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

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: Onions

I consider onions to be a staple, along with tomatoes.  I use almost a bag of onions a week.  Onions are very healthy for you and full of fiber and of course delicious.

This week’s menu swap is hosted by Manda at Asparagus Thin so make sure you check out her menu and blog as well as all the other menu posts.  This week’s ingredient is onions.

Saturday:  Grilled wild caught Sockeye Salmon with dill and garlic and a dill horseradish yogurt sauce and creamed spinach (with onions).

Sunday:  Over at a friends for grilled leg of lamb

Monday:  On the road 🙁 for work, of course.  All these night meetings mess with my cooking routine.  Maybe I will pack a waffle turkey sandwich.  I really like using waffles for sandwich bread.

Tuesday:  Italian American

Stuffed Shells!  Finally!  I will be stuffing mine with a ricotta and Italian sausage mixture  and topping it off with marinara sauce and some fresh mozzarella.  Onions will certainly be a factor in this dinner.

Wednesday: Indian

Cardamon Chicken with garlic and onions, lemon basmati rice.  Maybe onion pakora if it isn’t too hot out.

Thursday: New Mexican

Green chile harvest!  I will roast them and make a green chile cheese tamale casserole with some red chile sauce on the side.  A side of pinto beans simmered with chipotle, jalapeno and onions sounds good too.

Friday: South American

Bolones de verde (plantains grated and made into a dough and stuffed with cheese) – a snack I had in Ecuador that is actually Colombian and hard to find a recipe so I will be tasting and creating from a memory over 15 years old!  Along with this, grilled grass fed beef ribeye steaks with chimichurri sauce (with onions,  parsley, oregano, cilantro in the sauce).  Some grilled veggies for a side dish.

Happy eating!  Next week I will be in Flagstaff AZ for work for 7 days and will be eating from a college cafeteria and therefore I will not be posting a menu.  I hope simply to survive!

i’m out

Menu of the week: Oregano!

Herbs.  Herbs are a vital part of my cooking experience.  I just can’t cook without them.  It is always hard when I go up North for a weekend or to someone’s cottage and they don’t have the same stock of herbs as I do.  I love to cook wherever I go, so I have learned to snip a variety of herbs from the garden and bring them along with me.

Oregano.  I have two types growing in large pots in the potted garden.  Greek and regular.  I would like to get my hands on some Mexican oregano plants.  I keep them in pots as I learned long ago that both oregano and mint will overtake anything else growing in it’s path over the years. I use oregano a lot, both dried in rubs and soups and fresh in everything.
Below is a picture of my portable garden. Oregano is in the giant green pot and Greek oregano in the sky blue pot.  Keeping it in containers allows me to bring the pots in for the winter and use them all winter long.

the portable herb garden

Menu.  This week’s menu swap is hosted by Karen of Gluten Free Sox Fan and you may have figured out that oregano is the ingredient of the week already (the title of the post being the first clue).  Make sure you check out her blog and what everyone else is cooking, I always do!

Saturday: Smoke

Smoked pulled pork butt  with black pepper vinegar sauce (we still have our friend’s smoker) over hickory smoke.  This recipe is courtesy of Bobbie Flay – who makes great rubs (this rub has oregano).  I first noticed this recipe when I was looking for slaw recipes a long time ago.  My slaw will be different as I did a little experiment last week (I was out of town most of the week and didn’t bother with a menu – I felt lost the rest of the week) .  I used this recipe from except I didn’t grill the cabbage (and just used purple and half the sugar), I smoked it for about 15 minutes.  Incredible!  It was addictively smokey, tangy and crunchy.  I throw in some fresh green onion at the end for a bit of bite.

Sunday: Italianish

Polenta Sausage Mozzarella casserole from Elise and of course there will be oregano in the sauce.  Garden salad with fresh herbs mixed in.  I am really ready for a tomato or cucumber in my salad, but am trying to stand strong and wait for the garden to bring them in.  I am adding shallots and fresh oregano to the polenta for extra flavor.

Monday: East Coast

Crab Cakes with aioli.  I still need a side dish for this one.  Garden salad with fresh herbs for zing.

Tuesday: Flat bread of the week

Jim Lahey’s potato pizza altered to be GF and adding, creme fraiche, chives and bacon – that is as long as it isn’t 90F outside.  So I guess the only resemblance will be thinly sliced potatoes and onion to the original.  I suppose I could sprinkle some fresh oregano and rosemary on the flatbread after baking, in keeping with the theme.

Wednesday:  on the road for work

Perhaps I will make a wrap for the road, I guess as long as I am making a flatbread the night before I might as well, eh?  A corned beef wrap sounds interesting – Reuben in a wrap.  Probably not the best thing cold.

Thursday: Thai

Spicy chicken and basil fried rice or kao pad gkai gkaprow .  Really what I am trying to do is replicate my local Thai hole in the walls’ kau pad ped – but every recipe site spells Thai words differently.  This recipe looked closest to what one of my friends ordered.  Some sort of Asian themed salad to go along with this and of course, fried GF spring rolls.

Friday: Indian

I still have to flesh this one out, but I am in the mood for dosas (of course), a potato curry of some sort (perhaps South Indian) and a kofta curry made with our grass fed beef.

So, who’s coming over for dinner what night?

i’m out

Menu of the week: 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!


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