Friday, April 29, 2011
I started by putting chopped carrot and celery into a large saute pan with some olive oil, a bit of white balsamic vinegar, a splash of Worcestershire, about a tablespoon of rice vinegar, chopped green garlic scapes, red pepper, salt and black pepper and sauteed until the carrots began to soften. To this mixture I added chopped zucchini, chopped flank steak and a can of drained black beans (I used Carribean style because I like the way that they taste). I also added a few tablespoons of beef stock just to give it an added flavor boost (because apparently I didn't have enough going on already!), but this also helped produce a thick sauce.
Meanwhile I cooked about half a bag of Mixed Whole Grains (barley, quinoa, lentils, etc.) that we had from Trader Joe's. I just followed the directions on the package for this. When the vegetables were soft and the beans cooked through, I added them to a bowl with the whole grains and served. There was so much flavor (and color) going on that I chose not to use any sort of garnish tonight.
For not having any idea what I was going to make using these vegetables when I started, I'd say this turned out pretty darn good! I also don't know if you know this or not, but I'm terrible at naming my dishes so I have no idea what you would call this, it's just a mix of food from the fridge, cooked together and served. I sometimes think that the meals you make that start off by just throwing some ingredients into a pan usually come together the best. Plus, I have used up so many of my veggies this week that I am really looking forward to my bin and filling up my fridge with new tasty ingredients.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
After pulling out all of my lettuce and hoping that it was still good after having sat in the fridge for so long, I was relieved to see that it was still edible. I think if I would have waited until tomorrow to use it though, I might have been sorry! This blue apple thing works great on tougher vegetables, but not so much for the lettuce. Once my lettuce was chopped, rinsed and draining, I started on the creamy basil dressing.
To a blender I added a small container of plain nonfat yogurt, a handful of chopped fresh basil, the juice from half a lemon, 3 chopped green garlic scapes, a few spoonfuls of white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. I pureed until smooth and stirred in some more sliced fresh basil. I tossed the lettuce with about half of the dressing to coat.
After preparing the salad and slicing some cucumber, zucchini and blood oranges, I prepared the asparagus. Since the asparagus was SO big, I sliced them all in half and added them to a large saute pan with some butter, olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. This was cooked over medium heat until tender.
For the steak, I heated a grill pan on high and cooked for about 5 minutes per side and placed on a plate to rest. I had saved the marinating juices and decided to make a sauce out of it. So, I added the juices to a sauce pan with a tablespoon of butter and simmered until reduced and slightly thickened.
To assemble, I put a bed of salad on the plate, added some of the cucumber, zucchini, blood oranges, a bit more dressing and topped with a few slices of the steak which was then drizzled with a bit of the citrus sauce. I added a few pieces of asparagus, sprinkled with shredded fontina cheese and served with some delicious mango slices and rosemary bread.
I think by now it's safe to say that we know I don't usually cook or even like to cook meat, but this time I surprised myself (even if I actually ended up cooking it twice because the first time it was way to rare in the middle for my liking) and it turned out really tasty! The sauce was even really good and went very well with the creamy dressing on the salad. This meal was also extremely filling and after eating out so much this weekend, I feel pretty good about getting back on track with a healthier meal today. My daughter said to me that this was the best steak that she's ever had, but she also said that she likes everything that I make, so she may not be the best judge, haha!
Friday, April 22, 2011
Carrots with Tops
Texas Sweet Onions
Green Garlic Scapes
Heirloom Leaf Lettuce
The asparagus are HUGE this week and the blood oranges are really cute and small, along with the beautiful heirloom lettuce, I'm thinking I won't have any problem coming up with delicious meal ideas. Also, I have a new vegetable this week! Green garlic scapes are completely new to me and I'm really excited to try them out! They look extremely similar to green onions so I'm guessing they get used the same way too.
I started off by adding olive oil, garlic and onion to a large saute pan over medium heat until the onion started to become translucent. I then added some chopped cabbage and sliced crimini mushrooms. Once the cabbage and mushrooms started to cook a bit, I added thinly sliced pork strips lightly coated with a mixture of flour, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. After about 2 minutes, I added 1 cup of beef stock, 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 2 sprigs of thyme and brought to a boil. I then reduced the heat to a medium low and added half a bag of egg noodles, covered and simmered until the noodles were cooked through.
We also picked up a loaf of rosemary garlic bread to serve with this dish, which was a great idea! This dish was very simple and tasty. Dylan loved it!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
With so many different flavors going on I was a little worried that it might be a bit too much. However, they all worked very well together. This also made quite a bit of food, so I will probably be freezing half of it, even after the boys come home and eat dinner!
Monday, April 18, 2011
Carrots with Tops
Texas Sweet Onions
Heirloom Leaf Lettuce
For my daughters tea party, of course I had to make cucumber and cream cheese tea sandwiches! This used up most of my cucumbers. I also served strawberries and carrots, broccoli and cucumber sticks to dip in honey mustard and blue cheese dipping sauces. I was able to use up more of the fruits for the pancake breakfast that I made for Sunday morning when my daughter and all of her friends woke up. I made a berry topping using the strawberries, fresh whipped cream, a fruit salad using grapefruit, oranges, and 3 different types of apples, and mini pancakes along with bacon and sausage. The breakfast was a big hit and everyone loved the berry topping for their pancakes! Also, many of the ingredients in my bin were used to make a salad Sunday night. As you can imagine, most of what I received in my bin Friday has already been used, but I still have plenty of fruits and veggies in my fridge to make some delicious meals this week.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I started by adding 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped, coarsely chopped Texas Sweet onion, chard stems, asparagus (this I had left over from a previous week), olive oil, salt and pepper to a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the veggies began to soften I added the rough chopped chard leaves and cooked until they began to wilt. At this point I added some chicken stock and red pepper flake and brought it to a boil. The heat was lowered to medium-low and simmered for about 15 minutes. Then I added about half a can of rinsed and drained white kidney beans (because my only other option was garbanzo beans - yuck!) and continued to simmer for about 5 minutes more, just until the beans were warmed through.
While the chard mixture was simmering, I thinly sliced some crimini mushrooms and added them to a saute pan with melted butter and sauteed just until browned.
To assemble this dish I placed a spoonful of the chard mixture into the bowl, added a layer of the mushrooms and topped with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped avocado.
All in all, it wasn't a terrible meal. It had a lot of great flavor and the creaminess of the sour cream and avocado was a good idea. I think that if I were to make this dish again I would use half as much chicken broth as I did because I was hoping that the liquid would cook off but at the risk of overcooking my chard I couldn't wait that long. I also think that I would use plain white beans instead of the kidney beans, they seemed to over power the chard just a bit and the white beans would have added a milder flavor.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
So after anxiously awaiting the one hour to bring the dough to room temperature and another half an hour for the pizza stone to heat in the oven, it was finally time to assemble it! I spread my homemade pizza sauce (San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, Italian seasoning simmered for half an hour) on top, placed a layer of mozzarella cheese on it and it was time to finally try out my stone!! Well, I had my pizza on top of a well floured and corn mealed baking sheet (without sides) and just assumed that it would slide easily onto the scorching hot stone, boy was I wrong! After 5 minutes of wrestling this dough onto the stone, because well, the second it gets on the stone it starts to cook and doesn't like to be moved, I was finally able to close the oven door and cook my no longer pretty and round pizza. Needless to say, I will be going back to the store tomorrow for the pizza peel. After just a mere 10 minutes in the oven, there emerged a little slice of heaven! Perfectly puffed and golden brown.
Meanwhile, I made the beet salad. After an hour of boiling the quartered (because these were rather huge, even after being quartered) beets, I placed them on a foil lined baking sheet and baked at 450 for 10 minutes, just until they started to caramelize on the outside (or in my case, stick to the foil and not want to come off! I would recommend spraying the foil with some cooking spray). While the beets were in the oven, I made a quick vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar and honey, rinsed some arugula and diced some avocados. To assemble this salad, I placed some arugula drizzled with the vinaigrette on a plate and layered the beets and avocado, then topped with some crumbled goat cheese.
Well, after plating my food and sitting down to take my first bite of this wonderful meal, I realized that I forgot the basil! How could I forget the basil?? I bought a live basil plant from Whole Foods earlier today and it's been giving off it's beautiful aroma in my kitchen all day! I couldn't believe that I had forgotten it, so I quickly got up and put it on the pizza (at this point I had already taken the photo, so unfortunately, you don't get to see the beautiful green on my pizza). I have to say that I can't imagine eating pizza from anywhere else! The dough was well worth the 24 hour wait and I'd be quite satisfied with just eating the cooked crust and nothing else! However the addition of the simple ingredients brings it to a whole new level of deliciousness. And the salad, well, it was well worth the hour it took to boil the beets. Even Dylan exclaimed, "Mom these beets are awesome!". Dylan has also decided that she no longer wants to order pizza for her birthday party next weekend and requested that I make more homemade pizza's. I'm actually not sure if I will be able to hold out an entire week before making this again though!
Friday, April 8, 2011
Carrots with Tops
Texas Sweet Onions
Kale Raab (although this week it looks more like a collard with a bit of kale raab mixed into it)
Red Leaf Lettuce
The chard this week is really beautiful! The leaves are huge and colorful and I'm really looking forward to cooking with it. This week is going to be a busy one so hopefully I'm able to make some quick and tasty dishes that will showcase the wonderful flavors of all my veggies.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
I started off by peeling the potatoes and boiling them for about 20 minutes. Once they were done I added them to a bowl with some goat cheese, fresh thyme, a little butter, salt, black peper and milk. I mashed these until all of the ingredients were fully mixed. Then I added chopped arugula to the potatoes and stirred until just combined.
For the kale raab, I decided that something simple would be the best way to cook these. I started by trimming them and placing them in a bowl. They were then drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and mixed to coat. I heated a grill pan on medium high and grilled the kale raab for about 2 minutes per side and sprinkled with red pepper flake. To finish I drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
For garnish I added a bit more goat cheese to top the potatoes and I used a cashew snack mix that I picked up from Whole Foods (it's from a brand Sahal and the mix was Sing Buri, a mix of cashews, peanuts, dried pineapple and sweet chile flakes). I also served this with a side of coconut curry tofu that I discovered, it was a tofu snack pack, all I had to do was warm it up!
I think that everything turned out really good, although I started my grill pan off on high so the first few pieces of kale raab had a nice burnt flavor to them, but other than that I'm pleased. The tofu was also a great addition and rounded out the meal quite well.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I started off by heating a bit of olive oil in a medium sized dutch oven. I added chopped onion, celery, carrot and gold bell pepper (this I decided on at the last moment, I thought it would go well in the soup). Once the vegetables began to soften, I put in some sliced garlic (4 heads) and a sprig of fresh thyme along with some red pepper flakes, chicken broth and a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes. When this began to boil, 5 cups of chopped collard greens were added and the heat was reduced to a simmer for just under 10 minutes. A can of drained, rinsed white beans were added and the soup was cooked just a few minutes longer to heat the beans through.
I have to say that as good as this soup was, I felt that it was a bit lacking in flavor. I feel like the vegetables worked really well together, but maybe it would have been a good idea to add more spice. I also think that the addition of some cooked chicken or maybe even cubed tofu might work well in this soup.
Monday, April 4, 2011
After a little bit of research looking for a tasty sauce to go over top of the zucchini I found a recipe for Mushroom Bolognese. Now, I have to admit that I almost didn't make this because I didn't get mushrooms in my bin this week and I usually don't like to use vegetables that I don't already have on hand, but this sounded so good that I couldn't pass it up.
I started making the sauce by adding chopped portobello mushrooms, celery, carrots, leeks and minced garlic to a sauce pan with some olive oil and garlic and cooked this over medium heat for about 10 minutes just until the vegetables began to soften. This mixture was removed from the pan and place into a larger sauce pan. To the original pan, a bit of white wine was added to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom and poured over the mixture in the new pan. To the mushroom mixture, I added a little over a cup of beef broth and a spoonful of tomato paste, brought this to a boil, reduced the heat to a simmer and cooked, partially covered, until the broth was almost completely absorbed, this took about 20 minutes. While the sauce was simmering, I added a bit of butter and olive oil to the original sauce pan and cooked about 3 ounces of enoki mushrooms until just browned over medium heat, removed them from the pan and chopped them before adding them to the sauce. Once the enoki mushrooms were added, the sauce simmered for another 5 to 10 minutes before adding salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste with about 4 tablespoons of heavy cream.
For the pasta, using a mandoline slicer I sliced the peeled zucchini into thin strips, lengthwise. Dylan and I then set out to cut each of the slices into 4 thin strips (making about 4 cups of sliced zucchini), resembling fettuccine pasta. I added the strips to a large saute pan with some butter, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. This was cooked until the zucchini was just tender, about 8 minutes.
I topped the "pasta" dish with some shredded asiago cheese and served it with a side of kalamata olive bread. I have to say that I will probably be making the zucchini pasta more often. As I'm sure you are aware by now, I am not a huge fan of pasta dishes, so this was perfect for me! I'm happy that I now have an alternative to pasta so that I can make more sauces (because I love sauce, just not so much the noodles)! This is also great idea for anyone trying to cut down on carbs!
Beets with Tops
Green Leaf Lettuce
Rio Star Grapefruit
I've got a lot to work with this week! I've never used the Kale Raab before but it looks similar to the Broccolette that I had in my bin last week and it looks like I've got some pretty good sized oranges to make something tasty with too!