Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner…and then some

In the kitchen at Di's House

Mostly Local

Tonight’s dinner featured mostly local ingredients.  I’m still in a slump and sometimes don’t know what we’re having for dinner until I open the refrigerator and look inside.  I ended up making omelets with vegetables, and crash hot potatoes.  Everything in the omelets was local except for the mushrooms and onions.  The bell peppers came from my sister-in-law’s vegetable garden, and the collards and eggs are from local farmers.  (The potatoes are from a local farm too.)

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For dessert (not locally sourced) we’re having Snickers Peanut Butter Cheesecake.  I used the recipe for Philly 3-Step Cheesecake and added 1/2 cup of peanut butter, plus sliced Snickers.

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Above is the cheesecake before all the batter was added.  I made the mistake of going to Sam’s Club when I was hungry, and bought a 10-pack of full-sized Snickers bars.  I think whole fun-sized Snickers might work better.  When I sliced it, it seems like some of the candy melted into the batter.  Not a bad thing, but for presentation it would look better with chunks of Snickers.

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Cheesecake is my favorite dessert.  Add chocolate and peanut butter and it’s even better.

By the way, for Meatless Monday last night, we just had the last of the garam masala lentil soup leftovers.  The local CSA starts up this week and I’m trying to use up what I already have, before I get inundated with fresh produce.

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Meatless Monday – Garam Masala Lentil Soup

We had bread and soup tonight.  I looked up a bunch of recipes online and sort of combined them all, so I don’t really have any links to any particular recipe.  I made lentil soup and threw in some garam masala seasoning, plus curry powder, cinnamon (tiny bit), cumin, cayenne, and pepper.  For veggies, the soup had onion, celery, carrots, green pepper, garlic, and kale.  The flavors weren’t too overwhelming, which made it good.

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I attempted to make sourdough naan.  I think I used about 1/4 cup starter, 2 T. warm milk, 1 cup flour, 1/2 t. baking powder, 1 t. sugar, and 1 t. yeast.  I ended up adding a little more liquid and flour.  The original amounts might have been OK if I’d been patient and left the dough alone.  I patted the dough out into cute little naans.

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Instead of pan toasting them, I threw the sheet into a 450 F oven.  (Last time I made naan, the dough stuck to the silicon sheet (even with flour) and I ended up deflating it.)  I ended up with something that was more like pita bread.  Still good with soup, especially because it was crispy.

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Collard Green Pesto

I made pesto with collard greens tonight.  I love the forethought in the recipe of using the same water to blanch the greens and boil the pasta.  I didn’t have kalamata olives and was afraid to use garlic green olives, so I skipped them.

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I “inherited” some spinach cheese ravioli from my neighbor.  (They got a giant package at Sam’s and were tired of it.)  If it were basil pesto it would have overwhelmed the ravioli, the collard greens were so much better, and sort of complemented the spinach in the ravioli.  I’ve made spinach pesto before and I like this version even better.

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Meatless Monday – Veggie Burgers (+ Harvest Bread)

We didn’t have anything special for dinner tonight, just Boca Chik’n burgers on english muffins.  I was going through the freezer earlier in the day and saw the muffins.  When I bought them, I was trying to be “good” and got whole wheat instead of regular Thomas brand.  No way do they have the same texture!  I don’t like them for toast but I thought maybe they’d be better as buns (they were).

I also had a cup of mashed sweet potato to finish off, so I made King Arthur Flour’s Harvest Bread.  It has sweet potatoes, whole wheat flour, regular flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and a few other things.  I don’t add as much butter and substitute in some flax seed, plus I use brown sugar instead of honey.  I mixed up a big batch of dough.

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The recipe makes huge loaves.  I ended up splitting the double batch of dough into three loaves.  Perfect size.  I didn’t add nuts & raisins this time either, but it is a great raisin bread recipe.

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Collard Green Temaki

Today has been a trying day and chopping veggies is one of my “meditations.”  I used the veggie matchsticks to make temake, with collard greens as the wrapper.  (I briefly steamed the leaves to make them more pliable.)

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Here is my pile of leaves, with the filling on the top one:  sushi rice, red pepper, carrot, tofu sesame seeds and avocado.  (Tofu because I’ve been trying to include more protein, plus I like it.)  I also made a roll with my musubi press and wrapped nori around it.  Some of the pieces got kind of squished when I sliced it.  It all tasted good, though!

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Rice Cooker Rice Pilaf

This is one of my favorite recipes I found in the newspaper, for Cajun Rice Pilaf.  It’s made by throwing all the ingredients in a rice cooker, turning it on, and voila, 20-something minutes later it’s ready.

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I omit the bouillon (try to keep the sodium down) and I used whatever vegetables I have, today it was onion, garlic, red pepper, snap peas and carrots.  I tried using Penzey’s Berbere seasoning instead of Cajun.  That has cayenne red pepper, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cardamom,  cumin, black pepper, allspice, turmeric, cloves, Ceylon cinnamon and coriander.

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One of my friends makes a similar rice dish and serves it with eggs, so that’s what we had, along with Kimchi from Trader Joe’s.

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Kind of a United Nations of spices and flavors, but it was good.  I never had kimchi with eggs before, yum.

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The kimchi is past the “best by” date but I figure it has to be OK if the real thing is buried in pots in the ground for months at a time.  Actually I think it was better past the date because it was spicier than some I’d tasted before.

For dessert, I made the Lee Brother’s Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie.  I’ve seen reviews from both sides of the spectrum, lots of “loved it” but there was one review by a person who made it for Thanksgiving and her mother-in-law told her to look for another sweet potato pie recipe.  I didn’t think it was bad but I liked my version better, with separate layers of sweet potato pie and buttermilk pie.  I’m out of sweet potatoes and buttermilk, now I’ll have to try a different “theme” of pie obsession.

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It’s back to leftovers for the next few days.  I have rice leftover now, plus three bean sweet potato chili, tostada shells, lots of cheese, and frozen black bean burgers.

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Meatless Monday – Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Apple Soup

I’ve lost the motivation lately to plan ahead, what I want to cook.  Usually I find a last-minute recipe on Facebook or from something I see on TV.  I saw this recipe for Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Apple Soup on Sunday night and fortunately had all the ingredients on hand to make it.

I modified the recipe just a little by peeling the sweet potatoes and apples, and left the potatoes unpeeled.  They all go in the crockpot along with some vegetable stock, onion and garlic.

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After 5 hours, everything is pureed and a pat of butter added.  I tasted it before and after the butter.  I don’t know if I would notice any difference if I hadn’t known what the “secret ingredient” was.  It was perfectly fine without the butter.  I still have tostada shells so I served the soup with tostadas topped with leftover Three Bean Sweet Potato Chili.  I skipped the browned butter sage leaves, since the sage that I have is a little too potent.

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I’m just now starting to like savory dishes with sweet potato.  I liked the soup and will make it again.  I have a little bit of leftovers to experiment with.  Another recipes I found in my cookbooks called for adding curry powder, and a comment on an online recipe mentioned coconut milk.  This would be good for Thanksgiving, for those that don’t like marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole.

The weather is finally cooling down to where there’s a chill in the air.  I love soup weather.

 

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CSA!

I joined a CSA!  It’s something I’ve been wanting to do but kept talking myself out of, thinking it’s expensive plus would I be able to keep up with all the produce.  A few people are sharing their boxes, and I found someone willing to share with me.  It starts in a few weeks and runs for 10 weeks.  I hope it’ll help me clear out my freezer and pantry some more.  I had been trying not to buy staple items and use what I have but during the summer I fell back to my old ways.

The farm is local and it’s where I usually buy produce from at the Farmer’s Market, so I know the quality.  This will be my “entertainment” for the next couple of months,, seeing what’s in the “mystery box” every week.

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