February 16th: Comfort Food, a menu and a plan

flank steak

It’s Mid-February.  Is there a better time for comfort foods?  Probably not.  The winter doldrums have not been as dark this month.  The earth must have tilted or perhaps it is global warming, but we have had far more sunlight than any winter I have spent in Lansing.  It really lifts the snow spirits.  But it’s not sunny everywhere and even if it is, comfort foods will always be something we turn to.  Comfort foods can be so many things and below I have listed what they are this week for us.  Wendy of Celiacs in the House is the gf menu swap host this week and comfort foods are the theme.  This week I am drawing from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook, The Breath of a Wok, Fish Without a Doubt, imagination and memory.  Libraries are terrific resources for cook books!

On a side note I feel very guilty for not actually posting anything but my menus lately.  So look forward to a couple of recipes this week, I promise.  I am hoping to revamp this blog and actually have a link for recipes eventually.  Currently they are not easy to find on here when I do post them.  My IT guy is in charge of the blog lift.  As usual, any pork, tomatoes, dry beans, garlic or potatoes featured in the menu below are local.  I am anxiously awaiting my own greens and veggies from the garden, but until then, we are breaking our rules and splurging a bit on asparagus.  Don’t hate me.  At least it is from California, not Peru.

Sunday:  Enchiladas Verdes with chicken and cheese, Frijoles de Olla, guacamole with red onion and cilantro, locally made corn tortilla chips, salsa

Monday: Grilled flank steak with a salsa verde and wilted escarole bread salad, grilled asparagus.

Tuesday:  Georgian Pork stew with cornmeal pudding and roasted brussel sprouts (comfort food for Georgians I’m told)

Wednesday:  Poached Salmon with scallop mousse, sauteed broccoli rabe and purple potatoes roasted with duck fat and rosemary.

Thursday:  Sichuan YuXiang Pork with wood ears mushrooms, water chestnuts and bamboo,  rice and maybe some shrimp toast.  Shrimp toast is definitely comfort food.  I am not sure who invented it, but I would like to thank them. Any thing spicy is comfort food to me come to think of it.

Friday: Italian sausage sauteed with broccoli rabe tossed with penne and shaved Parmesan, then drizzled with a tomato vodka sauce.  The store had broccoli rabe this week, so we stocked up on it as I love it!

Lunches this week: Beans and greens with escarole, hopefully a Rueben sandwich or two with Karina’s rye bread and out for Thai food or sushi one day.  I love weeks when I don’t have to be on the road most days!

Happy eating!

i’m out

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.

Menu of the Week Feb 2: Pineapple

Pineapple cart by the ocean

Cheryl is the host again this week for the GF menu swap and has chosen pineapple for this week’s ingredient.  Make sure you hop over to see all the creative pineapple uses.  I am going to use pineapple in a savory dish and a cocktail.  This pineapple cart is a photo I took on my last trip to Mexico. Ah, Mexico!

I just realized that I have some version of pork in almost every dish this week.  All that pork is from our piggies, including the bacon.  We need to restock our grass fed beef.  Still good on organic free range chickens and organic garlic from the farm. Getting low on canned tomatoes, potatoes.  I am looking forward to garden season.  We have had more snow than usual in Lansing this year.  It is more like being up in Leelanau, except it is sunnier there.  Oh and Lake Michigan is there.  Only the cold and amount of snow in common after thinking it over.  They actually use snowplows there to plow the roads, here, they just let the snow pile up until it freezes and everyone gets stuck.  Don’t move to Lansing.

Sunday:  Out to eat: Old Chinese restaurant w/new owners and an authentic Chinese menu that rocks!  Brought my own gf tamari for them to use – amazing food, will duplicate and will return often.  Ok, this is one good reason to be in Lansing.

Monday: Ultimate mac and cheese with bacon and chives using our bacon and indoor garden chives.  I like Smitten Kitchen’s version which is the NYTimes version from 06.  Creamy and heart stopping.  The below pic is the above recipe, but this time, bacon and chives will be added.  If I had fresh tomatoes I would slice them and garnish the top with them too.  But I don’t.  Some folks are mac and cheese only folks and some are rev it up with other stuff folks.  I am both.  UPDATE:  That was not the same recipe I used before.  Or if I did, I had completely different results.  This mac was grainy and I didn’t even want to finish it!  The bacon added a bit too much salt with the cheese.  Will perfect!

the ultimate need no more recipes mac and cheese

Tuesday:  Tacos al pastor with pineapple on the rotisserie and pina colodas.  Will use two recipes as guidelines to create the taco I crave this week.  Will use some of my garden canned tomatoes to make a “fresh” winter salsa.

Wednesday:  Sichuan Ma Pu Tofu with some stir fried sugar snap peas and rice.  I am all about Sichuan/ Szechuan style these days as it wakes my senses and brings me garlic and heat.

Thursday: Pork pot roast with garlic smashed (purple) potatoes and some sort of green veggie.  On the road all day and coming home to pot roast just sounds good this week.  Using pork, because 1.  I love pork and 2. We have 1.5 pigs worth of it in the freezer and 3.  I am out of grass fed beef except for burger. Pork and potatoes are local.  We are down to our garden’s purple potatoes for a while until we can restock from the farm.

Friday: Moroccan chicken with green olives, apricots and preserved lemons with rice.  Maybe a little hummus app to go with that, it is after all, a Friday. Will use my bro’s organic chicken for this.

i’m out

Chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Menu of the Week Jan 26th: fennel/anise

Sunday was Robbie Burns’ birthday.  If you have never been to a Robbie Burns party, you really should go, or host one.  I have done both.  Make sure you have lots of scotch, kilts and people willing to read poems and get sappy.  We didn’t have one to go to this year, and I didn’t remember in time, so I will do an honorary Robbie Burns night sometime this week to celebrate Scotland’s most beloved poet and my Scottish heritage at the same time.  This picture is just before I found out I had Celiac about 3 years ago.

Ginger at robbie burns

Chinese New Year!  That starts at midnight on the 26th, and well, it seems worthy of a couple of meals since we couldn’t pick just one.  I don’t have any Chinese friends here in town, strangely enough as we have so many students from China at Michigan State Univ down the road.  Korean and Thai (aquaintances) we have covered, but no Chinese.  Will make that a goal for the new year. So we are branching out on our own for the festival and going the extra mile for some of the dishes.

Just as a reminder, Mardi Gras starts soon too, as long as we are festing.  I love a fest.

This week the menu swap’s lovely host is Manda of Asparagus Thin and the theme she has chosen is licorice flavor or fennel/anise.  Ironically I hate anything with a licorice flavor, including the Greek liquor whose name escapes me at the moment.  However, I love fennel, both the seeds and the bulb and really enjoy anise when used in small background quantities, like in Vietnamese Pho.

Menu this week:

Saturday: Italian: Center cut pork roast rubbed in fennel, rosemary, garlic and sage with lemon asparagus risotto (Jamie Oliver’s risotto recipe, we actually have 5 of his cookbooks home from the library right now)

Sunday: Localvore meal: Chicken Chile Verde with organic chicken from my bro, canned green zebra tomatoes from the garden, frozen roasted green chiles from the garden and Michigan Great Northern Beans, garlic was local too, but not the onions or cilantro.

Monday: Chinese New Year: Hong Shao Ji and it has anise in it as an added bonus and is red, a good luck color for the New Year.  Fried spring rolls will also make an appearance as well as 100 Flower Blossoms using Jaden’s mom’s recipe (including crab) at Steamy Kitchen.  I just love Jaden’s sense of humor, photography, recipes and her blog.

Tuesday:  Chinese New Year continued: Spicy Lacquered Duck using duck breasts unless duck is on sale at the store.  Rice and Baby Bok Choy with shrimp from Rasa Malaysia to accompany.  Rasa Malaysia is another great go to Asian cooking blog with beautiful food porn shots too.

Wednesday:  Robbie Burns night at home: “Oat Cuisine” (har har) Horseradish crusted salmon with whole grain mustard cream sauce I guess we will need some braised leeks to go with the salmon.

Thursday: Pasta night: spinach ravioli (we hope) from the forgotten freezer stock with a chunky tomato sauce with loads of fresh basil from the basement greenhouse pots.  They might be filled with meat and cheese too.  Hopefully they thaw properly and don’t stick to each other. That will teach me to cryovack my pasta.

Friday: Ethiopian:  Sik Sik Wat with pork instead of beef and some Misr Wot and collard greens, feeling in a spicy mood and need to use up the batch of Berbere I made last summer.

Happy eating and Happy Chinese New Year and happy new US administration.  Lots to be happy about this week.  Don’t think about the snow.

i’m out

Menu of the Week Jan 19th: (One year of menus) lentils and dal

dal curry with yogurt and cilantro

This week marks one year of posting menus, posting them every week but a couple that we were on vacation or out of town for work. Wow! I keeping thinking I should just go back and recook the same menus, but there are so many more things to experiment with, so many new flavors to try, that I can’t. I have tried not to repeat much in the last year. If we did, it was usually on the off menu day (like a Saturday) or with a slight variation.
You have no reason to be, but I am proud of myself. I might be a little too organized these days. Someone says, hey let’s go out on Friday and I think, no, I already have that meal planned and posted and was looking forward to it. I typically just go out to lunch.
I digress.
This week’s ingredient highlights are lentils and dals and this week’s host is Sea over at Book of Yum. She has a great blog and is always posting wonderful looking international delights that even I can’t pronounce. Make sure you check out her menu as well as the many others that will be posting their menus. I love dals and have a variety of lentils in the house right now. Unfortunately my sweetie won’t even look at them, so I will be eating them alone. Since I have Monday off, I have decided to make an Aloo Dal for my lunch. Added to that, we are going out for Brunch (today/Sunday) to our favorite local Indian restaurant, Sindu’s, where I can typically eat everything that is not naan or deep fried. On Sundays they have dosas! I love dosas! And I love an occasion to go out to brunch, my friend Patty’s birthday. There will be dal there too and plenty of other lentil dishes and I plan to indulge.

Sunday:  lunch: Sindus with friends; dinner: Polpettone Ripieno, with Glutino spaghetti, homemade marinara and arugula salad

Monday MLK Day off:  lunch: aloo dal; dinner: Jagerschnitzel (with our pork) with rotkohl and maybe, maybe some spaetzle too, although I have a tough time making decent gf spaetzle – but I do have gf gnocchi in the freezer and that would be a great substitute.  If make them I will add dill as I am still in a dilly mood.

Tuesday: Singapore noodles with chicken and spring rolls – using brown rice vermicelli for this dish

Wednesday: Corned beef and cabbage, pulling from the freezer stock and I need to use it before it
goes on sale in March again.

Thursday: On the road for work

Friday: Grilled herbed cod, grilled asparagus and grilled polenta

grilled asparagus and grilled polenta

Unfortunately I have no pictures of any of the dals I have made in the past, so you get grilled polenta instead. Thought I would post a pic since I just made it for lunch and it is tasty!
i’m out