What I Made – Week 4

I made pretty much everything we had planned this week. We still have a head and a half (!) of lettuce left to use, as well as some cilantro. See a selection of what I was able to use up in the photos below.

Here’s the pasta with mushrooms, escarole, chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. I followed the planned recipe pretty closely, except that I used penne instead of shells and cremini mushrooms instead of shiitake. I also let the escarole cook with the lid off to further reduce the broth since reviewers complained it turned out a little soupy. Tasty, easy, and a great way to use escarole!

Knowing how much lettuce we had to eat this week, I turned this harissa-roasted broccoli and tofu quinoa bowl into a salad! I was rushing to finish dinner and forgot the red onion and mint. (This also explains the less than stellar plating and lighting conditions.) I think the red onion would be good sliced and roasted with the tofu and broccoli. I’ve also made this before with quick pickled red onions and that’s delicious as well!

This was my first time making this Instant Pot butter chicken recipe. I swapped chicken thighs for the boneless skinless breasts since that’s what I had thawed. I used tomato sauce combined with my four chopped up tomatoes because I couldn’t find tomato purée. Once the pressure cooking finished, the sauce was thinner than I wanted, so I put it on Sauté for several minutes to reduce before I completed the last step and added the butter and cream. I also only added two tablespoons of butter at the end instead of four because I couldn’t bring myself to put nearly a half cup of butter plus almost a cup of heavy cream in this dinner! The result was creamy and delicious all the same.

Tonight we’re trying the clam pizza with kale and white sauce. Maybe with a side salad? 🙈We have too much lettuce!

Whatever you’re having today, have a happy Friday!

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What I’ve Planned – Week 4

A long weekend provides such a chance to catch up on my home to-do list, including meal prep for the week ahead. With summer temperatures setting in, it’s going to be more difficult than usual to spend a whole day over the stove. Alternating roasting veggies with a pan of brownies in the oven might be just the motivation I need!

Here’s what I’m thinking for how to use up my basket this week:

    Smoked ribs, roasted asparagus, green salad
    Instant Pot Butter Chicken (will chop up and toss in my tomatoes along with the tomato purée, didn’t get quite enough to cook it down for a substitute)

I’ll probably also use the kale and last week’s green garlic in a quiche. I definitely need to make some salads to work on using up all the romaine we got this week. I have some extra berries in the fridge and I love a Black and Blue salad – I add sliced steak to make it a more substantial meal.

What I Made: Veggie Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Remember when I said I was too lazy for a complicated dumpling recipe? Apparently that doesn’t apply to spring rolls, so hold on for a long post! The full recipe is after the jump.

 

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Half of the sauce ingredients in one photo!

Since the peanut sauce needs a chance to sit, it needs to be made at the beginning.  For 6 ingredients (rice wine vinegar, water, chili oil, minced garlic, chopped roasted peanuts, sugar), it packs a lot of flavor.

 

After the ingredients sit for around 10 minutes, they somehow mix into a spicy, peanutty dipping sauce!

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The first step in making the spring rolls is soaking cellophane noodles in hot water for around 30 minutes.  That’s not very pretty, though, so before I get to the spring rolls, here is a glamour shot of my cilantro from this week’s CSA share.  The newsletter had a good tip that you should treat fresh herbs like flowers and keep them cut and in water. Look how beautiful this cilantro looks!
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Along with 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro, add 1/3 cup chopped mint and 1/4 cup basil.  This smelled wonderful.

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Next, quarter green onions lengthwise and chop.  This makes really fine pieces.

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Next, blanch 1 cup bean sprouts.

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Once the noodles are soft and pliable, cut them into 2 inch lengths.springrolls5

Then, to all the other ingredients, add the cabbage and shredded carrot.springrolls6

Finally, make a paste of garlic and 2 Serrano peppers in a food processor. (Take out the pepper seeds for a less spicy taste!) Mix the paste with lime juice, and add to the filling, tossing to coat.

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For the wrap itself, dip a rice papering a big bowl of warm water. Spread the paper out on a towel, and pile a handful of the filling on the bottom third of the wrap.  Fold the bottom up over the filling once, then tuck in the sides.  Roll the wrap all the way up and set aside.springrolls8

And the finished product!  They’re lumpy and uneven, but that didn’t affect the taste.  Fresh and delicious, these wraps are definitely worth all the steps.springrolls9

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What I Made: Chinese Dumplings with Cabbage and Pork

I had made dumplings before, with a many-step recipe that took most of the afternoon and evening to prepare.  Don’t get me wrong, while the results were delicious and definitely rivaled or surpassed my go-to freezer standard, I wasn’t anxious to undertake dumpling assembly any time soon.

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So when I found a recipe in, you guessed it, my beloved The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, I thought I’d give it a try.  Since it’s, uh, vegetarian, the recipe calls for mushrooms and cabbage as the main filling ingredients., however, I subbed out the mushrooms for ground pork.  I am a recovering carnivore, after all!

Cut one pound of cabbage into thin strips.  Lightly salt the cabbage and let it sit for an hour to let the water be drawn out.  Wring out the cabbage, rinsing off the salt if needed.  Combine the cabbage with a pound of pork, one chopped small onion, some garlic, ginger, and rice wine vinegar.

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Portion out small balls of filling into the wrappers. You can see our dumpling wrapping technique was somewhat lacking.  It took a while to get a feel for the right portion of filling and the right method for dumpling folding.  Practice makes, if not perfect, at least semi-functional. Fresher wrappers or smaller filling portions may have helped us out.
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The original recipe recommends steaming for a “more flavorful dumpling” and I have to agree.  Not to mention, I have no idea how to fry potstickers and not have them stick to the extent that I end up serving mangled dumplings with the wrapper separate from the filling.  If you know the secret, get in touch and teach me your ways!

Steam for around 7 minutes.

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The finished product!  Great with rice or noodles.

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One of my favorite things about dumplings is how well they freeze.  Line a cookie sheet with wax paper, space out dumplings, and freeze.  Once they’re frozen solid, I like to store them in 6-8 dumpling portions in sandwich bags for easy dinnertime access.

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What I Made: Warm Escarole Salad with Shrimp

Online recipes can be hit or miss (have you seen Pinterest fails?), but when one comes by way of the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen, you start to feel bit better about your chances of success. I thought the original recipe was too salty, so I’ve tried to cut down on some of the salt for this version in the full recipe after the jump.

To start, wash and cut into strips around 10 cups of escarole.  Don’t worry, it cooks down!

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Mash anchovies with oil and butter until it forms a paste. Add garlic and capers and cook for a minute.

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Cut the radishes into bite-sized chunks.

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Add to pan over medium high heat and cook for around 3 minutes.

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Add shrimp and cook, turning occasionally.

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Mmmmm…shrimp.

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Add about half the escarole.  Cook it until it has wilted down, about a minute.

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Add the rest of the escarole. Cook for another minute.

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I told you it would cook down! Remove from the heat, and toss with parmesan, lemon juice, and pepper, and enjoy.

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What I Made: Simple Summer Squash with Vinegar and Tomatoes

This recipe is another winner from The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  Can you tell I LOVE this cookbook?! This dish is simple, fast, and, oh yeah, cheesy. I work with a limited skillet size (someday when I actually clean up around here I will post a photo of my kitchen so you can get a sense of just how limited in size the whole production is), so I had to cook the squash in batches.  This meant adding more oil, which creates a tradeoff: I feel less healthy, but the squash gets more browned and delicious.

The original recipe calls for sherry or aged red wine vinegar, but I substituted balsamic with no problems.  Use whatever you prefer.

Full recipe follows, but first, some photos. I knew I had to make this recipe, when I found the specific variety of cherry tomatoes recommended by the recipe (Sun Golds) at my local farmers market)!

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So pretty, they got their own picture.


First, slice the squash.

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Pan fry the squash in oil.  (I used olive oil.)  Feel free to remove pieces as they cook through, adding new slices as you go.

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Last, drizzle the squash with vinegar, add halved cherry tomatoes and feta cheese, and enjoy!

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