January 3, 2010 Dinner and a Movie

I haven’t posted in quite a while and have been wondering how to get back in the swing of things.  I glanced down at my menu plan and decided that I would ease back into blogging by posting our menu for the week.    This week’s host is Manda at Asparagus Thin and the theme is dinner and a movie.  I have attempted to add any fitting movies as I go along.  Mostly they are related to the cuisine we are cooking that eve, at least regionally close or a comedy about a key ingredient.  They are linked from our Netflix account, so hopefully it works so that you can click on the link and see more about the movie.

I switched jobs the first week of November and now have less time to cook in the evenings, so am working on making our weeknight meals less complex and/or prepping items a night ahead.  It is super cold here in Michigan, resulting in a lot of cold weather, hearty foods this week, that and we keep our house at 63F, so it’s cold anyway.

Saturday: Jaeger Schnitzel with parsley buttered noodles, mushroom sauce and broccoli with lemon and red pepper flakes (East/West)

Sunday: Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc fried chicken (brined with lemon, garlic and thyme) and greens from the freezer cooked with one of our smoked hocks.  Using one of my brothers organic free range chickens.  Breaking down chickens is really not my favorite thing to do, but I am relying on this dish to make the effort worthwhile! Greens, pork and chicken all local. (Food, Inc.)

Monday: Chalupas/gorditas (masa boats) topped with chorizo and cheese, sides of chile de arbol tomato salsa and tomatillo salsa from Antojitos (a book on Mexican cooking)  and Rick Bayless’s Every day Mexican; maybe empanada de platanos if I didn’t over roast my plantains, they seem pretty dry.  Pintos too, into the crock pot they go on Sunday night. Pintos are from MI and the chorizo. (The Milagro Beanfield War)

Tuesday: Swiss style fondue and a big green salad with a lemon olive oil dressing.  We will be dipping toasted GF bread and potatoes (so more of a raclette really) and maybe I can sneak some carrots or zucchini in as dippers.  It is fricken cold here in Michigan, time to break out the fondue pot. Potatoes are from the farm, but that’s it for this meal.  Fondue from Trader Joes. (no movie but the winter Olympics will do here, it’s always cold there and this is a great apres ski meal)

Wednesday:  Inside out stuffed poblano peppers. I love stuffed peppers, but Eby doesn’t like peppers unless they are chopped up small, so inside out is the compromise.  Rice, local grass fed ground beef,  our canned tomatoes, garlic from the farm, poblano peppers, Michigan onions, cilantro and cheese.  Comfort food baby! (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes )

Thursday: Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking by Paula Wolfert:  slow cooked pork with sage, mustard and tomatoes.  Will be using our pork, our sage and our tomatoes, mustard, not local.  This will be converted to a crock pot dish, prepped on Wed eve, into the crock on Thursday morning. (Julie & Julia)

Friday: Cabernet braised short ribs with gorgonzola polenta and herb gremolata.  I find I have zero motivation to cook on Friday nights after working all week (I have to use my brain a lot more these days) so this will be ready when I get home thanks again to the crockpot. (Volver , I couldn’t find an Italian movie with the humor I wanted, so you get a Spanish one).

Pretty much the majority of our proteins (chicken, pork, beef, eggs and dry beans) are all local, even our tofu is local on occasion.  I see that fish is missing from the menu this week, we will fix that next week.  Some of the fish we buy is from MI, perch, blue gill, whitefish, salmon in season but other than that we don’t have a choice if we want some variety.  We are lucky enough to have a freshwater shrimp farm about 1/2 hour away and they are reasonably priced.  What this all means is, I am working on redefining and refocusing my blog to capture more of the locavore-ness of our lives.  I am gluten free and everything we cook is gluten free and I even gave up eating spelt a year ago.  I am really bad at posting recipes (but am happy to tell you how I made something, I just never measure), so I won’t say I will post more recipes, but I will give you great food ideas, great photos of food (new camera), garden and nature and the occasional recipe.  Our getaways are typically food oriented, so you will get a bit of that here and there as we try to focus on what is local where ever we are.

it feels good to be back

i’m out

Menu of the Week April 26th

Spring is finally here, I mean really here and I think this time it is staying.  It seems like we are still a couple of weeks behind, but I think maybe we just always think that.  My first tulips bloomed today.  I don’t know how they are yellow as I am not a fan of yellow and wouldn’t have purchased yellow bulbs, but they are definitely yellow like butter cream.  I lean toward the very pink and purple when it comes to tulips.  These were on sale at the end of fall last year.  Lesson learned.  To prove Spring is finally in MI, here is a pic of a morel I found this week in my driveway:

morels 09

I guess I should have looked for a 2009 penny or how will you know it was taken last week?

This week’s host for the menu swap is Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness and she is seeking hosts if any of you are interested.  The ingredient this week is carob, which I don’t have any of on hand, so I will sit this ingredient out unless I run to the health food store.  We have decided to go back to planning our menu as much as possible for all 7 days so we don’t end up without a plan on the weekends and end up with spaghetti again.

Menu:
Sunday: Paella with three types of chorizo, saffron, smoked paprika, tomatoes, chicken, peas and piquillo peppers from Spain.

Monday: Grilled wild sea bass, horseradish dill creme fraiche potato salad and broccoli rabe

Tuesday: Vietnamese Banh Xeo with shrimp, (our) pork and bean sprouts, a side of do cha (diakon radish and carrot pickle) and North Vietnamese style fried spring rolls

Wednesday: Grilled flank steak with Chimichurri sauce (similar to Italian salsa verde) and grilled asparagus

Thursday: Pakistani Kunna: pork braised in a yogurt sauce from Madher Jaffery’s book, along with a fresh chickpea curry with curry leaves

Friday: Black and blue grass fed burgers on the grill (Gorgonzola cheese and plenty of my homemade blackening seasoning which I will post soon – back to the rub of the month time!), fresh cut Michigan fries and a green salad (our greens hopefully, but not likely)

Saturday: Mexican tortilla soup using my brother’s organic chicken as the base and one of the last jars of canned tomatoes from the pantry. My avocado is already ripening. Maybe my cilantro will be harvestable by next Saturday….

i’m out

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 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 Feb 22: Umami

We have a yummy menu planned this week.  I guess my cooking mojo is back, I didn’t realize it left, but it was sort of half hearted for a while.  Manda of Asparagus Thin is hosting this week and has picked umami as the secret ingredient.  The menu of the week ingredient has definitly morphed into a concept vs an ingredient and I love the challenge.  I think most of our dishes this week have an umami component to them, perhaps that is why I am so excited about this week’s menu.

steak with bordelaise sauce and pomme frites

Sunday:  Grilled steak with bordelaise sauce, homemade pomme frites, grilled asparagus (grass fed burger for Eby as he doesn’t like steak).  I used my gluten free demi glace (in the bordelaise) that I made a while bake and it was tasty!  We have the pomme frites technique down and they were perfect!

Monday: Pozole with a chile de arbol sauce and  sliced radishes, shredded cabbage, chopped onion and cilantro for garnishes.  Some locally made fresh salsa and chips on the side.  Pozole is the epitamy of umami for Mexican dishes with it’s savory full of flavor broth.

Tuesday: Thai fried rice and Tofu Lard Nah served over the rice instead of noodles as I have a big batch of leftover rice.  Plenty of umami in this dish.

Wednesday: Crispy sticky roast 1/2 chicken with smashed new potatoes (purple ones) and tomatoes.  Using one of Jamie Oliver’s tempting recipes for this dish.  Will roast some broccoli too.

Thursday: Beef Bourguignon and braised collard greens.  I will base my recipe off of Ina’s and Karen’s.  Must get this dish in before it warms up and it looks to be a cold week.

Friday: Mahi mahi with hazelnut romesco,  potatoes and winter slaw.  I finally found some piquillo peppers to use.  We have mahi mahi in the freezer, but if halibut goes on sale, I will use that.

frites

Happy eating!

i’m out