Dinner’s on!

Back into the swing of cooking I go this week.  The last three or four weeks have been a whirlwind of night meetings and weekends away.  It happens every once in a while, but it throws off the cooking mojo.  To bring the mojo back we have a nice spicy week ahead.  Next week is the first week of our first CSA.  Once that begins, my menu planning will start the day after CSA pickup day (which is a Tuesday) so that I can incorporate whatever goodies end up in our box.

This week’s menu swap hostess is Sea from Book of Yum and the topic is Pizza, something just about everyone loves!

Sunday:  Peanut barrel for a bunless burger and a side of fries

Monday:  Korean Kalbi grilled, wonton soup, broccoli stir fry and fried rice, or maybe I will make broccoli fried rice.

IMG_9631

Tuesday: Ethiopian – injera is fermenting on the counter now, doro wat with one of my brothers organic free range chickens, pintos Ethiopian style and a side of yellow peas and potatoes spiced up to fit the party too.

Ethiopian: collards, beans and beef over Gluten free injera

Wednesday: Pizza – we have a couple of GF crusts to compare and plenty of fresh mozz, maybe we will do calzones if we are feeling snazzy

Thursday: Pasta toss with grilled asparagus, shaved Parmesan, grilled red onion, grilled chicken breasts and fresh herbs.

grilled asparagus and chicken pasta

Friday:  heading North to the farm for a fun weekend along with the Leland Wine and Food Festival.

i’m out

Menu of the week: Nuts and St Patrick’s Day!

This week we get to celebrate one of my favorite holidays, St Patrick’s Day.  I do have Irish roots and that combined with red hair makes it one of my favorite days of the year. Plus, it’s a good excuse to drink whiskey and drink hard cider with friends, be rowdy and chant Irish slogans all day in Gaelic.  I take the day off every year and will do so again this year.

St Patty's Day prep, Irish coffee and bling

The ingredient this week is nuts and our lovely host is Sea at Book of Yum who always has some tasty eats cooking.  Make sure you visit her blog to get the scoop on all the nutty menus around this week.

Sunday: The ultimate Mac and Cheese!  I found my recipe that I thought was long gone and I couldn’t remember how to recreate it as I had only made it once.  Where was it?  In my pile of recipes to blog.  Irony.  It is based on Martha Stewart’s Mac and cheese with my adjustments of course.  I will post this one.

Monday:  Pizza, when I start to crave tomato, then I start to crave pizza toppings shortly after that, so it’s time for some pizza. Using the Chebe pizza crust this go around to try it again.

Tuesday:  Happy St Patrick’s Day!  I will leave the house for the bar hopping bus crawl with a crock of Irish Stew with lamb to come home to.  Using the last of the lamb in the freezer.  Lots of leeks, carrots and potatoes.

Wednesday  Jap Chae Korean Glass Noodles ala Jaden at Steamy Kitchen and kalbi, slow braised beef short ribs.  We must have some rice and kim chi of course too.

Thursday: On the road for work, traveling with some Indian spiced cashews that I found in Chicago at the market.

Friday:  Black vinegar ribs with some of the pork ribs from our freezer, rice and maybe a green bean stir fry to go with it.

i’m out

Menu of the Week: Avocados

Green butter, that’s what they are, avocados. When I was traveling on a budget through Ecuador, we ate them daily. We spread them on bread. When I am in Mexico, not a day goes by with out some avocado consumption. So this week I will be happy to utilize them in a couple of dishes, yes, very happy.

I have 3 avocado plants growing in my house from pits that I planted long ago. No sign of an avocado growing yet, but they are nice plants. I have this week off to use up some comp time and clean the house, experiment with cooking, blog, garden and so on. I plan to experiment a bit with my lunches and am not sure what I will be doing yet, but I have a whole week to cook, so expect some perfecting of dosa’s, injera if I can find light teff flour and maybe some GF potsticker’s and who knows what else.

This week’s menu swap is hosted by Cooking and Uncooking so visit her site and check out all the menus everyone is cooking.

Sunday: Brunch: Sindu’s for the Indian buffet – more chaat and dosas!

Dinner: Mac and cheese with a green salad full of garden herbs. I finally made perfect mac and cheese, no need to improve upon this recipe ever. Luckily I wrote it down. I think it has 4 cheeses in it. I made a batch a while back and froze 1/2 of it unbaked in a casserole dish. Saucy and cheesy with a nice cheesy crust. I will post this one.

Monday: Korean – out to dinner Champung: A spicy seafood soup, mine will be with rice noodles. A friend of a friend cooks at one of our local Korean restaurants on Monday nights and we are finally going in when he is working. He can specialize my soup, kick it up and make sure that it is gluten free. I just have to bring my own GF oyster sauce.

Tuesday: Beer club (well, cider for me) Our host makes veggie sloppy joes with soy and they are gluten free. Bonfire on the lake. Perhaps I will bake some GF cookies to bring along.

Wednesday: Lunch: Subject to change but for now a green salad with avocado (I need a couple of days for my avocado to ripen), dried cherries and smoked turkey. Or I might try making an avocado dressing with lime.

Dinner: Turkish : Turkish pide – well I hope. Pide is sort of like a pita/calzone of the Turkish variety. Turkish style salad and yogurt sauce to accompany. I think I might try Gluten Free Gobsmacked’s Lavash style bread for this.

Edited to change to Mexican Guacamole, carnitas, Slaw, salsa, beans and rice. I love carnitas! I will be making this with our own home grown pig share pork – from Pancetta – that was her name.

carnitas

Thursday: We are hitting the road one day early now, so I am making GF Gobsmacked wraps with turkey, provolone and avocado for the road along with some hummus and carrots. Then off to Leelanau county for Memorial Weekend. I can’t wait to get to the farm, see my niece and nephew, the rest of the friends and family and this year’s batch of chickens and pheasants. Of course I will go morel hunting and harvest a boatload of wild leeks.

Friday: Dinner with friends in someone’s backyard.

i’m out

Menu of the Week: Strawberries…. a fruity memory

Bardenhagen Berries

I love strawberries!

Unless I do something with frozen strawberries, like make a margarita with them to make room in the freezer for this year’s batch, I will be passing on using any fresh ones. Why when I love them so? Because in Michigan, strawberries won’t be ripe for another month at the earliest. The strawberries in the store here are all from FL and CA and taste like cardboard.

My cousin and uncle have a strawberry farm in Leelanau and I spent many years working the strawberry packing season at 7 am. I even hoed all 10 acres three times one summer instead of waiting tables. I am used to eating my fill of strawberries all morning long, fresh from the field, unwashed, dew still attached. But now I don’t live as close, so I don’t eat as many. I miss them and look forward to them every year.

Packing strawberries involves taking the berries that have been picked into little wooden quarts from the field carrier and putting them into cardboard boxes that hold 8 quarts. These flats are delivered every morning to the local stores and restaurants.

My cousin doesn’t do a u pick. He has migrant families that arrive every year, eager for the season to start. He also has a top of the line migrant camp where they live for 4-5 months (they work the cherry and apple harvest too). These are ranch style houses with a long covered porch. The farm provides them with housing, water and electricity and work. I love walking by the camp when it is full of families. Loud Tejano music playing, terrific cooking smells wafting about, fresh tortillas everywhere, the kids are playing and people are laughing. Kinda like walking down a small street in Mexico. Most of these families have been coming back to the farm for years and are from Texas.

As you can see, strawberries hold quite a memory for me. Without the migrant labor, this farm would not function. I am thankful for them and the lives they lead. And thankful for strawberries. I really ate at least a quart a day for 3 weeks. Then when cherry season started, I ate a lot of those. I wouldn’t trade the life I had growing up for anything. Growing up on a farm gave me so many experiences that I will always tap into and cherish. At the time though, I would have loved to move back to the city, if you asked me when I was 12 after a day on the potato harvester in the hot dusty sun on a Saturday when ever one else was playing.

collage of fruit

Well now. After all of that, I guess I am going to go downstairs to the freezer and find a frozen bag of last year’s berries and whip them up with some rum or tequila. I owe them that. Often I pay them with freezer burn. Not really a fair exchange.

This week is a crazy one for me. We have our Michigan Envirothon state competition event in the upper Peninsula and I will be up there most of the week helping. The university hosting it already told me that they have some celiac students and are happy to provide me with gluten free options in their cafeteria. I perked right up with that one as I was not looking forward to working 12 -16 hour days and eating out of my cooler in the hotel.

Terri of the Faking it Gluten Free Style blog is hosting this week’s menu swap, so pop on over to her site and check out all the menus and ideas!

Saturday: Italian

Homemade frozen spinach and ricotta ravioli with marinara. Freezing your ravioli’s works great, unless you let them thaw slightly before tossing in boiling water. Then you have one giant ravioli dumpling as they are all stuck together.

Sunday: Korean take out

Yuk gae jang soup from the local Korean restaurant down the road. Homemade beef broth, strips of tender beef, green onions, zuc, mung bean noodles, onion and chile! This soup is comfort food to me, brothy and spicy hot. Survivor Finale night – popcorn for a snack.

Monday: Wing cook off. Why not? Everyone needs to do this once in a while. We will make some Buffalo style along with a homemade buttermilk blue cheese dressing and some Asian style with a lemon grass chile garlic coconut sauce. Maybe some spicy peanut dipping sauce. Tonight might be the right night for a frozen strawberry bevy.

Tuesday: Grilled fish (what ever looks good) with kumquat chutney/sauce (I still have to create this one), grilled polenta and grilled asparagus. Edited to change to blackened red snapper Caesar salad with grilled polenta croutons.  Kumquats will have to wait. I love me some kumquats!

Wednesday – Friday: Sault Ste Marie MI, no cooking for me!

Bardenhagen Berries!

i’m out

Menu of the week: Potatoes!

potatoes

I love potatoes! I grew up on a potato farm (cherries and apples too) in Leelanau County MI. We ate a lot of potatoes. My dad married a southern gal who liked to cook the occasional rice dish. While we were happy for the variation my dad would usually throw on a pot of boiled potatoes when he saw rice. Now I think, how cheeky! Somebody else made you dinner and you want potatoes? Every once in a while I have to remind him of his wayward ways. When I think back, it seems like there was a pot of boiled potatoes most nights. I am sure that isn’t correct, but kid memories you know. At any rate – I still can’t look a plain boiled potato in the eye. I actually gave up eating potatoes for the most part while in college as I was tired of them. French fries too. Then I started cooking them my way and haven’t looked back. I have 6 recipes for potato salad in my head at any given moment. Same with potato gratins. Love me my tators. For the record, my dad has since broadened his horizons (and remarried) and will eat rice now, pasta too. Now, my boyfriend doesn’t like cold potato salads or any cold veg except salads, but I will trade that off for the fact that he will eat tofu.

This weeks menu of the week host is Jacki at Cooking, Illustrated. Pop on over to see what all the other GF bloggers are whipping up this week. I am sure you will drool. I can’t wait to check out their potato recipes. Our menu this week features potatoes three times: a hot potato salad, herb roasted potatoes and a potato gratin. Really I could have made a new potato dish every night, but decided to hold back on the gnocchi, smashed potatoes and bakers. And I didn’t bring an Indian potato dish to the table this week, even though potatoes and tomatoes are not indigenous to India, they have embraced them both with as much excitement as I have.

It is potato planting season. We have several crazy varieties we plan to experiment with in the backyard, starting this week. If you would have told me when I was 15 that I would be planting potatoes in my own backyard garden, I would have starred at you in utter disbelief. My how we change!

volunteer potatoes, volunteer squash? and tomato

Saturday: Indian, company in town so we went to the local Indian restaurant. I had no pots and pans to wash – yippee!

Sunday:

Lunch:Tex Mex: Grass fed beef enchiladas (in a red chile sauce) and goat cheese enchiladas made with Friday night’s carne asada leftover steak cooked down until it fell apart and then added a burst of new spices. We used leftover goat cheese from our cheese platter appetizer and mixed it with a bit of Monterrey jack and green onion. Creamy and tangy.

Dinner Thai: Lard Nah with crispy tofu and kale – I have been jonesin’ for some tofu and it is being squeezed right now between two plates to make it firmer. I made a fresh batch of frozen (sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it?) spring rolls with rice paper. This time they are stuffed with crab and pork. We have been watching Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch and it makes me crave crab. I made up a batch this week and then froze them in packages of 6 for Thai nights. They actually fry up better after a little freezer time as it dehydrates the rice paper a bit. Can’t wait to try this batch! Dipping sauce: 1/3 tamari, 1/3 rice vinegar, 1/3 dark toasted sesame oil and topped with slivered green onions.

Monday: Caribbean cook out or possibly walk to our local pub and get bun less burgers and potato soup.
Jerk pork chops (with my homemade jerk paste) on the grill and grilled potato salad with green onions and vinaigrette dressing.

Tuesday: Italian
Penne with tomato cream sauce and Pancetta This looks like a great recipe to use those canned garden tomatoes up.

Wednesday: Korean fusion
Salmon bulgogi with Bok choy from this month’s Bon Appetit and crispy sesame rice.

Thursday: Birthday boy wish meal: Meatloaf, broccoli casserole with swiss and bacon, herb roasted potatoes. Dessert to be decided yet.

Friday: American MidWest
Rotisserie chicken from the local market and potato gratin with swiss and tarragon, roasted asparagus. (leftover chicken to be used next day in a curried chicken salad with dried cherries and almonds- that is the plan anyway)

i’m out