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


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

Chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Menu of the Week Jan 26th: fennel/anise

Sunday was Robbie Burns’ birthday.  If you have never been to a Robbie Burns party, you really should go, or host one.  I have done both.  Make sure you have lots of scotch, kilts and people willing to read poems and get sappy.  We didn’t have one to go to this year, and I didn’t remember in time, so I will do an honorary Robbie Burns night sometime this week to celebrate Scotland’s most beloved poet and my Scottish heritage at the same time.  This picture is just before I found out I had Celiac about 3 years ago.

Ginger at robbie burns

Chinese New Year!  That starts at midnight on the 26th, and well, it seems worthy of a couple of meals since we couldn’t pick just one.  I don’t have any Chinese friends here in town, strangely enough as we have so many students from China at Michigan State Univ down the road.  Korean and Thai (aquaintances) we have covered, but no Chinese.  Will make that a goal for the new year. So we are branching out on our own for the festival and going the extra mile for some of the dishes.

Just as a reminder, Mardi Gras starts soon too, as long as we are festing.  I love a fest.

This week the menu swap’s lovely host is Manda of Asparagus Thin and the theme she has chosen is licorice flavor or fennel/anise.  Ironically I hate anything with a licorice flavor, including the Greek liquor whose name escapes me at the moment.  However, I love fennel, both the seeds and the bulb and really enjoy anise when used in small background quantities, like in Vietnamese Pho.

Menu this week:

Saturday: Italian: Center cut pork roast rubbed in fennel, rosemary, garlic and sage with lemon asparagus risotto (Jamie Oliver’s risotto recipe, we actually have 5 of his cookbooks home from the library right now)

Sunday: Localvore meal: Chicken Chile Verde with organic chicken from my bro, canned green zebra tomatoes from the garden, frozen roasted green chiles from the garden and Michigan Great Northern Beans, garlic was local too, but not the onions or cilantro.

Monday: Chinese New Year: Hong Shao Ji and it has anise in it as an added bonus and is red, a good luck color for the New Year.  Fried spring rolls will also make an appearance as well as 100 Flower Blossoms using Jaden’s mom’s recipe (including crab) at Steamy Kitchen.  I just love Jaden’s sense of humor, photography, recipes and her blog.

Tuesday:  Chinese New Year continued: Spicy Lacquered Duck using duck breasts unless duck is on sale at the store.  Rice and Baby Bok Choy with shrimp from Rasa Malaysia to accompany.  Rasa Malaysia is another great go to Asian cooking blog with beautiful food porn shots too.

Wednesday:  Robbie Burns night at home: “Oat Cuisine” (har har) Horseradish crusted salmon with whole grain mustard cream sauce I guess we will need some braised leeks to go with the salmon.

Thursday: Pasta night: spinach ravioli (we hope) from the forgotten freezer stock with a chunky tomato sauce with loads of fresh basil from the basement greenhouse pots.  They might be filled with meat and cheese too.  Hopefully they thaw properly and don’t stick to each other. That will teach me to cryovack my pasta.

Friday: Ethiopian:  Sik Sik Wat with pork instead of beef and some Misr Wot and collard greens, feeling in a spicy mood and need to use up the batch of Berbere I made last summer.

Happy eating and Happy Chinese New Year and happy new US administration.  Lots to be happy about this week.  Don’t think about the snow.

i’m out

Menu of the Week Jan 19th: (One year of menus) lentils and dal

dal curry with yogurt and cilantro

This week marks one year of posting menus, posting them every week but a couple that we were on vacation or out of town for work. Wow! I keeping thinking I should just go back and recook the same menus, but there are so many more things to experiment with, so many new flavors to try, that I can’t. I have tried not to repeat much in the last year. If we did, it was usually on the off menu day (like a Saturday) or with a slight variation.
You have no reason to be, but I am proud of myself. I might be a little too organized these days. Someone says, hey let’s go out on Friday and I think, no, I already have that meal planned and posted and was looking forward to it. I typically just go out to lunch.
I digress.
This week’s ingredient highlights are lentils and dals and this week’s host is Sea over at Book of Yum. She has a great blog and is always posting wonderful looking international delights that even I can’t pronounce. Make sure you check out her menu as well as the many others that will be posting their menus. I love dals and have a variety of lentils in the house right now. Unfortunately my sweetie won’t even look at them, so I will be eating them alone. Since I have Monday off, I have decided to make an Aloo Dal for my lunch. Added to that, we are going out for Brunch (today/Sunday) to our favorite local Indian restaurant, Sindu’s, where I can typically eat everything that is not naan or deep fried. On Sundays they have dosas! I love dosas! And I love an occasion to go out to brunch, my friend Patty’s birthday. There will be dal there too and plenty of other lentil dishes and I plan to indulge.

Sunday:  lunch: Sindus with friends; dinner: Polpettone Ripieno, with Glutino spaghetti, homemade marinara and arugula salad

Monday MLK Day off:  lunch: aloo dal; dinner: Jagerschnitzel (with our pork) with rotkohl and maybe, maybe some spaetzle too, although I have a tough time making decent gf spaetzle – but I do have gf gnocchi in the freezer and that would be a great substitute.  If make them I will add dill as I am still in a dilly mood.

Tuesday: Singapore noodles with chicken and spring rolls – using brown rice vermicelli for this dish

Wednesday: Corned beef and cabbage, pulling from the freezer stock and I need to use it before it
goes on sale in March again.

Thursday: On the road for work

Friday: Grilled herbed cod, grilled asparagus and grilled polenta

grilled asparagus and grilled polenta

Unfortunately I have no pictures of any of the dals I have made in the past, so you get grilled polenta instead. Thought I would post a pic since I just made it for lunch and it is tasty!
i’m out

Menu of the Week Jan 5th: soup!

Vietnamese crab and squid soup

I love soup.  I could eat it more frequently than I do.  Eby really doesn’t care for soup unless it is full of meat and has almost no broth, or it must be more stew like.  Since that is the case, I will typically cook soups for my lunches if I am working from home that day.  Last week I was craving beans and greens (this week too).  This week I am craving a spicy Asian style noodle soup, like the one above, Vietnamese crab and squid soup.  I would make it, but I don’t think I wrote the recipe down or else I got it from a cook book long returned to the library.  Lessons learned.  Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness is hosting this week’s swap, so if you need some soup ideas, click on over check out all the menus this week, even if you don’t need soup ideas you should check out the menus.  If you haven’t posted your menu before, why not try it this week?  It is really easy once you get the swing of it and helps with grocery shopping as well as meal planning organization.  I have posted one every week since last Feb.  As a result, I can look back over old menus and get new inspiration.  Inspiration also comes from many cookbooks, magazines, fellow food bloggers and internet recipe sources.  Try it for a couple of weeks, you’ll see.

On to the menu.  I used the soup idea to clean out a few items from the freezer yesterday.  Soup is good for that.  It’s sunny, snowy and cold in MI today, and I wish I had some of last night’s soup left, sort of (see below). I have been trying hard to not have many leftovers and it is working finally.  I always want to cook something new the next day and can’t easily take leftovers on the road with me.  It looks to be a pork and chicken week, so I will work some extra veggies and seafood into my lunches (soups I hope).

Sunday: South American veggie and pork soup. This soup celebrates many of the ingredients that came to us via South America: potatoes, tomatoes, corn, chile peppers and would have been even better had I not scorched it while playing on Facebook. We topped it off with cilantro. Tomatoes and potatoes were local or from the garden, garlic too.

Monday: Roast 1/2 organic free range local chicken on a bed of onions, portabella mushrooms (on sale!) celery and parsley. Gluten free waffle stuffing (getting it’s own post tomorrow) with sage, thyme, parsley and garlic, rice (to go with the gravy I hope happens) and roasted brussel sprouts.

Tuesday: Hue (Vietnamese) style fried rice with lemongrass and black pepper or lemon grass chicken or tofu. Some of those pork spring rolls I froze last week will go nicely with this too. I wish you guys could taste them. If I posted the recipe, you probably could. Will work on that.

Wednesday: Company in town, spice him up! My dad is visiting for a meeting. Living two miles from Michigan State University gives us lots of opportunities to entertain out of town guests with meetings on campus. We like reasons to entertain. We are grilling some of our own pork center cut loin on the rotisserie and making risotto along with either broccoli or green beans in some form of healthy casserole, or just steamed. We will use the Fennel Fusion spice rub, oh how I love that stuff.

Thursday:  I am in Chicago for work, but won’t have a lot of opportunity to go out except in the near vicinity of the Sheraton by O’Hare.  Eby is on his own for dinner, which likely means dinner at Arbor Brewing Company, along with some beers.

Friday: Truffade and Pounti ala Auverge region of France and Saveur mag.  Eby picked these out to make.  I already bought the prunes so no turning back now.  Pork and potatoes are from us, green beans or broccoli are not.

Saturday:  Lunch Vietnamese crab soup with tomatoes.  Every since I posted that pic today, I have been searching for a similar recipe and have found 4.  Now I have to cook it again right?

Stop by here again next week and send me your menu swaps as I will be hosting.  The ingredient is “local”.  Source out at least one local ingredient, anything from your garden (fresh, frozen or canned this time of year) certainly counts.  If you need ideas of how to find something local, leave me a comment or email me.  Consider swinging into your local food co-op if you have one near by and those of you in warmer climates probably still have farmer’s markets to visit.  Local anything counts, cheese, meat, tofu, veggies, let your tastebuds and imagination do the cooking!

i’m out