Menu Swap of the Week: Sides and Salads

Hosting this week’s menu swap is Wendy of Celiac in the House and she has picked favorite sides and salads as this week’s theme. I think we can work many of those in this week.  As I was typing this earlier, I hit save draft and went to go look up something.  When I came back to the page two minutes later, Word Press was asking for my password and hadn’t saved my post, even though I can see it saving it below every 2 minutes as I type.  I am sure this has happened to all of us, but it sorta takes the wind out of your blogging sails doesn’t it.  Trying to recreate the genius you had already typed below is impossible.  Easy to call it genius as it is gone now! So, lesson learned.  Always log into the dashboard, even if it doesn’t ask me to.  Enough griping and back to food.

Make sure you swing over to Wendy’s blog to see what all the other great GF cooks around the country are planning this week!

Sunday:  Steak and brats (steak for me, brats for Eby), grilled asparagus and some killer potato skins with bacon, cheese and chive sour cream.

Monday: Stuffed poblano peppers, inside out.  Instead of stuffing them, I roast them and chop them up and mix them with onions, tomatoes, cilantro, ground beef with Mexican seasoning, rice and cheese and then bake yourself into comfort food. A rice casserole with loads of my favorite veggies.

Tuesday:  Fish and chips and slaw!  Fish will be coated with an herby bread crumb mix and baked, fries will be cut with our new industrial strength french fry cutter that should arrive tomorrow and the slaw will have a lime and olive oil dressing with cilantro and green onions.  I really dislike mayo based sweet slaws, but love crunchy cabbage lightly dressed with tartness.

Wednesday: Caesar salad with a grilled chicken breast.  One of our favorite salads and if it weren’t for this week’s theme, we probably wouldn’t have thought of it.  This is the best way to enjoy romaine lettuce, I am convinced of it!

Thursday: I am having a hard time deciding what to cook on Thursday, so for now we are going with pasta carbonara with bacon and asparagus and a spinach salad with hot bacon dressing.  Maybe we will just do the spinach salad.  I am leaving myself some leg room on this one.

Friday:  Turkish Doner Kabobs (made with pork) with sides of tatziki, lightly marinated cabbage, pickled red onions and maybe I will make some flatbread or pita to go with it.  Of course we need a feta cucumber salad with this too and who knows, maybe some homemade baba ganoush if I find the time. Sumac is the key to great Turkish seasoning, and oregano.

Baked good:  Lemon bars, I have to have them around Easter now, so time to bake some!

May spring be on it’s way to you!

i’m out

Menu of the Week: Avocados

Green butter, that’s what they are, avocados. When I was traveling on a budget through Ecuador, we ate them daily. We spread them on bread. When I am in Mexico, not a day goes by with out some avocado consumption. So this week I will be happy to utilize them in a couple of dishes, yes, very happy.

I have 3 avocado plants growing in my house from pits that I planted long ago. No sign of an avocado growing yet, but they are nice plants. I have this week off to use up some comp time and clean the house, experiment with cooking, blog, garden and so on. I plan to experiment a bit with my lunches and am not sure what I will be doing yet, but I have a whole week to cook, so expect some perfecting of dosa’s, injera if I can find light teff flour and maybe some GF potsticker’s and who knows what else.

This week’s menu swap is hosted by Cooking and Uncooking so visit her site and check out all the menus everyone is cooking.

Sunday: Brunch: Sindu’s for the Indian buffet – more chaat and dosas!

Dinner: Mac and cheese with a green salad full of garden herbs. I finally made perfect mac and cheese, no need to improve upon this recipe ever. Luckily I wrote it down. I think it has 4 cheeses in it. I made a batch a while back and froze 1/2 of it unbaked in a casserole dish. Saucy and cheesy with a nice cheesy crust. I will post this one.

Monday: Korean – out to dinner Champung: A spicy seafood soup, mine will be with rice noodles. A friend of a friend cooks at one of our local Korean restaurants on Monday nights and we are finally going in when he is working. He can specialize my soup, kick it up and make sure that it is gluten free. I just have to bring my own GF oyster sauce.

Tuesday: Beer club (well, cider for me) Our host makes veggie sloppy joes with soy and they are gluten free. Bonfire on the lake. Perhaps I will bake some GF cookies to bring along.

Wednesday: Lunch: Subject to change but for now a green salad with avocado (I need a couple of days for my avocado to ripen), dried cherries and smoked turkey. Or I might try making an avocado dressing with lime.

Dinner: Turkish : Turkish pide – well I hope. Pide is sort of like a pita/calzone of the Turkish variety. Turkish style salad and yogurt sauce to accompany. I think I might try Gluten Free Gobsmacked’s Lavash style bread for this.

Edited to change to Mexican Guacamole, carnitas, Slaw, salsa, beans and rice. I love carnitas! I will be making this with our own home grown pig share pork – from Pancetta – that was her name.


Thursday: We are hitting the road one day early now, so I am making GF Gobsmacked wraps with turkey, provolone and avocado for the road along with some hummus and carrots. Then off to Leelanau county for Memorial Weekend. I can’t wait to get to the farm, see my niece and nephew, the rest of the friends and family and this year’s batch of chickens and pheasants. Of course I will go morel hunting and harvest a boatload of wild leeks.

Friday: Dinner with friends in someone’s backyard.

i’m out

Menu of the week March 10th and Cocktail of the week: grapefruit drops

meyer lemon blooms from my house tree

The pic above is of my meyer lemon blooms on my new “prepare for global warming” lemon tree (Remember, I live in MI, not in CA or FL where this might be common).

I truly have good intentions of posting all about my great trip. I returned to work chaos and it has only gotten worse, it even keeps me up at night. On the bright side, it will be over eventually and I have all of your wonderful blogs and bloganionship (companionship for bloggers) to keep me moving. Thanks for being my food support group.

I am not sure why I had such a tough time coming up with a menu for this week. I think it might have to do with the fact that I ate 95% seafood/shellfish last week and really want to recreate all those dishes and my darling BF really doesn’t care for shellfish (read hates except for crab cakes). So, I keep turning my mind off and on. We went grocery shopping the day after our return and loaded up on greens of all sorts. Swiss chard, broccoli rabe, broccoli, savoy cabbage, arugula, leeks and fennel. The only thing better than feeling good about a fridge full of greens would be to feel great about a fridge full of our home grown greens. Soon! We ordered a tremendous amount of seeds to start indoors and they will be here soon!

Even though it is Monday, I did start this menu on Saturday and just haven’t had time to post it (how is that possible over a weekend?).

Saturday: Comfort food in a bowl

Grass fed beef stew with thyme and braised savoy cabbage. I had never slow braised my cabbage in the oven before, but it was a winner. I ate almost 1/2 a head by myself that eve – luckily it was a small cabbage.


Lunch: Pacific NW fusion

Spicy Mergetz lamb sausages grilled and shrimp risotto (tip: use leftover risotto to make risotto balls and stuff them with a piece of mozzerella, dip them in egg wash, dip them in bread crumbs and fry when you are feeling decadent – see pics of mine (just the balls) on San Pellegrino’s site here and click on Italian Risotto)


Hot and sour soup with asian pork meatballs and rice noodles and homemade spelt (yes, I know it has gluten for those of you new to my post) potstickers

Monday: Italian eaze

Broccoli gratin with a roasted garlic, dijon mornay sauce (kicked up leftover roasted garlic white sauce from pizza night last Friday) and chicken piccata with pancetta (Italian eaze because I just put this dish together so fast, under 30 min and it is in the oven…which is good for me)

Tuesday: Mediterranean breeze

Grilled marinated swordfish with a fresh fennel slaw, GF pesto pasta and broccoli rabe

Wednesday: Pork, the other white meat

Some of our pig share pork chops on the grill (rub yet to be decided) and asparagus risotto (yes, I am on a risotto kick, sorry) and arugula salad

Thursday: on the road for an evening meeting

Friday: Weekend getaway up North with friends at a cottage on a lake in the snow.

And now for the cocktail, the moment you have all been waiting for: My dad and stepmom stopped by on their way back from their Farmer’s Market vacation in Florida (they sold dried cherries from MI at the market there) and brought me about 20 pounds of grapefruit, red navel and normal navel oranges. And, something else extremely cool: A meyer lemon tree and a key lime tree. There was one lemon on the tree already and it is in tonight’s piccata. So the theme this week will be grapefruit. I hope to candy some of the peel and then use it as a garnish for a grapefruit and vodka, we will see. First we have to eat dinner and then go buy cat food.

i’m out

Carnitas, gift of the pork

You may or may not have figured out by now that pork is really one of my favorite things to eat. Sorry vegetarian readers, this is all about the pig. I will think on a vegetarian version of this though.

Carnitas are crispy, flavorful bites of pork that have been cooked for hours and then are finally sauteed in their own rendered fat. I cook mine with loads of fresh squeezed orange juice – about three cups, orange zest several diced onions (See Gluten Free Girl’s post on onion dicing if you need a lesson), and a boat load of garlic. Eventually there is some brandy thrown in there too. I started out using this recipe from Bon Appetit, but since have morphed it into my own.



For this batch I made a red cabbage slaw. I found that in Mexico, or at least in the state of Jalisco, that lettuce is not used much, cabbage is used frequently. My slaw has shaved cabbage, shredded carrots, thinly sliced onions, loads of lime juice, salt and then some fresh chopped cilantro. Oh, a little tip I have discovered. Once you are done cooking the carnitas, they may not be really crispy, esp if you follow the recipe link above which says to add some water when reheating, then you have steamed carnitas. The whole point is to be crispy and I would have to add oil to do this and didn’t want more oil or fat in the dish as it is lush enough (plus all that stirring would make the chunks fall apart), so I put the carnitas on a baking pan and stick them under the broiler until they are golden brown. Then throw them on a warm corn tortilla. Add your slaw, top it off with a spoonful of sourcream and prepare to melt.

Most tortilla brands are GF, Mission has a separate corn line, but I like the brand I get from Grand Rapids as they are locally made and have only 3 ingredients, no preservatives. Carnitas freeze well too, just thaw and brown under the broiler. I haven’t yet mastered the making of my own tortillas, but that is coming soon. I do have a press.

Crispy, crunchy, tangy, creamy and porky.

i’m out