Menu of the week: Watercress

This week’s menu swap is hosted by Cooking and Uncooking.  Since I have no watercress and am not a huge fan of it, I will just mention that I tried to grow some wild water cress last year.  It was pretty hot and bitter and didn’t live long.  So, no watercress right now unless my store suddenly stocks it.  If it does, I will use in in a salad.


Vietnamese lunch: Chicken pho – lots of Thai basil left from last week and the cilantro and mint need to be harvested.

Dinner: Over at a friends for fun!

Sunday:  Thai chicken bamboo curry with basil and coconut milk, fresh spring rolls with mint,dill, cilantro, basil and shrimp.

Monday: Mexican Jalisco

Carne en su Jugo, charred green onions, salsa and chips

Tuesday: Italian bistro

Grilled scallops with angel hair pasta and fresh herb pesto, garden salad

Wednesday:South American

Chimichurri steaks and mini arepas with avocado crema and maybe shrimp ceviche

Thursday :  On the road North for the Fourth

Friday:  Up North at the farm :Strawberries, pontooning, Lake Michigan and grilling oh, and the Polka Fest!

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


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!

phoeautiful, faux pho, love me my pho

Well, I had some lunch plans today. We were going to go get sushi. They got canceled. I still have my sushi craving, so decided to make some pho for lunch. Not sure how that worked as a substitute for raw fish wrapped in rice and seaweed, but it did. It doesn’t matter that I am trying a new Vietnamese restaurant in Ann Arbor this eve and will likely have pho there too. I love pho. It is so fresh and tasty and it is healthy too.

I started to make pho and reached for my rice noodles – all out – how did that happen? Oh that last batch of Pad Thai. I reached for my can of broth and whoops, all out of that too. So I improvised. I had plenty of mint and Thai basil in the garden, plenty of cilantro in the fridge (I can’t grow enough to keep me happy, so I buy it) and plenty of little onions from my brother’s garden. I decided to use a combo of chicken and beef stock base – you know the paste stuff and throw in some fish sauce, red chile, green chile, a stick of cinnamon and one piece of star anise. Oh and some shredded carrot I had, just because I had it, it doesn’t go in pho. I completely forgot about bean sprouts, so at least the carrots had some crunch. I barely thawed a small piece of frozen sirloin steak that I had in the freezer (I keep some stocked just for pho emergencies) and sliced it wafer thin. Tossed into the bowl chopped green onion, raw white onion sliced paper thin, mint, cilantro and Thai basil and squeezed a big lime over it. Instead of noodles, I just made a small pot of rice, since they are rice noodles anyway. My Korean soups always come with noodles and a side of rice, so, I thought I would try it.

The result? Very tasty and didn’t require a trip to the store. Truth be known, I was hungry and should have let the rice cook just one more minute, other than that, a terrific substitute. I always add a dash of roasted sesame oil to give a nutty richness. The meat is super tender (freezing helps with that) and juicy and barely cooked. My nose is running from the green and red chiles. Just how I like it. Cold sweats from heat. I will post a pic, but with the rice, it is not as picturesque as it could be.

faux pho

Gluten free goodness.

I recently tried making a batch of pho broth. I bought pounds of meat bones and cooked them down for a day or two along with anise, onion and cinnamon and garlic. It turned out nice, but is a lot of work and still doesn’t have a big brothy flavor. Maybe a bit of, horror, MSG would help get that umame-ness.

Must pho-nish my pho now.

i’m out