Menu of the week Feb 9th: Chocolate!

Ah Chocolate!  You either crave it all the time, or not so much.  I am in the not so much category, but I do like my chocolate, it just has to be good chocolate.  I don’t crave it.  I am more of a salt than sweet tooth.  If there is any week to like chocolate, this is the one.  Since this week includes Valentine’s Day, I will embrace chocolate in souffle form and pair it with raspberry (chocolate is better with raspberry don’t you think?), but I am also using chocolate in a savory dish.  As long as we are on the chocolate topic, if you haven’t seen Like Water for Chocolate, you really, really must (esp if you like cooking and Mexico) and see it in the undubbed original Spanish version with subtitles.  Do not watch the dubbed version, you lose everything.

chocolate souffle

Our host for the menu swap this week is M-Elle of Cooking and Uncooking .  I am certain there will be some great gluten free chocolate desserts posted this week, so check them out.

Sunday:  Smokey pork (our pork) on the charcoal grill, low and slow in the sunshine. Potatoes Dauphiniose with both sweet and local potatoes plus Gruyere and grilled asparagus.  I am using my Mexi rub and added  cocoa powder, coriander and brown sugar to the rub.

Monday: Homemade pizza!  Deep dish or thin crust, to be determined.  Using our canned tomatoes and our frozen tomato paste and herbs from the indoor garden for the sauce.  No homemade mozzarella yet, but soon!

Tuesday:  Vietnamese crab and tofu soup with a Vietnamese cabbage salad and maybe attempting scallion pancakes.

Wednesday: Pesto Risotto and grilled salmon with spicy black butter

Thursday: Gumbo with okra, tomatoes, andouille sausage and chicken over rice (maybe dirty rice maybe not)

Friday: Indian, pork kofta curry balls (based on the linked recipe), rice, dal and maybe I can work a cabbage potato curry dish in there too.  I recently had a great one at our local Indian restaurant, the potatoes were tangy with lots of cilantro and black mustard seeds in the dish.

Saturday (Valentine’s Day): Cheese fondue appetizer with Whole Foods Sourdough GF  bread and apples for dunking,  Scallops (for me, fish for Eby) with beurre blanc sauce and angel hair pasta, green salad with sustainably raised hearts of palm, tangerine supremes, red onion and a dijon viniagrette , chocolate souffle with raspberry eau de vie whipped cream Going to eat the Trader Joes GF flourless chocolate cake I forgot I had in the freezer for emergency dessert needs when traveling.  We made a raspberry puree with a bit of Grand Mariner to go with it.  L.Mawby Sparkling wine from Leelanau County. Martini’s and cocktails instead of wine.

This is why I don’t make sugar cookies

I spent the last hour looking for my cookie cutters. I know I had several. After going through most of the boxes of stuff that we packed up when the house was on the market, I could find none. Before packing I knew right where they were. I can’t remember when I had last used the cookie cutters, if ever. Somehow one would find it’s way in my stocking every couple of years. Now, an hour later I am pretty sure I had a conversation last July that went something like this: “Cookie cutters? I don’t ever plan on making sugar cookies, I don’t even like sugar cookies, I might as well take these to Goodwill.” Of course. Could I remember that before going downstairs and ripping through 20 boxes, of course not.

Strangely enough, for Christmas one of my dear friends got me some St Patrick’s Day kitchen towels and they came with a shamrock cookie cutter. I adore St Patrick’s Day and love anything shamrockie, but thought, when am I ever going to use this cookie cutter, but it is a really cool cookie cutter. Strangely enough my mom, who loves sugar cookies and would bake and decorate them for almost any holiday when I was growing up gave me a bag of Gluten Free Sugar Cookie mix in my stocking this year. This time I thought, that is probably the only way I will ever make sugar cookies and told her, what a coincidence as I had just received a shamrock cookie cutter.

I was thinking about what I could get my sweetie for Valentine’s Day and since the smoking jackets on Amazon were all party costumes (he smokes a pipe while roasting coffee and drinking homebrew outside) and pretty sleezey looking, I thought a very stupid thought: “I will make him some sugar cookies shaped like hearts drizzled with white chocolate that is turned red or pink from food coloring.”

Since I couldn’t find the heart cookie cutter I know I had, I diligently cut out three cardboard hearts to use as a tracer. I did heavily debate just using the shamrock with the pink white chocolate (that sounds a bit odd, pink white chocolate). I may still do that if the cutouts don’t perform.

So, I have had a very busy week this week, but happen to have a couple of hours that I could take off this afternoon since I worked last night and thought, I must make the sugar cookies while he isn’t home so it is a surprise when he gets home this eve.

I loaded the butter into the KitchenAid and set it to cream. The bag said to pour the mix in slowly to the bowl while mixing, so I opened the bag and it wouldn’t come out. I so I opened it wider and gave it a shake and then another shake and all of a sudden the whole mix comes out in a plastic bag. In the blink of an eye I reached to turn the mixer off and ppooooofff ! The mixer caught the bag and it exploded all over everything. My face was white, my sweatshirt and tee shirt coated, all over the floor and counter, it even went down my bra and up my nose. I paused and then all i could do was laugh. I think you would have been on the floor laughing if you had seen me and the shock on my white powdered face. Luckily the camera was near by on the counter and I snapped a pic before going to wash my face, change shirts and then begin the cleaning. Oddly enough we finally ordered a dust buster for the kitchen as the kitchen floor gets messy quite fast when I cook and bake, how handy was that to have in the next room?

This is why i should never make sugar cookies. So, I had no idea how much mix I lost to adjust my ingredients! There was quite a bit of butter on the exploded bag, so perhaps I decided to just follow the recipe with the remaining ingredient amounts. It is now chilling in the fridge.

I never thought there was a bag within the bag! He he he, I will check from now on though!

i’m out and I am rolling cookie dough.


Menu of the week Feb 10th and Valentine’s Day

This week’s menu swap is being hosted by Ginger Lemon Girl and the theme is chocolate! Since it is Valentine’s Day this week, I thought I would send you all some flowers and remind you that spring is on the way:

catulpa pollenation

If you look closely, you will see a honey bee flying in to the nectar reward!

Saturday: My sweetie did the shopping!

I always love it when my boyfriend runs to the butcher or some specialty store.  He always comes back with the best stuff, stuff I would have a hard time spending loads of money on, but stuff that we should all enjoy once in a while as a treat.  So, tonight we are doing a mixed grill with gigantic butterflied grilled shrimp scampi – these babies are huge, a well aged T bone steak (I have never had a truly aged one before), spicy goat sausage, and herbal lamb sausage.  In addition he is still perusing  Jamie’s Cookbook and plans to make an asparagus, mint and lemon risotto.  He is quickly becoming the weekend chef and I don’t know what to do with all of my spare time!  Guess I will go downstairs and pick out a bottle of wine.

Sunday: Hunter’s Feast for lunch

Wild boar burgers (yes, the BF found some at a butcher in AnnArbor) with BBQ sauce (Jack Daniels is my fav – love my whiskey), cheddar, bacon and a grilled onion and some red cabbage green onion slaw. I think some tater tots would go great with this, of course tater tots go well with everything.

Pan Asian for dinner: Crab curry  (once again from Jamie’s book)

Monday: Hungarian

Chicken Paprikash and home made spaetzle with braised red cabbage and apples (Rotkohl). Smoked paprika is out of this world!

Tuesday: American

Slow baked potatoes topped with broccoli and cheese and/or with GF blue cheese and bacon. Green salad on the side.

Wednesday: On the road for a meeting, blah, road food, likely Wendy’s chili, at least they have GF stuff on the menu. The BF will either grill brats (yes, we grill all winter, even in the snow and 5 degrees) or will eat at the brewery in Ann Arbor)

Thursday: Valentine’s Day and ode to Aphrodite

Champagne or a French 75 cocktail, oysters on the half shell with shallot vinaigrette (for me), herbed goat cheese bites wrapped in prosciutto (for him) drizzled with caramelized honey, grilled pork loin rubbed with cocoa and red chile, grilled asparagus, hasselback potatoes, red wine, arugula salad with herbs and olives and for dessert chocolate fondue with fruit and home made shortbread cookies. This menu is designed around foods that are aphrodisiacs and that would be easy to feed to one another (except for the salad – I plan to eat that with my own fork).

Friday: French

Cheese Fondue with sourdough spelt bread (wheat free but not gluten free) and apples for dipping and green salad with Dijon vinaigrette. Served with a nice dry white wine.

This week seems a bit heavy on the starches, esp potatoes, but having grown up on a potato farm, I love my potatoes!

I have to say, since I started participating in the menu swap, it really has saved me lots of time and effort. I know what I need at the beginning of the week for the rest of the week and I spend less time thinking about what to have. If you haven’t tried creating your menu ahead of time yet, give it a try, even if it is for a half a week, you will be surprised at how much time you have left for blog reading! 🙂

Happy eating!

i’m out