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: 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