Earthquakes, hurricanes...nothing like a few natural disasters to end the summer. Around here, lots of schools were supposed to start on Monday and had to cancel for fear of Irene. Serves 'em right for starting before Labor Day, I say. Of course I am writing this in advance, and hoping desperately that this turns out to be a bunch of rain and that
Our last week of vacation is this week and I'm in my usual churn of ideas...Irene reminded me I need to empty my freezer, and pronto. We made lots of things from the freezer in storm prep and it was high time too.
Monday: CSA box day. Something veggie, and probably the pork chops on the grill from the freezer.
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday!
Wednesday: I am hoping this is a beach day, but if not, the shrimp-and-corn thing that I love will be great tonight. When I find the recipe, I'll copy and post.
Thursday: Happy birthday, Mr. Picky Eater! We'll have something he likes this night, but I don't know what yet. The weather will determine how we celebrate. (Beach? Museum? Amusement park?)
Friday: Crystal ball is unclear here, too, though "something from the freezer" is a safe bet. There is a chick pea curry in there that is calling my name.
You know how I always cook way too much for snowstorms? As it turns out, I do the same thing for hurricanes. On a thundery day before the hurricane even gathered speed, I was busy in the kitchen, having filled the tank of the car, and bought bottled water, and all those other goodies. I made the curried egg salad, and alas, it was not a favorite; the red onion I had was overpowering even though it was little and I didn't use much. Next time, scallions or shallots. I made the sardines rillettes as well, the ones that the Tipsy Baker enthused about, and you know what? They were awesome. I used the Trader Joe's sardines, a 3.5 oz can, and it was exactly enough and the bones were already removed--score. I was dreading that part. I also made a potato pizza from Time for Dinner, using purple potatoes from the 25-cent bin at the Co-op, which made it much prettier.
So I was wandering through some blogs and some bookmarks and found some recipes I had been meaning to try. One was a bit of a blog-universe collapsing in on itself: the 101 Cookbooks author Heidi Swanson's recipe for white beans and cabbage via The Tipsy Baker. I ended up making it vegan by using the olive oil and forgetting to add the parm at the end. (When I realized I had, I tossed a bit on to see what it was like, and actually liked it better without.) If I hadn't made it myself, I would have sworn there was bacon in it, it had that kind of mouth feel. And while I liked the entire dish, I loved it before I added the cabbage, so I'll remember that for the future too. Also, I made it in my cast iron skillet, as I'm trying to use that more often, and that changes things a little bit--more rustic, more caramelization, etc. I might try in a non-stick sometime but for a Monday--it was a very tasty lunch and a great way to use up cabbage. NB: some versions call for thyme. I like thyme, but I'd be surprised if I liked it here. I skipped it and didn't miss it at all.
And we had another breakthrough for the boys: chicken sausage with spinach and feta. We grilled a link and asked them to try a piece. Both of them loved it and while Burger Boy went back to his burger, the other one--Mr. Picky--actually cut it in to slices, put it on a burger bun, added ketchup (um, eeuw, but ok), and ate that sandwich. Miracle!
Another miracle is a condiment that they both enjoy--it's a Wasabi Ginger Finishing Sauce, and I am hoping it stretches them enough to give wasabi and ginger the scaffold that they need for eventual acceptance. And it worked as a bridge for grilled eggplant for the older one. We had some awesome teeny eggplants, sliced, tossed with a little olive oil and kosher salt, and grilled in a basket. Yum. We were all almost grateful the little guy didn't want any--more for the rest of us.
I made the green bean-celery salad and that was a hit in my book. Really, no shock, with the vinegar-mustard sauce, but still--a nice option for green beans and anything no-cook works for me in a big way in the summer. It was crunchy and refreshing and very enjoyable. My husband couldn't really tell the difference between that and other salads I'd made with green beans so I bet it would be good with some cherry tomatoes thrown in there too. I also tried to replicate the tomato ricotta pie from the Co-op, and I couldn't do it but the recipe I used was fine, and my husband had seconds.
Looking for more inspiration? Try I'm An Organizing Junkie! for the best menu planning on the web.