President’s Day

I realize that I am a bit delayed on this post, but I had a very busy week.

We had one crazy cooking holiday here. It included: vegetable stock, mole, lentil veggie balls and pesto. All time consuming, all awesome.

We started with the veggie stock, which we have actually been working on for quite some time considering we keep all of our unused vegetable scraps. This batch included the normal stuff like carrots, celery and onion, but also had jalapeno, kale stems, parmesan rinds, collard green stems, parsnips, lemon, cilantro stems, and I’m sure plenty of other things. We put them in a bag in the freezer until it is full and then cook it up. Here is the bounty:

Here are the dregs that were strained out:

We made the vegetable stock first because we needed it for our mole. We planned ahead and thought to make the mole on Monday because we knew it was going take a long time. This recipe came out of Mark Bittman’s ‘How to Cook Everything Vegetarian’ and we used it later in the week to put over cheese and hard boiled egg enchiladas.

First, you have to mix all of the goodies together which included a heck of a lot of mixed nuts (2 cups), bread, loads of spices, other stuffs, and of course peppers. Here is the mixture before we put it into the food processor:

After it came out of the food processor it looked much more like mole. Then, you cook it for a long time. Longer than we ever cook anything. Ok, that’s a lie. That veggie stock took longer and so does stuff that we cook in the slow cooker, but you get my drift.

Next, we moved on to actually making our dinner for that night, veggie balls with pesto, which we should have started long before we did, since the components would form into balls much easier if they were cool. Of course, we weren’t patient enough to wait long enough for it to cool, but they still turned out just fine.

For this, we made a batch of spinach and basil pesto with walnuts (more nuts!), parm, and olive oil. This would serve as the condiment for the veggie balls.

The veggie balls consisted of lentils (we used a mixture of red and green, and quickly realized that red lentils are a bit too small and smooshy for this recipe…we worked it out though), that, after cooked, were mixed with a veggie mixture of carrots, celery, mushrooms, garlic, onions, and spices. Once both of the components (the lentils and the veggies) are cooked you are supposed to let them fully cool (this is where we rushed ahead), mix them together, put them on a baking sheet, and bake them. I have to say, they turned out really beautiful and tasty.

We had some leftover pasta that we put them on, but later in the week we had them for leftovers on toast and also in a sort of veggie ball burrito.

It was a busy day, but it certainly paid off since we got so many great meals out of what we made.

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Menu: February 27 – March 4

MondayWinter Minestrone

Tuesday– Fish sticks and sweet potato fries (this is real)

Wednesday– Tuna melts and salad (Hank thinks he can make a better tuna melt than Vicki Lee’s)

Thursday– Our tried and true Mark Bittman Fried Rice

Friday– Out to dinner with our friends Kate and Linh

Saturday– Some sort of Korean fest at Mike and Sam’s

Sunday– Swupper

We’ve been making a lot of food lately and having a lot of leftovers so we decided to have a bit of lighter week.

Menu: February 20-26

MondayVeggie Balls with Spinach Basil Pesto (from The Meatball Shop)

Tuesday– Carrot Curry (out of Hank’s recipe box from before my time)

Wednesday– Eggplant Parm (we are just gonna wing it)

ThursdaySpiced Spinach Dal with Coconut Milk (from ’50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker’)

Friday– Hard cooked egg and cheese enchiladas with Mole Sauce (from ‘How to Cook Everything Vegetarian’ (a V-day present from Hank!))

SaturdayCrunchy Garlic Chicken (from ‘Jamie’s Food Revolution’)

Sunday– Swupper

Braised Eggplant with Tofu and Garlic Sauce

On Tuesday, Hank and I went outside of our comfort zone and made braised eggplant with tofu and garlic sauce, a recipe with lots of ingredients, some of which we had never even encountered before (so, of course, we just skipped/substituted those :D).

We don’t have a bamboo steamer, so we used what I like to call the UFO. Clicking on the link will explain to you why I call it this. The eggplant took a bit longer to steam than it said it would, but no big deal. The sauce was easy to make, but here were our substitutions: we used chardonnay (because that is what we had on the wine rack and who wants to buy wine to cook with when the rest of the bottle won’t be any fun to consume) instead of the Shaoxing wine or dry sherry. We also used rice wine vinegar instead of Chinkiang vinegar, which they said was okay. Fermented broad bean chili paste required a trip to the Asian grocery store which was just not going to happen, so we used sambal. Same thing goes for the mustard root, but we just skipped that all together. I asked Hank if we could just put some yellow mustard in, but he gave me this look.

We sorta, pretty much followed the rest of the directions. Everyone out there, do you own a wok? No? Go get yourself one!

Must add cilantro to everything!

Hank said that he felt like he was eating at a Chinese restaurant. It was pretty darn good and made for loads and loads of leftovers.

Menu: February 13-19

Monday– Pasta with broccoli rabe and white beans with parmesan

Tuesday– Braised eggplant with tofu in garlic sauce (from the Serious Eats website)

Wednesday– Stir-fried sweet potatoes with Vietnamese flavors (a Mark Bittman recipe)

Thursday– Stone Hearth Pizza to use a Groupon that is about to expire

Friday– Stuffed Shells Puttanesca (‘Vegetarian Planet’ cookbook pg. 295)

Saturday– ????

Sunday– Swupper at Bri and April’s

Should be a yummy week.

to chew or not to chew

I thought I would squish to meals together into one post.

On Tuesday we made something called Kale Pie. The recipe came from Mark Bittman’s ‘How to Cook Everything Vegetarian’. Basically, you sauté onion, garlic and kale then mix in some hard boiled eggs, make a dough, put the kale mixture between two layers of the dough and bake. This turned out pretty well. The hard boiled eggs really brought it up a notch.

We were supposed to make hummus soup on Monday, but a lack of dried chickpeas left us making scrambled eggs instead. Alas. We slow cooked our way to hummus soup (follow the link and the recipe is at the bottom of the page) last night though. This recipe came from ’50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker’.

The picture is dull, to say the least, but it didn’t taste as dull as it looks. You might notice that tiny little olive on top. You are supposed to put a dollop of greek yogurt and sprinkle some olives into it. We did this, but it all sunk to the bottom, so we ended up with a soup that looked like wet cement. Alas again. The soup was good, and did actually taste like hummus, but Hank and I decided 3 things: it was too runny, it needed something chunky in it (steamed broccoli??), and we probably won’t make it again. The last decision was based on the fact that we have about a million amazing soups that we make, so why make a mediocre one again? True, we could improve upon it, but nah.

Superbowl Fooday

We went overboard. Seriously.

Hank and I had a pretty busy beer weekend. Thursday, we went to Lord Hobo because they had Short’s on tap. On Friday, we volunteered at Extreme Beer Fest (there was Short’s). On Saturday, we attended the afternoon session of Extreme Beer Fest (Short’s again). And then after the Fest, we went back to Lord Hobo because they had 15! different Short’s beers on tap. Excellent, excellent, excellent!

Because of all of this running around drinking beer, we decided to hang at home on Sunday for the Superbowl/Downton Abbey. We spent the morning going for separate but equally awesome runs, hitting up Target, Trader Joe’s, Shaw’s, the Library, and Russo’s, coming home and cleaning the apartment, and then finally cooking the shit out of stuff in our fridge.

As a wedding gift, our friends Ashley and Ben gave us the ‘Clinton Street Baking Company Cookbook’. It wasn’t long after that I made the huevos rancheros for Hank for his birthday. It included making some amazing red beans. I have been dying to make these again for the last several weeks. We still had some dried Vermont cranberry beans from our CSA, so I decided to give it a go. Thanks to Bri for explaining to me how to prep dried beans for cooking when you have not soaked them overnight. This recipe takes quite awhile to make, but it isn’t hard at all.

We had some leftover hard taco shells that I stuck in the oven to crisp up, and then we ate some of the beans on them. YUM!

So, the beans were made just to have around, not really as part of our Superbowl eatingfest, but we did end up eating a little bit of them.

Next, we needed some veggies. We made some parsnips that have been hanging out in our fridge for awhile. We will call them snips.

As you might recall, we had planned on making a mushroom, onion and goat cheese pizza last Thursday. We didn’t get around to it since the food at Lord Hobo was calling our names. The ingredients for that pizza needed to be used. I was in charge of assembling the pizza this time. You might recall the mess that was our pizza making the last time.

I think that it was right about now that Hank sliced his thumb open on a can. This put him pretty much out of commission, but not before he shredded the heck out of a bunch of boiled chicken for the grand finale of our Fooday festivities.

HOT WING SOUP!

This is a Quinn family thing…I think. I don’t know. I just know that when we were cleaning out my grandparent’s house after my grandma passed away, someone handed me a tiny sheet of paper with instructions on how to make this soup. I’m not a big wing fan, but I love buffalo sauce. This was a happy medium for me and Hank when it came to having buffalo wings.

It’s basically sour cream, cream of chicken soup, milk, shredded chicken, celery, and hot sauce. Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles on top for good measure. The most healthy thing that Hank and I have ever made? Most certainly not! But delicious none the less.

I think that about sums it up. Sorry for the excessively long post.