When I first read the recipe for custard-filled cornbread in Molly Wizenberg’s book, A Homemade Life, I wondered why it lacked a warning label. Two cups of whole milk, one cup of heavy cream, corn meal, flour, sugar. The fat warning zoomed straight to red on this one.
But oh, is it worth it. Molly discovered the recipe in Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book. You can find the recipe here. I was relieved to see that a square is only 213 calories; it tasted to be at least twice as much. Consider reducing the sugar by half if you’re serving it for dinner as I did. But take Molly’s advice and replace that sweetness with a spoon of maple syrup. The sweet gooey cake-like bread was the perfect side for the spicy main attraction on a weeknight: Louisiana Greens with Andouille Sausage, a recipe on the package of Trader Joe’s bagged greens of kale, mustard greens and chard.
We enjoyed more of the cornbread the following night with paprika-spiced pork chops and roasted cauliflower with red pepper and caper vinaigrette. Trader Joe’s came to the rescue again, allowing me to substitute the roasted red peppers in the original recipe with a few dollops of its Red Pepper spread. I love this zesty mash of red peppers, garlic and eggplant on most anything that benefits from a kick just before serving: scrambled eggs; artichoke dip; chicken burgers.
With my husband out of town, I took advantage of short cuts on Wednesday (baked penne with marinara sauce and sausage) and skipped the kitchen altogether on Thursday with teriyaki take-out. No complaints from the guys on this plan!
Filed under Cookbooks, Quick
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I’m a Costco skeptic. When people rave about the bargains, all I can think about is the horror of finding a parking space. And then there’s the phenomena of entering with four items on the shopping list and leaving with an overflowing basket and a few more digits than desired on the sales receipt.
Costco came through in a pinch yesterday. I stopped by for coffee and ink. Left with chicken thighs, bananas, a beach towel and some other things I didn’t expect. Including AmyLu’s Chicken Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Gouda.
A quick dinner with something for everyone:
Chicken burgers on Orowheat Sandwich Thins, topped with Trader Joe’s red pepper spread; a side of mini farfalle pasta with Cibo Naturals pesto sauce; and arugula salad with pears, pecans and goat cheese. Yum!
Son #1 took a look at the steamed tempeh resting in the strainer. “Is that some sort of cheese?” Nope, tempeh. “What’s that?” he asked. “Well, it’s made of soybeans. Sort of a substitute for tofu,” I explained.
Tempeh subs for tofu in this spicy stirfry
“But worse,” he grimaced.
I wasn’t surprised and this time I was prepared. Spicy Thai Tofu with Red Bell Peppers wasn’t exactly kid food. Annie’s mac ‘n cheese was the back-up plan. The guys were required to eat only two cubes of tempeh with the veggies and rice before diving into a favorite stand-by. My husband and I regaled the boys with memories of one of our favorite restaurants in Chicago that served all manner of tofu, tempeh, seitan and more.
“We’ll have to take you there when go back,” I noted. Fat chance.
Recipe for setting off the smoke detector: Bathe chicken breasts in olive oil, roast in 500-degree oven. Doh!
You too can try this at home. “New” Chicken Parmesan dipped in Parmesan instead of breadcrumbs, roasted for just 10 minutes and then topped with fresh mozzarella (just after swinging a towel around the detector and opening the windows ). The recipe’s roasted cherry tomatoes are a perfect topping for ditalini pasta (quickly mixed with oil and bit more Parmesan). Add a salad and you’re done!
Next time we'll swap the grill for the oven with "New" Chicken Parmesan
Here’s one for the foodie file: A travel piece in Sunday’s New York Times featuring some of our best treats.
Theo Chocolate, Panama Hotel, Columbia City Bakery, Full Tilt Ice Cream, Cafe Besalu, and Bakery Nouveau are featured. I’ve only frequented two of these spots so I can see we have a bit of homework to do this summer.
Check it out:
The U.S. Issue | Choice Tables
Turkey burgers get a thumbs up, finally
Ground turkey is slowing gaining respect in my household.
Instead of a guaranteed groan from the guys — all three of them — they’ve become more open-minded when they hear turkey burgers are on the menu. It took some digging, but I’ve stashed away a few recipes with enough flare to make budget-friendly and bland ground turkey a regular on our weeknight menus.
On Thursday I gave the guys a choice — turkey burgers with zesty Mexican seasonings or curried turkey burgers. They chose the latter; I was glad. I had picked up a package of whole wheat Mediterranean flat breads from Trader Joe’s that would be just right with the curried recipe. Also scored dried cherries and organic chickpeas for a salad featured in this month’s issue of Real Simple.
Mesclun salad with chickpeas and cherries took t-burgers to new heights
Back to the turkey, it takes a lot of seasoning to make the bird palatable in this form. In the case of Curried Turkey Burgers, it’s a combination of curry powder, chutney, green onions and mint that gives the burgers a kick, plus a yogurt-based topping. Together with the mesclun salad with dried cherries and chickpeas, the burgers seemed more special than usual. The boys inhaled the burgers but the salad was snubbed this time around. I understand. I didn’t like chickpeas as a kid either.
Filed under Quick, Weeknight
It’s amazing how many people want to pour Coca-cola into their slow cookers. At least that’s my takeaway from the statistics on You Ate That???
Keyword searches for “cola,” “slow cooker” and “corned beef” — or any combination thereof — appear to be one of the most common paths for random visitors to find this blog. Pulled pork is another commonly searched term. My last endeavor with a pork shoulder in the slow cooker wasn’t so successful. I figure I did something wrong along the way so I’m still seeking salvation on the web.
Good Stuff NW, a food blogger in Oregon, discovered a series of tweets from The Little Red Bike, a cafe in Portland, for an amazing pulled pork. Here is the tweeted recipe:
- Secrets to our pulled pork revealed! Start with nice, healthy pork butt. Make rub w/ pepper, paprika, mustard, coffee, ginger, sugar, salt.
- Rub, cover, let sit in fridge overnight. Remove next day, allow to rest @ room temp. 2 hours, place in crockpot. http://twitpic.com/1f7cca
- Top roast w/ garlic and sliced onions. http://twitpic.com/1f7ctu
- Here’s the secret! Pour in one bottle of ginger beer. Cover, set crockpot on low 12 hours and cook. http://twitpic.com/1f7d9h
- After 12 hours, remove remaining fat, shred, return to pot along w/bottle of BBQ sauce and cook 4 more hours. Place on buns w/slaw & enjoy
My taste buds occasionally dictate our travel plans so I keep a mental list of food destinations. The Little Red Bike is now officially on the list. The blog could be satisfying substitution until we make the trip to Portland; it’s on our “one day we will go to xxx for the weekend” list.
If anyone tries this recipe, let me know how it turns out!
Chives sprout early in the herb garden
One must be fickle when it comes to quality. Meal prep started this morning when I pulled chicken thighs from the freezer. But they ended up back in the freezer after a quick stop by PCC Natural Market on the way home from meetings. Rosie’s organic chicken thighs looked too good to pass up. Sure, they were pricier than the “bargain” thighs thawing in the fridge, but the recipe was simple; a better quality chicken would make a big difference.
A peek at the sink was big clue of the health factor in tonight’s meal. Mounds of broccoli, carrots, radishes, bok choy, chives, garlic littered the sink. It all ended up in the compost bucket, but not before the best bits landed on our plates.
Braised chicken with carrots, radishes and chives
Braised chicken with spring vegetables. Lovely with chopped chives, an early harvest from our herb garden, and served with long-grain rice plus …
… Bok choy and broccoli stir fry – a recipe clipped ages ago from the newsletter of a fantastic home delivery service, Pioneer Organics. The service is long gone, sadly, and so are the recipes. No where to be found online and my clippings fail to include attributions. Here’s a similar recipe at RecipeZaar. To make the Pioneer version, just steam the chopped broccoli stems florets and bok choy stems in advance. Saute the bok choy leaves in oil with garlic, then add the remaining steamed veggies. Toss with 1/2 tsp red chili flakes and 1-2 Tbsp soy sauce.
Yum. I expended all my cooking energy tonight. Tomorrow night I’ll be dining at the yacht club for my monthly business dinner – la de da – and the guys … well, we’ll see what happens.
Filed under Health, Recipes
It wasn’t my husband asking; this time it was the clerk at the QFC market. “This all looks so healthy!” she said as she checked out the zucchini, scanned the boxes of mesclun and arugula. “Uh, well, I’m thinking about a salad,” I said, remembering a page of salad recipes I clipped from Real Simple.
Truth was, a salad probably wasn’t going to happen. It was nearly 5:30. I had to retrieve the boys from a nearby video game store, drive home, unload groceries and slam together dinner within the next hour before the evening Scout meeting. I was counting on a quick fish taco recipe with a tomato avocado salsa to count for veggies. By the time I arrived home I realized this would be one of those nights when mixes come in handy. I searched through the basket in the bottom of my pantry and lucked out with the Fish Taco mix from Simply Organic.
The mix ended up pulling double duty. I blended the mix with oil (not water as directed) and used half to marinate the cod for tacos. The other half was blended with a can of black beans, cup of corn, diced avocados and tomatoes. With the addition of lime juice and cilantro, the salad seemed far fancier than it was. The cod pieces were seared quickly in a cast iron skillet and held in the oven while I assembled the taco fixings: warm flour tortillas; sliced avocado; chopped lettuce and lime wedges. “Beautiful!” my husband said. Yes, he really said that. And the boys ate seconds (maybe thirds).
Not bad for a last-minute mix job!
A pattern has been brewing for a while in the schema of meal-planning: Despite the best intentions I lack interest in cooking on most Friday nights. We rarely go out on Fridays, preferring to end a busy workweek with a relaxing evening at home. But that tempo is reflected in the kitchen as well. The longer the week wears on, the less interested I am in standing at the stove.
Scallops in Curry Sauce
As usual, we started off fairly strong on Monday with Scallops in Curry Sauce — actually rescheduled from the previous night’s plans (I’ve found Sunday nights are just as likely to burn out as Fridays.) In this case, the scallops proved to be the highlight of the week.
We moved into Tuesday with a homemade carrot ginger soup and ravioli with bacon and chard. I’ve been hankering for the carrot soup ever since our trip to NYC, but my homemade version from one of the Seattle Junior League cookbooks just didn’t come close to my fabulous snack in the Village. The search goes on.
Wednesday’s barbeque ribs in the pressure cooker prompted one of my frequent warnings about becoming a vegetarian. “You always say that,” my husband noted. It’s true, my body keeps talking to me. On Mother’s Day we stopped by Whole Foods to pick up a picnic lunch. The options seem endless. The guys picked up sushi, turkey sandwiches, chicken noodle salad. I went for the tempeh, kale and chickpea salad — a subconscious response to an overload of carbs and meat the day before. I rally on meat for the kids at home because they’re not ready for the tofu-and-beans route anytime soon. It’s no surprise, for instance, that bacon was a major appeal in Thursday’s Spaghetti Carbonara.
So what to do about the Friday flame-out factor? We’ve resolved that Fridays will be subject to the whims of the week. Sometimes it’s a time to cook together, be creative, and enjoy the easy pace of a late dinner at home.
Other times I’ll be reaching for the phone.