Gujarati dal (split pigeon peas) 7/7/20

This dal is made with split pigeon peas or Toor dal. It has the usual spices plus peanuts, chile, and tomatoes.  After sautéing the tempering and spices the rest of the ingredients go into the Instant Pot for five minutes under pressure. I used this recipe – With the exception of the peanuts, I thought this was a lot like Chana dal. We served it with baby kale and white rice and a garnish of lime and cilantro.

Gujarati dal

Posted in Easy, Indian, Instant Pot, Legumes, Recipes, rice, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Clam chowder with crouton. 7/6/20

A while ago I came across a recipe by the chef, Gabriel Hamilton, for a clam chowder that you serve over toast. It was way more complicated and full of fat than anything I normally make but the idea appealed to me. Last night we adapted that recipe to one that meets our requirements without, I think, sacrificing flavor. Remember John and I are in the midst of a weight loss/healthy eating journey where I have lost over 45 lbs. and John over 40 lbs. eating exactly the plates of food pictured on my blog. I also made the recipe much easier by using canned chopped clams and bottled clam juice. We really, really liked the results and I have posted the recipe following the picture.

Clam chowder with crouton

Adapted from a recipe by Gabrielle Hamilton

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 ribs of celery, minced
2 leeks, dark, woody green parts removed, ¼” coins
10 ounces golden new potatoes, medium dice
2 sprigs thyme, picked
2 sprigs tarragon
6 ounces dry white wine
2 bottles/16 ounces clam juice
Juice from 2 cans chopped clams (~8 oz.)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons heavy cream
12 ounces chopped clams (2 cans, reserved liquid, see above)
3-4 slices hearty bread, toasted

Step 1
In the Dutch oven, heat the olive oil, and add onion, celery, leeks, potatoes, tarragon, and thyme, stirring to coat. Season with salt, and cook over low heat until the vegetables have just started to soften, taking care not to brown, about 5 minutes. Deglaze with white wine and then add the clam juice and reserved clam liquid. Simmer until potatoes are al dente.
Step 2
Stir in the cream, and simmer until vegetables are cooked through, taking care not to boil. Add the chopped clams, and season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Remove from heat.
Step 3
Toast the bread until golden, and place each piece in a bowl. Add a ladleful of chowder around the toast. Add another ladleful partially covering toast.

A delicious dinner – mixed green salad and clam chowder with crouton

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Seafood and Veggie Weekly Menu. July 5-11, 2020

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!

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Shrimp fried rice. 6/3/20

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!

Shrimp fried rice

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Classic chicken dinner. 7/2/20

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.

Chicken breast, mashed rutabagas, sautéed broccoli and zucchini

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Ditalini with chickpeas and veg. 7/1/20

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.

Ditalini and chickpea vegetable stew

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Steak salad with grilled cauliflower. 6/30/20

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.

Our colorful and tasty steak salad with grilled cauliflower


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Tapas night. 6/29/20

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!

Vegetarian sushi pile of rice, cucumber, carrot, and avocado served with nuoc cham

Next we had sautéed shrimp ala John and served them with the same sauce.

Shrimp with nuoc cham

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.


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Weekly Menu. June 28 – July 4, 2020

It is an exciting week that starts off with cocktails and tapas and ends with Fourth of July grilled hamburgers and corn on the cob!

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Sunday lunch with our kids. 6/28/20

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!

Our daughter’s tacos with seared corn tortillas and a spicy black bean side

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.

Posted in American, Beef, Easy, Grilling, Legumes, Mexican, omnivore, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged | Leave a comment