Pickled Vegetables

Posted on

I had the girls over on Monday night for dinner and drinks — Jesse has his bowling league until late on Monday nights, so it was the perfect time to have a little ladies’ night soiree, cook up some dahl and a Thai tofu cabbage salad.  Without even trying, everyone else brought the perfect mix of food to accompany — an edamame tofu salad, veggie enchiladas, Rice Krispie treat fondue, and of course, wine.

Which also meant that I have had leftovers to enjoy all week!  But, I have been wanting to get back on track lately with my non-meal food projects, like fermenting, pre-making sauces and dressings to have on hand in the fridge for the nights when we don’t have as much time.  So I came home from work (still daylight out!), walked down to Grocery Outlet and got a load of some basics we were in need of, came home, cleaned the kitchen, and pickled some veggies.

Luckily, I had this guy to help me.

IMG_0334

This was a super simple recipe that I’m just trying out to get the proportions down, but it started with a quick mixture in my big fermenting jar of: half a cup of rice vinegar;

IMG_0335

a quarter cup of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, and some sliced jalapenos and ginger.

IMG_0339

I scored this whole box of peppers at Grocery Outlet last night for two bucks!

IMG_0337

Then, I sliced up some carrots and red onion…

IMG_0341

And some cucumbers, radishes, and green cabbage, tossed them all into the jar, shook it up, and capped it off with my super fancy fermenting lid, which keeps the air out so my concoctions won’t get moldy as they’re fermenting.

IMG_0344

I love having stuff like this in the fridge to add as a condiment or side dish to my meals when I feel like they’re not quite veggie-laden enough, or when I’m feeling too lazy to make a salad!

 


This Week’s Groceries

XE5XW1363881154

XE5XW1363881187


Smoked Brisket Pot Pie and Horseradish Lemon Cream Brussels Sprouts

Posted on

This past month has been insane, and I am so lucky to have such an awesome partner to help out with cooking at home.  It’s been the kind of month where I haven’t had an actual day off in over 3 weeks…not that my days off ever ever really “days off,” but I usually have my Mondays and Tuesdays for running errands, sleeping in at least a little, doing work from home in my pajamas, and getting house stuff done like laundry, cleaning, organizing, and working on my own personal projects like reorganizing my podcasts and iTunes, rather than being at the store.

But, I recently hired a second employee, and officially opened up the shop 7 days a week!  Which, because of my penchant for delayed gratification, I know will eventually lead to more time and freedom for me, as our training progresses and I can slowly hand off to her the parts of my job that take way more time than they should, leaving my own projects as the ones that I can focus on, uninterrupted, from my home office (which is a way sweeter deal now that I live in a home that I absolutely love spending time in, with free delicious tea, coffee, and food whenever I want it!), and whittling my in-store time down to one or two days a week for the to-dos that require me to be in front of my work computer, Z-reports in hand, or actual cones in front of me to catalog.

Anyway, this is a long way of saying that in addition to the temporary time stresses of training a new employee on my days off, family drama, acquiring a new dog, overhauling Yarnia’s class system and hiring new instructors to teach instead of myself (also–will result in much more free time eventually…but way less for now!), I am damn lucky to have a handsome chef in the kitchen to have dinner waiting for me when I get home from work.

Oven roasted Tandoori chicken, saffron rice, steamed veggies with lemon-butter-dill-coriander sauce

Oven roasted Tandoori chicken, saffron rice, steamed veggies with lemon-butter-dill-coriander sauce

That was last week — and he made enough Tandoori drumsticks so that we’d have leftovers for him to make butter chicken with later on in the week!  And he says he doesn’t like to plan ahead.  Ha!  When it comes to savory meats, that is a big fat lie.

marinading drummies

marinading drummies

This week?  Well, we had a smashing, semi-impromptu St. Paddy’s Day barbecue at our place on Sunday afternoon, the result of which was a handsome hunk o’ smoked brisket.  I managed to save a yogurt’s container worth of leftovers before it was annihilated, so that later this week we could make our favorite leftover pot pie that I overheard Jesse suggesting to himself around hour 3 of smoking.

IMG_0313

He took care of pot pie filling, as has become our routine, while I whipped up a quick dough in the Cuisinart (just butter, flour, salt, cold water…and rosemary!), and some Brussels sprouts for the side.

He’s made this filling enough at this point that he can pull it off gracefully, from memory.  Some chopped onion, carrot, and celery, sauteed.

IMG_0320

Chop up all the leftover meat, whether it be smoked turkey, brisket, what have you.

IMG_0318

Add that to the pan, sautee it up, and sprinkle some flour in and mix it around to thicken up the gravy-like sauce that’s about to happen.  Add a little broth (we used beef broth for this one), salt, pepper, and frozen peas…

IMG_0323

And then he lets me know it’s time to roll out the dough that’s been chillin’ in the fridge.

Into the pie pan it goes, sealed with a lid of rosemary pie crust.

IMG_0325

And out it comes, 50 minutes later.

IMG_0329

Now, look at those gorgeous Brussels!

IMG_0316

I kept it simple — I wanted to whip these up in the 10 minutes that it took the pie to cool.  Into the skillet: olive oil and butter.

IMG_0321

Here’s all the seasoning I used: horseradish, fresh lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and “GOG” — a term Jesse picked up from his favorite Roku cooking show, for ginger/onion/garlic, a huge batch of it he whipped up in the food processor and that we keep in the fridge to start just about every meal we cook in the skillet.

I got a few spoonfuls of GOG sizzling in the skillet, then placed the sprouts all face-down in a single layer, and didn’t touch them, until they had browned.

IMG_0327

I sprinkled a chopped shallot over top, and then stirred in some horseradish, cayenne, and lemon juice, along with about a half cup of stock from the freezer (I think this was our smoked turkey stock from when we had our last big smoker feast!).  When the broth had just about absorbed, I added a few splashes of cream, salt, and pepper.

IMG_0330

Teamwork, baby.

IMG_0331


This Week’s Groceries

(really this month’s groceries — I’ve got some catching up to do!)

3

Those circled items are shampoo and conditioner — not part of the grocery total!

1 2 4

 

 


Crab Louie and “Crash” Potatoes

Posted on

Well hello there!  I know it’s been awhile.  I like to think that I can juggle 3 different businesses, a social life, family drama, gigantic yarn-related events, cooking delicious and healthy meals for myself and loved ones, and taking pictures along the way, but…apparently one of those has to fall off the radar every once in awhile.  Sorry ’bout that.  The good news though is that I just had a record breaking weekend at Yarnia, thanks to the Rose City Yarn Crawl (and I was on TV!!), and then Jesse and I got to go soak in some hot springs for 36 hours — one of our favorite annual traditions and getaways, a much needed treat for both of us since I was drop-dead exhausted, and Jesse hurt his shoulder over the weekend and was in need of some anti-gravity heat therapy!  Our timing couldn’t have been better. Back on the home front, Jesse and I have been poring over cookbooks for weeks while we eat take-out pho and super simple meals that can be thrown together by a guy with only one functioning arm, and a lady working 14-hour days…fantasizing about a time when we’ll actually be able to spend an evening trying out a new delicious recipe or crafting a new meal.  I think that week is upon us!  On my way home from work last night I picked up the ingredients for some pretty incredible looking cabbage rolls that we spotted on a mysterious new channel that just popped up on our Roku recently, featuring a stout Polish woman cooking a Christmas meal for 50 that, for some reason, enticed us to action. But we’re making those tonight after work, so you’ll hear about those later.  In the meantime, I got to whip up a quick and easy meal for myself last night while Jesse was out trying his left hand at bowling (apparently he’s more ambidextrous than he thought!).  I was at a business class until 7:00 and still had a conference call and a newsletter to finish, waiting for me at home, so a super simple meal was just what I needed. IMG_0242 First, a refreshing, protein-alicious Crab Louie salad with iceberg lettuce, cucumber, radish, a little red pepper, and some fake crab that the Woodstock Safeway always has a great deal on in their seafood section. IMG_0243 Not even feigning homemade here, I bought some lite blue cheese dressing, the one that had the fanciest jar. I was craving something starchy and fried, like grocery store JoJos or something, but then this recipe for “hot crash potatoes” popped into my head after reading it earlier last week, and I grabbed a bag of waxy yellow potatoes at the last minute.

IMG_0241 I got these boiling while I chopped the salad ingredients, and once they were soft enough to mash, sliced them in half, set them on a baking sheet, and “crashed” them with a fork. IMG_0244 I probably could have cooked them for a few minutes longer, so they would really be the consistency of ready-to-mash potatoes, and I would have ended up with less craggy, crumbly piles.  But hey — we’re talking about potatoes, oil, and salt cooked at high temperatures…you really can’t go wrong. IMG_0245 Atop these potato piles, I basted some olive oil, salt, paprika, and pepper — that’s all it takes to make a good potato — and stuck them in the oven at 400 degrees until they were brown and crispy.  The skins totally submit and fall off without provocation, crisping up to perfection. IMG_0247


Root Vegetable Borscht

Posted on

February has been all about the stews and soups.  I’ve gotten into a nice weekly routine of prepping some sort of crock pot meal on a Monday or Tuesday night, while I cook that night’s dinner, sticking it in the fridge, and then getting it started the next morning when I get up for work.

This borscht is actually a stovetop recipe, but simmered nicely in the background in the same way while I prepped about 4 different meals’ worth of food.  It’s from the same blog where I discovered last week’s tea eggs, and now that I’m glancing back at the recipe I’m astonished that I didn’t notice that it shared a post with her beef stroganoff, since that’s what Jesse got out of bed talking about on Sunday morning, and dutiful for his craving, made for dinner on Sunday night out of the Betty Crocker cookbook.

In any case, I like Mimi’s instruction to chop up all the vegetables ahead of time.  This is usually how I roll anyway, as it’s so satisfying to have the tedious work done and to be able to just dump, sweep, and add during the fun part of cooking time while cleaning up the detritus trail as I go.

IMG_0084

This is:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 rutabega
  • 1/2 small cabbage
  • 2 cloves garlic

All chopped up.  You start with your big soup pot, melt some butter in the bottom, and cook and onion and shallot first.  After a few minutes, add all the chopped veggies, plus a bay leaf, garlic, and 1 teaspoon crushed allspice.

IMG_0085

IMG_0087

Once the veggies have cooked down a bit, add 1.5 cups of stock (I used beef stock), and simmer until all vegetables are soft.  I ate mine with a little bit of Greek yogurt as a garnish!

IMG_0099


Tea Eggs

Posted on

When I came across this idea in one of my favorite lunchtime food blogs, Manger, I was like, that is one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen someone do to an egg!  And then immediately decided, I had to try it.  I really feel for people who don’t like eggs or for whatever other reason have to exclude them from their cooking repertoire.  They’re so cheap, easy, healthy, and — clearly — versatile.  A lot of times if I’m running late for work I’ll just scoop out a tupperware full of brown rice from the fridge (I make a batch or two per week and keep it in there, along with some corn tortillas, for whenever I need a grain component in a meal), wrap two eggs in paper towels, and bring them with me in my bike basket.  I can hard or soft boil the eggs in my hot pot at work, and with some sriracha or Aardvark hot sauce, even something as simple as this can get me through the day.

However, this tea egg idea sounded even better.  Anything I can do in big batches ahead of time piques my interest, and this was the perfect food project to have simmering in the background while I cooked the rest of my dinner on Monday night.

I tried this out with 6 eggs, though she says you can use up to 12.  You simmer them for so long, I imagine the same proportion of spices will work even for a dozen eggs.  So you start by boiling them, just as you would for regular hard-boiled eggs.  (My method: put the eggs in the cold water, right at the beginning, and let them warm up as the water comes to a boil.  Once the boil starts, set the timer for 9 minutes, and then remove them and immediately plunge them into ice water.  The stark contrast makes the shell pull away from the egg and they peel easily and flawlessly, every time.)

Then, you crack the shells of each egg gently, with the back of a spoon, which allows the broth to seep in as the eggs simmer.  I thought I might have cracked them too hard, but they turned out perfect!

Meanwhile, into the same pot, I added 2 tablespoons of black tea leaves.

IMG_0077

1/2 cup soy sauce (we buy these gigantic jugs of it at Fubonn for like three dollars).

IMG_0078

A few star anise.

IMG_0079

And she recommends “2 pieces of dried orange peel.”  Not really sure what 2 pieces means, but I did have half of an orange sitting in the fridge, so I peeled off a few chunks from that and threw it in, too.  Oh, and a tablespoon of brown sugar, and a cinnamon stick.

IMG_0081

Then I added 4 cups of water (and the eggs), brought it all to a boil, and then turned down the heat and let it simmer for 3 hours.  It smelled awesome all the while, and the next morning I woke up ravenous and tried one right out of the pot.  It was amazing.  I’m totally going to make a batch of these every week or two just to keep on hand for a quick protein fix.  I’m happy enough with a hard boiled egg as a snack, but feel like I need to dress it up with salt and hot sauce to really feel like I got something out of the deal.  But these!  They’re perfect little self-contained flavorful nutrition bombs, in their very own packaging.

IMG_0125

After 3 hours of simmering, the white layer becomes a little tougher, and the perfect balance between sweet and savory.  And once I saw the marbled effect that the shell-cracking lends, I was like, oh yeah!  I’ve seen these in Chinese restaurants before!

Today for lunch I heated up some sticky rice and seaweed that I had in the fridge (again, big batches that I like to have on hand for any occasion), and ate it with the egg still cold.  Awesome.

IMG_0126


Good friends.

Posted on

Between catching up from my trip and prepping for a birthday weekend out at the cabin, I didn’t get to cook at all this week. Thankfully I have awesome friends who invite me over for dinner after work on a Wednesday night!

Butternut squash soup, quinoa salad, homemade chive biscuits, and spinach salad with pears, blue cheese, dried blueberries, and shaved carrots.  Orange-pineapple cocktails on the side.


Chana Masala with Roasted Veggie Couscous

Posted on

It’s been pretty quiet here on this blog these past couple of weeks, for a couple of reasons.  The first is that two Sundays ago, we had our good friends Jesse and Elizabeth over for a Sunday afternoon smokeout.  That is, Elizabeth had a grand plan to smoke a giant, delicious ham for her man for Christmas (what a generous vegetarian!), with the help of our trusty smoker.

I actually got the best end of this deal, because I was working all day and then teaching until 7, while the three of them were at our house, dutifully monitoring the carefully formulated smoking times of all the following: two gigantic hams, which had been brined, marinated, injected, and basted for over a day; fillets of salmon and trout, tin foil patches of eggplant and teriyaki onions, a rack of ribs, and chicken drumsticks.  I just got to come home, pour myself a glass of wine, and reap the rewards!

IMG_3451

And subsequently, did not cook a single thing for the rest of the week — just ate leftover smoked meats in infinite forms: smoked ham and gorganzola tacos, brown rice with thin-sliced smoked eggplant and flakes of smoked salmon with a fried egg on top, smoked drumsticks with fresh salad for lunch…it was a luxuriously delicious week with absolutely no effort on my part.

DSCF5950

Then, directly after that, I got to go on my annual trip out east, to visit some of my oldest friends, in Brooklyn and D.C.

IMG_3504

So, needless to say, this past week was not a big week for cooking, either.  Instead, I got treated to a delicious Shabbat stir fry by Jamie and Elon, Saturday afternoon lunch of split pea fritters with Sriracha yogurt and cabbage salad at Dory’s house, and a delicious dinner out with the whole gang in Brooklyn on Saturday night.

IMG_3515

Then in D.C., Emily and I got to steal some time away from her kiddos and indulge in some meals together and catch up.  And then in our grand tradition, I made her and her family dinner Monday night, whipping up a yummy meal of chana masala and roasted veggie couscous while she and her husband juggled nighttime routines with their adorable three-year-old son, and now three-month-old daughter!

IMG_3526

So yes, I’ve been a bit spoiled these past couple of weeks!


This Week’s Groceries

Safeway 1/11

  • Quinoa spaghetti: $2.79
  • Vanilla creamer: $2.99
  • Half and half: $2.69
  • Cucumbers: $0.89
  • Mushrooms: $3.44
  • Lettuce: $1.99
  • Baby spinach: $1.99
  • Alfalfa sprouts: $1.59
  • Olives: $3.87

TOTAL: $22.24

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $141.36

 

Safeway 1/12

  • 1 large ham: $36.73

TOTAL: $36.73

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $104.63

 

New Seasons 1/13

  • Canned pineapple: $1.99
  • Tinfoil: $1.99
  • Orange juice: $3.99
  • Bosc pears: $6.27
  • Yellow onions: $1.64
  • Eggplant: $2.21
  • Trout fillet: $12.64
  • Gorgonzola crumbles: $3.60

TOTAL: $34.33

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $70.30

 

Fubonn 1/6

  • Baby bok choy: $2.04
  • Green peppers: $1.34
  • Miso soup mix: $2.39
  • Cilantro: $0.50
  • Soy sauce: $3.98
  • Rice stick: $1.38
  • Sweet rice 5 lb. bag: $5.50
  • Brown basmati rice: $5.99
  • Oyster mushrooms: $4.01
  • Tapioca stick: $1.49
  • Sweet chili sauce: $2.69
  • Coconut milk: $3.58
  • Green eggplant: $1.97
  • Kholrabi: $1.23
  • Zucchini: $0.66
  • Instant hot & sour soup paste: $1.99
  • Sesame candy: $1.59
  • Limes: $0.59
  • Yellow bell peppers: $1.94
  • Stir fry sauce: $3.68
  • Rice noodles: $2.99
  • Sweet potato noodles: $1.99

TOTAL: $52.52

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $17.78


Tofu Stir-Fry with Baby Bok Choy, Bell Peppers, and Korean Noodles

Posted on

I finally made it to Fubonn this week, and got a few things that have been lingering on my shopping list for months now (brown basmati rice, Tom Kah soup paste, rice vinegar), and of course a bunch of other things that I can’t help but throw in the cart when I’m there.  I can’t attest to their quantity or organic status at all, but Fubon has the absolute cheapest veggies I’ve ever seen — actual good quality Asian veggies like baby bok choy, not the sad looking tufts of greens that call themselves bok choy at regular grocery stores.  Nope, at Fubonn you can get a gigantic bag of about 12 of them for $1.64, and a package of oyster mushrooms that looks like this, for less than five bucks:

IMG_3421

So last night when Jesse texted me on my bike ride home, already 7:15 and saying he was just getting home from work as well and can we do something easy for dinner, I knew it was a stir fry kinda night.

I had a package of tofu sitting in the fridge, which was just the ticket because it’s been a very meat-heavy week, between leftover pork shoulder roast, and barbecued chicken drumsticks.  So right when I got home, while I gathered and assembled all the veggies I’d be using, I quickly cubed up the brick of tofu, melted some coconut oil and black bean paste in the skillet, and started frying it up.

IMG_3418

I like to cook my tofu for a long time over medium heat, kind of like caramelizing onions.  It drives me crazy when tofu is all soft and crumbly and falling apart — I want it firm and crispy and tough on the outside, but without having to deep fry it.  The key is cooking it in a reasonable amount of oil, with a little bit of salt sprinkled on top to draw out the water, for nearly half an hour, but on a low enough heat so that it doesn’t burn.  Canola oil works better than olive oil for making it nice and crispy, but coconut oil is way healthier and works just as well.

IMG_3423

Meanwhile, I took each little bundle of bok choy and separated it — sliced off the closed end so that the leaves would all separate, and then sliced between the stalk and the leaves.  The stalk takes about as long to cook as cabbage, so I wanted to give it a good ten minutes by itself in the wok before the softer ingredients got added, whereas the leaves go in at the very end, so that they wilt and cook just a little bit.

Here’s everybody waiting for the wok to heat up.

IMG_3429

I got a pot of water boiling, and cooked a third of a bag of these Korean noodles (they only take about five minutes), setting them aside to cool.  Why Korean noodles you ask?  Well first of all, I love their texture — they are thin and super stretchy, like nearly unbreakably stretchy, and get all glassy once they’re cooked, absorbing the sauce better than rice noodles, in my opinion.  And the best part?  They’re made from sweet potato starch rather than wheat, so they’re totally gluten free!

IMG_3426

This may be a thing for the next little while…I’ve been trying to be gluten-avoidant for the past six months or so, but really only half-heartedly.  I decided this week that I’m going to give it a more serious go — not in any sort of Celiac or nit-picky way…I’ll probably still use regular flour to thicken sauces and all that, but I’m going to forego the obvious culprits like straight up wheat pasta.

So, back to the wok.  I started stir-frying the mushrooms and bok choy stalks until they were soft, then added the bell peppers.

As for sauce, we had picked this up earlier this week during a Trader Joe’s frenzy.

IMG_3431

I dipped a finger in to try it and wasn’t crazy about it — it was super sweet and smelled more like barbecue sauce than an Asian stir-fry, so I just started with a few tablespoons as a base, then doctored everything up with soy sauce and a bit of fish sauce.  I should have added chili paste in at the point, too, but I overlooked it and ended up stirring it in to my own personal plate, which still worked.

At the very end, I added the noodles that had been cooling until they had been coated with the sauce, chopped up some cilantro for garnish, and served it up!

IMG_3437


This Week’s Groceries

Safeway 1/2

  • Apple cider: $3.39
  • Pork shoulder roast: $9.11
  • Chicken breast tenders: $7.52
  • Gala apples: $2.74
  • White onions: $0.62
  • Collard greens: $1.99

TOTAL: $25.37

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $274.63

 

Trader Joe’s 1/6

  • Half and half: $1.89
  • Hummus: $3.99
  • Olive tapenade: $2.99
  • Sumatra coffee: $5.99
  • French roast coffee: $5.99
  • Asiago cheese: $3.65
  • Crumbled feta: $2.79
  • Gingerbread coffee: $7.99
  • Horseradish: $1.99
  • Pizza dough: $1.29
  • Dynamo juice: $3.99
  • Olive oil: $5.49
  • Pizza sauce: $1.99
  • General Tsao’s cooking sauce: $2.79
  • Seaweed salad: $2.99
  • Biryani rice stir fry: $2.29
  • Frozen cauliflower & romanesco: $2.99
  • Maui beef ribs: $7.61
  • Lemongrass chicken Thai sticks: $3.29
  • Fish nuggets: $3.99
  • Peanut butter pretzels: $3.79
  • Chicken shu mai: $2.99
  • Tricolor radiatore pasta: $1.99
  • Mushroom ravioli with truffle sauce: $3.49
  • Malabari paratha bread: $1.69

TOTAL: $89.93

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $184.70

 

Safeway 1/9

  • Corn tortillas: $2.39
  • Eggs: $2.59
  • Chicken drumsticks: $7.85 – which we smothered in an amazing rub/marinade during an impromptu grilling party at our house for a friend’s birthday on Wednesday night
  • Ninkasi oatmeal stout: $8.27

 

TOTAL: $21.10

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $163.60


Lazy Days

Posted on

Well, to be totally honest, you’re probably not going to get a cooking post from me this week.  Jesse and I have been whipping up simple little meals here and there — a tofu broccoli stir fry before going out in our neighborhood last Friday, a pasta dinner to eat while we packed for Christmas last Saturday…but we just got back last night from four days out in the Ashland woods with 6 of our friends, and while we ate like kings and queens the whole time, not a single picture was taken, aside from this table, eagerly awaiting breakfast on Christmas morning.

IMG_3265

Which was, in case you’re curious, chive-cheddar-cracked-pepper biscuits with homemade veggie gravy, sauteed sausage and mushrooms on the side, and a giant bowl of scrambled eggs; mimosas, and endless rounds of coffee.

What else did we eat?  Oh man.

Christmas Eve Dinner:

  • Wine and cheese appetizers while Kate and Zack gracefully prepared an amazing meal
  • Veggie lasagna
  • Pineapple glazed ham
  • Roasted yams
  • Homemade bread
  • Gingerbread pumpkin cheesecake
  • Regular cheesecake with raspberries

Christmas Dinner (which a bunch of us collaborated on)

  • Channa masala
  • Lemon couscous with roasted veggies
  • Greek salad
  • Curried chicken
  • Warm pita bread
  • Homemaide raita
  • Bars of dark chocolate and a 33-year-old bottle of port for dessert

Other than that, it was a whole lot of hanging out, playing board games, trekking around Zack’s property with snowshoes, making fancy cocktails, opening presents, hanging out by the big wood-burning stove in the middle of the house, and knitting.  It was also a weekend of a lot of firsts for me: first time sledding, first time watching Christmas movies, and I even shot a rifle!  As Zack put it, “Well, we wouldn’t send you out for food, but that wasn’t half bad.”


This Week’s Groceries

Safeway 12/16

  • Orange juice: $3.00
  • 3 cheese blend: $2.99
  • Crimini mushrooms: $2.18
  • Brussels sprouts: $2.49

TOTAL: $10.66

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $196.83

 

Fred Meyer 12/22 – Mixers for Christmas cocktails, and fixings for Jesse’s yummy sausage pasta!

  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Bacon
  • Canned chili
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Italian sausage
  • Crimini mushrooms
  • Yellow onion
  • Jalapeno pepper
  • Navel orange
  • Pear juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • V8 Splash
  • Hazelnut creamer
  • Apple blueberry juice
  • Shell pasta
  • Marinara sauce
  • Half and half

TOTAL: $54.38

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $142.45

 

New Seasons 12/21 

  • 2 dark chocolate bars: $7.58
  • Zante currants: $1.74
  • Tofu: $2.59
  • Lemons: $2.17
  • Olive: $3.80

TOTAL: 17.88

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $124.57

 

Grocery Outlet 12/18

  • Whole milk: $1.99
  • Cottage cheese: $2.39
  • Butter: $2.59

TOTAL: $6.97

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $117.60

 

Portland Fruit Company 12/18

  • Yellow onions
  • Zucchini
  • Collard greens
  • Turnip
  • Rutabaga
  • Parsnip
  • Red peppers
  • Oranges
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Butternut squash
  • Green cabbage

TOTAL: $17.04

REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $100.56


Angelhair Pasta with Parmesan Zucchini, Sauteed Bell Peppers, and Blackened Salmon

Posted on

Sometimes it’s those nights where I’m cooking by myself, thinking I’m going to just whip up something quick and easy, when nobody else is around to witness it, that I wind up eating masterpieces for dinner.  I guess that’s how this blog originally started, but now that I live with Jesse those nights feel more rare.  Not that he won’t eat anything that’s put in front of him, and probably seconds and thirds as well, but when we’re cooking together, or even just when I’m cooking for both of us, I find myself sticking to the tried and true, even using recipes more.

So Monday night, while Jesse was out bowling with the boys, I found myself out running errands until just before dinner, and en route home totally ravenous.  I so rarely do this — stop at the grocery for like a single item — but I was craving some sort of fish.  The Johnson Creek Freddy’s actually has a pretty decent seafood department, so I pulled over totally impulsively and bought a piece of salmon.  This was no big splurge — it was less than $7 for the whole piece, which I only used half of and froze the rest (and wound up with leftovers for lunch, still!), but it still felt nice to treat myself to exactly what I wanted, and make a delicious meal, just for myself.  Like I always used to do!

IMG_3198

This was partially inspired by a super simple Ina Garten recipe (I’m currently reading through the Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook), urging me to cook my zucchini slices in small batches so they brown and crisp instead of steam and get mushy, and then cover them in parmesan, for good measure.  She’s right, I realized, this is the reason I always forego the zucchini, because it always gets mushy and overcooked, no matter what I do.  And the pasta?  Angelhair pasta was undoubtedly the carb-y texture that I was craving that night, and we just happened to have a partial package of it in the pantry.  Bingo.

First I sauteed up half an onion in some super delicious olive oil.

IMG_3180

I’d made some homemade feta a few weeks back, which you can store at room temperature, as long as it’s submerged in oil.  I had added some rosemary in there for good luck, and now that all the cheese is gone, I’m left with this wonderfully dank olive oil to cook with!

Then, the zucchini.

IMG_3181

Like I said, I cut the salmon steak in half, and stuck the rest in the freezer.  This part, I stuck straight into the skillet, (which I had now cleared of the zucchini, keeping them warm in a covered bowl), skin side down.  After about five minutes I flipped it, and now the skin peels easily off, as if it were never even attached.

IMG_3189

I covered it again and let it blacken with all the residual salt, pepper, and cheese flakes that were in there from the zucchini, and then added a sliced red pepper in there along with it.

IMG_3183

I make popcorn, like, almost every night.  Pretty much, yeah.  Someday I’ll show you how the pros do it, but for now all you need to know is that I make a little mixture to sprinkle on, that involves nutritional yeast (fine grain), Lawry’s salt, pepper, and oregano.  After each batch of popcorn, there is a thick layer of detritus at the bottom of the bowl from where these seasonings missed the kernels and sifted through.  I save this in a little bowl and sprinkle it on just about everything, because it is unbeatably delicious.  So if you ever hear me referring to just general “herbs,” this is probably what I’m talking about.

IMG_3185

Watch out for the kernels.

Meanwhile, I’m boiling some water and cooking some angel hair pasta — just enough for a single serving.  Jesse and I had big plans to cook risotto on Tuesday night, so I’m not looking for leftovers here.

Once the pasta was done I strained it, threw it right back into the pot, and added some butter, a few shakes of nutritional yeast, a splash of cream, a few squirts of lemon juice, and some cracked pepper.

IMG_3191

I mixed that all up and poured it onto a big plate, serving as the “bed,” and then on top of this added the zucchini, peppers, and salmon.  They had all been waiting for this moment.

Don’t tell Jesse, but sometimes salmon tastes best when you’re eating alone.

IMG_3201