We have lots of leftovers from last week, so I’m planning just the basics this week, along with a few new favorites and one very fancy breakfast recipe!
As expected, a week of travel meant that I did not do much cooking this week. Here’s what I was able to make.
Chicken and sausage gumbo with okra and peppers
Vietnamese noodle salad (inspired by this recipe, but with peanut tempeh instead of chicken)
The unattractive but delicious fruit platz with plums.
Here’s the before and after of the jalapeños I pickled
The gloves are key to protect your hands from any residual burning! I’ll clean out seeds from the top rings of the pepper closest to the stem, but leave the ones shown here pretty much as-is.
The entire bag I got made one very full quart jar. I heat the brine from this recipe to dissolve the salt and pour it over the peppers.
Another week where I won’t be able to do much in the way of cooking, so this will be a very short list. Hopefully the squash will keep until next weekend when I can figure out how to best use them!
I also pickled the radishes and dried the grape tomatoes in the dehydrator this weekend. The tomatoes will either be diced and frozen or turned into sauce, I haven’t yet decided.
Back row from left: Yellow Tomatoes, Centercut Squash, Yellow Peaches, Plums, Green Okra
Front from left: Slicing Cucumbers, Red Radishes, Red Grape Tomatoes, Green Leaf Lettuce, Little Sweetie Cantaloupe, Escamillo Peppers
(True story, when I was lifting my basket out of the shopping cart while leaving the store after my pick up this week, a peach fell out of my basket, bounced down a stair, and rolled down the sidewalk, stopping just short of 6 lanes of traffic. You definitely know I walked down there, dusted it off, and took it on home with me. I washed it, peeled it, cut out the bruised part and I plan to eat it over cottage cheese for breakfast tomorrow! No peach left behind! 🙈)
I’ve been having fun trying my hand at homemade pastas, but let’s face it – some things are just way outside my skill level. Thankfully, with the easy substitution of some store bought rigatoni, the most labor-intensive part of this dish is slicing the kale and mushrooms!
First, cook pasta according to directions. Then, melt butter in a large pan and whisk in flour to make a light brown roux. Next, add milk and stir constantly until the sauce boils. Finally, mix in thyme, chopped mushrooms and chopped kale and pour over the cooked and drained pasta. For an extra kick (and to use up some leftovers), I added chopped prosciutto just before serving.
Don’t like mushrooms? Substitute cooked chicken instead.
While fans of the Pumpkin Spice Latte might disagree, to me, nothing says “Fall is here” like butternut squash soup. It’s sweet but savory, and hearty enough that it makes a nice meal when served with a crusty piece of french bread. Pair it with a grilled cheese when there’s really a chill in the air and enjoy the Fall season before we’re all complaining about the bitterly cold winter. Maybe I’m just still in shock from the deep freeze that was last year. Brr!
Besides the patience required to sit idly by while smelling the delicious vegetables as they roast slowly in the oven, the soup recipe is very simple. Cut up the squash and place cut side up in a baking sheet, brushed with oil and sprinkled with thyme. Cut the tops off two onions and a head of garlic and do the same. Cover both with foil and roast in a 350 degree oven for at least two hours. My squash roasted faster than my onions, so check frequently, as cooking time may vary. Once the veggies are cooled, peel off the skin and mash together in a large pot. Add broth and cream (I used half and half to cut down a bit on the fat) and mix with a stick blender until smooth.
As always, the full recipe follows.
As promised, here’s a bok choy stir-fry recipe! (No worries, folks, we’ll return to the soup theme tomorrow.)
The technique and sauce for this recipe are great bases for any stir-fry dish you’d like to make. The possible combinations of meat and vegetable are endless. First, the sauce is made by combining soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar with a bit of water. Then, the strips of meat are tossed in cornstarch and added to hot oil in a deep skillet after garlic and ginger are cooked. Lastly, the bok choy is wilted and all the ingredients are tossed with the sauce. Full instructions follow.
The week of soup continues! I’ve been using a lot of Asian flavors in my cooking, especially when I have lots of bok choy to use. Udon soup is a nice alternative to using bok choy in stir fries, although admittedly, you’ll be seeing lots of that as well.
The soup has minimal steps. First, chicken stock is simmered with some cinnamon and star anise for a rich flavor with minimal work. Next, dried udon noodles are added before an egg is poached right in the broth. (Check out the original recipe for directions using fresh udon noodles.) The next steps are to cook the bok choy, then garnish with green onions, soy sauce, and garlic powder.
I’d strongly recommend using a low-sodium (or homemade!) chicken broth or stock for this recipe, because my soup turned out waaaaay too salty for my taste, even when using a low-sodium soy sauce. If I were to make this again, I’d use a low or no salt stock and start with a half tablespoon of soy sauce and work up in dashes from there. If anyone tries this, I’d love to know how yours turns out.