Friday Food Round-Up!

This week’s theme: Hanukkah Cookbooks

In addition to time for dinner, Hanukkah Harry brought me Veganomicon. Yes, I know. We’re not vegans.

We will never be vegans.

Yes, I know I said I would never run a marathon either. But I’m actually serious about this.

Since we keep an extremely lose version of kosher, I thought that I would turn to the real experts for some pareve (non-meat AND non-dairy) dishes to add to our repertoire.

And because I can never remember if I’ve shared what vague version of kosher we keep on the blog, here it is:

  • No mixing beef and dairy (chicken and dairy = okay)
  • No shellfish in the house
  • No pork products in the house

We don’t seek out specifically kosher meat (another long post for a really quiet day when I’m in the mood to Take A Stance) and when we’re out of the house we’ll eat anything (In Prosciutto We Trust).

Saturday – Beans on Toast from time for dinner

Beans on toast. The favorite breakfast of The Duchess of Cambridge.

A wonderful Anytime meal. So when you eat them at breakfast, they feel genuinely breakfast-y. And if you eat them at night with a glass of wine, they feel dinner-y.

Four cans, a scoop of garlic and a pinch of herbs later, lunch was served. I’m completely comfortable saying that with the addition of this to our staple food stable (along with soft fried eggs over everything and oven fries), we will never go hungry again. Especially if I need a weekend lunch that will satisfy Marcus and please me. When we have reached the point where our fridge is totally devoid of Green Things.

Sunday – Hot Pot from time for dinner

This was originally going to be a Friday Night date-night sort of dinner, but when Friday evening rolled around, I was 100% not in the mood. It seemed more well suited to playing the role of a restorative New Year’s Day-sort of arrangement.

Creating a base – to give the cooking broth a richer flavor, we added five sliced cloves of garlic, a handful of green onions and some ginger.

Into the pot: We had thinly sliced sirloin, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms and baby corn. After initially trying to cook things one-by-one, we realized that it would be significantly easier for us to just batch cook and then scoop the contents of the pot over our soba noodles.

And, now we can finally tell the world that we used the fondue pot we registered for. That might actually be the biggest victory of all.

Monday – Roasted Fennel and Hazelnut Salad from Veganomicon with Roasted Game Hens over Potatoes

Yes, I realize there’s something fundamentally wrong with actioning a dish from Veganomicon to be served alongside meat. But at La Maison M, this is just the way things are.

Sneakily, one of my thoughts for 2012 is that this could be the year where we break away from ordinary pre-dinner salads and make the salads we eat into more interesting sides. After all, trying to force romaine down my man’s throat is not one of the burdens I have to bear. He comes willingly.

To deal with the potatoes, I had Marcus chop them, tossed them in a bit of olive oil and then set the game hens on top of them to let the juices run over them and give them that This Should Be Illegal-flavor that you can’t just force.

For the chickens, we rubbed them with olive oil, salt, pepper and Tarragon: The Wonder Herb. Since Ina Garten informed me during one episode of her show many moons ago that tarragon is The Herb Of Choice for chicken, I have never looked back.

Tuesday – Maple-Glazed Plank Salmon with Coconut Rice from time for dinner and Garlic Green Beans from Great, Easy Meals

In the spirit of Using Things We’ve Never Touched Before, this dish was the perfect excuse to break out the six-pack of cedar planks that we’ve been hoarding for the last two years and get to work.

We also continued The Great Fish Experiment. Yes kittens, we have officially eaten enough salmon to buy…more salmon. My vote: The Maple Glaze was 11/10. Marcus’ vote: It was way too sweet. I think if we did this one again, we’d up the amount of soy sauce and toss in some red pepper flakes. Maybe some sesame seeds for fun. You really can’t go wrong there.

The rest of the meal was a hit. I find that mixing broth and coconut milk half and half when you’re steaming rice in it yields a far richer result than when you just…use coconut milk. The garlic green beans? Might be the single most useful dish I’ve gotten out of Great, Easy Meals, which is embarrassing in a way because it’s something I should have been able to make happen on my own.

Wednesday – White Pizza on a Homemade Crust topped with Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Green Onions and Cheddar Cheese

Pizza, how we have missed thee.

AKA: What to do when you haven’t touched the tomatoes all week and you want to use up the three stray potatoes, half bunch of green onions and two crowns of broccoli hanging around in your fridge.

To make this, we riffed off of what Pizza Luce  does. I’m pretty sure that Iowa Girl Eats actually tried to imitate it at some point. But that’s neither here nor there.

It tasted healthy in the sense that the ingredients were unprocessed. We didn’t go nuts with the cheese. We made it on a whole wheat crust.

But it also tasted…bland. And reinforced my belief that pizzas with potatoes (unless they involve bacon, some sort of glaze or other luxury ingredient) are best left for drunk food or breakfast food.

On the other hand, dipping it in BBQ sauce (her) or dousing it in Cholula and slathering it with sour cream (him) was a major hit.

What do you do to make bland meals better?

What’s your go-to/lifesaver for weekend lunches?

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6 responses to “Friday Food Round-Up!

  1. Wow, that salmon dish looks sooo good. Salmon is super delicious on its own, but I think adding a glaze just makes it that much better. Adding some more spice next time would probably taste really yummy.

  2. Kat I always love your friday food round ups, your meals make so hungry!

    Red pepper flakes, hot sauce, organic bouillon cubes and soy sauce are good ingredients to spike a bland dish!

  3. I like good ol’ salt and pepper and sometimes Frank’s Red Hot. Cheese is also handy.

    Go-to for weekend lunches: eggs and toast, with baby carrots on the side.

  4. Salting the pizza is a must. I also think the sauce can make or break a pizza. My favorites are BBQ, pesto, garlic olive oil, and alfredo. I’m just starting my hand at homemade red sauce (thank you, immersion blender!), so we’ll see how that goes.

  5. When things are bland, I reach for the hot pepper flakes, some kind of bottle sauce, or salt. I actually keep my oats bland on purpose, just to gussy them up with excessive amounts of toppings.

  6. Totally loving your batch cooking fondue method. Sometimes practicality is a must. When things are bland, a little salt & pepper can sometimes save it, otherwise red pepper flakes are a must.

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