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

Menu of the Week: Peppers!

Living with someone who works at a library allows us a multitude of cook books.  We have about 14 of them borrowed right now.  So, we are trying to just pull something from each of them to try.  It is a cook the book week of sorts. My sweetie pie has sudden inspiration after perusing through Martin Yan’s and Ming Tsai’s books.  So, we are pausing for some extra Asian this week – no problem by me!  He picked out over half of this weeks menus and several for next week too.  I love looking at the books for inspiration, as a guideline for recipes and to get new ideas.  He is a recipe follower.  My dishes sometimes don’t turn out, but his generally do.  As I type this he is working on this evening’s meal.  It is a nice change of pace.

green chile peppers

This week’s ingredient is peppers and is hosted by Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness.  I think with all the Asian food we have planned this week that we will probably see peppers most days.  Make sure you click on over to Cheryl’s blog and check out all the recipes.  You can see what is ripe in her garden too.

Sunday:  Asian fusion

Salmon rubbed with a spiced, smoked tea rub (using Ming’s recipe for the rub), Thai salad with cucumbers, cilantro, mint and crisp shallots, lemon scallion rice, oh and we made a fried squid app with rice flour and sweet chile garlic dipping sauce.

Monday:Asian fusion but still grilling out for the holiday

Lunch: spicy crab cakes from Ming Tsai

Dinner: Hoisin and lime marinated country ribs, glazed leeks with vinegar sauce (both from Ming Tsai), pork and tofu pillows (app from Martin Yan) and I am insisting on potato salad even though it is not Asian.  A nice dill, onion, vinegar and oil dressing for the potatoes.  I was just called in to taste (devour) the pillows and they were amazing and light.  We dipped them in garlic chile sauce.  We did snatch a brief photo to tempt you.  But since they are now ready to grill and I am still typing, I am way behind on my potato salad and will post photos later.

Tuesday: Mexican (Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen)

Red chile braised chicken with potatoes and greens (both from the garden)

Wednesday:  Vietnamese

Bun Rieu or crab soup with tofu and rice noodles – lots of peppers in this one!  My sweetie insisted that he was in a tofu mood this week and we had to get two packages – he loves tofu, but not mushrooms and to me the textures are very similar – but at least he loves tofu.

Thursday: Cajun

Jambalaya with andouille sausage and loads of peppers over rice.

Friday: Indian

Lamb Korma and spiced potatoes from The Spice Trail.

green chile peppers

Happy Labor Day!

i’m out

Rub of the month: Mexican magic

Mexican magic rub

Ancho Chile rub aka Mexican Magic

3 ancho chiles, seeded and hand-torn into pieces
2 pasilla chiles or guajillo chiles
3 chile de arbol (the little long ones)
2 cinnamon sticks or more (about 3 inches long)
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon NM red chile powder or pods (2)
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder or more
salt to taste

Toast all chiles, let them cool and then place them in a food processor. Toast all seed and spices, place in food processor. Pulverize items in processor. Add everything else but salt and mix. Add the salt to taste (rubs should be about ¼ salt, no more). Adjust to your taste.

jar of mexican rub

grilled pork with mexican rub

i’m out

Rub of the Month: Fennel Fusion

Yes, I know. I tempted you all with a new feature and then didn’t post it. Well, I did say it would be a feature once a month. Here it is.

Fennel Fusion Spice Rub
4 tablespoons fennel seeds
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
3 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons peppercorns
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
3.5 tablespoons kosher salt

Put the fennel, coriander, mustard, cumin seeds and peppercorns in a heavy pan over medium heat. Toast the seeds, tossing them around frequently. When you start to smell them, they are probably ready. Pour into a bowl or on a plate and let them cool. Then pop them in the spice grinder add the salt and blend. I like my spice rub a bit on the chunkier side, but do what ever your preference is. Give them a shake once or twice while grinding to distribute the seeds better. If you don’t let them cool first, you will have spice butter, trust me, I was in a hurry once. Store in a tightly sealed glass jar where ever you store your spices.

I owe the inspiration for this rub to Michael Chiarello and his fennel spice rub. I tried it and then began tweaking it for my tastes and needs. After much tweaking it has evolved into a completely different rub.

This rub is fabulous on a pork loin or chicken, grilled or roasted. I think it would be great on nice firm tofu too. I also use it in this dish, which is when I was first introduced to the original spice rub. However, for my veggies, I use fennel – the veg not the seed, onion and carrot. Toss them in the rub with chopped pancetta, roast until almost caramelized, add a drained and rinsed can of Great Northern White Beans, and top with Parmesan cheese. I coat the spice rub on chicken thighs, sautee them until golden brown, and then add them to the top of the cassoulet for the final baking – at the same time as the beans are added.

Similar ingredients, different dish and cooking methods.
I hope you mix up a batch of Fennel Fusion soon and enjoy it as much as I do.

i’m out

Rubs – it’s grill season

We grill all year round. Nothing stops me from grilling if I really want to, but I am a die hard with both a charcoal weber and a gas grill in the backyard. It occurred to me that it is grill season and we all want to spend more time outside and less time inside for the next many months. With that in mind, I am going to start my rub series. I have several homemade rubs that I keep on hand for those grilling moments. It makes cooking up something flavorful and delicious super quick and easy.

Rubs, it's grilling season!

The picture is of turkey tenderloins (which were on sale and I used instead of grilled chix thighs last week) with three different rubs.

April 08 food 221

Some of these make a large quantity of rub, but don’t despair! They make great gifts! Invited over for a backyard BBQ? Take a small jar of homemade rub as a guest gift. Need an impromptu birthday gift or a stocking stuffer? Any cook would love a jar of rub. They are so easy to put together and so easy to personalize.

Stay tuned as our featured rub this week will be the fusion fennel rub (not pictured)…..

i’m out