Cooking while injured is not fun. Yesterday I turned my head at just the right angle I guess and POP went the muscles running down the left side of my neck/shoulder. So J took me to urgent care last night, and now I am taking some vicodin and motrin to help with pain/inflammation… but still gotta cook right?? UGH! Just washing the potatoes for tonight’s dinner and slicing them was painful. Frittatas are usually fast and simple… tonight they are tedious and painful! Hopefully the frittata will be soft enough for me to chew without too much pain… eating has not been my joy for the past 2 days.
Archive for May, 2012
So tonight was another grilling night… and we did up some new york strip steaks that were on sale – gotta love local on sale meat!!! I seasoned the meat with what I had on hand: some garlic onion rub, soy sauce and worchestire sauce. While those were sitting and marinating I washed some Yukon golds and red potatoes, wrapped them in some foil and threw them on the grill to sit and cook (~30-45mins). The last 10 mins of the potatoes I threw on the steaks and cooked them @350 5mins both sides. I served the potatoes however anyone liked them: butter, sour cream, cheese, seasonings… whatever. We served up and ate dinner. Local, easy AND kept the heat out of the house!! WOO HOO
J was so hungry he forgot to take a picture until he was already munching away. This is his plate in the photo!
5 – 6 pieces of tomato basil bread, dry and torn into pieces
8 – 10 fresh spinach, cooked and set aside to cool
8 oz shredded Swiss cheese
4 beaten eggs (we used 2 duck eggs and 2 SMALL chicken eggs)
1 ¾ cup milk
2 – 3 small tomatoes chopped
½ cup sour cream
1 tbsp Dijon style mustard
¼ tsp caraway seeds (crushed)
1/8 tsp pepper
1. place ½ of the torn bread in a 2 qt baking dish (we used a square baking dish)
2. sauté the spinach until cooked and add in tomatoes – place on a paper towel lined plate to cool and drain
3. in a mixing bowl (at least a 4 cup capacity) beat your eggs, add in your milk, sour cream, pepper, caraway seeds and onion
4. place cooled spinach and tomatoes over torn bread in baking dish, top with all of your cheese
5. top with remaining torn bread
6. pour your egg mixture, over your bread/veggie/cheese in your baking dish
7. chill for 2 – 24 hours
8. When you are ready cook at 325 for 50 – 55 mins, check for doneness with a knife or toothpick – if it comes out clean TADA it is done!
*We baked our strata on our new ELECTRIC grill, we used a thermometer to check/maintain heat and baked it outside and kept the heat out!! It worked great… just make sure you have some space between your heating element and your baking dish OR use indirect heat… meaning don’t place the dish right over the heat… bake it on the side without the burner turned on.
**adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook – page 238
Ok so we have been going ROUNDS about buying a new grill… when to buy one? What type to buy? How much to spend? What size? Etc. etc. etc… Well today we FINALLY broke down and bought one! YAHOO! We have been hitting the local Sears to find a grill (along with other stores) and today it paid off. We were searching the clearance isle and there it was… a decent size, rolling electric grill that could fit the pans I wanted to use to avoid cooking inside, it didn’t have a flame to ruin the pans, looked easy to clean, wouldn’t require propane or charcoal… AND it was 60% OFF sticker price!! J sized it up, gave it a once over and said YUP that’s the one! So we bought it, along with a grill thermometer; I wanted to make sure it could hold a steady temp so I could “bake” items in the grill rather than the oven inside.
We gave it a go tonight with scalloped asparagus and grilled steaks… guess what?? It worked BEAUTIFULLY and kept all the heat out of the house! WOO WOO!!!!!
Here is to a summer of grilling outside!!!
So today was market day and we went as a family, in early afternoon. I thought later in the morning/early in the afternoon would be a good time to go, but it was PACKED! It didn’t help that the market itself seemed to be narrowing as you headed north up the promenade. I heard a lot of shoppers becoming cranky about the single file line you had to wait in and just leaving. J had a way around it though and we went in the back way and made our way through, it wasn’t fast… but it got the job done. We ended up buying: ~4-5lbs of potatoes, ~2-3lbs of carrots, 1/2lb spinach, 1lb lean ground beef, 1 block of white cheddar cheese, 1lb tomatoes, 1lb asparagus, bagels and tomato/basil bread… all for $37.50. Not too bad of a deal I would say. We left the market and continued on to Ken’s Fruit Market where we filled in the holes of things we needed. We also picked up some all purpose flour (so we wouldn’t have any more bread “mistakes”), some sugar, etc. We kept it local as well and spent a bit more money but also purchased a few more items. Today was a grand shopping day!!
What was on the meal for Wed…? It was J’s night to cook and be creative and he went for it. He made some homemade enchiladas, they were tasty. I felt they could have used more spinach, but the flavor was good. I wanted to take this recipe however and take the beans out and focus strictly on veggies and cheese inside… so that is what I did on Thurs.
Thurs was me trying to create a veggie based enchilada dish. It was ok, J didn’t like it as much as S and I did… it had “too many” onions for his taste. I felt the flavor was nice, however having the beans in it did enhance it a bit better than I was expecting.
Friday was S’s day to pick dinner… he had a walk-a-thon at school and was the student who raised the most money out of the whole school. As a reward he got to pick what we ate for dinner… he didn’t settle on local, he went for Taco Bell. This was fine for me, because I was feeling sick since Wed. I did cook sick on Thurs, and ate dinner but MAN oh MAN I was not feeling so hot. TB it was and off to bed I went.
disclaimer – I did NOT cook this one according to the recipe, I winged it and it had GREAT flavor… but it was gooey. If you don’t mind a gooey dinner do what I did… otherwise follow the recipe.
3 tbsp butter
3 large leeks, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 large potato, peeled and thinly sliced
- sauté leeks until soft, ~10mins (I think this is too long, but the recipe says 10mins) – reserve 1 cup of leeks
- add cream, nutmeg and pepper to skillet with remaining leeks – stir occasionally until thickened ~2mins
- place cream mixture in pie filling, top with potato slices and 1 cup of reserved leeks
- bake ~10-15mins @400
What I did differently:
- I cooked our leeks for ½ the time they did
- I also blended our potatoes, unpeeled and with some carrots (I was trying to use up what we had in the fridge and it seemed like a good idea)
- I added the cream to the potato/carrot puree (I also over pureed it, it would have been better just coarsely chopped
- I added feta cheese, we love cheese and again had some left over
- I didn’t save any leeks to put on top, they all went on the bottom spread out
Great American Home Baking – Main Dish – card 25
12 oz lean ground beef
¼ c. ketchup
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ c. milk
¾ c. heavy cream
2 large eggs (we did one duck and one small/med egg)
½ c. shredded Monterey jack cheese
½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
1. fully cook beef until browned (after this I suggest draining/rinsing your meat), mix in ketchup, salt, oregano and pepper – set aside on a plate
2. in same pan (without the meat and sauce mixture in it) sauté onion, garlic for ~10 mins
3. in a bowl whisk eggs, then whisk in cream and milk
4. pour beef mixture in the pie pan, top with onion/garlic mixture, pour egg mixture over all
5. top with cheese and bake uncovered for 30 mins @ 350
Great American Home Baking – Main Dish – card 30
So it hasn’t even been a week since I last blogged, but it feels like forever. So what have we been up to? A lot of simple! Thursday was our oldest son S’s school performance so we were out late, we ended up at home late and allowed our oldest to pick the restaurant to eat out at. He picked chipotle, he tried to reason it was “sort of” local… they do buy local meats and veggies when they can. Ok I’ll give him that one, Taco Bell doesn’t do that, and Taco Bell is his fav place, so this was a nice choice of his.
Friday… S’s GF came over so we went out to the park and did a picnic. We picked up pizza, went and bought fresh produce, drinks and a dessert at the local market and ate at the park. We had a grand time. Eating, playing, laughing… it was great!
Saturday was A LONG DAY… it started early in the morning with S and I hitting the market. It was nice, some of the permanent table fixtures were going in to place and it felt less crowded. We made our way around and shopped it up! We purchased bagels, eggs, spinach, leeks and shared some breakfast while we were there. It was nice getting out of the house with him and spending alone time. From there we came home and unloaded and reloaded the car, we were headed to Grand Haven for some flea market shopping. It was a fun drive and we had a nice time shopping around. On our way home we stopped and ate locally for lunch, it was expensive BUT good. Beer battered asparagus – GIVE IT A TRY! MmmMmmmmm… from the lunch restaurant we headed to a local greenhouse to pick up 4 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. So needless to say we were all hot and tired. So dinner was local and simple… breakfast for dinner. I made J a mushroom/spinach omelet with cheese. S had a sandwich with homemade bread and a mushroom/spinach egg inside… laid on top of smokey jack cheese, MMMM! I had a feta, egg and tomato sandwich on homemade bread… Oh YEAH!! So enough of the simple… Sunday J kicked it up a notch to a step above simple.
Sunday evening was cheeseburger quiche evening. The quiche was good – there were a few “problems” but I think those can be fixed. First, the crust did NOT work out. I don’t know what exactly happened, J did but the crust, it didn’t hold together whatsoever – my guess is it was too “wet”. Second, might have been might fault. I purchased the meat and got the 85% lean from the market, it was cheaper than the 95% lean and I wanted to do a meat dish so I went with what was affordable. This might have been avoidable if I had drained and rinsed the meat prior to mixing it with the other ingredients. Other than those two things the quiche had GREAT flavor and S even had it for breakfast the next day… he really enjoyed it.
Monday was another notch up the belt on simplicity… almost in medium territory! I was cooking and I had a GRAND idea… it didn’t turn out so grand looking, tasted great – but the look was way off. I made a potato, carrot and leek “thing.” The recipe I was using as a “loose” guide called it a tart… I was going for quiche. We ended up with an ooey gooey pie – with FLAVOR! What would I have changed… well first I wouldn’t have pureed the potatoes and carrots… I would have chopped them and left it at that, the smoothness of the dish seemed to be the undoing. Also when J prepared the crust the night before he did two at once since we knew we were going to need one for Sunday and Monday… so the crust was off in this one as well. The flavor in this dish meshed very nicely together, the only problem was the dish not holding together. No worries… it all got eaten. S had two BIG servings and J just ate the rest right out of the baking dish. The baby even liked it… smooth and tasty is his style!
Tuesday, tonight, was simple as well. I started with browning some mushrooms, sautéing some leeks and then simmering some local spaghetti sauce on top of those. The noodles cooked, we tossed and enjoyed a simple meal that did not heat the entire house. Sunday and Monday were a lesson onto us. Baking when it is warming up outside is NOT a great idea. We need to get ourselves a grill or start coming up with some cooler dinner alternatives.