Tag Archives: sole

Winging it without the cooktop

When the cook top goes on the fritz, a bit of ingenuity is in order.  A little more than a week ago the ignition switches on all six burners  suddenly started clicking furiously in the middle of the night. The racket was stopped only by shutting off the power. The repair man returns tomorrow to fix a faulty ignition switch, just in time for the holidays. Meanwhile I’ve winging it on our meal plan, relaying on the microwave and oven more than usual. Along the way we stumbled upon some tasty surprises:

Copycat pesto works for Meatless Monday

Sundried tomato pesto — A huge jar of sundried tomatoes is taking up more real estate in our refrigerator than I usually allow for a non-essential ingredient. My in-laws gifted the jar on their last visit and I’ve been searching for a quick and easy way to make haste with the batch, especially since the boys aren’t too crazy about them. Thus, there I stood in the market on Day one of our Cooktop Breakdown, pondering a menu change, when I spied a jar of Ciba naturals Sundried Tomato pesto. One look at the label and I knew what I’d be making … the perfect topping for roasted spaghetti squash:

INGREDIENTS: Organic extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, organic sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, walnuts, fresh garlic, rice vinegar, kosher salt, rosemary and black pepper.

Along with sole fillets with a Parmesan “Caesar” glaze, on a bed of fresh spinach, we ended up with a Meatless Monday meal more elegant than most.

I felt myself winging it as well the next evening since timing was tight before heading to a school concert.  Luckily Metropolitan Market came to the rescue with a Sicilian stuffed pork tenderloin that was so scrumptious I retrieved the packaging from the trash to study the ingredients:  Pork tenderloin stuffed with pesto, garlic, balsamic vinegar and topped with slices of provolone cheese and pancetta. I roasted it in a cast oven skillet with some chunks of yam. Serve an arugula salad with fennel and pomegranate on the side. At this point my husband wondered if we really missed the cooktop all that much.

The rest of the week’s meals weren’t quite so fancy — Zatarain’s Dirty Rice; Chicken with Green Curry Sauce.  By the weekend, when we had friends over for a holiday dinner, I resorted to igniting a burner or two with a lighter to regain some sense of normalcy at the stove.

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Happy cow, cranky boys

This week’s meals were a mash-up of simplicity and duplicity with mixed results, to no surprise.

We started out easy with salmon burgers on Monday.  No problem there.  By Tuesday fish sauce worked its way into the ingredient list.  It was noticed. Kale showed up on Wednesday and was largely ignored by the boys. Then, adding injury to insult, I substituted veggie “protein crumbles” for ground beef in the tacos on Thursday.  We nearly had an all-out revolt. Fortunately I had fish sticks as a back-up (I know what you’re thinking, but they do fit into taco shells quite nicely).

So what was I thinking? Truth is that I started the week with little time or energy to think about a meal plan.  Menus were scribbled on a card, scratched out and revised daily.  We did end up with a couple of winners but largely, meals were spontaneously created from ingredents on hand.  Here’s how it shook out:

Monday: Salmon burgers on Orowheat Sandwich Thins; spicy roasted broccoli; french fries; arugula and fennel salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

Tuesday: Thai pork chops with spicy vegetable salad*; rice.  *Excellent recipe from Sheila Lukins’ cookbook “Ten” – featuring her top 10 recipes in several food categories.

Wednesday: Chicken with carrots and olives; rice; sauteed kale with garlic

Thursday (a new low in culinary depravity): Tacos with veggie crumbles or fish sticks, cheese and salsa; corn; “margarita” cole slaw (a spontaneous concoction of shredded savoy cabbage, diced carrots and a dressing of mayonnaise and Trader Joe’s margarita mix) and … margaritas, of course!

Friday: Sole with orange brown butter; polenta with goat cheese and rosemary; caesar salad.

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