Menu of the Week April 18th: Rhubarb

Oh rhubarb, how I love rhubarb.  My rhubarb is just starting to gain a few leaves but is weeks away from any sort of harvest :(.  However, I do have some rhubarb that I froze last year to use during a rhubarb craving that I never had, so, time to use it.  I am thinking a nice rhubarb martini sounds tart and refreshing as well as a rhubarb crisp.  Eby doesn’t care for rhubarb (surprise) so it will have to be a mini crisp as I don’t like dessert leftovers.  Manda of Asparagus Thin is our menu swap hostess this week, so please check out her blog and all the creative rhubarb dishes being served around the country.

rhubarb

In an effort to eat less meat and more veggies Eby has been perusing the Moosewood Restaurant’s Simple Suppers cookbook.  I think they over do it with the tofu substitutes a bit, but never the less we are trying several of their recipes (and I will probably unsimplify some of them) this week.

We have signed up for a CSA for the first time ever and I am super excited to see what arrives in our box every week, as long as it is not beets, but they said they would keep the beets from my half thankfully.  Our pickup day will be Tuesdays, so I will probably have to leave the Monday menu swap or post a week late, as my menu plans will soon have to be from Wednesday to Wednesday and designed with what arrives in the box.  Perhaps we call all start a CSA menu swap.  That will probably go over as well as my deep fry Fridays attempt!  So, I will still be posting our menu, but it will just be out of sinc with Monday’s GF swap, unless they tell me ahead of time what is coming every week.

Since we have signed up for the CSA, I can focus our large backyard garden on items that we want to raise to can, store or freeze for the winter usage.  We will be growing lots of tomatoes, broccoli, broccoli rabe, greens (collards, kale and chard), leeks, onions, shallots and green and red chiles.  The red we dry and the green we roast and freeze.  I have about 60 tomato plants and 36 green chile plants that will be graciously delivered by my brother (on Wed) from my favorite green house at home, Plant Masters.  Lansing doesn’t offer the volume or variety that I seek. I didn’t get mine started on time, so to Plant Masters we turn.  We have a little greenhouse system set up in our dining room and in our basement to keep the plants growing and happy until we can plant them in MI – maybe around the 3rd week of May.  I will transplant them to larger containers in a few weeks.

As usual, we try to use as much local (or raised by us) produce and meat as possible.  The pork and beef in the meatloaf is all local, the chicken was raised by my brother, the potatoes are local, our garlic and shallots are local and tomatoes, although I am almost out of tomatoes and homemade tomato paste. Most of the fresh herbs I use I grow in pots in the house with the exception of the dill this week, no dill yet.  I need to get cracking on the cheese making.  My first few attempts haven’t been as successful as I had hoped.

Our menu for the week:

Sunday: Ginger’s meatloaf ( I love this recipe that I have developed over time so much I can’t event think of trying others, I should try to write it down, but I don’t measure anything)  with a tangy tomato sauce on top and a side of  roasted fennel, potatoes and saffron.

Monday:  Asian braised salmon with bok choy and soba noodles (i finally found some pure buckwheat noodles).

Tuesday: Creamy lemon fettuccine with garlic roasted broccoli.

Wednesday:  Moriarty style potato soup and a romaine salad with toasted pecans, red onion and orange wedges, homemade tarragon vinaigrette.  Our local pub makes this addicting brothy potato soup that we just love – the broth is key and I will concor it.

Thursday:  Buttermilk fried chicken, Southern cooked collard greens and maybe some smashed potatoes.  Rhubarb crisp – my bro is in town to help me eat it, wait, I don’t think he likes rhubarb either.

Friday:  Grilled lemon herb tofu with spinach artichoke risotto with dill.

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