is not the best picture of my pakora, but it is another photo of the chutney again with yogurt.  Without yogurt it is bright green and less runny.

Pakora and mint cilantro chutney

It was just pointed out to me that I have neglected to post a pakora recipe, so here is a rough recipe:

1 cup of chickpea flour
1/2 cup of water
coriander, mustard and/or cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
8-10 curry leaves if I have them
1 green or red chili minced
a handful of cilantro chopped
salt
2 or more cups of diced veggies: I like diced eggplant if I have it, chopped spinach, diced onion or whatever veggies you have on hand.
Oil for frying

Make into a pancake like batter, not too thick, not too thin and drop by the spoonful into hot oil. Flip once to brown both sides.
Whatever you do, don’t taste the raw batter, chickpea flour is awful raw.

Enjoy!
i’m out

Hot Tangy Spinach Artichoke Dip

the ultimate spinach artichoke dip

Everyone once in a while a party comes around and I get to make something decadent that you wouldn’t eat at home everyday.  I always try to bring something substantial as you never can be certain of gluten free snackies, although my friends are pretty good about it. One of my goto apps is this hot tangy spinach artichoke dip.  I am on the quest for the best recipe ever and think I may have created it this time. This one is tangy with plenty of mustard. I think it helps offset the richness. If you are not a fan of dijon (yellow mustard cannot be substituted) or any mustard, just leave it out. I like the mustard seeds for a little puff of surprise, but again, those could be optional. If you leave it out, just call it spinach artichoke dip, leave the tangy out. In a minute you will read out loud and say roasted garlic? Who has 2 tablespoons of roasted garlic sitting around? Well, I do. I roast a bunch in the oven every once in a while, make it into a paste and then plop it on some saran wrap and roll it up like a tube, twist the ends shut and stick it in a zip bag and into the freezer. When I need roasted garlic, I slice off an inch or two and stick it back in the freezer. If that is not your option, they have some in a jar in the stores or just chop some fresh garlic and very lightly saute it to take the edge off.

Don’t be scared of the list of ingredients (well the half and half), this is an appetizer and you are not eating the whole dish by yourself, right?

1.5 cups of half and half (don’t use milk)
8 oz of grated Monterey Jack cheese
8 oz of cream cheese – I use light usually

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
2 tbs of roasted garlic
4 tbs dijon mustard or white wine mustard
1.5 tsp mustard seed
10 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed and pressed dry
2 14 oz cans of artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
as much fresh ground pepper as you like (i like a lot)
taste to see if you need salt

In a 2 quart pot, simmer the cream and once it is at a simmer, add everything but the spinach and artichokes. Stir stir stir. Once melted and well blended, stir in your veggies and when every thing is nice and hot, it is ready to serve. How easy is that? You can bake this dish too if you like that baked flavor, if you do, add a bit more heavy cream and top it off with more Monterey Jack and back at 375 until bubbly and light brown. I serve it with strong tortilla chips. Weak ones are well, weak and won’t stand up to this dip.

the ultimate spinach artichoke dip

Enjoy!

i’m out

Menu of the Week: Chickpeas

a little onion goes great with pork

I do love chickpeas, they are so versatile and packed with protein.  It won’t be hard to use them in our menu this week.  Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness is our gracious host this week and I am sure there will be some unique chickpea dishes posted, so make sure you swing over and check them all out.  I don’t have any chickpea photos that I can find, but I do of course have some piggie photos!  These guys are eating an onion cause onions go great with pork!

Sunday: Sichuan peppercorn chicken along with a spicy cabbage stir fry over rice.

Monday: Meatballs in marinara and spaghetti.  I really love a good meatball and I love the meatballs I make, so I am making my meatballs with our pig share pork.  Marinara sauce will come from the tomatoes in the pantry.  I think a spinach salad will go nicely too.

Tuesday: Grilled pork tenderloin (not sure which rub I will use yet) with baked potatoes and broccoli gratin

Wednesday: Keema with our grass fed beef and tomatoes, palak aloo (local potatoes) and a chickpea curry.

Thursday:  Grilled Mahi Mahi with a mango salsa and a a toasted chickpea salad with red onion, parsley, and lime juice.

Friday – Sunday we are off to Chicago for the weekend for fun, food and friends!

i’m out