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


Labbneh, or little spicy herby cheese disks

Ok, the photo is not the greatest, I know.  You try taking an emergency photo of white balls of cheese in greenish olive oil and see how it turns out.

labbneh

Next time, I will remove a disk, put it on a plate with a cracker, you will see the difference.  You have to just trust me on this one and use the pic as a platform for improvement.  These little disks are delicious.  I can’t take full credit for them, but I take re-creation and improvement credit.  Last summer I was in Santa Fe NM for 48 hours.  I was headed back from Flagstaff AZ to Michigan and jumped off Amtrak for two days to visit my cousins.  Knowing we had limited time and wanted to maximize sight seeing and visiting, they went shopping for some groceries before my arrival.  As we picnicked overlooking a large lake, Abiquiu and Georgia O’Keefe’s playground Ghost Ranch,  we dined on mixed nuts, this cheese, Mary’s Gone Crackers and apples.  We ate every scrap of this cheese and the olive oil it was marinating in.  It was made locally and for sale in their Santa Fe Whole Foods.  I have yet to find any in Michigan.

So, I recreated it based on their list of ingredients.  It is so easy and so tasty.  I took some up to a “cottage on the beach weekend” with friends and they devoured it and wanted the recipe.  Almost 7 months later I am getting around to typing it up.

I might just be what is known as a recipe writing slacker, maybe.  Writing them up means I actually have to measure or give guidance some how when I used none and didn’t measure.  There is no point in keeping it all in my head though, is there? What if you wanted to make it and bring it over to my house for dinner?  You couldn’t could you?  Well, now you can.  As far as the name of these little tidbits, well, my understanding is that labbneh is really a yogurt cheese and this creation involves zero yogurt, so please comment with alternative names in the comments section – really, I mean it.

You will notice that I use all dried herbs and spices, this is because if you are not eating it all right away (and it gets better after a few days), it will hold better with dried ingredients than fresh and no one wants botulism from raw garlic and olive oil hanging out do they?  Of course you can use all fresh ingredients too, just don’t let this cheese dish hang around as long.

Labbneh

4 oz of Feta at room temp French or Greek feta, up to you.
4 oz of Neufchatel cheese (lowfat cream cheese) at room temp
dried thyme
dried oregano (Turkish or Greek if you have it)
dried marjoram
ground rosemary (easier disbursement of flavor) or whole dried rosemary
dried garlic powder
dried shallots (Penzeys is an excellent source for dried)
dried basil (less of this herb, more of the others)
crushed red pepper
freshly cracked pepper
sea salt
good quality extra virgin olive oil

Cream the two cheeses together, add a bit of shallots, garlic, pepper and thyme to the cheese.
Form the cheese into little flattened disks.  Mine were about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter.  Place in a container that has a lid. Sprinkle the cheese disks with all of the herbs and spices listed above, including more shallots, garlic, pepper and thyme. Pour olive oil over the whole thing until the disks are submerged, the more you pack in, the closer they are, the less oil you will need. Let the cheese marinate for as long as you can, but at least a couple of minutes hours.  Then refrigerate, but let it the disks and olive oil come up to room temperature before serving. Goes great with a hearty crispy cracker and also with a cracker that will adsorb a bit of the oil.  I recommend a combo of Mary’s Gone Crackers and Glutino crackers for you gluten freers.  Take this to your next potluck!  Put the disks on a plate and pour the spiced olive oil over them and put a couple of little cheese spreaders around for cracker spreading.

Enjoy!

i’m out

Menu of the week August 18th

This weeks menu is hosted by Mary Frances of Gluten Free (Cooking School).  Please visit her blog and check out all the menus and recipes!

Next week I am hosting the menu of the week and the key ingredient will be Eggplant, so start planning! The garden is out of control, so to tame it, I must harvest a few things like the 5 foot high fennel.  I canned 2 dozen pints of tomatoes last week and will have to do the same this week.

Sunday: Lunch (up at the cottage with friends)  Tomato bisque with loads of garden tomatoes and basil.

Dinner: Grass fed beef tacos with frijoles de olla and fresh salsa from the garden produce.

Monday: Bistro

Dilled fingerling potato salad (both the dill and potatoes are from the garden), grilled pork loin with a peppercorn crust and a salad with fresh local goat cheese, tarragon and blueberries topped with a tarragon vinaigrette.  My lettuce is mostly bolted now, so the salad might be a challenge.  Green beans with shallot tarragon vinaigrette as the lettuce is super bitter.  Time to plant more lettuce (3 weeks ago).

Tuesday: French Bouillabaisse with fresh tomatoes, herbs and fennel from the garden, frozen fish, scallops and shrimp from the freezer and white wine from MI.

Wednesday:  Thai

Rad nah (or lard nah) with tofu (still have some left from last week).  I might try this method.  I will be using collard greens as they are taking over one of the raised beds in the garden and shading my eggplant which I need next week!

Thursday: Italian

Homemade pesto from the garden basil over pasta with grilled something, probably chicken.

Friday: Vietnamese

Ga Xao Xa Ot  using a combo of this, this and this recipe skipping the red bell pepper (not a fan unless it is roasted).

Happy eating!

i’m out

Menu of the week: Tofu

Hi all!  I am back from beautiful Flagstaff AZ and Santa Fe NM.

grand canyon, Bright Angel hike

I didn’t get glutened once in 11 days of travel eating non of my own cooking.  Needless to say, I am raring to cook up some deliciousness now and want big bold flavorful dishes to make up for a few bland ones over the last two weeks or so.  Green chile harvest has just started in NM and in my backyard.  I could eat green chiles most days.  As soon as I have enough ripe ones, I roast them, peel them and put them in the freezer for use all winter.

I am so backed up on posts about everything that is it hard to focus, at least with the menu planning, it is nice and easy.

I love tofu and to my happiness, so does my darling BF.  With all of his other textural food pickiness, I would have thought that tofu would be off the list, but he embraces the tofu and eats it right up.  So do I.  I have many different recipes for tofu, but since I have been posting about those off and on over the last few years, I am going to try a few new ones.

This week’s menu swap is hosted by Wheatstate Celiac so make sure you check out Jyesika’s blog for all the tofu menus.

Sunday: Southwest

Green chile stew with roasted green chiles from the garden and garden tomatoes

Monday:

Lunch:  Green chile mac and cheese

Dinner: Deep South:  Book of Yum’s Southern fried tofu, Granny’s green beans (overcooked pole beans with onion and bacon) and Southern style risotto – not sure what this will entail yet as I have to make it up.  What?? I have 6 hours still! jalapeno onion hush puppies based on this recipe altered to be GF, why not? Or based on this chef’s reviews and alterations of this recipe, since it is already GF. Or this one.

Tuesday:   Asian/Vietnamese

Tofu water chestnut lettuce wraps (like PF Changs) and bun cha (Vietnamese grilled pork over rice noodles and herbs.  I will be combining several recipe styles to create the dish.

Wednesday and Thursday: on the road for work – it never ends.  I am almost caught up with board meetings.

Friday: Southwest again! (Or we might take off for the weekend to a cottage on a lake up North with friends) Blue corn green chile chicken enchiladas. I am obviously on a green chile kick.

Baked sweet of the week:  Key Lime Meltaways (adapted to be GF)

Happy eating!

Sage brush

i’m out

Appetizer of the week: Tuscan white bean truffle dip


This one is great as it requires no heat and no stove, just a food processor of some sort.  I always have most of the ingredients for this one on hand which makes it easy to throw together for an impromptu appetizer.  We have been asked over to dinner this eve with some friends that are grilling a leg of lamb and I thought this appetizer would go well with it.  It is sort of like Italian hummus, but high scale.

tuscan white bean truffle dip

As usual, I rarely measure anything when I make it, so I will try to be as accurate as possible.  I also use what I have on hand, so if you don’t have an ingredient or two, sub something else that is equally as tasty.  The two key ingredients are the white beans and the truffle oil.  If you don’t have any truffle oil, just take truffle out of the name of your dip.

1 can of Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained.  (or any white bean of your choice)
1/4 cup of grated or finely shredded parmeasan
1 sun dried tomato or two, depending on size – the ones packed in olive oil would be fine.  I dry my own every fall when I am tired of canning.  Then I forget to use them until I think of this app.
1 clove garlic
1-2 TBS fresh chopped chives
1-2  TBS fresh oregano, use the flower buds if you have them
dash of salt (the parm keeps it salty)
two big dashes of smoked paprika – if you don’t have smoked, use regular, but if you have both, used smoked.
lots of cracked pepper
1 TBS + of truffle oil – from one of those tiny bottles – if you have a big bottle (5 oz or  more), it is probably not as strong, so use more of it and cut back on the olive oil.  Use enough so that you can smell the truffles in the dip.  Use more if your budget allows it and cut back on olive oil.
1/4 cup Olive oil – give or take

In a small food processor, mix everything but the beans and olive oil.  Mix until everything is finely chopped.  Add the beans and some olive oil and mix until you get a nice smooth consistency.  Add more olive oil as necessary to keep the mix moving and about the thickness of hummus.

Refrigerate for a little while to let the flavors blend.  Bring the dip to room temperature before serving so that the earthy, smokey, herbiness of the ingredients comes out.  Serve with strong crackers (Glutino’s aren’t much for dipping, but are my favorites) or GF crostini.  Garnish with some fresh parsley for accent. Drizzle with more olive or truffle oil for pizazz.


Dip and enjoy!

tuscan white bean truffle dip with glutino crackers

i’m out