Menu of the Week Feb 22: Umami

We have a yummy menu planned this week.  I guess my cooking mojo is back, I didn’t realize it left, but it was sort of half hearted for a while.  Manda of Asparagus Thin is hosting this week and has picked umami as the secret ingredient.  The menu of the week ingredient has definitly morphed into a concept vs an ingredient and I love the challenge.  I think most of our dishes this week have an umami component to them, perhaps that is why I am so excited about this week’s menu.

steak with bordelaise sauce and pomme frites

Sunday:  Grilled steak with bordelaise sauce, homemade pomme frites, grilled asparagus (grass fed burger for Eby as he doesn’t like steak).  I used my gluten free demi glace (in the bordelaise) that I made a while bake and it was tasty!  We have the pomme frites technique down and they were perfect!

Monday: Pozole with a chile de arbol sauce and  sliced radishes, shredded cabbage, chopped onion and cilantro for garnishes.  Some locally made fresh salsa and chips on the side.  Pozole is the epitamy of umami for Mexican dishes with it’s savory full of flavor broth.

Tuesday: Thai fried rice and Tofu Lard Nah served over the rice instead of noodles as I have a big batch of leftover rice.  Plenty of umami in this dish.

Wednesday: Crispy sticky roast 1/2 chicken with smashed new potatoes (purple ones) and tomatoes.  Using one of Jamie Oliver’s tempting recipes for this dish.  Will roast some broccoli too.

Thursday: Beef Bourguignon and braised collard greens.  I will base my recipe off of Ina’s and Karen’s.  Must get this dish in before it warms up and it looks to be a cold week.

Friday: Mahi mahi with hazelnut romesco,  potatoes and winter slaw.  I finally found some piquillo peppers to use.  We have mahi mahi in the freezer, but if halibut goes on sale, I will use that.

frites

Happy eating!

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Deep Fry Fridays – now a once a month feature

Due to common sense and the need to deep fry, we will be switching the ol’ deep fry Friday feature from every Friday for a month to the last Friday of the Month, or any day you want to deep fry in a given month. In fact, even my plans changed and my deep fry Friday ended up on Sunday due to company in the house. But the wait was worth it:

deep fried mozzarella balls and marinara sauce

Hungry yet?

melted mozzarella balls deep fried mozzarella balls and marinara sauce

They were gooey and tangy and crunchy. I used waffle bread crumbs for the coating and added some Italian seasoning. Dip them in beaten egg, roll in bread crumbs, dip again, roll again, toss in the deep fryer. I used a very small pot with a thermometer to tell me the temp. I used maybe 1.5 cups of oil heated to around 375F. The oil, due to the breadcrumbs, was not salvageable after wards, so I am glad I didn’t use the deep fryer.

deep frying mozzarella balls

It took me all of 10 minutes to throw these together and fry them. Quick, easy, tasty and something celiacs can’t order out in a restaurant (thus the justification for doing it at home).  Of course I had the homemade marinara (from garden tomatoes) already made in the freezer but that doesn’t take long either.

deep fried mozzarella balls and marinara sauce

So, tell me what day you are frying in a given month and what you plan to fry and send me your link and I will post it here. Eby is working on a new blog design for me and I hope to be able to have a Deep Fry Friday link or folder of some sort so that folks can check back. Me, I am shooting for the last Friday of the month, just for consistency’s purpose. Join in on the fun!

i’m out

Menu Swap Monday Dec 15th: Nuts and seeds!

Nuts and seeds, I really like both of them.  The majority of seeds that I use are typically spices, but I do like to use my share of sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.  I mostly snack on nuts or use them in Indian cooking but this week, since it is the festive holiday season, I am going to make a brittle with pumpkin, almonds and red chile.  I was going to use pine nuts, but they are outrageously priced at my local store right now, almonds it is. I have a giant bowlful of walnuts that I need to crack that Eby’s dad gave us from his English walnut tree – those might find there way in the brittle too. At least they are local, even if they are still in their hard shells.

This week’s menu swap host is In My Box and she blogs about what arrives in her CSA box every week. Swing on over there and check out all the menus posted – lots of cheese sauces created from nuts this week. I have yet to try doing that as I have no problem with dairy, but I am curious as to how they taste and someday will break down and try making some.

I experimented with making some liver free pate just using pork, and it failed miserably. I chalk it up to over seasoning (never thought I would say that) and using chickpea flour instead of some other flour. You know the golden rule is to never taste your batter or dough before baking if the chickpea flour is in it as it is bitter. Well, the slow cooking, low cooking nature of the pate meant that the chick pea flour still tasted raw – very bitter in a bad way. It was a big disappointment after all that work. But now I know. Next time I won’t try to add a nuttiness to my pate.

On to the menu:
Sunday: Ma Po Tofu, with stir fried broccoli and rice
Monday: Shepard’s Pie – after posting the recipe yesterday, I couldn’t resist.
Tuesday: Chicken Cacciatore with tomatoes, red peppers and baby bella mushrooms
Wednesday: Hot Tamale Soup – with homemade tamales from the freezer stock and grass fed beef and home canned tomatoes (I am in a tomato mood this week)
Thursday: Indian something with eggplant and pork (I know they don’t eat a lot of pork, but I have a lot of pork) or a fish curry, depends on mood.
Friday: Paella with chicken and chorizo – making use of the peppers I bought for Tuesday too.
Saturday: Shrimp with snow peas (shrimp for me, chicken for Eby, who won’t eat shrimp, but more for me.)

Happy Solstice to you this weekend – light a candle and appreciate the dark days, sunnier ones are on the way, after Saturday.

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.
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Appetizer of the week (a forgotten post from summer): Pan fried oysters with corn tomato salsa and horseradish cream sauce

Oysters, such an odd thing.  People either love them or hate them.  Converts from hate to love can happen with a crossover recipe like this one.  Who doesn’t like something crispy, juicy, spicy and creamy?  Pan fried oysters with a horseradish cream sauce and corn tomato salsa fits the bill.

cornmeal crusted oysters on a bed of grilled corn tomato salsa with a dollup of horseradish cream sauce

My recipe is mostly based on this one from Emeril.  Except that I didn’t look at his recipe (may have helped) and I didn’t measure anything.  Every once in a while in a nearby store, fresh oysters appear. I am hoping they appear again soon!  It is much more fun to share these than eat them alone, so make sure you have an oyster lover in the house near by.

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