Monday, February 16, 2009

Nothing new.....

My cooking and planning time has been severely hampered... but for a good reason. After being out of the market since the end of August, I finally got a job!! So, I will be returning this week to some classics like this and this, and then we are off to the coast with a friend over the weekend (with an oyster knife in hand!). I do have some new things to try, and am looking forward to "Hobo Monday" (though to be honest it will be Sunday or Tuesday since first Monday is pub quiz night). The nice thing is, my job is a quick drive rather than a train commute away. But springtime also means baseball practices and games 5 or 6 (or 7!) days a week with 2 different teams, so interesting meals may be few and far between. Any suggestions for pre-prepped ultra fast things would be great!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Atonement Soup

We did not eat healthily this weekend.... Friday night after baseball we went to Chick-fil-A, Saturday we ate nachos for lunch and steaks for dinner. Sunday I made fresh breakfast sausage, biscuits & gravy for lunch, we had guacamole during the superbowl, and then had ribs for dinner. Monday is our usual soup night, but the first Monday of the month is pub quiz night at The Olde Ship so we did that & ate fish & chips (although I had the curry - yum!).
This nice, simple lentil soup recipe comes from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks, but I found out about it from Claudia at cook eat FRET. The photo with the poached egg looked sooooo good! I used regular lentils, I just took a bit of extra care not to overcook them into mush. When I first mixed in the tomatoes & water, I thought the flavor was too tomato-ey, so I added some crushed red pepper & smoked paprika to darken the spices a bit.
Next time I might add chicken stock instead of water to make the soup a bit richer. I don't think that my hubby is a big fan of lentils, but he enjoyed the kale. Our 10 year old liked it okay. No one had seconds, so I have a ton leftover. I think I might try it with a poached or fried egg for dinner tonight before band..But, wow, the saffron yogurt! That may have been my favorite part. And, it looks so pretty in the bowl. I would probably make this again next time we feel the need to atone for bad eating habits, as it is healthy and wholesome. On a side note, I have a bunch of kale, plus some chard, leftover. That is going to be a wonderful side with roasted chicken on Thursday. I start a new job on Monday, so expect a return to some of the quick weeknight meals.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My 2nd foray into Charcuterie

I got a KitchenAid grinder attachment for my birthday back in September. With all that has been going on (or not) around here, I haven't really been up to the challenge. Well, after grinding a bit of pork last week for this awesome spicy pork and tofu dish (from Bittman, kind of a simplified mapo tofu),
I realized that it is super simple to operate and maybe I should use it more often.
A craving for biscuits and gravy from our ever hungry 10 year old (not sure where he puts it!) made me decide to make the breakfast sausage from my Ruhlman/Polcyn Charcuterie book. I picked up some pork shoulder, diced it up, measured out the seasonings (went with ground ginger, fresh seems too strong for this), and put in the back of the fridge to chill.
I popped all the grinding mechanisms in the freezer for a while, and ground later in the day. I think that it went okay, it took a long time through the fine die, and I had to clean the cutter off twice. I guess I need to chill the meat even more -- maybe in the freezer for 30 mins or so? -- to keep the fat from getting too soft. But, I persevered and got a nice grind. Cooked up the next morning somehow without photographic evidence, and I pledge now never to buy Jimmy Dean again. Now, to convince my mother in law that this would make the Thanksgiving stuffing 1000% better.....