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: 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

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

Menu Swap Monday Dec 15th: Nuts and seeds!

Nuts and seeds, I really like both of them.  The majority of seeds that I use are typically spices, but I do like to use my share of sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.  I mostly snack on nuts or use them in Indian cooking but this week, since it is the festive holiday season, I am going to make a brittle with pumpkin, almonds and red chile.  I was going to use pine nuts, but they are outrageously priced at my local store right now, almonds it is. I have a giant bowlful of walnuts that I need to crack that Eby’s dad gave us from his English walnut tree – those might find there way in the brittle too. At least they are local, even if they are still in their hard shells.

This week’s menu swap host is In My Box and she blogs about what arrives in her CSA box every week. Swing on over there and check out all the menus posted – lots of cheese sauces created from nuts this week. I have yet to try doing that as I have no problem with dairy, but I am curious as to how they taste and someday will break down and try making some.

I experimented with making some liver free pate just using pork, and it failed miserably. I chalk it up to over seasoning (never thought I would say that) and using chickpea flour instead of some other flour. You know the golden rule is to never taste your batter or dough before baking if the chickpea flour is in it as it is bitter. Well, the slow cooking, low cooking nature of the pate meant that the chick pea flour still tasted raw – very bitter in a bad way. It was a big disappointment after all that work. But now I know. Next time I won’t try to add a nuttiness to my pate.

On to the menu:
Sunday: Ma Po Tofu, with stir fried broccoli and rice
Monday: Shepard’s Pie – after posting the recipe yesterday, I couldn’t resist.
Tuesday: Chicken Cacciatore with tomatoes, red peppers and baby bella mushrooms
Wednesday: Hot Tamale Soup – with homemade tamales from the freezer stock and grass fed beef and home canned tomatoes (I am in a tomato mood this week)
Thursday: Indian something with eggplant and pork (I know they don’t eat a lot of pork, but I have a lot of pork) or a fish curry, depends on mood.
Friday: Paella with chicken and chorizo – making use of the peppers I bought for Tuesday too.
Saturday: Shrimp with snow peas (shrimp for me, chicken for Eby, who won’t eat shrimp, but more for me.)

Happy Solstice to you this weekend – light a candle and appreciate the dark days, sunnier ones are on the way, after Saturday.

i’m out

Thanksgiving week Menu Swap: sweet potatoes

heritage turkeys

Sea of Book of Yum is hosting the swap this week and has chosen sweet potatoes as the ingredient.  It took me a long time to realize that sweet potatoes are great.  As a kid they were always coated in marshmallows and brown sugar, not having a sweet tooth and not liking marshmallows much, the dish was never for me.  I really like sweet potatoes in a more savory dish.  Or in sweet potato fries.  Speaking of fries, that reminds me that soon we will start a new post series called Deep Fry Fridays, although I seem to deep fry more on Thursdays for the record.  Friday rhymes better.  Since we celiacs typically can’t eat any deep fried foods in restaurants because of cross contamination, I thought I would push our limits and have a deep fry fest month.  I am thinking January might do.  That gets us safely behind the busy holiday season, albeit everyone seems to diet in January.  Deep frying doesn’t have to be super fattening.  Sauteeing can be just as bad.  So stay tuned for some great ideas to dip into your fryer.  Send your suggestions this way too.  We will do a menu round up and see what is frying around the country.

Saturday: Porchetta, leftover from the freezer, ancho chile, cilantro new potatoes, roasted broccoli

Sunday: Szechuan beef (using our grass fed beef) and broccoli stir fry

Monday:  Pizza!!  I will be trying out Whole Foods 365 GF pizza crust mix.

Tuesday: Chicken ala Veracruzana from one of Rick Bayless’s books, arepas (chicken raised by my brother)

Wednesday:Grilled salmon, ethnicity to be determined, sides to be determined.  Leaving this one up in the air for now.  Maybe an Indian theme.

Thursday:  Thanksgiving!  Our menu this year is mostly based on Gourmet’s Come Together menu, very modern Mexican/New Mexican.

Apps: shrimp cocktail with cilantro and lime, chipotle meatballs, guacamole, chips and fresh salsa using my canned tomatoes and adding fresh cilantro, onion and serranos.

Salad: Clementine Jicama Salad

Main course and sides:mango salsa with pomegranate, spiced roasted sweet potatoes, adobo turkey with red-chile gravy (brined and charcoal grilled), corn-bread and chorizo stuffing, poblano potato gratin, green beans with a brown butter shallot sauce, center cut pork loin with rib on the rotisserie (with my homemade Mexican rub), rice (to go with the gravy),  and cranberry sauce (you have to have it)

Desserts:lattice apple pie with mexican brown sugar (although GF it probably won’t be latticed), chocolate cinnamon cream pie, with Pamela’s chocolate cookies used as the crust vs graham crackers, Haagen Daz Swiss Vanilla Rum ice cream

No, I am not cooking all of it, a good friend of mine and her hubby are bringing the meatballs, the stuffing and apple pie and making them all GF, another set of good friends (my aunt and uncle) are bringing sweet potatoes to roast and cranberries.  Both are bringing lots of wine. Both are coming from far away to join us.

Localvore part: We are using our ground pork in the meatballs, skipping the veal, the heritage turkey raised by my brother, the pork loin that we helped raise and butcher, tomatoes that I raised and canned, apples from the farm, potatoes from the farm and all garlic used is from my brother and sister in law.  The tortilla chips are made localy in Ann Arbor and are addictive. Oh, and our bubbly and several wines are local from LMawby Vineyards and 45, a new winery in Suttons Bay, both with great winemakers.

Friday : Brunch with the house guests: Sausage and Egg Casserole with slow roasted tomatoes and mozzarella (using pomodori al forno tomatoes instead of sundried) – this is naturally GF and I made it years ago and finally found the recipe again, recovery bloody marys, home roasted coffee.

Dinner:  Pork Pozole Party: our good friend Dan is in town (as well as our Thanksgiving guests) and we are hosting a party for him so that he has a chance to see everyone.  Pozole sounded like a tasty crowd pleaser and is comfort food for me when it is cold out and it is already cold cold cold out.  Radishes, shredded cabbage and onion for toppings.  We will use our pork for the pozole and red chiles from NM.  Margaritas will flow.

So, a wonderful week is on it’s way and once again, we have a lot to be thankful for!  Happy Thankgiving to all of you!

pigs and apples Ginger with her sides of porkour thanksgiving turkeyheritage turkeys purple potatoes in the gardenripe ready to can tomatoes garden fingerling potatoes apples apples

i’m out