February 16th: Comfort Food, a menu and a plan

flank steak

It’s Mid-February.  Is there a better time for comfort foods?  Probably not.  The winter doldrums have not been as dark this month.  The earth must have tilted or perhaps it is global warming, but we have had far more sunlight than any winter I have spent in Lansing.  It really lifts the snow spirits.  But it’s not sunny everywhere and even if it is, comfort foods will always be something we turn to.  Comfort foods can be so many things and below I have listed what they are this week for us.  Wendy of Celiacs in the House is the gf menu swap host this week and comfort foods are the theme.  This week I am drawing from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook, The Breath of a Wok, Fish Without a Doubt, imagination and memory.  Libraries are terrific resources for cook books!

On a side note I feel very guilty for not actually posting anything but my menus lately.  So look forward to a couple of recipes this week, I promise.  I am hoping to revamp this blog and actually have a link for recipes eventually.  Currently they are not easy to find on here when I do post them.  My IT guy is in charge of the blog lift.  As usual, any pork, tomatoes, dry beans, garlic or potatoes featured in the menu below are local.  I am anxiously awaiting my own greens and veggies from the garden, but until then, we are breaking our rules and splurging a bit on asparagus.  Don’t hate me.  At least it is from California, not Peru.

Sunday:  Enchiladas Verdes with chicken and cheese, Frijoles de Olla, guacamole with red onion and cilantro, locally made corn tortilla chips, salsa

Monday: Grilled flank steak with a salsa verde and wilted escarole bread salad, grilled asparagus.

Tuesday:  Georgian Pork stew with cornmeal pudding and roasted brussel sprouts (comfort food for Georgians I’m told)

Wednesday:  Poached Salmon with scallop mousse, sauteed broccoli rabe and purple potatoes roasted with duck fat and rosemary.

Thursday:  Sichuan YuXiang Pork with wood ears mushrooms, water chestnuts and bamboo,  rice and maybe some shrimp toast.  Shrimp toast is definitely comfort food.  I am not sure who invented it, but I would like to thank them. Any thing spicy is comfort food to me come to think of it.

Friday: Italian sausage sauteed with broccoli rabe tossed with penne and shaved Parmesan, then drizzled with a tomato vodka sauce.  The store had broccoli rabe this week, so we stocked up on it as I love it!

Lunches this week: Beans and greens with escarole, hopefully a Rueben sandwich or two with Karina’s rye bread and out for Thai food or sushi one day.  I love weeks when I don’t have to be on the road most days!

Happy eating!

i’m out

Menu of the week Feb 9th: Chocolate!

Ah Chocolate!  You either crave it all the time, or not so much.  I am in the not so much category, but I do like my chocolate, it just has to be good chocolate.  I don’t crave it.  I am more of a salt than sweet tooth.  If there is any week to like chocolate, this is the one.  Since this week includes Valentine’s Day, I will embrace chocolate in souffle form and pair it with raspberry (chocolate is better with raspberry don’t you think?), but I am also using chocolate in a savory dish.  As long as we are on the chocolate topic, if you haven’t seen Like Water for Chocolate, you really, really must (esp if you like cooking and Mexico) and see it in the undubbed original Spanish version with subtitles.  Do not watch the dubbed version, you lose everything.

chocolate souffle

Our host for the menu swap this week is M-Elle of Cooking and Uncooking .  I am certain there will be some great gluten free chocolate desserts posted this week, so check them out.

Sunday:  Smokey pork (our pork) on the charcoal grill, low and slow in the sunshine. Potatoes Dauphiniose with both sweet and local potatoes plus Gruyere and grilled asparagus.  I am using my Mexi rub and added  cocoa powder, coriander and brown sugar to the rub.

Monday: Homemade pizza!  Deep dish or thin crust, to be determined.  Using our canned tomatoes and our frozen tomato paste and herbs from the indoor garden for the sauce.  No homemade mozzarella yet, but soon!

Tuesday:  Vietnamese crab and tofu soup with a Vietnamese cabbage salad and maybe attempting scallion pancakes.

Wednesday: Pesto Risotto and grilled salmon with spicy black butter

Thursday: Gumbo with okra, tomatoes, andouille sausage and chicken over rice (maybe dirty rice maybe not)

Friday: Indian, pork kofta curry balls (based on the linked recipe), rice, dal and maybe I can work a cabbage potato curry dish in there too.  I recently had a great one at our local Indian restaurant, the potatoes were tangy with lots of cilantro and black mustard seeds in the dish.

Saturday (Valentine’s Day): Cheese fondue appetizer with Whole Foods Sourdough GF  bread and apples for dunking,  Scallops (for me, fish for Eby) with beurre blanc sauce and angel hair pasta, green salad with sustainably raised hearts of palm, tangerine supremes, red onion and a dijon viniagrette , chocolate souffle with raspberry eau de vie whipped cream Going to eat the Trader Joes GF flourless chocolate cake I forgot I had in the freezer for emergency dessert needs when traveling.  We made a raspberry puree with a bit of Grand Mariner to go with it.  L.Mawby Sparkling wine from Leelanau County. Martini’s and cocktails instead of wine.

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 Swap of the week: Cabbage!

I happen to have a savoy and a purple cabbage in my fridge right now. Handy. I had no idea cabbage was going to be the “secret” ingredient.

Natalie is back hosting the menu swap at Gluten Free Mommy so skip on over and check out her site and all the delish sounding menus on the other sites.

Monday: Mediterranean spring

Seared scallops and lemon asparagus risotto (based on Jamie Oliver’s risotto recipe). Asparagus season is in full swing finally in MI. Garden green salad with vinaigrette.

Tuesday: Frenchie bistro

Chicken almondine revisited: Garden herbs, garden baby spinach and goat cheese stuffed chicken breasts in an almond crust with a brown butter lemon sauce. Sides: Stewed tomatoes provencale (from last year’s garden)and roasted potatoes with rosemary and cracked pepper.

Wednesday: Where in the world?

Unstuffed cabbage rolls – I made some traditional stuffed ones last fall – never again! This will be more like a casserole with cabbage in between the fillings (ground pork? tomato? rice? fish? mango? potatoes?chiles?). Ethnicity of the meal – to be determined. Most cultures use cabbage in one form or another so this should be a fun experiment. Please weigh in with your ideas! Perhaps it will end up like the insides of a delicious pork cabbage spring roll with mung noodles and dried mushrooms…

Thursday: Taiwan

Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken I found this recipe linked in a blog over a year ago, bookmarked and am finally getting back to it. Unfortunately I don’t yet have enough Thai basil growing in the garden to supply 2 cups, so hopefully I find some at the farmer’s market on Wed. This will be served with a side of Kai Yang Bai Cai or otherwise known as sauteed cabbage with ginger.

Friday: West African

Mafe : West African meat in peanut sauce using our grass fed beef and stewed collard greens from the garden.

Garden update:  Everything is planted except the cucumbers.  We are harvesting the lettuce for the first time this eve and have been eating our fresh garden herbs all year long (I brought most in for the winter and put them out again as soon as it warmed up), but the chives are back with a vigor now!  The asparagus and rhubarb I planted last year are giving us an occasional tasty treat, but they need to grow another year before either is bountiful.

i’m out

Scallops Laska and Asian shrimp salad

Scallops Laska

This was a tribute to a similar dish that I had at Wild Ginger in Seattle this winter.  I used Jamie Oliver’s Laska recipe (tumeric, lemongrass coconut milk, tamarind were just a few of the ingredients – the book is already back at the library, sorry!) and made up the salad recipe based on memory taste.  This was a really tasty dish, but I wanted the coconut flavor to be more prominent, so I must figure that one out.

Asian shrimp cucumber salad on arugula

The salad was just right.  Shrimp, cucumber, cilantro, chopped peanuts, green onions and crispy fried shallots on top of arugula and dressed in a sweet chile, fish sauce with lots of lime.  Very fresh.  Of course I forgot to write down the dressing recipe, so I will be recreating it from scratch again next time I whip this up.

scallops laska

I love scallops!  For those of you near a Trader Joes, they have the best deal on frozen scallops, unless maybe you live on the coasts.  $10 for a pound. The scoring technique makes them fun to look at too.

i’m out