Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spinach, spinach, & more spinach

Last night a friend came over to design a necklace and bracelet for me. I'm very excited! R. offered to make dinner. Then it turned out he had a board meeting after work, which would have cut into cooking time. Saturday I started looking for make-ahead recipes we could use. Since we hadn't picked a meal yet or gone shopping, we were pretty flexible. I was leaning towards a vegetable lasagna for a few reasons. One, we have a bunch of no-bake lasagna noodles still from when I bought too much for the squash/pumpkin lasagna this past winter. Two, it's spring, and to me spring equals vegetables. Through the power of the open web, I found a spinach lasagna recipe at the Mayo Clinic, of all places. At least we know it's healthy: Spinach lasagna with sun-dried tomato sauce.

While R. was napping (still) on Sunday, I started the mushrooms and spinach, skipping the sauce for later. R. did that part when he got up and then took over and assembled it. Our changes:
- we used 2% milk because the soy milk we had was vanilla flavored
- we used sund-dried tomatoes in a jar (oil) instead of dry-packed
- we had a greater variety of mushrooms and ended up with 12 ounces instead of 10
- we used regular instead of fat-free ricotta

Prep was pretty easy, just a little time-consuming because of the steps. Clean-up wasn't that bad. R. covered the baking pan in foil and stuck it in the fridge. Monday evening, I pre-heated the oven when my friend showed up and baked the lasagna while we talked design.

We had extra spinach, having bought twice as much as we needed, and I thought a salad would be a good thing to have. However, I didn't want to go to the store for anything extra, so I did a Google search for "spinach apple salad" and quickly settled on this one. We had Granny Smith apples and cheddar (shredded) but no walnuts. Close enough. The dressing was good, but I would almost use a little less oil. I put the shredded cheddar in a separate dish and also put some goat cheese in a dish so we could choose which type we wanted. R. got some hazelnuts out, as well. I think we all ended up having it with goat cheese. Is there anything goat cheese doesn't improve?

For dessert, R. had made a raspberry chambord sauce the other night and we still had some left.(By the way, Chambord liquer has the cutest bottle ever. I'll even say it's cuter than the Frangelico monk.) We also had vanilla ice cream and butter pecan ice cream. And Ghiradelli 60A% bittersweet chocolate chips for melting. We decided on vanilla and topped with the raspberry sauce and some chocolate sauce. Delicious!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Steak Chimichurri, Yucca Fries, and Fried Plantains

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri, Yucca Fries, and Fried Plantains - April 12

This meal came about because we had leftover mint chimichurri from the lamb we cooked last week. I've been low on B12 and needed a meat dish, so steak it was. We went to the local grocery store that was more likely to have yucca but less likely to have skirt steak. We ended up getting a different cut (the name of which I'll have to check on) that was already cut very thin.

We also picked up 2-3 yucca and then 1 plantain as an impulse buy (my impulse). The Cuban restaurant I love here has delicious fried plantains. Spoiler alert: Next time I'll just go there.

The recipe was an Emeril one from the Food Network. The plantain recipe was from Alton Brown.

This ended up being a great meal for Monday night since we ended up having a friend over for dinner as a thank-you for fixing the door that wouldn't lock. Sunday afternoon R. picked up some Mexican beer and some salad fixings to round things out.

We used a lot of oil last night and did some peeling. And almost broke the new Kitchenaid slicer. Yucca are tough. Despite some oil temperature mishaps (first too hot then not hot enough), the yucca fries turned out almost perfect. They didn't look golden, but they were the perfect crispness. The plantains were tolerable. I admit I totally messed up on the recipe--I couldn't visualize the one-inch slices and then didn't have slices that could stand vertical only to be smashed down. The flavor and texture weren't what I wanted.

The steak was pan fried (our new grill arrived yesterday but we didn't have time to set it up--some assembly required--and didn't have gas for it anyway) and was delicious. R. made some more of the chimichurri to be used as a salad dressing (greens, grape tomatoes, shredded carrot, feta cheese, and optional olives) and with the meat.

For dessert, Blue Bell Pistachio Almond ice cream or Breyer's Butter Pecan Ice Cream with chocolate sauce made with Ghiradelli 60% dark chocolate chips.

There's a little bit of everything left. I'm tempted to cut the rest of the steak up and add it to the salad.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Catch-up of meals with photos

Not a very appetizing photo, but a good meal, if not a little spicy-I blame the jalapeno. It's a Squash and Black Bean Stew. It was thicker than a stew. We used sour cream to cut the spice.

Pumpkin souffle -- straight from the oven and up and then down to deflated.

This pumpkin-turkey goulash came from Epicurious. Goulash is a Hungarian stew (short answer). My mom used to make a version of it I didn't care for growing up; this was okay, but too much.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dusting off the pumpkin (again)

It's been more than 2 months since my last post. We have had pumpkin. Most recently we made pumpkin pancakes (from Epicurious) with dried cranberries (our own addition) using pumpkin from the freezer (and we still have leftover pumpkin). We have been eating great meals, with or without squash, but I have been bad about photographing the cooking or even the finished product. I then decide I can't post unless I have pictures. However, I do have pictures (still on my camera) of some meals and still didn't post.

Then today I read this article in the New York Times about food bloggers who photograph their food, and it was actually helpful. I do not photograph my food at work or at restaurants or at other people's houses. I just snap pictures in my kitchen. If I can't handle that, then I should delete this site now. The other issue has been that I don't do as much of the cooking--less involved leads to less motivation to document. But here is my new, new resolution -- post about dinners (whether they have squash or not), made at home (whether by me or not), with or without photographs. At least once a week.

Tonight is leftovers, but I'll still try.