This wasn’t a super impressive cooking week since I’m still playing catch up with most of my ingredients, but the variety of different flavors in these dishes was definitely one aspect I appreciated.
Sweet corn brightens up this very brown plate. The potatoes are from the grocery store but the no-recipe recipe is probably my favorite way to make them: toss with olive oil and any seasoning (I like garlic, salt, and pepper), spread on a baking sheet and roast at 425 for 45 minutes or until browned, flipping every 15 minutes to make sure each side gets its turn in contact with the baking sheet.
This Asian noodle bowl with cabbage and carrots is infinitely customizable. I used konjac noodles for the first time ever. They smelled terrible coming out of the package but cooked up very much like rice noodles. I liked the instructions to drain the noodles over the cabbage and carrots, just softening them slightly. Of course the spicy scallion sauce from this recipe would taste good on a brick, but I wish I had let the noodles and veggies cool a little so they didn’t add quite so much water to the sauce. I topped the bowl with some of my go to pan fried tofu.
The award for prettiest meal of the week goes to these crab cakes with German bean salad. The beans are blanched, then tossed with a mustard shallot sauce and topped with basil, hard boiled eggs, and cherry tomatoes. Even though I got cherry tomatoes in my basket this week, the ones in this picture actually came from my very own garden! Meanwhile, the crab cakes came from the freezer section…
I bulked up this recipe for carrot and beet salad with curry dressing by putting it on a bed of mixed greens and adding some goat cheese. The recipe didn’t call for cooking the beets, but I did anyway since I prefer that texture. The curry flavor of the dressing was pretty subtle when mixed with the salad greens. I think I would have preferred feta instead of the goat cheese, though.
If the crab cakes and bean salad were this week’s eyecatching Miss America of dinners, the rosemary peach chicken in a white wine pan sauce is Miss Congeniality. The salty bacon! The melt cheese! The creamy wine sauce! All wrapped around tender chicken and sweet peaches. I even left out the lemon zest and honey, and this one pan(!) dish still became a new favorite.
We’re at the point in the summer where I’m not only trying to use what I got in my basket this week, but also from the last week (or two)! There’s nothing too exciting on the menu this week since I can eat many of the fruits and veggies on their own – think cucumbers and watermelon – without making them part of a larger meal.
I’m also going to try to pickle the jalapeños, maybe turn the cherry tomatoes into ‘sun-dried’ tomatoes in the dehydrator, and hopefully do something with the yellow squash, maybe those cheddar biscuits again?
I crammed two weeks of veggies into one week of cooking!
This is an easy Caprese salad. I quartered the cherry tomatoes, sliced little mozzarella balls in half, and topped with shredded basil, olive oil, and a generous amount of salad and pepper. A perfect lunch for when it’s 98F but feels like a scorching 112F outside.
Stewed zucchini pasta. I subbed in orzo for the penne and added several sprigs of oregano and thyme while the onions were cooking. This could have used a big squeeze of lemon at the end to amp up that tangy flavor, too.
Blueberry Belgian waffle deliciousness. To make sure that blueberries are evenly distributed among the waffles, we follow the linked recipe for plain Belgian waffles and just sprinkle a handful of blueberries on top of the batter before closing the waffle iron rather than stirring them all in at the beginning.
I didn’t notice how blurry this photo was until too late, but the zucchini lasagna tasted delicious all the same. This recipe is a go-to during zucchini seasons.
This Greek Bulgur Salad was a great fridge-clearing dish, featuring cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and even the pickled banana peppers I made a few weeks back. I prepared it a few hours ahead of meal time so all the flavors would have time to combine. I added vinegar and salt to my taste instead of following the recipe exactly, but it was also surprisingly tasty, dare I say reminiscent of a certain Mediterranean restaurant.
Zucchini chocolate cake is perhaps one of the few reasons to run the oven for an hour on the hottest day of the summer. It’s dense and fudgy with a nice crunch from the walnuts sprinkled on top.
Peperonata with a pan-fried rainbow trout was good, but not my favorite meal this week. I wish I had left off the olives and parsley, both of which overwhelmed the sweet flavor of the peppers and the tangy flavor of the vinegar.
Thai steak with noodles and green beans (with elk instead of the steak of course) was also a first-time recipe that really delivered. I made this in my wok, first by blistering the green beans in some coconut oil, then adding the peppers. Instead of grilling steak, I very thinly sliced the elk and marinated it in some vegetable oil and about 2 tablespoons of the red curry paste. I scraped the finished veggies out of the wok, then cooked the elk, then dumped the beans, peppers, cooked noodles and sauce all back in together, tossing to combine.
I made this roasted carrot salad with spinach and goat cheese even simpler to prepare by buying a 50/50 baby spinach/spring mix lettuce blend. I left off the almond because I was too lazy to buy them. It would also be good with grilled chicken added.
The recipe for this blueberry peach cobbler said the dough was supposed to be “poured over” the fruit, but as you might be able to tell from the photo, no pouring was possible. I spooned it out like it was a biscuit topping, and even though the dough rose okay, it certainly isn’t going to win any prizes for looks. The Demerara sugar sprinkled over the topping was a nice crunch on an otherwise squishy dessert.
Clockwise from left: Slicing Cucumbers, Green Beans, Yellow Straightneck Squash, Green Savoy Cabbage, Red Tomatoes, Mixed Specialty Eggplant, Blueberries, Cubanelle Peppers, Yellow Peaches, Athena Cantaloupe
This elk ragu with carrots and garlic scapes is inspired by this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks in recent years, Six Seasons. With only about an hour total cook time, it comes together more quickly than many other similar recipes, with no loss of flavor.
I know I’ve posted about poke salad bowls on here before, but I thought this time was a bit more photogenic. Maybe? Not really? Oh well.
These are my favorite quinoa bowls with marinated kale. I changed the recipe a bit by using pan-fried tofu instead of chicken and using jarred roasted red peppers instead of the tomatoes for a sauce with a bit of kick.
Fish taco salad, inspired by a local salad chain restaurant. I think sliced the cabbage and combined it with lettuce to make the bed of greens. Topped with pan fried catfish, quick pickled onions, and cilantro-queso fresco dressing and it’s almost as good as the one from the store.
Our July 4 cookout lunch included roasted potatoes, smoked cider can chicken (for a gluten-free take on a beer can chicken) and these blistered green beans with miso.
This pasta with garlic scapes and fava beans was also a hit. In the future, I’d add red pepper flakes for a bit of spice (even though I used hot Italian sausage like the original recipe said).
On the sweet side of things, I also made a blueberry buckle. I just call it coffee cake and eat it for breakfast with no regrets! 💁🏼♀️
Chocolate chip zucchini bread is another of my favorite dessert-for-breakfast meals. I plan to wrap these loaves tight and freeze them for to enjoy once zucchini season has passed.
The tomato plants in our garden seem to grow a foot every night these days. I’m glad someone is enjoying this hot humid weather! Since weeknight dinners usually involve me rushing in from a sweltering walk from the train, I do most of my ambitious cooking on Sunday, when I can stay inside in the AC all day. Slow simmering ragu, cooking a big batch of quinoa that will be repurposed into multiple meals this week, baking something that will make the whole house smell delicious just as we’re saying goodbye to the weekend and facing down the workweek ahead – it’s a different form of meal prepping.
Here’s the planned lineup this week:
- Elk ragu with carrots and garlic scapes (inspired by this incredible lamb ragu recipe from the Six Seasons cookbook – everything from this cookbook is a hit but this recipe is among my favorites)
- Poke salad to use some of this week’s spring onions and finish off last week’s lettuce
- Quinoa chicken bowls with marinated kale
- Fish taco salad on thinly sliced Savoy cabbage
- A July 4 cookout with smoked chicken, green beans, and roasted potatoes
- Pasta with fava beans and garlic scapes (adapted from this Food Network recipe)
I’ll probably also make a blueberry buckle and maybe (hopefully) will find a way to use all those zucchini!
Clockwise from left: Spring Onions, Green Savoy Cabbage, Orange Carrots, Green Beans, Green Kale, Green Zucchini, Blueberries, Pickling Cucumbers, Yellow Peaches, Fava Beans
Back row: Green Romaine Lettuce, Bok Choy, Green Tatsoi, Dinosaur Kale, Broccoli
Green Beans, Green Bell Peppers, Celeriac, Cranberries, Honeycrisp or Braeburn Apples (I can’t tell which, can you?)
While my tried and true green bean recipe serves me quite well, I wanted to try a new flavor combination. These gingered green beans have a little bit of a kick, but I didn’t find them too spicy. I wasn’t overly impressed by the flavor, but it is difficult to replace my favorite after all.
This recipe is no more complicated than the first. Blanch the green beans, then cook garlic until fragrant in a skillet with olive oil. Next, add ginger and red pepper flakes, then beans and cook until beans are tender. Try it, I’d be interested to know what you think!