Sunday, January 31, 2010

Catfish with Black Bean Sauce and Cards with Jack and Beth

Couple of things. First - yes, I know there was no menu and grocery list this week. The feedback I'm getting is that you guys have lots of leftovers and haven't even gotten to all the stuff on the other menus, so we're taking a breather week so you can catch up. Plus, I'm trying to shove software out the door and have been really slammed with work. Next - I do believe I've posted catfish with black bean sauce before, but I'm not sure I've done the recipe, and anyway, it's good, you'll love it, so try it! 

Yesterday was nasty, nasty NASTY outside. Rain, wind and so cold we bumped into a brass monkey looking for a welder. Frankly, I was grousing about the weather, and not for the reason you probaby think. I love me some cold, and we don't get that much down here on the coast, so I was digging that. But everyone around us was getting ice and snow, and all we got was cold wet dreary rain. THAT'S no fun! So rather than get to go sledding, or build a snowman, or make snow ice cream, we just got to stay in the house and feel sorry for the birds and squirrels. Bummer.

We made Jack and Beth get out in it and come over for dinner and a little card-playing, though, so we didn't get too bored. Things were going really well, and we were nicely skunking Phillip and Jack at Spades. Then they started slowly catching up, until they were within 50 points. I decided things had been too dull and figured we'd either win large, or go down in a blaze of glory, so I went nil on the last hand. Let me just put it out there that THIS is the last thing you want to see your partner lead with if you're going nil.

(insert ominous music here.)

Of course, we lost spectacularly. Now, this is not the first time I've had a partner do this to me. As a matter of fact, it's the THIRD time I've had it happen, and every time, (different partners) it's been for no good reason - they've had ample coverage for me. So I can only come to one conclusion.

Nobody likes me.

I only wish I'd known Beth was going to hose me before I fed her. This was my second game spanking in a day. I had my butt handed to me on a platter by my nephew and husband at a game of Risk earlier in the day. Not nice. But Beth had already eaten dinner, so there wasn't much I could do. At least they provided some most delicious chocolate chip cookies for dessert. (Although Jack made those.) It did take some of the sting off, though.

Catfish with Black Bean Sauce
Serves 4
4 catfish fillets
salt and pepper
2 eggs
flour, for dredging
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cans black beans
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes (you can use about 4 fresh roma tomatoes instead, but right now it's January and our tomatoes suck.)
2 Tbs Asian chili garlic sauce (more if you like things spicy)
2 small pieces fresh ginger, peeled (total about thumb-sized)
1 Tbs sesame oil
1 Tbs olive oil

1. For the beans:In a medium saucepan, saute onion in 1 Tbs. olive oil until translucent. Add cans of black bean and ginger and about half a can of water. Simmer 15 minutes, then add tomatoes and chili garlic sauce. Right before serving, stir in 1 Tbs. sesame oil.

2. For the catfish:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium low heat.  Mix together eggs in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, mix together the cornmeal and cornstarch with 1/2 tsp. salt. Salt and pepper each catfish filet and dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg mixture, then in cornmeal mixture. Place in hot oil. Cook until golden brown on each side, about 3 - 4 minutes per side.

Remove the ginger pieces from the black beans. Serve catfish over the black bean sauce with steamed rice.

Shopping List

Roma Tomatoes (use canned diced tomatoes if Roma are not in season)
1 yellow onion
fresh ginger

4 catfish filets

2 15 oz. cans of black beans
yellow cornmeal
vegetable oil
Asian chili garlic sauce
sesame oil


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Really Fast, Totally Cheating, Lunchtime Minestrone

Seriously. It's totally cheating. I think real chefs who make minestrone would be absolutely horrified. In my defense:
1.) It was lunch - I had limited time here, people.
2.) I had some leftover vegetables and some "almost gone" vegetables that were either going in something edible, or in the trash in a couple of days.
3.)I hate cleaning out the fridge and throwing away food.

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 small or medium onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 slices bacon or pancetta, chopped
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
1 cup cauliflower
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz. can canellini beans (white kidney beans) with liquid
1 cup green beans, raw, rinsed and broken into bite size pieces
1/2 cup carrots, chopped (mine happened to be leftover roasted carrots, so I added them dead last.)
1/2 cup parsnips, chopped (again, roasted leftover - last)

In a medium stockpot/saucepan, (about 4 qt.), heat 1 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and celery and salt and pepper. Sautee until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower. If your carrots and parsnips are raw, add them now. Add the can of tomatoes with juice and the chicken or vegetable stock. Simmer about 10 minutes. Add the cannelini beans, the green beans, (and the carrots and parsnips if they've already been cooked. ) Simmer another 10 or 15 minutes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lamb with Olive Crust

KSo, first order of business, it's Love Boat's birthday. He's six. We call him Dinky, because of this:

I mean, seriously. How could you NOT call him Dinky? You can tell from the picture he was a punk even then. This is him now.

Bigger, "phatter", and slingin' more 'tude.

So Happy Birthday to Dinky Doo, who got a bath instead of a kegger and a bunch of Hooters chicks for his birthday. Poor doo. And he had to smell our dinner of Lamb crusted with olives and mashed potatoes and roasted carrots and parsnips. While he ate Hard Crunchy Bits. (Well, to be fair, I did give him a bite of lamb and a couple of raw carrots. It won't kill him.)

Lamb with Olive Crust
Mashed potatoes with olive oil and parmesan cheese
Roasted carrots and parsnips

It was just a plain old meat and potatoes night, for the most part. The lamb was good, but I'm not sure I'll do the olive crust again. It didn't stick well to the lamb and I'm (ooo!!! My husband just brought me a cup of post-dinner coffee!! Yay!) where was I?  - Oh yes, I'm not sure I was terribly pleased with it. The lamb had good flavor, but when I carved it, the crust just popped right off. I need to check with the Food Geek on that one. (He's a cool, funny dude, and if you follow him on Twitter, you'll get to see pics of his new kitten.) But the flavor was good. It's a Fine Cooking recipe. (I know, you're shocked. Close your mouths.) So in keeping with my new menu planning trend, I present to you the recipes and a shopping list, just in case you want to try any of this. My comments in italics.

Rack of Lamb with Herb & Olive Crust
Recipe By : Molly Stevens (
LOVE her stuff!! She's awesome!)
Serving Size 6

OK, I know. You're going "Geez, Andie! Rack of Lamb? On a school night??? Here's the deal. Costco has these pretty smallish racks of lamb for a really good price, and occasionally, I'll snag one and shove it in the freezer. It makes a good dinner for the two of us, plus enough leftover for lunch. So there you go.
1/3 cup very coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata, Picholine, or Manzanilla olives, or a mix
1/4 cup very coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 Tbs fresh thyme (I was out, and it's January here, so no grow. I used rosemary, of which I have gracious plenty.)
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 Tbs mayonnaise
1 rack of lamb (7 to 8 ribs each), trimmed, or frenched (um... whatever. I just opened the package and went to town on it.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1.Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. (I used the gas grill outside and put the lamb on a foil lined baking sheet.)
2. Combine the olives, parsley, thyme, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a

mini food processor or a mortar. Process or pound with a pestle to a rough paste. Stir in the mayonnaise. Set aside. (Have I ever mentioned how much I love my food processor?)
3. Spread the breadcrumbs in a pie plate. Coat the surface of the lamb with the olive paste, then roll the meat in the breadcrumbs, pressing the crumbs so they adhere. Arrange the rack, bone side down, in a roasting pan (or in my case, on a foil-lined sacrificial baking sheet on the grill). Wrap the tips of the bones with a strip of foil so they don’t burn. (psh. sure. On a school night? who cares if they're burned? I don't happen to be cooking for The Queen.)
5. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reads 120° to 125°F for rare or 130° to 135°F for medium rare, 20 to 25 minutes (the temperature will rise about another 5°F once it’s out of the oven or off the grill). Let the lamb rest for about 5 minutes. Cut down between the bones to carve into chops, then serve.

Here's what it would have looked like if I worked for Fine Cooking and had a photographer as good as Scott Phillips.


Oh. And if I had nice dishes and had bothered to set the table all pretty. Which I didn't, so much. At least we had silverware and napkins. Anyway, their crust is all still attached. Mine wasn't. But the lamb was that pink and pretty. And it was tasty!

Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Olive Oil
5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt (more to taste)
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 (or less) milk

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Put them through a ricer when they're doe,or peel and mash. Mix in parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt. Add milk to the desired consistency.

Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
5 carrots, peeled and cut into same size chunks
5 parsnips, peeled and cut into same size chunks
1 Tbs. olive oil
pinch kosher salt
a few grinds of black pepper
pinch nutmeg
pinch of ground thyme

Toss the carrots and parsnips with the olive oil, salt and seasonings. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast at 400F for about 30 minutes, until browned and tender.

Final Step:
After eating, yell obscenities at Birthday Dog for trying to eat the placemat, have husband clean kitchen (but clean some as you go so as not to get "You have GOT to be kidding me! I'm not cleaning this!!", then have husband bring you a cup of coffee while you sit on your heinie at the computer and eat bon bons. Or Jelly Bellies. Whatever. Listen to Bad Birthday Dog snore.

Shopping List

5 medium Yukon gold potatoes
1 lb. carrots
1 lb. parsnips
fresh rosemary
1 head garlic

Small Rack of lamb (2 - 3 medallions serves each person)

Ground thyme
Ground nutmeg
Red pepper flakes
Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Regular Olive Oil

Good parmesan cheese
Kalamata olives
Bread (for bread crumbs)


Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday and another week of menus

Hey peeps! Time for another week of menus. Then next week, I have some catching up to do with regular blogging. I know you've all missed my fabulous photographs! And I'm sure you're all burning with curiosity about how my ukulele lessons are going? Of course you are. But you'll have to sit in suspense a few more days on that, because you've got meals to plan and groceries to buy. So here you go!

Day One:
I've included a salad you have to make in this one. You can, of course, ignore me and concoct your own, but this is a good one, and the soup is so ridiculously easy that you'll have time to put this salad together too.
Almond Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
White Bean Soup with Kale (Yes, kale. I know, some of the kids won't like it, but try it. It's really good! Tell the boys it's chopped up frog and they'll go to town on it.)

Day Two:
Pork Chops with Caramelized Onion and Smoked Gouda
Bay-Steamed Broccoli
(You could also serve with mashed potatoes, if you like. Remember to add potatoes to the grocery list if you do.)

Day Three:
Green Salad
Mac and Cheese

Day Four:
Spicy Korean-Style Pork Medallions with Asian Slaw

Day Five:
Chicken Stew with Spinach, Potatoes and Porcini

Day Six:

Day Seven:
Invite yourself to some friends' place for dinner!

Day One:
Almond Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbs orange juice
1 tsp orange rind, grated
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper (does anyone measure this? A pinch! A pinch!)
1 head bibb lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 head leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 each green onion, chopped
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped

1. Whisk the olive oil, wine vinegar, orange juice, orange rind, poppy seeds, salt and pepper in a measuring cup.
2. Toss the fruit and lettuce in a salad bowl with the onions. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat.  Top with almonds.

White Bean Soup with Kale
One of my favorite meals - I absolutely love white bean soup. And talk about easy!
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 slices bacon or pancetta, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 15 oz. cans navy beans or other white beans
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups black kale, washed, dried, de-stemmed and chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Grated parmesan cheese

Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and onion and celery. Saute' onion and celery until limp, about 4 minutes. Add bacon or pancetta and brown with onion and celery mixture, about another 4 - 5 minutes. When browned, add the can of beans and the chicken stock. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer about 15 minutes on low heat. Add the kale. It will take up a lot of the pot, but not to worry. That kale will wilt and come into line in no time. Simmer it another 15 minutes and stir occasionally. Serve and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Day Two:
Pork Chops with Caramelized Onion and Smoked Gouda
This is an old one from Bon Appetit

3 Tbs vegetable oil
4 each pork chops, one inch thick rib cut
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tbs
2 tsp. paprika
4 cups onions, sliced
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 cups beef broth, approximately
1/2 cup smoked gouda cheese, grated
1 Tbs butter

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper. Dredge in 1 cup flour; shake off excess. Working in batches, add pork to skillet and sauté until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Arrange pork in single layer in 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon paprika over pork.
2. Discard contents of skillet; wipe clean. Add 3 tablespoons oil; heat over medium-high heat. Add onions; sprinkle with sugar and sauté until well browned, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add 1 teaspoon paprika. Place onions over pork. Pour enough broth over so that chops are almost covered. Cover with foil. Bake until pork is tender, about 45 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Uncover; cool slightly. Cover; chill. Rewarm covered pork in 350°F. oven, about 20 minutes.)
3. Reduce oven temperature to 200°F. Using tongs, transfer pork to large
bowl, leaving onion mixture in baking dish. Pour contents of baking dish
into strainer set over medium bowl. Return onion mixture to same baking dish, spreading evenly (reserve cooking liquid). Arrange pork atop onions; sprinkle cheese. Cover dish with foil; set in oven to keep warm.
4. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add 5 tablespoons flour. Cook, until mixture just begins to color, whisking often (mixture will be dry and crumbly), about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in reserved cooking liquid. Bring sauce to boil, whisking constantly. Boil until thickened, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Transfer pork and onions to plates. Spoon sauce around pork and serve.
Bay-Steamed Broccoli
Everyone has bay leaves in their pantry, and they hardly ever get used. Pull 'em out! They add a nice flavor to the broccoli.

2 heads broccoli
1 1/2 cups water
4 fresh bay leaves
4 Tbs butter
3/4 tsp salt

Peel the broccoli stems. In a pot wide enough to hold the broccoli heads,
bring the water, bay leaves, butter and salt to a boil. Add the broccoli and
cover. Cook over moderate heat, turning once, until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the broccoli to a warmed platter and cover it with foil.

Boil the cooking liquid until reduced to 1/4 cup. Pour the liquid over the broccoli. Discard bay leaves and serve.

Day Three:
Green Salad (make up your own that your family will like)
Mac and Cheese
(Now listen: You COULD sneak some cauliflower in here as you boil the pasta. That's a little idea I swiped from Marc during his cooking class last week, which I will tell you about later. Just make the florets small enough to pass for deformed pasta and don't tell the little people. Or my husband. Who happens to hate cauliflower as much as any six-year-old. And is almost as loud about it.)
1 lb elbow macaroni
14 Tbs butter
6 Tbs all-purpose flour
4 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 pinch nutmeg
6 cups sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
1 1/4 cups bread crumbs, coarsely ground
1. Heat the oven to 375F and butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the macaroni; cook according to package directions until just tender and drain well. (
This is where you could add some cauliflower - while the pasta is boiling.)
3. Melt 12 Tbs of the butter in a heavy-based medium saucepan over medium
heat. Add the flour. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring constantly to make a roux. Slwoly whisk the milk into the roux until smooth and blended. Raise the heat to medium high; whisk until the mixture boils. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Lower the heat and continue simmering for about 10 minutes.
4.Remove from heat. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheddar, stirring until the cheese is just melted. Toss the pasta with the cheese sauce and pour the
mixture into the baking dish.
5. Melt the last 2 Tbs. butter and toss with the breadcrumbs. Spread the buttered crumbs over the casserole. Bake until sizzling and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Day Four:
This is one of my favorites from Fine Cooking - Tony Rosenfeld never does me wrong. I always perk up when I see one of his recipes in there. This one is excellent. Even if you forget to marinate the pork like someone I know. *cough*
Spicy Korean-Style Pork Medallions with Asian Slaw
Recipe By : Tony Rosenfeld
1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbs light brown sugar
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbs sesame oil
1 Tbs chili sauce
1 lb napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup carrot, grated
4 each scallions, trimmed and sliced
5 Tbs canola oil

1. Trim the pork of any silverskin and excess fat, and cut on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick medallions.
2. In a small measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, 2 Tbs. of the rice vinegar, 2 Tbs. of the brown sugar, the garlic, ginger, 1/2 Tbs. of the sesame oil, and 2 tsp. of the chile sauce. Toss 1/2 cup of this mixture with the pork medallions in a large bowl. Reserve the remaining mixture to use as a sauce. Let the pork sit at room temperature for 25 minutes or refrigerate up to 2 hours.
3. In another large bowl, toss the cabbage and the carrot with half of the scallions, 1 Tbs. of the oil, 1 tsp. salt, and the remaining 2 Tbs. of rice vinegar, 1 Tbs. brown sugar, 1/2 Tbs. sesame oil, and 1 tsp. chile sauce. Let sit for 15 minutes, toss again, and transfer to a large serving platter.
4. Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12 inch, heavy basked skillet over medium high heat until shimmering hot. Remove the pork from the marinade, shaking off the excess and transfer the pork to a clean plate. Discard the marinade. Add half of the pork to the skillet, spacing them evenly. Cook them until well browned, about two minutes. Flip and cook until done. Set the pork on top of the slaw. Pour the oil out and wipe the pan with paper towels. Return the pan to medium high heat. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil, and cook the remaining pork, and pour the reserved sauce over the medallions.
5. Top the slaw with the remaining pork, and pour the reserved soy-ginger sauce over the pork. Serve sprinkled with the remaining scallions.

Day Five:

What a surprise! Another one from Fine Cooking!
Chicken Stew with Spinach, Potatoes and Porcini
1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 slices bacon or pancetta
6 each chicken thighs without skin I use boneless
kosher salt
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry or dry white wine
2 large yukon Gold potato, diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1 1/2 tsp chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 Tbs sherry vinegar
1 cup bread crumbs, coarsely chopped
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1. Soak the porcini in 1 1/2 cups boiling water for 20 minutes. Strain them reserving the soaking liquid) and chop them.
2. Heat 2 Tbs. of oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta or bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 7 minutes; transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper. Add half of the thighs to the pan and well, 2 - 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate. Brown remaining thighs and reserve with the rest.
3. Add the onion and half of the garlic to the pan and season well with salt. Cook, stirring wiht a wooden spoon and scraping up any browned bits, until the onion softens and darkens slightly, about 7 minutes. Add the chopped porcini and cook for another 1 minute. Pour in the sherry and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's almost completely reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, thyme sprigs, chicken broth, reserved porcini water, and vinegar and bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover the pan and cook until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs.
4. Puree the 1 1/2 cups of the chunky potato mixture in a blender. Return the pureed mixture to the rest of the broth, nestle in the chicken and add any accumulated juices. Cover with the lid slightly ajar. Stew the chicken thighs at a bare simmer, turning them occasionally, until they're cooked through, about 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil over medium heat. Add the remaining garlic, saute until it starts to color, about 20 seconds, and then add the breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring often, until they turn golden brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in 1/2 tsp of the chopped thyme, season lightly with salt and pepper, and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
6. When the chicken is done, fold in the spinach and stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1 tsp. chopped thyme and the pancetta; season well with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, sprinkled generously with the breadcrumbs.

Shopping List:
1 head bibb lettuce

1 head leaf lettuce
1 package baby spinach
1 bag or box salad greens
2 small bunch black kale
1 lb Napa cabbage
2 heads Broccoli
1 head Cauliflower (if you plan on sneaking some into the mac and cheese)
1 bunch celery
1 lb. carrots
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 head Garlic
1 piece fresh ginger
1 ea Green bell pepper (you can use red or yellow. I hate green bell peppers)
1 bunch Scallions (green onions)
6 - 8 medium yellow onions
2 large yukon Gold potatoes
1 orange

1 pint beef stock

1 qt. Chicken stock
1 package Bay leaf
1 bottle Black pepper
1 jar Ground nutmeg
1 jar Ground ginger
1 jar Paprika
1 jar Poppy seed
1 lb Brown sugar
1 bag Unbleached all-purpose flour
1 pint Canola oil
1 bottle extra virgin olive oil
1 bottle chili sauce
1 bottle soy sauce
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 bottle dry white wine
1 can mandarin oranges
2 15 oz. cans navy beans or other white beans
1 oz Porcini mushrooms, dried
1 bottle Red wine vinegar
1 bottle Rice wine vinegar
1 Bottle Sesame oil
1 bottle Sherry vinegar
1 lb. elbow macaroni

1/2 gallon 2% milk

1/2 gallon whole milk
1 lb butter
1 package Parmesan cheese
3 lbs. of sharp cheddar cheese

Deli and bakery
8 oz smoked gouda cheese

1 loaf White bread

Meat and poultry
1 package bacon

6 each chicken thighs without skin
4 each pork chops, one inch thick rib cut
1 lb Pork tenderloin

Friday, January 15, 2010

Another Week of Menus

Well, I got some good feedback from some of you on the menus (thanks and keep it coming!), and Amy has commanded that I provide another week's worth, so here we go.

Again, I'm going to shortcut with the salads so that you can create what you like and put in the veggies your family will eat and use prepared dressings. I make my own, but I know those of you with kids may have to juggle several different salad dressings to get something green in them.

Day one:
Pork Tenderloin with Lime Sauce
Jasmine rice

Day two:
Fresh Pineapple
Chicken Poached in Coconut Curry (this is a little spicy)
Steamed Rice

Day three:
Southwestern Turkey Meatloaf
Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Chilis
Green Beans

Day four:
Roasted Chicken Thighs, Yukon Gold Potatoes and Lemons with Cilantro Gremolata
(this sounds a lot fancier than it is - it's basically roasted chicken thighs and potatoes)
Asparagus with sauteed shallots

Day five:
Black, white and red bean chili with sausage

Day six:
Make quesadillas with the leftover chili and cheese

Day seven:
Out for dinner!


Day One Recipes:
Salad - create your own
Pork Tenderloin with Lime Sauce
Jasmine rice (prepared according to instructions): Note: I make all my rice with chicken stock. I just like the flavor better that way.

Pork Tenderloin with Lime Sauce
This is an OLD Bon Appetit recipe from 1998
Serves 4
-------- ------------ --------------------------------

1 1/4 lbs Pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 Tbs jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup lime juice (I have put fresh limes on the grocery list. The bottled stuff tastes kind of like floor cleaner)
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced (you could use canned plum tomatoes for this since tomatoes are kind of yuckky this time of year - you'll need about 2 cups, drained and chopped - change your grocery list to add a can of plum tomatoes)
1/4 cup green onions, chopped

1. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pork and sauté until almost cooked through, about 1
minute. Transfer to plate.

2. Add 1 1/2 cups onions, bacon and jalapeño to same skillet and sauté until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add wine; cook 1 minute. Add stock and cream and simmer until mixture is reduced to 1 cup, about 7 minutes.

3. Return pork to skillet. Stir in lime juice. Add tomatoes and sauté until pork is cooked through, about 1 minute longer.

4. Transfer to serving dish. Sprinkle chopped green onions over and serve over rice.

Day Two Recipes:
Fresh Pineapple (Just buy one and trim it and cut it and serve. It's a nice foil to the spicy chicken dish. This one is a little hot. If you're feeding little people who are sensitive to that, this might not be the best dish. You can tone it down by cutting back on the curry paste.)
Jasmine Rice, prepared according to instructions (again, I use chicken stock)

Chicken Poached in Coconut Curry
Recipe By : Donna Hay
Serves 4
This recipe really couldn't be much simpler. It's quick to throw together and really tasty. If you DO like a lot of heat, you can up the curry paste
-------- ------------ --------------------------------

1 Tbs red curry paste
6 each boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 cups sweet potato, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
alt and pepper, to taste

1. Place a medium size stockpot over medium-low heat. Salt and pepper the
chicken thighs. Pour the olive oil in the pan, and place the chicken thighs in the hot oil and brown on each side. Add the chopped sweet potato. Brown for about 4 minutes.

2. Add the chicken stock and the coconut milk. Add the red curry paste and stir to blend. Simmer about 15 - 20 minutes, or until the chicken thighs and sweet potatoes are done.
Day 3 Recipes:
The nice thing about this one is that it's a mix it up and walk off and leave it for a while meal.
Salad - Make your own up to suit your family
Southwestern Turkey Meatloaf:
Serves 4 -6
-------- ------------ --------------------------------

1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 1/2 cups panko crumbs or bread crumbs
1/2 cup water
1 each Ancho chili from a can, chopped
1 Tbs adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chile powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup ketchup
3/4 tsp. salt
2 each eggs
1 Tbs olive oil

1. Sautee the garlic and onion in the olive oil in a small frying pan over
medium heat. Set aside to cool.

2. Mix all other ingredients together. When onion and garlic are cool, add and mix in. Use your hands. Go on! It won't kill you! It's much more efficient. (Just wash them thoroughly afterward.)

3. Form meat into a loaf in a meatloaf pan or loaf pan. Drizzle top with  ketchup.

4. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until browned and firm.

Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Chilis
You may be saying "ew, GROSS! But really, these are pretty good. And they go well with the meatloaf."
Serves 4
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5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk, more if needed
2 Tbs butter
1 small can roasted green chili peppers, chopped

1. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until tender - about 40

2. Mash the potatoes the way you like. I prefer a ricer - it's like a giant
garlic press. It makes the potatoes fluffy and peels them for you. My
personal preference is to not have the potato peels in this dish, but if you
want to just toss the lot in a mixer or hand mash them, go ahead. Don't
overbeat them in a mixer, or they'll get all gluey.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and warm over low heat. If more liquid is
needed, add more milk. You can use whole milk, 2%, heavy cream - whatever
you like. I used skim and the Yukons have a buttery enough taste that it was

Green Beans
For speed and convenience, you may want to use frozen, but don't use canned. They're an unholy color.
For fresh or frozen green beans, trim the ends of fresh and boil in salted water until done the way you like them - I like mine kind of crunchy, so I go about 5 minutes. My husband likes his droopy, so another 5 minutes for him. Drain and top with a little pat of butter.

Day Four Recipes:
Roasted Chicken Thighs, Yukon Gold Potatoes & Lemons with Cilantro Gremolata
Recipe By : Lori Longbotham
Fine Cooking Feb/March 2006
Serves 4

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3 Tbs butter, softened
1 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbs lemon zest, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp coriander, ground
1 1/2 tsp cumin, ground
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs cilantro, coarsely chopped
8 each boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 medium Yukon Gold potato, cut into 8 wedges
1 each lemon, cut into quarters

Heat the oven to 425°F. Stir together the butter, 2 tsp. of the ginger, 2 tsp. of the lemon zest, half the garlic, the coriander, the cumin, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a small bowl. In another small bowl, stir together the cilantro, the remaining ginger, lemon zest, and garlic to make the gremolata garnish. Set aside.

Smear the butter mixture under the skin of the chicken thighs. Arrange the chicken skin side up on one end of a large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt. At the other end of the baking sheet, toss the potatoes and lemon wedges with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and spread into a single layer. Roast for 20 min. Baste the chicken with the pan juices using a brush, and flip the potatoes and lemon with a spatula (they may be a little stuck and need loosening). Continue to roast, basting the chicken and flipping the potatoes every 10 min., until the chicken and potatoes look crisp and deeply golden, about 30 min. more.

Stir the potatoes and lemon, transfer to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon, and gently stir in half of the cilantro gremolata. Baste the chicken and transfer with tongs to a serving platter, sprinkle with the remaining gremolata, and serve hot.

Asparagus with Sauteed Shallot
1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 shallot, minced

In a small pan over medium heat, sautee the shallot in the olive oil until transluscent.

Boil the asparagus in a pot of salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and top with a pat of butter and sauteed shallot.

Day five recipes:

Salad - Create your own
Black, white and red bean chili with sausage:
This is another old Bon Appetit one
Serves: 4

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1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/4 lbs Italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped (OK, I leave this out, because I loathe green bell pepper. Just sayin'.)
2 each jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and chopped
1 Tbs chili powder, plus 2 tsps
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes in puree (What? Just use two. Who's going to leave half a can of tomatoes around?)
1 15 oz. Kidney beans, canned, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. White kidney beans, canned, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. black beans, canned, drained and rinsed
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
sour cream
cilantro, chopped

1. Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add Italian
sausages and brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes.
Transfer sausage to plate. Add chopped onion to pan and sauté 5 minutes.  Add chopped bell peppers and chilies and sauté 1 minute. Add chili powder and cumin and stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and beans. Simmer 15 minutes to blend flavors. Cut sausage into 1/2-inch pieces. Add to chili and simmer until cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in vinegar. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 2 day ahead. Cool and refrigerate. Before serving, rewarm over medium heat.)

2. Spoon chili into bowls. Top with sour cream and cilantro and serve.

Day 6:
Quesadillas with leftover chili and cheese

Put a large skillet over low heat. Butter one side of a tortilla and put it butter side down in the pan. Add a good-size spoonful of the leftover chili (you can chop up the sausage if it's too large) and then top with shredded cheddar cheese. Butter another tortilla and put it butter-side up on top of the chili-cheese mixture. Brown on one side, then carefully flip and brown the other side. Repeat for as many quesadillas as you like. Cut into quarters and serve with sour cream and cilantro.

Day 7:
I dunno, I'm thinkin' maybe burgers out at someplace decent?

Grocery List:

1 lb Asparagus
assorted veggies for salad (your pick)
1 bunch Cilantro
1 Fresh Pineapple
1 head Garlic
fresh ginger
1 lb green beans (or you can use frozen)
1 large green bell pepper
3 jalapeno chile pepper
2 lemons
6 limes
1 lb Napa cabbage
2 large red bell peppers
1 large green bell pepper (but I leave it out of the chili. Yuck)
1 large bag or box of your favorite Salad greens
1 bunch Scallions (green onions)
1 shallot
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 large tomatoes (these are for the pork and you can use canned plum tomatoes instead, but be sure to grab a can if you don't like the looks of the tomatoes this time of year.)
2 medium yellow onions
7 - 10 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (If you can't find Yukon Golds, you can use russet/Idaho)

2 lbs Jasmine Rice
2 qts Chicken Stock
2- 28 oz cans Crushed tomatoes
15 oz. can Black beans
15 oz. can Red Kidney beans
15 oz. can White kidney beans or other white beans
1 bottle Ketchup
alad dressing
1 bottle red curry paste (Asian section)
1 cup panko crumbs or bread crumbs (sometimes in the Asian food section, just use regular bread crumbs if you can't find panko)
1 can Ancho chilis in adobo sauce (in the Mexican food section)
1 small can roasted green chili peppers (small can), chopped
1 can Coconut milk (sometimes this is with Mexican/Asian food, sometimes in the baking aisle)
1 bottle Asian chili sauce with garlic (Asian food section)
1 bottle Sesame oil
1 bottle Rice wine vinegar
1 bottle Balsamic vinegar
Black pepper
Kosher salt
1 bottle Canola oil
1 bottle olive oil
1 jar Chili powder
1 bottle Garlic powder
1 jar Ground coriander
1 jar Ground cumin
1 box light brown sugar

1/2 gallon 2% milk (this is for the mashed potatoes, so you can use skim or whole or whatever you like)
1 lb Butter
1 lb. Cheddar cheese
1 dozen Eggs
1 pt. Heavy whipping cream
16 oz. container sour cream
1 package tortillas

1 bottle White wine

Meat and poultry
1 package bacon
4 - 5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (this is enough for both recipes)
1.5 lbs ground turkey
3 lbs Pork tenderloin (this is enough for both recipes)
1 lb Sausage, Italian, sweet, links

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Duck with Lynn and Steve

And by "duck", I mean this kind:

Not this kind:

Steve and Lynn are the couple we bought our house from, almost ten years ago. They had just had a baby and were bursting at the seams in this tiny little cottage. We happily took it off their hands and have lived here ever since. We met up with them again, of all places, at Ned and Melissa's Christmas Eve party. They wound up living a couple of houses down from them. Small world! Well, smallish town, anyway. When they moved from here, we were moving stuff in and closed a door, and hanging on the back of it was a little tiny baby bath hoodie towel. Itty bitty! So when Lynn pointed to some kid that was eight feet tall and said "That's the baby right there", it took me a minute. We've been here a while!

We enjoyed talking to each other at the party and decided to have them over for dinner so they could see the place and so we could get to know them better. We had a great time, and they oooed and aahhhed over how much some of the stuff they'd planted had grown in ten years. (There's a loropetalum they planted that's probably almost 20 feet tall now.)  We wanted to sit outside for a while, but it's just been too cold. So instead, we drank and ate and talked and drank and ate and talked until late. It was a great evening, and we're very happy to have (re)connected with them.

Mixed Greens with Oranges and Toasted Pecans with Champagne Vinaigrette

Seared Duck Breast with Blackberry Cognac Sauce
Sweet and White Potato Gratin

Almond Confetti and Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Mixed Greens with Oranges and Toasted Pecans with Champagne Vinaigrette

4 cups mixed greens
1 Tbs. chopped shallot, sauteed in 1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
Sections from one orange, peeled.
3 Tbs. champagne vinegar
1 Tbs. orange juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 Tbs. salad oil

Mix vinegar, shallot, orange juice, salt, pepper and salad oil together. Mix greens and orange sections. Sprinkle greens with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss with the dressing, then top with toasted pecans.

Pan-Seared Duck with Blackberry Cognac Sauce

Serves 4
For duck:
4 duck breasts
kosher salt
black pepper

For sauce:
1 shallot, chopped
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup cognac
1 Tbs. maple syrup
3/4 to 1 cup chicken stock
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. flour
1/4 cup heavy cream

For sauce:
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, sautee the chopped shallot in 1 Tbs. of oilve oil until transluscent - about 3 minutes. Add the blackberries and the kosher salt and stir. Pour in the cognac and stir, then add the maple syrup and 3/4 cup of the chicken stock. Simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the sauce into a heatproof bowl or large pyrex measuring cup, mashing the berries to extract the juice. Discard the solids. Return the empty pan to the stove over medium-low heat. Add the butter and flour and stir until a roux (paste) forms. Add the blackberry and chicken stock mixture simmer over low heat about 15 minutes, to heat through, stirring to incorporate the roux. Add additional chicken stock to thin, if needd. Before serving, stir in the heavy cream.

For the duck:
Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. I do this outside on my gas grill because I do not have a vent-a-hood, and these duck breasts are going to splatter and smoke like a fire at the tire factory. Except it won't smell that bad. If you can do it outside, I highly recommend it. Score the skin of the duck with a sharp knife in a criss-cross pattern. Salt and pepper the duck on both sides. Place skin-side down in a hot skillet and cook until crisp - about 5 minutes. Turn over and cook the other side, about 2 minutes for rare, 3 minutes for medium. Serve immediately with sauce.

Sweet and White Potato Gratin
Serves 4

1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 large russet (Idaho) potato, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
3 oz. goat cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
kosher salt
black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 Tbs. butter
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Preaheat oven to 350F. In a medium round high-sided casserole dish, layer the bottom with sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and a grind or two of black pepper. Sprinkle with about 1/4 of the goat cheese and 1 Tbs. or so of the parmesan cheese. Make sure to reserve about a Tbs. of parmesan cheese for the top. Top this with a layer of white potatoes, and repeat the sprinkling. Keep layering until you are out of potatoes. Pour in the cream and press the potatoes down with a spatula to help cover them all in cream. Top the casserole with panko crumbs, 1 Tbs. of the parmesan cheese, and the nutmeg. Break the Tbs. of butter into about 4 small pieces and dot the top of the casserole with it. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour, until potatoes are tender and top is crusty and golden brown.

The cake was kind of a disappointment. It turned out a lot heavier than I'd have liked and the flavors were just kind of muted. I won't be making that one again.