Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ribollito, Stale Bread Soup

Rachel Ray Ribollito

Fantastic for having food on hand that reheats quickly and is tasty as leftovers.  Very hearty.

My version:

Cook beans as I usually do.
In soup pot cook mirepoix as usual.
Add other vegetables and herb bundle
Add broth, tomato paste, and beans.  4 cups broth?

Do the cool Rachel Ray thing,  The soup is like a soup concentrate.  To serve, add 2 parts soup, 1 part more broth, and the bread.

1 pound of Maine Cattle Beans.  Soaked overnight and cooked.
broth--vegetarian Better The Boullion
3-4 garlic cloves crushed
1 onion
8 inches leftover french bread
Olive Oil
5 carrots
4 ribs celery
2 teaspoons CRP
Herb bundle of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme
1 bunch Tuscan Kale
2 zucchini, or was it one?
2 cans tomato paste

At the table: parmesan cheese, diced raw onion, olive oil

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos
this time: tilapia, slaw, wheat tortillas, salsa, sriacha-mayo or yogurt.
slaw: red cabbage, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper

Monday, October 20, 2014

White bean Kielbasa soup

Where other people have meatless Mondays, I'm most likely to serve a meat dish on Mondays when the committed vegetarians are out at activities.

I sautéed onion, carrot, and celery, then added the leftover flageolet white beans, kielbasa, tomato, and kale, and a cup of broth to thin it, for a simple rainy day skillet stew.   We added Tabasco at the table.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cheesy broccoli potato soup

I made a double batch of Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup, which seemed just right on a rainy night after a heavy diner cheeseburger lunch.  In the interest of my own nutritional goals, I put in less than half the cheese called for, and served lots of shredded cheese for individuals to add.

I offered hot wheat rolls and corn chips as sides.  They went untouched, so perhaps everyone really was still full from lunch.  But I must do something in order to send them off to bed--dinner was already held off until 7pm.

The littlest one said she wasn't hungry and only ate one bite.
The middle one still has a sore mouth from new braces, bravely ate one bowl and then his leftover cheeseburger chopped to tiny bits in the food processor.
I liked it.  Other adults liked it.

Nevertheless, nine cups of leftover soup is kind of discouraging.  They all are going to have to find the love for this stuff over the next couple days.  Perhaps parmesan croutons on the leftovers when they're presented.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Food pairing software

Harvest is but a memory in the slough of winter, but what goes with zucchini? I would have said tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers and/or cheese. Also soy sauce--I had a friend who used to marinade long slices of zucchini in soy sauce, but frankly I would say the marinade never penetrated; she was kidding herself.

Now an outfit called "Sense for Taste" out of Belgium has an online food pairing calculator. Just the thing when I'm looking at the end-of-the-week ingredients that somehow didn't make it into any dinners. I'm intrigued but sometimes skeptical of the food pairing suggestions for zucchini, a food which can be a bountiful summer challenge.

We'll be skipping the tea and Chardonnay, I add, wiping my hands on my apron.

Whether or not this internet toy leads you to your next culinary invention, or causes your frozen food conglomerate to hire them, Food Pairing is fun to play with. There is a long list of set foods, by category, on the right-hand column (you may have to click an arrow triangle to see them). The search box doesn't work for me and my machine--I don't know if that's because their coding is broken or because an ASPX database only interacts with Microsoft products.

Zucchini with ginger? maybe. Zucchini with apricot? Two ingredients I'd never have thought to combine.

Make Naan

Nothing sells dinner like a bread baked that day: whether we're talking actual loaves, or rolls, tortillas, biscuits, or naan.  All over the world, or among our ancestors, bread baked that day was UNUSUAL.  That's why being a bakers is the third oldest profession, and that's why so often a village has only one oven, and it's shared.

 That said, if today's a day you want to bake a bread, here's this great recipe for naan I've been using.  Note well: plan on three+ hours for the rise.


Cute like sugar cookies, without actually being a dessert.  
We like it as an afternoon snack or in a packed lunch.

Leftover rice, about 2 cups
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar

I spread the rice out on a plate.
I mix the vinegar, salt, and sugar to make a dressing.
I sprinkle the dressing on the rice.

I pack the rice into molds to make shapes, using my rice paddle to push the rice into the mold and level it.  I've got a little onigiri mold with three little shapes, which I bought in a japanese market a few years back.  Before that I used to just mold with a 1/4 cup measure.

Real onigiri would have something hidden in the middle, like pickled plum.  I've never met a pickled plum.  We usually just make them plain--haven't come up with a filling that interests any of us.

Do you make onigiri?  Is your vinegar-salt-sugar dressing different?  Do you put a little filling in the middle?

South of France Beans

Flageolet beans seasoned with garlic, crushed red pepper, and herbes de provence.
mix in sauteed kale and tomato.

Pulao Rice

This is a rice cooker recipe. My rice cooker knows when to stop cooking, and then just keeps the rice hot until I'm ready for it. My friend taught me I could leave it in finished-cooking-keeping-warm mode 24 hours, as long as the bottom of the bowl has a good untouched layer of rice in it. Sometimes that comes in handy.

Yes, I use real saffron. No turmeric in this recipe. I got a big ole 1-ounce jar at Costco, so now I might as well use it as hoard it. 

Into the rice cooker put:
1.5 cups basmati rice
3 cups water
2 Tablespoons of butter
3 green cardamons
2 cloves
3 peppercorns
and a pinch of SAFFRON

Turn the rice cooker on. Assuming it has keep-warm-after-cooking mode, come back to eat whenever you like, sometime in the next 1-25 hours. But pick out the cloves and peppercorns and cardamons when you open the pot--you don't want your kid biting into that.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Accidently Overly Rich Mac N Cheese

Okay, it's not my first homemade mac 'n cheese.  Usually I make it with melted sliced american cheese.  This is my first attempt at this recipe: Classic Mac and Cheese from Homeroom in Oakland, CA.

It calls for four cups of whole milk, a stick of butter, 1/2 cup flour, 3 cups shred sharp cheddar, and 3 oz of shredded parmesan.

I don't have whole milk in the house, so I had about 1/2 cup cream and 3/4 cup half and half, and the rest skim milk.

Later I looked it up and 4 cups of whole milk would have been 32 grams of milkfat.
A tablespoon of heavy cream has 50 grams of milkfat.  So, a mere tablespoon would have MORE than enough to turn my skim milk into whole milk.

I had no idea heavy cream is that much richer than whole milk.  Whoops.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

BLTs or Tuna Melts

BLTs, I love having them once a year.  And we have a bumper crop of tomatoes here at the end of season.  What's left on the vines may be hit by frost before it ripens.

We all love tuna melts.  So that was an also an option at the meal.  Some people had one of each, BLT and tuna melt.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spaghetti with Alfredo Sauce, Fresh Tomato, and Kale.

Why not Linguini?  Because I don't have any in the cupboard.

I went with Ree Drummond's Alfredo Sauce recipe from her t.v. show.  The Alfredo from her blog adds the shredded cheese with the pasta, instead.  We joked that we were having ice cream for dinner; it's pretty rare for me to serve something so rich.

My daughter was worried that tomatoes were going to ruin the Pasta Alfredo.  Because the juices might dilute it.  So for her, I got the juice and squishy parts out of the tomato and chopped them.

The kale I cooked separately in an iron skillet, with some store-bought pesto to season it.

The adults mixed the pasta, tomato, and vegetables in together on their plates.   Some children ate their vegetables as solo side dishes instead.  The surprise was the kale went first.

I think it's funny that the pesce-vegetarian in the house loves Pioneer Woman Cooks recipes.  Ree Drummond lives on a ranch and does a lot of meat dishes, but the vegetarian dishes are often hearty.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Vegan cooking: Naturally Ella

Today I discovered Naturally Ella, a vegan cooking site with beautifully photographed dishes, indexed by season and featured vegetable ingredient.

The computer I keep in the kitchen is an older Mac, and my significant other keeps shaking his head at the flour and cooking oils that are depositing themselves on it.  The interface for choosing the vegetable in the seasonal recipes doesn't work for me here.  Perhaps it's a javascript issue.

I'll probably try to work my way around that, because Erin Alderson, aka Naturally Ella, has gathered the kinds of recipes I want to make.  We may not be a vegan family, but we love good vegan cooking.

Tonight I tried the Spicy Lentil Vegan Sloppy Joe and I'll be making it again, though next time I think I"ll cook the lentils and sauce separately and combine them at the end.  I did add a tablespoon of brown sugar to a doubled recipe, (don't shudder) but that was because the old balsamic vinegar from the back of the cupboard is intensely strong, and needed more than the called-for molasses to balance it.

It's an amazing and delicious sloppy joe sauce, which is what I need to overcome my teenagers' love of ConAgra Manwich.  Not being vegan, we eat it with good sliced Vermont sliced cheese.

Simply Recipes Elise Bauer

I love, love, love the Simply Recipes site.

I was at BlogHer in San Francisco, and I had no idea who she was when I attended her session, which was not about food but about her (actually extremely useful and spot-on) advice for doing a blog well and getting what you intended from it.

Elise Bauer is generous and charming.

Then I went home and started cooking her family recipes.  And they are delicious and dependable.  And presented in a time-saving order of instructions.

Among her recipes that are in our regular rotation:

Salade Nicoise
Zucchini Bread and Muffins
Tuna Croquette
Mango Lassi