Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saturday Blahs

Don't get me wrong.... I love weekends as much as the next guy.  But this weekend I just can't get inspired to do anything.

Dev had to work yesterday, but I had the day off.  I decided to drive into Glenwood Springs to do some grocery shopping and have lunch all by myself.  While I was in the grocery store, Dev texted me to let me know that they were finishing up early and he'd be home soon.  So my day in Glenwood was cut short.  I checked out with my groceries and headed back home.

For dinner last night, I wanted to go meatless.  I'm trying to cut meat out of my diet completely, but it's harder than I thought.  I ended up making a frittata.  I've made them before, but I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it sounded really good.  I sauteed 2 medium leeks, and an 8 oz. container of sliced mushrooms in garlic and a little bit of white wine.  Then I stirred in 6 eggs I had beaten with shredded fontina cheese, heavy cream, salt and pepper.  I added a little hot sauce for some zing. It cooked on the stovetop about 5 minutes on medium heat, then landed in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  On the side, I made sugar snap peas (sauteed with a ton of minced garlic and red pepper flakes) and roasted brussels sprouts (washed, quartered, tossed with olive oil and salt/pepper- 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes).  It was a very good meal.

Breakfast this morning was a bit odd.  I've decided I need to branch out a little and eat non-traditional foods at breakfast.  Dev eats oatmeal every morning, but I get bored with it.  Also- during the week I am rarely hungry when we have to eat breakfast.  My appetite doesn't wake up until around 8:30am.  So I'm thinking if I open up my options, I'll stay interested and eat better breakfast.  This morning I split and toasted an English muffin, added some marinara and roasted mushrooms and topped it with provolone cheese.  Very good!

Dev is having quite a bit of back pain (but refuses to go get it checked out).  So today he's sacked out on the couch with the heating pad.  So I've been fussing over him all day.  I decided to take the easy way out for lunch.  Lunch was spiced up ramen.  I buy the Annie Chun's version with vacuum packed ramen noodles.  I always add extra soy sauce, fish sauce, scallions, mushrooms and a kick of sriracha.  Not bad for ramen noodles!

Dinner is going to be turkey burgers (last roll of ground turkey in the freezer), macaroni and cheese (to finish off the block of fontina) and the last of the container of sugar snaps (I plan to re-create last night's version without nuking them first- they were a tad on the mushy side).

After dinner I'm planning to start a new cross stitch project.  Not sure what yet, but I'll put some process shots of it up here at some point.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Homemade Pizza and Swiss Chard Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Tonight I made pizza for dinner. I really enjoy making pizza, and consider it a personal quest to find the perfect crust recipe.  I'm not there yet, but I learn something new every time I try. I am up to using 2/3 semolina flour to 1/3 all purpose. The texture is good- I just need to get a handle on getting it thin enough.  My toppings of choice tonight were red onion, mushrooms and green peppers.

But the real star of tonight's dinner was the salad.  No kidding- I think this is one of the best salads I've ever made.

Let's start with the dressing. I whisked together some Dijon mustard, lime juice, orange juice, a little red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Then I whisked in walnut oil and a little olive oil.  After tasting it, I decided it needed a little sweetness, so I added some agave syrup.  

The greens were represented by some shaved Brussels sprouts and shredded Swiss chard (stems and all).  

The accessories consisted of toasted Marconi almonds, pine nuts, and shaved Parmesan.

I tossed everything together and served it with a slice of pizza.  It sure beats the heck out of delivery!



Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines' Day Dinner

Dev braised some game hens, and I mashed some potatoes and roasted some Brussels sprouts. Very good!

Valentines' Day Breakfast

This was my breakfast this morning: hot tea (mint), blueberry yogurt and toast with cream cheese, capers, and smoked salmon. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2/12/14 Dinner

It was a typical school night for us.  Will had Girls On the Run practice until 5:15.  I took the opportunity to do a little Valentine shopping. While I was out and about, I picked up a rotisserie chicken and some Brussels sprouts. 

Upon arriving home, I trimmed the Brussels sprouts, halved them and tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. They spent 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  As they roasted, I microwaved some frozen peas and cut up the chicken.

Fancy? No.  Really good? Yes.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Salsa... And a Story of a Forgotten Cookbook

Will and I are both team leaders at our school.  He represents 5th grade- I represent 8th.  Because these meetings are held after school on Mondays, last year I suggested we have them off campus- somewhere we could be comfortable, away from school... and most importantly, have a snack.  These meetings now happen in our home.  I can't lie- I love it.  Will isn't as happy about it as I am, but I think he has accepted his fate.  I love having people over and feeding them.  This is a genetic thing, I'm pretty sure.  When I was little, family gatherings almost always happened at our house.  Both my parents are fiercely good cooks who don't know how to cook for anything less than an army.

As a result of holding these meetings every other week at our house, I've learned to stock my pantry so I can put out a spread at a moment's notice.  I always have at least 3 kinds of cheese- usually a brie, a cheddar and a gouda.  Olives and pickles make frequent appearances.  But chips and salsa are the one constant.  Up until now I've always purchased deli salsa.  I know- shocking.  When it comes to feeding Will and I, homemade is always the preference.  I guess I just get caught up in the convenience thing.

Well that's all about to change.  At our meeting tomorrow, I will have a much better alternative.

Periodically, I take an inventory of my cookbook collection.  Yesterday was one of those times.  I found a cookbook that used to be out on my counter all the time when we lived in Alamosa.  It's called The Rancho de Chimayo Cookbook.  It was written by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison.  The book is not only a phenomenal resource for New Mexico cooking, it's also a chronicle of the Jaramillo family and their restaurant in Chimayo, New Mexico.  I heard about the restaurant from one of the ladies I taught with in Alamosa.  I never made it to the restaurant before we moved to Rifle, but I did track down the cookbook.  It was published in 1991, but I don't think it's in print anymore.  I found it on www.half.com and snapped up the only copy they had at the time.  In Alamosa, I could readily find most of the ingredients needed to make the spicy dishes.  In Rifle, some of them are a bit of a challenge.  I suppose that's why it ended up forgotten on the top row of the cookbook shelf.

I dropped the book on the counter and it fell open to my favorite recipe.  The pages are stained with tomato juice.  The recipe is for the salsa the restaurant serves to all guests.  It's simple and spicy.

Here's all you need:

1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (sometimes I use fire roasted diced)
2 teaspoons minced white onion (I use more)
3 rough chopped jalapenos (I remove seeds and membranes)
1 teaspoon ground chile de arbol or cayenne
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt

Instead of doing all the fussy chopping, I usually dump everything in my blender and let it do the work.  This makes quite a bit.  I have enough for the meeting tomorrow, and to freeze for at least a month!  If you heated it in a saucepan, you could probably even can it.
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