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 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

Tinkyada stuffed shells!!!

As discovered last night on the internets:  large shell pasta! Yippeee!  Now I can make stuffed shells – all we need is ravioli now….

Perhaps you all knew about the large shells already.  I didn’t.  We ordered a case (lifetime supply) from Amazon.  Look forward to them on the menu next week as I still have canned tomatoes from last year’s garden.

i’m out

Menu of the week: Tomatoes!

I consider tomatoes a staple food, regardless that my BF claims they can’t be a staple. My tomato plants aren’t even blooming yet, but at least are planted (30 of them), so we will be using home canned tomatoes this week. I can’t wait for Caprese – tomato mozzarella basil salad as soon as my tomatoes are ripe!

This week’s menu swap is hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. Make sure to visit and see what’s on the table this week that features tomatoes. My menu is a little late as I only returned from our weekend last night.

Monday: Indian

Butter chicken with yogurt instead of cream and butter (uses lots of tomatoes) , Saag Paneer, brown basmati turned yellow with turmeric and papads for crunch.

Tuesday: Thai

Spicy pad ped with pork and zucchini or green eggplants – whichever the Asian market has, with rice and spring rolls

Wednesday: Italian

Lasagna bolognese and green salad

Thursday:Vietnamese

Pho ga (chicken) with Goi Ga spicy salad if I can figure out a recipe similar to what I had in Chicago once. All those links combined will do the trick I hope. Cabbage, carrots, lime, fish sauce, basil and mint. Sounds good to me!

Friday: Latin American

Red snapper Veracruzana style (Mexican with tomato, olives peppers and capers) and arepas (Venezuelan)

Saturday: Mid Eastern/Turkish

Grass fed beef kabobs. The rest I need to think on. Perhaps a veggie Turkish pide as an appetizer.

Sunday:  Taqueria – out to dinner with friends at the local taqueria which is very authentic – no tex mex here!

Menu of the Week March 31st: Lemons!

Gluten Free Menu Swap Monday - Lemons
This week’s menu swap is hosted by Gluten Free Mommy and the ingredient is lemon! The ironic thing is I used about a dozen lemons in last week’s menu. I was in a lemon mood and ate most of the 8×8 pan of double lemon bars myself over the week.

Sunday: Wales, home of the leek

Leek Potato soup with tarragon

Monday: Alsatian

Trout Choucroute from March Gourmet mag – perhaps. I will be subbing Artic Char. I am not sure about fish and sauerkraut. Sides will be broccoli, maybe in casserole form, and polenta. Edited to add – this is definitely a dish that we will not, repeat not be making again.  The fish itself was tasty, but the rest of the dish was a sour flop.  Even my polenta experiment didn’t work the way I planned.  Oh well.

Tuesday: Indian

Boti Gosht with grass fed beef and lemon rice, dal (maybe), bajji (onion fritters with chickpeas) and green mango salad

Wednesday: New Mexican

Tamales with red chile sauce

Thursday: All American

Mac and cheese with a green salad

Friday: Southwest fusion

White Chicken Chili loaded with green chiles and creamy cornbread. Since my bf won’t eat beans, I will be pureeing them in a known attempt to disguise them and he will see if he can get over his psychological bean burden. Wish me luck!

Happy eating!

i’m out