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

Menu of the Week Jan 5th: soup!

Vietnamese crab and squid soup

I love soup.  I could eat it more frequently than I do.  Eby really doesn’t care for soup unless it is full of meat and has almost no broth, or it must be more stew like.  Since that is the case, I will typically cook soups for my lunches if I am working from home that day.  Last week I was craving beans and greens (this week too).  This week I am craving a spicy Asian style noodle soup, like the one above, Vietnamese crab and squid soup.  I would make it, but I don’t think I wrote the recipe down or else I got it from a cook book long returned to the library.  Lessons learned.  Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness is hosting this week’s swap, so if you need some soup ideas, click on over check out all the menus this week, even if you don’t need soup ideas you should check out the menus.  If you haven’t posted your menu before, why not try it this week?  It is really easy once you get the swing of it and helps with grocery shopping as well as meal planning organization.  I have posted one every week since last Feb.  As a result, I can look back over old menus and get new inspiration.  Inspiration also comes from many cookbooks, magazines, fellow food bloggers and internet recipe sources.  Try it for a couple of weeks, you’ll see.

On to the menu.  I used the soup idea to clean out a few items from the freezer yesterday.  Soup is good for that.  It’s sunny, snowy and cold in MI today, and I wish I had some of last night’s soup left, sort of (see below). I have been trying hard to not have many leftovers and it is working finally.  I always want to cook something new the next day and can’t easily take leftovers on the road with me.  It looks to be a pork and chicken week, so I will work some extra veggies and seafood into my lunches (soups I hope).

Sunday: South American veggie and pork soup. This soup celebrates many of the ingredients that came to us via South America: potatoes, tomatoes, corn, chile peppers and would have been even better had I not scorched it while playing on Facebook. We topped it off with cilantro. Tomatoes and potatoes were local or from the garden, garlic too.

Monday: Roast 1/2 organic free range local chicken on a bed of onions, portabella mushrooms (on sale!) celery and parsley. Gluten free waffle stuffing (getting it’s own post tomorrow) with sage, thyme, parsley and garlic, rice (to go with the gravy I hope happens) and roasted brussel sprouts.

Tuesday: Hue (Vietnamese) style fried rice with lemongrass and black pepper or lemon grass chicken or tofu. Some of those pork spring rolls I froze last week will go nicely with this too. I wish you guys could taste them. If I posted the recipe, you probably could. Will work on that.

Wednesday: Company in town, spice him up! My dad is visiting for a meeting. Living two miles from Michigan State University gives us lots of opportunities to entertain out of town guests with meetings on campus. We like reasons to entertain. We are grilling some of our own pork center cut loin on the rotisserie and making risotto along with either broccoli or green beans in some form of healthy casserole, or just steamed. We will use the Fennel Fusion spice rub, oh how I love that stuff.

Thursday:  I am in Chicago for work, but won’t have a lot of opportunity to go out except in the near vicinity of the Sheraton by O’Hare.  Eby is on his own for dinner, which likely means dinner at Arbor Brewing Company, along with some beers.

Friday: Truffade and Pounti ala Auverge region of France and Saveur mag.  Eby picked these out to make.  I already bought the prunes so no turning back now.  Pork and potatoes are from us, green beans or broccoli are not.

Saturday:  Lunch Vietnamese crab soup with tomatoes.  Every since I posted that pic today, I have been searching for a similar recipe and have found 4.  Now I have to cook it again right?

Stop by here again next week and send me your menu swaps as I will be hosting.  The ingredient is “local”.  Source out at least one local ingredient, anything from your garden (fresh, frozen or canned this time of year) certainly counts.  If you need ideas of how to find something local, leave me a comment or email me.  Consider swinging into your local food co-op if you have one near by and those of you in warmer climates probably still have farmer’s markets to visit.  Local anything counts, cheese, meat, tofu, veggies, let your tastebuds and imagination do the cooking!

i’m out

Shepard’s Pie

It’s wintery outside and very, very cold.  Why not embrace the cold with some quick, warm Shepard’s Pie?

shepards pie

Shepard’s Pie

For the filling
1 lb Ground beef ( I used grass fed beef) cooked and drained of excess fat
1 med/large onion chopped
1 large carrot chopped
1 jar diced tomatoes (14-16 oz) I used home made canned. Drain and set tomato juice aside.
Green ends of a leek or a couple of green onions (was cleaning out the fridge)
potato starch
2 tsp beef broth concentrate (or cook beef broth down to concentrate) Trader Joe broth packets work great
2 bay leaves or ground bay
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp thyme
garlic – as much as you like, at least 2 cloves
salt and fresh cracked pepper

For the topping
4 medium potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream or milk as needed
chives or finely chopped leek tips – add enough to give both color and flavor
1/4 or more parmesan
s and fresh cracked p

Boil potatoes until cooked, drain and save the potato starch water. Set water aside. Make mashed potatoes with the topping ingredients.
Brown beef, onion and carrot together in an oven proof 2 quart pan.  If you don’t have one, use any frying pan and later pour the filling into an 2 quart oven proof dish or a large pie plate. Drain off any excess fat. Make a slurry with the drained tomato juice and potato starch. Add herbs, garlic and beef concentrate to slurry. Add slurry to the beef mixture and bring to a boil. Add potato water as needed to thicken and make a thick sauce. Top with mashed potatoes. Broil the potatoes until golden brown. Enjoy.

 

shepards pie meat mix with tomatoes

mashed potatoes for shepards pie

 

shepards pie

We used local beef, tomatoes from the garden, potatoes from the farm and local leeks for this dish.
i’m out

Thanksgiving week Menu Swap: sweet potatoes

heritage turkeys

Sea of Book of Yum is hosting the swap this week and has chosen sweet potatoes as the ingredient.  It took me a long time to realize that sweet potatoes are great.  As a kid they were always coated in marshmallows and brown sugar, not having a sweet tooth and not liking marshmallows much, the dish was never for me.  I really like sweet potatoes in a more savory dish.  Or in sweet potato fries.  Speaking of fries, that reminds me that soon we will start a new post series called Deep Fry Fridays, although I seem to deep fry more on Thursdays for the record.  Friday rhymes better.  Since we celiacs typically can’t eat any deep fried foods in restaurants because of cross contamination, I thought I would push our limits and have a deep fry fest month.  I am thinking January might do.  That gets us safely behind the busy holiday season, albeit everyone seems to diet in January.  Deep frying doesn’t have to be super fattening.  Sauteeing can be just as bad.  So stay tuned for some great ideas to dip into your fryer.  Send your suggestions this way too.  We will do a menu round up and see what is frying around the country.

Saturday: Porchetta, leftover from the freezer, ancho chile, cilantro new potatoes, roasted broccoli

Sunday: Szechuan beef (using our grass fed beef) and broccoli stir fry

Monday:  Pizza!!  I will be trying out Whole Foods 365 GF pizza crust mix.

Tuesday: Chicken ala Veracruzana from one of Rick Bayless’s books, arepas (chicken raised by my brother)

Wednesday:Grilled salmon, ethnicity to be determined, sides to be determined.  Leaving this one up in the air for now.  Maybe an Indian theme.

Thursday:  Thanksgiving!  Our menu this year is mostly based on Gourmet’s Come Together menu, very modern Mexican/New Mexican.

Apps: shrimp cocktail with cilantro and lime, chipotle meatballs, guacamole, chips and fresh salsa using my canned tomatoes and adding fresh cilantro, onion and serranos.

Salad: Clementine Jicama Salad

Main course and sides:mango salsa with pomegranate, spiced roasted sweet potatoes, adobo turkey with red-chile gravy (brined and charcoal grilled), corn-bread and chorizo stuffing, poblano potato gratin, green beans with a brown butter shallot sauce, center cut pork loin with rib on the rotisserie (with my homemade Mexican rub), rice (to go with the gravy),  and cranberry sauce (you have to have it)

Desserts:lattice apple pie with mexican brown sugar (although GF it probably won’t be latticed), chocolate cinnamon cream pie, with Pamela’s chocolate cookies used as the crust vs graham crackers, Haagen Daz Swiss Vanilla Rum ice cream

No, I am not cooking all of it, a good friend of mine and her hubby are bringing the meatballs, the stuffing and apple pie and making them all GF, another set of good friends (my aunt and uncle) are bringing sweet potatoes to roast and cranberries.  Both are bringing lots of wine. Both are coming from far away to join us.

Localvore part: We are using our ground pork in the meatballs, skipping the veal, the heritage turkey raised by my brother, the pork loin that we helped raise and butcher, tomatoes that I raised and canned, apples from the farm, potatoes from the farm and all garlic used is from my brother and sister in law.  The tortilla chips are made localy in Ann Arbor and are addictive. Oh, and our bubbly and several wines are local from LMawby Vineyards and 45, a new winery in Suttons Bay, both with great winemakers.

Friday : Brunch with the house guests: Sausage and Egg Casserole with slow roasted tomatoes and mozzarella (using pomodori al forno tomatoes instead of sundried) – this is naturally GF and I made it years ago and finally found the recipe again, recovery bloody marys, home roasted coffee.

Dinner:  Pork Pozole Party: our good friend Dan is in town (as well as our Thanksgiving guests) and we are hosting a party for him so that he has a chance to see everyone.  Pozole sounded like a tasty crowd pleaser and is comfort food for me when it is cold out and it is already cold cold cold out.  Radishes, shredded cabbage and onion for toppings.  We will use our pork for the pozole and red chiles from NM.  Margaritas will flow.

So, a wonderful week is on it’s way and once again, we have a lot to be thankful for!  Happy Thankgiving to all of you!

pigs and apples Ginger with her sides of porkour thanksgiving turkeyheritage turkeys purple potatoes in the gardenripe ready to can tomatoes garden fingerling potatoes apples apples

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