Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner…and then some

In the kitchen at Di's House

Meatless Monday – Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

This week at the farmers market, I got 5 pounds of tomatoes (the farm was having a bulk sale).  I’m saving some for sandwiches and salads.  I had thought about canning some, then freezing some whole, and decided instead to make oven-roasted tomatoes.  I’d never made them before but I found a simple recipe online.

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Tomatoes are halved, put cut side down in an olive oil coated pan with garlic (and herbs, but I skipped that), and baked low and slow.  I saw a similar recipe in “The Heartland Table” using plum tomatoes, with skin side down.  I threw a few in the pan that way too.

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After a short time, the cut side down ones exuded juice so everything was simmering away in tomato juice and olive oil.  (By the way, I cut mine lengthwise and cut out the stem, as opposed to the way the recipe called for).

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The tomatoes didn’t look like much, they really cooked down.  When I tasted one, wow!  It was tart and sweet and the flavors had intensified.  Out of all the tomatoes I cooked, I only got tonight’s dinner plus a small bag to freeze.    I didn’t cook all of them since I’d never prepared them this way before but I’m definitely going to make more.

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I rough chopped the plum tomatoes and added pasta and a little bit of basil.  I mixed it all in the baking pan to sop up all the pan drippings.  This was so much better than a regular marinara!  I also made foccacia.  I guess I needed to use a bigger pan!  Hopefully the leftovers will make good sandwiches.

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Poor Percy didn’t keep last night’s dinner or this morning’s breakfast down, so he went meatless tonight and got oatmeal with peanut butter and yogurt for dinner.He doesn’t act sick otherwise, so I’m hoping it was just something he ate in the woods.  I also cleaned out all of his bowls, in case something was growing there.  Even though I am mostly meatless these days, it’s my personal thinking that animals shouldn’t adhere to that way of life.  He’s only meatless tonight or at least until his tummy problems calm down.  He loved the oatmeal, licked the bowl clean.  He must be feeling better because he thought it was just an appetizer and kept waiting for the main course to be served.

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Pickles Three Ways

I made three kinds of pickles with the 2 quarts of pickling cucumbers I got at the farmers market this weekend.

First I tried a new recipe that happened to show op on Facebook, for refrigerator pickles.  There’s sugar in the brine so I imagine they are a little like bread and butter pickles.

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The second batch was cold brine dill pickles, using a recipe I found years ago in the San Francisco Chronicle.  Basically you put scrubbed cucumbers in a jar, add garlic and a sprig of dill (I used about half a teaspoon of dill seeds), then fill the jar with brine.  For 4-5 pounds of pickling cucumbers, the brine consists of:

3 quarts water
1 quart white vinegar
1 cup pickling salt

Combine water, vinegar and pickling salt; bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and refrigerate overnight in glass or plastic jars.

I made about 1/3 of the recipe for these two jars, with a little brine left over.

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The easiest recipe is one I learned from my mother-in-law.  Save the brine from a jar of pickles, add new cucumbers, refrigerate, and after a week or so, you have new pickles.  I think she waits longer than a week though, they get better over time.

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Farmers Market Dinner

Dinner tonight I tried to incorporate as much as I could from what I bought at the farmers markets this weekend. I picked up fresh pintos, pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches, eggs, corn, burgundy beans and cabbage.

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We had fresh pinto beans, cornbread and cabbage & green bean salad.  This incorporated the pintos, tomatoes, cabbage, and beans, plus onion and bell pepper from my sis-in-law’s vegetable garden.

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For the beans, I found a recipe online for fresh pinto beans with tomato.  I changed it a little by skipping the cilantro (didn’t have any) and adding bell pepper (from the vegetable garden).  I’d never had fresh pinto beans before.  The texture was more like fresh peas.  Hubby likes mostly all beans, I like mine soupy.  The beans are pretty when they’re fresh.  I especially like the pinker ones.

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For the salad, I thinly sliced some cabbage, lightly cooked some burgundy beans, and mixed it all with Moosewood Ginger Miso Dressing.  Tomatoes were at the market so we had some on the side.  The cornbread recipe is one from the side of an Alber’s cornmeal box.

The beans were fun because raw they are a dark purple, and they turn green when they’re cooked.  I roasted some earlier in the week.

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Raw

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Cooked

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Meatless Monday – Veggies with Soba Noodles and Ginger Miso Dressing

In inherited some veggies from friends’ vegetable gardens, and that was supposed to be my inspiration for dinner tonight.  Once I got thinking, though I realized I had a bunch of leftovers that I should eat before starting on something new.  I recently bought the cookbook “Moosewood Restaurant Favorites” and had been wanting to try the Ginger-Miso Dressing.  What I ended up making was sauteed collard greens, green onion, , bell pepper, baby bella mushrooms, and leftover roasted hubbard squash, mixed with soba noodles, pan-fried tofu and some of the dressing, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

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I had the tofu frozen, from when I made tofu banh mi sandwiches.  I’ve read that freezing tofu dramatically changes the texture.  It really does!  It makes it chewy like aburaage (“brown bag sushi“).

Love the dressing!  It’s supposed to be good on steamed vegetables, as well as salad.  The only thing I would change is less sesame oil, the flavor can be overpowering.

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Collard Green Tamales

So, I tried making tamales with collard greens and hubbard squash.  If you search for “collard green tamales” surprisingly several recipes will pop up.

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Ready for steaming.  Does anyone know why conventional tamale recipes calls for steaming them for 2-3 hours?  I found this recipe for “30 Minute Chicken Tamales” that has them cook for less than an hour.  That’s what I did, and also this is the recipe I loosely followed.

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I wasn’t too excited about how they tasted.  The masa overpowered the vegetables.  Definitely not worth the time and effort to make.  I need to come up with ideas to jazz up the leftovers.  After “fails” like this, I want to go back to just plain steamed rice and vegetables!  Salad was good, though!  Mixed mustard greens, radishes, misc. veggies, savory granola, goat cheese, and a raspberry vinaigrette.

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Meatless Monday – Collard-wrapped Grits Tamales

I guess I’m officially a Texan now because I have grits in my pantry but no polenta.  Back in California, I had polenta but no grits.  I picked up some nice-looking collards at the farmers market this weekend, with Mollie Katzen’s recipe for chard- or collard-wrapped polenta chile tamales (from her recent cookbook, “The Heart of the Plate”)..  I substituted grits for polenta, and pepper mix for the chiles.

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The recipe calls for pan-frying the “tamales” after they are assembled.  (You can see I overstuffed the ones in the back!)  That kind of took some of the bright green out of them, though.

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I had some filling leftover, which I served alongside the tamales.  We also had salad with mixed mustard greens and radishes, that I also picked up at the farmers market.  The other veggies were from the regular grocery store.  The tamales have a nice combination of flavors.  I think I’ll try them “inside out” next, using regular masa for tamales, and stuffing them with sauteed collards.

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Meatless Monday – Tortellini & Salad

I’ve been on a shopping spree lately,having gone to Dallas a few times and stocking up on items at Trader Joe’s.  Now I need to use up what I already have.  Tonight we had tortellini (that I had frozen), with some butter, Penzey’s Sicilian Salad seasoning (I also went to Penzey’s!) and feta cheese.

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We also had more of the strawberry kale salad.  This time I added some other veggies, like julienned jicama and snap peas.  When I run out of the vinaigrette, I think I’ll try a balsamic dressing to go along with the strawberries.

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I realized today that I am a cheese-aholic!  I could never be vegan.  Tonight, the pasta had feta and the salad had chevre.  Besides the feta and chevre, in my refrigerator are parmesan, sharp cheddar, monterrey jack, pepper jack, and havarti cheeses.

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