Happy last week of February! This month has been better than last, but that 67-degree day was a real gift. We spent it at the beach, in an impromptu day trip that soothed my soul and will get me to June. I really don't have to live at the beach, but I do need to be near the ocean just often enough. Ahhh.
Monday--orange glazed crock pot pork roast, baked potatoes, lemon steamed spinach from AMFT; cherry galette from Dinner A Love Story in honor of George Washington. (OK, should be Tuesday, but I have a meeting and there will be plenty left over.)
Lemon Steamed Spinach
1 3/4 bags (2 10 oz bags) baby spinach, precleaned & trmmed
1-1.5 Tbs evoo
salt & pepper
Toss spinach with 1 tbs evoo, zest, salt & pepper. Taste for seasoning; if dry, add more oil.
Turn in to pot that is ready to go. Cover. Steam 3 minutes and check; will prob need 1-2 more minutes to tender (but a good idea to check and turn).
Tuesday--plum jelly chicken, rice, broccoli
Wednesday--spaghetti (nothing exotic, red sauce, meatballs if they are in the freezer), and broccoli from AMFT (maybe the garlicky bread crumbs will make them edible in my little guy's estimation).
Friday--leftovers or freezer meal
I'll begin with the end: we were invited to Sunday dinner at my in-laws', which was lovely, and I had two pounds of green beans from my unsuccessful plan to make the Thai-ish salmon, so it seemed like a great time to try the latest Smitten Kitchen green bean salad recipe. Good thing--it was great! I will say that I mixed everything before we left so I wouldn't be lugging too many dishes there (fennel in lemon in one, almonds in another, etc. etc.) and it was better immediately than it was after sitting. I don't know why. And it wasn't bad after tossing and transport, just not as awesome as it was in my kitchen. I'll definitely be making this again--and I'm also psyched because my one (less picky) son tried one of the green beans before I threw in everything else and remembered how much he likes them, and sat there and snacked on a whole bowl of totally plain boiled beans. Score. My other one wouldn't even hold one in his hand. (We didn't even ask him to taste! Just hold! And still--no dice.) It was easy, and with the kids out of the house, even easier. But it was nice because as long as you get started with the onions first, everything else can be done in fits and starts until it's all ready.
Even though I had to return Around My French Table to the library, the lovefest continues. Happily I found several recipes online (apparently I was snoozing when it came out) from the initial publicity blitz and from her extensive cooking career prior to this particular book. The first recipe I tried was the Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin. It was not difficult at all, but I did start it too late for it to be dinner that night. I was perplexed as it cooked because it smelled so much like breakfast (five eggs and a quarter pound of bacon will do that to a dish). And I think because my cauliflower was small, I didn't end up with that rustic, bacon-all-over, florets-sticking-out look in the gorgeous photo with the link. But mine behaved nicely, staying put in the 2.5 quart dish that I happened to have, and coming out looking like, well, a crustless quiche or a strata. For me, it was a great lunch dish (as she said, lovely with a salad) or side dish (I can see where it would be good with a roast as it was almost Yorkshire-pudding-esque). And in my personal world, I wanted more of everything: more cauliflower, more cheese, definitely more bacon. But it was delightful and went with the Aid for Friends meals as well as feeding me.
Another AMFT thing I just had to try (because I had all but one of the ingredients) was the Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good. Guess what I didn't have? Yup--the pumpkin. But I lucked in to a great sale on winter squash so I got a small kabocha and figured it would be close enough. Bread, cheese, garlic, herbs, cream, tucked in a pumpkin or in this case, small kabocha, then left to cook to soft (in this case, about 75 minutes). Alas, something went wrong and I don't know what--how wrong can you go with those ingredients?! But I think my garlic (even with the little green part removed) was too strong and it was not a pleasant combination with the kabocha. This made me sad but I am undaunted and will try again in pumpkin season.
And in keeping with the theme, we did try the Beggar's Linguine this week. I wasn't sure how it would go, so I made it with some extras (chicken leftovers, broccoli, etc.), figuring there would somehow be something for everyone. And, as expected, the boys wouldn't touch the main dish (but you know, I'm fine if "dinner" = broccoli and cut fruit, as it did for the older boy). My husband cheerfully called it "trail mix pasta" and just as cheerfully went back for thirds. It was different and with that much brown butter (though I cut it down to just one stick, hello) it couldn't be that bad, right? But it was really delicious. I wish I had let the trail mixy part cook just a bit longer but even so--delicious.
For more meal inspirations--check out I'm An Organizing Junkie!