This week’s menu appears to be all seafood and veggies but we may have to change it up on Saturday if our son comes over to play tennis. Then they will have sausages in buns and I will have a turkey sausage. Playing tennis and then having a grilled lunch has become a special weekend fixture at our house the last few weeks. It is so lovely to have both my kids here once a week!
There is no recipe for this dinner. John cooks and I chop up vegetables. First John marinates the shrimp briefly in soy sauce, garlic powder, and ginger powder. Then he sautes them, cuts them in half and sets them aside. Next he microwaves the mushrooms briefly to get excess water out of them. Then they get sauteed followed by onions. I am madly chopping all this time. Carrots, celery, broccoli, scallions, cabbage, garlic and fresh ginger are sauteed. Everything is seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil. At the end of cooking he puts the shrimp back in to warm them through. Our stir-fry is served on rice. It is so great to eat a delicious giant bowl of food!
My classic chicken dinner features a sous vide chicken breast, rutabagas made in the Instant Pot, and sautéed broccoli and zucchini. Using our immersion circulator gives us a lot of flexibility for the chicken to wait while I finish off mashing the rutabagas and sautéing the vegetables. The chicken can be enhanced with a variety of sauces. Tonight I used BBQ sauce but I often make chicken gravy with mushrooms or even a lemony butter sauce.
Details: sous vide was set at 160F and the Instant Pot at 12 minutes high pressure with instant release.
This is one of John’s favorite things to eat. If I ask him what vegetarian dish he would like to have, he invariably chooses this chickpea stew. We load up our stew with lots of vegetables to make it even hardier. There are onions, carrots, Lacinato kale, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms in this rendition. The pasta is really just a bit player with only 2 ounces in the whole dish. If we were regular eaters we would probably get between 4-6 servings out of a potful. But since we are big eaters we end up with enough left over for one lunch.
Note: For a vegan meal omit parmesan cheese.
Tonight we used up part of the leftover flank steak from Sunday. I fixed a hearty greens salad and laid the strips of meat over it. I sliced up the one remaining roasted beet I had and dressed the plate with my super secret salad dressing. (Great taste, almost no calories. Secret ingredient-xanthan gum) John in the meantime grilled cauliflower on a grill pan on top of our BBQ grill. I have to admit I liked the cauliflower better when it was grilled to a crisp right on the rack. The problem with that technique is that a lot of cauliflower falls through the spaces between the grill spokes. I should get a vegetable grill basket if I don’t already have one….somewhere.
Tonight was a fun eating night. We started with popcorn and cocktails, Negronis made with champagne rather than gin. We do not usually have drinks before or with dinner but the news is so bleak that we decided on cocktails and tapas as a way of ignoring the news and enjoying ourselves.
Our first tapa was supposed to be a vegetarian sushi roll. Unfortunately our leftover rice did not want to stick together so we had a vegetarian sushi pile instead-not really sushi but not bad. On our pile of rice we had cucumber, carrot, and avocado sticks. I made a sort of nuoc cham sauce from fish sauce, lime juice, sweetener, water, garlic powder, hot chile, and a few drops each of sesame oil and soy sauce. Very tasty!
Next we had sautéed shrimp ala John and served them with the same sauce.
Next we were supposed to have grilled cauliflower but we were too full from our first two courses to eat any more. All in all our tapas night was successful and fun.
Over the past several weeks our son has been joining us for some tennis playing (non-competitive) and lunch (also non-competitive.) At first we just had burgers and salads but this week I decided to change things up. John and I shopped for some flank steak which is a fairly lean cut of beef and John put a rub on it on Saturday in preparation for grilling the steak on Sunday. (See rub ingredients below the picture. It really makes the meat tasty!) If there is anything that will make my grown kids feel like kids again, tacos does the trick.
I cut up all the toppings, cabbage, tomatoes, cheese, onions, cilantro, chiles, and bought some salsa. Our daughter made guacamole and we had some chips besides. I cooked up some spicy black beans and John grilled the steak. The nice thing about this lunch is that they could fashion their tacos to their likings and I could put a bed of spinach on my plate and top it with some of the toppings and none of the high caloric items such as tortillas, cheese, and guacamole. We sat around the table for quite a long time talking and laughing. It was a great day!
Flank steak rub for tacos
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Finely grated zest of 1 lime (rest of lime can be cut in wedges for serving)
About 2 lbs. of skirt or flank steak
Rub on the steak. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or preferably overnight.
To finish off our vegetarian/vegan week I made a great dinner for a hot night, hummus with tabbouleh and golden beets. I bought prepared hummus, roasted the golden beets in the morning, and made a Lebanese tabbouleh which is heavy on the parsley and mint and light on the bulgur. I put everything on a bed of spinach and included some small pieces of pita and pepperoncini.
1/4 cup fine bulgur wheat
1 small garlic clove, minced (optional)
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves and tender stems, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 cup chopped tomato
4 scallions, finely chopped
Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
Note: I used a food processor to chop up the parsley, mint, garlic, and scallions. Make sure the herbs are dry before processing.
Place the bulgur in a bowl, and cover with water by 1/2 inch. Soak for 20 minutes, until slightly softened. Drain through a sieve ,and press the bulgur against the strainer to squeeze out excess water. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with the garlic, lemon juice, parsley, mint, tomatoes, scallions and salt. Leave at room temperature or in the refrigerator for two to three hours, so that the bulgur can continue to absorb liquid and swell.
Add the olive oil, toss together, taste and adjust seasoning.
Roasted golden beets
Pre-heat oven to 400F. Remove beet leaves, wash the beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Roast beets for 45 minutes or until a knife cuts through easily. Remove the skin while still warm with paper towels.
Here is a little soup I basically made out of nothing. It is not much of a looker but it tastes pretty good. In fact, John took a spatula and ate the last drops out of the food processor!
Saute a half medium chopped onion and a garlic clove. When the onion is translucent add 3-4 cups of vegetable odds and ends, one medium waxy potato, and 2 cups veg stock. For the vegetable odds and ends I used broccoli stems, a piece of leftover fennel, some green onion, two celery stalks, and the stems of two bunches of parsley. Cook until the potato pieces are done and it is ready to go in the food processor or in a blender, if you want a more puréed soup.
I served mine with a swirl of yogurt but if you want a vegan experience, leave it out. The potato makes the soup creamy and your vegetables dictate the color. Serve hot, room temperature, or cold.