Menu Swap of the Week: Sides and Salads

Hosting this week’s menu swap is Wendy of Celiac in the House and she has picked favorite sides and salads as this week’s theme. I think we can work many of those in this week.  As I was typing this earlier, I hit save draft and went to go look up something.  When I came back to the page two minutes later, Word Press was asking for my password and hadn’t saved my post, even though I can see it saving it below every 2 minutes as I type.  I am sure this has happened to all of us, but it sorta takes the wind out of your blogging sails doesn’t it.  Trying to recreate the genius you had already typed below is impossible.  Easy to call it genius as it is gone now! So, lesson learned.  Always log into the dashboard, even if it doesn’t ask me to.  Enough griping and back to food.

Make sure you swing over to Wendy’s blog to see what all the other great GF cooks around the country are planning this week!

Sunday:  Steak and brats (steak for me, brats for Eby), grilled asparagus and some killer potato skins with bacon, cheese and chive sour cream.

Monday: Stuffed poblano peppers, inside out.  Instead of stuffing them, I roast them and chop them up and mix them with onions, tomatoes, cilantro, ground beef with Mexican seasoning, rice and cheese and then bake yourself into comfort food. A rice casserole with loads of my favorite veggies.

Tuesday:  Fish and chips and slaw!  Fish will be coated with an herby bread crumb mix and baked, fries will be cut with our new industrial strength french fry cutter that should arrive tomorrow and the slaw will have a lime and olive oil dressing with cilantro and green onions.  I really dislike mayo based sweet slaws, but love crunchy cabbage lightly dressed with tartness.

Wednesday: Caesar salad with a grilled chicken breast.  One of our favorite salads and if it weren’t for this week’s theme, we probably wouldn’t have thought of it.  This is the best way to enjoy romaine lettuce, I am convinced of it!

Thursday: I am having a hard time deciding what to cook on Thursday, so for now we are going with pasta carbonara with bacon and asparagus and a spinach salad with hot bacon dressing.  Maybe we will just do the spinach salad.  I am leaving myself some leg room on this one.

Friday:  Turkish Doner Kabobs (made with pork) with sides of tatziki, lightly marinated cabbage, pickled red onions and maybe I will make some flatbread or pita to go with it.  Of course we need a feta cucumber salad with this too and who knows, maybe some homemade baba ganoush if I find the time. Sumac is the key to great Turkish seasoning, and oregano.

Baked good:  Lemon bars, I have to have them around Easter now, so time to bake some!

May spring be on it’s way to you!

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 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

Menu of the Week Nov 17th: Rutabagas and several stories.

I am a bit behind on this post.  This always happens when I am gone for the weekend, get back late and then Monday night I had to attend a “Arbonne” party.  If you want to know what that is, I will be happy to hook you up with my friend who is just getting started.  She loves a good road trip.

So, I know you all have been waiting to see what the secret ingredient is (even though you may have glimpsed at the header – put that out of your mind).  Rutabaga, that is what we are experimenting with this week.  Now, the only time I really have eaten rutabaga, or swede as it appears to be called in the British Isles, is in pasties, a specialty (perhaps the only one aside from any deep fried vegetable and I mean any) of the UP or Upper Peninsula of Michigan as we Michiganders call it.  The part that borders both Lakes Superior and Michigan.  A really beautiful part of the state.  You should go there.  I think of moving there sometimes when I want to leave normal society.  At any rate, pasties are everywhere up there.  The miners used to take them for lunch.  They are a pocket pie filled with (typically) beef, onions, carrot, potato and rutabaga.  There seems to be only salt and pepper in there, no such thing as herbs in the UP a hundred years ago I guess.  They are often served with gravy (always from a jar I am sure) but the Yoopers (think UP-ers) insist on ketchup with theirs.  I have no love affair with ketchup.  None at all.  Ok, maybe occasionally with a tator tot that missed the buffalo sauce.  But really, that’s it.

At this point you are thinking… all this info and we haven’t gotten a menu yet and it is the day after menu day.  Well folks, that is what a long day on the road and a strong vodka cranberry juice does for you, well, me.  Ester at Lilac Kitchen is this week’s host and who we have to thank for my long pastie post!

So, on my way home this eve I stopped by the store for some much needed groceries and knew that it was rutabaga/swede week and found myself staring at not one, but a box full, in the fresh starches isle (near the tators).  I debated.  I walked away.  I walked back.  I picked one up and resolved to attempt a pasty.  I will attempt the best pastie ever.  One with herbs.  And garlic.  No ketchup.  Maybe gravy though as I am a sucker for a sauce.

So, now you know about pasties (pronounced paasties – like Pa in Little house in the Prairie).  You have to watch out when you say the name or you will get some thing that only women in strip joints wear.

Menu time now.

Ok, maybe not yet.  The reason we were back late on Sunday was because we were returning from our pig butchering weekend.  We have a pig share of sorts which I will blog on in a new post but have blogged on it here before.  This year’s piggies were named Speck and Parma.  We had the entire 3.5 hours back which was more like 4.5 hours due to black ice everywhere and many collisions along the way, to think about how we wanted to cook our first pork dinner.  By the time we got home it was late and we were hungry so we made ground pork in a miso sauce and fried rice.  We have a total of 1.5 pigs in our freezer now.  Seem a bit extreme?  It might be.  We aren’t sure yet.  The bacon is getting cured in Traverse City aside from a 5 lb piece that I cut off to try curing ourselves.  So by butcher, I mean butcher.  The pig was shot and gutted by our bee keeper Julius.  It then hung for a day until we arrived on a Saturday afternoon to start slicing.  He does have a ban saw, thank goodness, but we do all the trimming, tell him what cuts where and wrap and label it.  I cut the tenderloin out myself, three times.  It is very humbling.  I am extremely thankful for our good fortune to hook up with these great folks: A raspberry and sustainable everything farmer who works on cherry harvesting equipment, his wife and a cherry/apple farmer who is also a large bee keeper.  No the bees aren’t large, just his operation, rather the honey operation.  We bought some honey from him while we were there.  Thankfully I haven’t needed a hot toddy yet this year, but I am ready when I do.

Ok, now on to the menu.

Saturday:  I didn’t really cook all of this, but my brother (and friends) did for a dinner party while we were up there.  It is definitely blog worthy.  It was all wheat free.  It was all local, every bit of it, except the cheese and crackers, which I brought.  I always travel with cheese and crackers.

Apps:

cheese and crackers

spicy pickled dilly beans

fresh pate made from our friends freshly butchered pig – I hate hate hate liver and loved this stuff.  Will find recipe soon.  I think the fact that it didn’t have much liver in it made all of the difference.

salad : local greens with balsamic dressing and slices of seared pheasant breast

entree:

local organic free range chicken breasts stuffed with pheasant and chestnut force meat – a meat stuffing of sorts – with a morel mushroom supreme sauce

sides:

sauteed brussel sprouts

leek tartin minus the crust to make it gluten free

roasted small potatoes with rosemary and garlic (i made this one)

roasted butternut squash

dessert:

homemade spelt  pumpkin pie from scratch, local pumpkins and all (the spelt is grown and milled in MI too)

to drink

our friend’s hard and sweet cider – they just opened their hard cidery, Tandem Cider,  a month ago and have 5 varieties of hard cider as well as tasty sweet cider.

I tell you, it was Thanksgiving.  Really.  Great friends, great food, all grown or raised by us or my dad.  I really can’t ask for more than that.  Honestly, it is the norm up there.  That is one reason we want to move back.  I am so making that pate and I have never said that before.

Sunday:  Ground pork in a miso sauce and Steamy Kitchen Jaden’s fried rice posted on Elise’s Simply Recipes.  Only we cheated.  We had no leftover rice – a big no no.  So I used Sushi rice and didn’t cook it all the way.  Sushi rice is so strong and sturdy that it worked just fine.  We used Martin Yan’s quick Chinese book for the pork.  It was really tasty!

Monday:  Mexican shredded pork stew (with ancho chiles, roasted garlic, chipotle and red chile) over rice with black beans (with green chile and garlic) and brussel sprouts ( I was craving brussel sprouts and decided to forgo the Mex theme for some extra green yummies.)

Tuesday: Corn, Crab and Potato chowder with a bit of bacon and mashed sweet potatoes as the thickener.  On the stove right now.  Whoops. I totally scourched it.  To the point of having to pray that it doesn’t taste burnt and moved all the non burnt items into a new pot.  That also comes with drinking a strong vodka cranberry and blogging.  Luckily the crab, cream and milk had yet to be added.  There is no burnt taste, soldiering on, will eat when the post is finished.

Wednesday:  Trader Joe Chicken Sausages with spinach sauteed in a pasta toss with asparagus, dried tomatoes, parmesan and pine nuts.

Thursday:  Moletes de papas y queso  (potato masa torpedoes) and fish enchiladas with tangy tomatillo sauce via Rick Bayless.  Will use the rest of Monday’s black beans with green chile and garlic too.  Or if enchiladas don’t strike me, we will grill the fish.

Friday:  Pasties!  My pasties will have grass fed beef (if I can get to the bottom of the freezer), and all the normal veggies plus herbs, lots of them.

i’m out

Decisions are made by those who show up: Election Week Menu!

In honor of Election week and all the nationalities that make up this nation, I bring you an election week menu with cuisine from around our nation.  I guess that really isn’t any different from what I normally do, is it?

This week’s menu swap host is Angela from Angela’s Kitchen, so pop over to her blog and see the cute Halloween photos and all the great menus.  The ingredient this week is greens.  It must be the Southern in me as I love greens!

Saturday: Country Italian: Pork braised in milk, rosemary and garlic

Sunday: All American: Pheasant and wild mushroom pot pie – my bro and fam are in town and he is whipping this one up, I am typing up my menu plan while he cooks.

Monday: American Italian:  Spaghetti and meat sauce, garlic bread and salad

Tuesday: Hungarian:  Chicken Paprikash (with loads of smoked paprika) with rice or spaetzle if I have time, and a side of collard greens cooked nice and slow with garlic – perfect timing on the ingredient of the week as I need to harvest the collard greens in the garden.

Wednesday: Mexican:  Fish tacos with guacamole and salsa, maybe some refried beans for me too.

Thursday: Chinese: Black and Szechuan pepper chicken with snow peas

Friday:  On the road up North for the weekend to assist in the butchering and packaging of our piggies Parma and Speck (see pics on flickr to the right).

Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday!  Change is on the way!  Thanks goodness…….!!!!  I will be following all you facebookers and twitterers tomorrow night while the election results roll in.  Eventually I will get the twitter linked to my blog, when my darling tech guy remembers and has time.  Perhaps tomorrow while we wait in line to vote – if they have wifi that is.

i’m out