Instant Pot split chickpea stew (Chana dal). 8/10/20

Instant Pot Chana dal with collard greens

Tonight we used the Instant Pot to keep the kitchen cool while we cooked our dinner. I use the recipe for Chana dal from this website. Of course I make my own tweaks to the recipe. We like ours a bit spicier so we add a can of tomatoes with green chilies and reduce the water in the stew to 1.5 cups. This time I also added chiffonaded collard greens. They came out an unattractive green but they tasted good!

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

Hot weather weekly menu. 8/9-15/20

After a summer where we have barely turned on the A/C it looks like we are in for hot temperatures this coming week. I am trying to keep from turning on the oven or using the immersion circulator to try to keep the kitchen cool. Anything we can make in the morning for a quick reheat in the microwave (like rice) is also in the plan. Our new grill will be a source for outdoor cooking.

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Grilling with the family. 8/9/20

Today we had a typical pandemic Sunday lunch on our patio with our kids. After we finished playing tennis and everyone got cleaned up our son helped me make a Thai inspired tomato and cucumber salad. He did a lot of helpful chopping of chiles, cilantro, onions, bell pepper, cucumber, and ginger. I skinned and chopped some of our daughter’s community-garden-grown tomatoes. The dressing is a combination of lime zest, lime juice, a neutral oil, soy sauce, sugar, and fish sauce. We topped it with some torn basil and tarragon. The salad was a big hit!

I forgot to take pictures so I only have approximate photos from the Internet.

Thai inspired tomato and cucumber salad

We just got a new gas grill this week so today was its debut. We are a family who likes their burgers without cheese, tomato, or lettuce. Some ketchup, a little mayo, and a slice of onion is all we need. John did a great job cooking them considering it was his first time using the grill.

It is remarkably hard to find a picture of a plain hamburger on the Internet!

Just a burger, please.

After burger time we had grilled corn which had been briefly microwaved. The kids liked putting butter and “Everything Except the Elote” seasoning from Trader Joe’s on theirs.

Grilled corn

To finish off our patio lunch, our daughter contributed a banana cake made from her grandmother’s recipe. It is delicious! She is such a good baker.

Nana Banana Cake

Posted in American, Baking, Beef, Desserts, Grilling, omnivore, Thai, Vegetables | Tagged | Leave a comment

Thai – Spicy basil eggplant with tofu (vegan) 8/6/20

Spicy thai basil eggplant and tofu with rice

Since we have been creating our international dishes this week, we have run into quite a backlog of leftovers. I am skipping the Chana dal this week and doing a replay of our chicken chili on Friday before finishing up the week on Saturday with shrimp tacos.

Our Thai dish really moves along quickly so you need to have everything prepared to go into your pan before you get started. The recipe for this dish is here but much like me you will probably need to tweak the sauce and make more of it. I also cut up a medium onion to add along with the bell pepper. The chile we added was rather lackluster so we boosted the spiciness with sriracha. So far every time we make spicy Thai basil eggplant it comes out a little differently. Be sure to make notes as to what you have added or changed on the recipe so yours comes out consistently.

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Southwestern – Chicken Chili. 8/5/20

Chicken chili with garden cherry tomatoes

Our next stop in our tour around the culinary world comes from the U.S. Southwest. This easy chicken chili uses a Costco rotisserie chicken* and canned cannellini beans. I used the Neely’s Chicken Chili recipe which you can find at Food Network. Last time I made chicken chili I used one can of cannellini beans and one can of non-fat refried beans as the thickener. This time, since I did not have any refrieds, I followed the recipe’s suggestion of mashing one can of the cannellini. It came out a little soupier. I finished off my bowl with a handful of tasty, home-grown cherry tomatoes and a dollop of yogurt with cumin.

*Note: The Costco chicken is too large to use the whole thing. I used one breast, shredded. It was plenty for John and me plus we have leftovers.

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Italian – pasta with mushrooms and broccolini. 8/4/20

Orecchiette with mushrooms and broccolini

I love making pasta with vegetables. It is so simple. You just cook up your onions, garlic, and mushrooms and then when close to when the pasta is done cooking, you add the broccolini. A little olive oil and pasta water makes all the sauce you need. I added a fresh tomato salad for extra color.

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Tropical salmon. 8/3/20

Pan seared salmon, tropical salsa, rice, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes

John said, first thing, that salmon was not a fish you find in the tropics. This was followed by broccoli not being a tropical vegetable. Undaunted I continued with my plans and I think that this colorful plate looks inviting and tropical! The inspiration for this dinner came by way of a lot of leftover fruit salad that I made for brunch with our son’s family on Sunday. It had mango, watermelon, strawberries, pineapple, apples, blueberries, and nectarines in it. I picked out the blueberries and apples which are definitely not tropical and added a Serrano chile, cilantro, green onion, and salt. It went well with the salmon and everything on the plate. Even though we cannot go to the tropics, we can still eat like we are on vacation.


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International weekly menu. August 2-8, 2020

This week is a trip around the world through dinners we make. We are missing traveling a lot so these dinners will help us reminisce about past trips’ adventures and mis-adventures.

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Vegetable fried (cauliflower) rice with egg. 8/2/20

Vegetable fried cauliflower rice with egg

Usually I do not go to this much trouble on Sunday but the idea of a plain scrambled egg was just too boring! So kicking off International Week I made an Asian inspired fried rice using my recently acquired cauliflower rice (Trader Joe’s), a bunch of vegetables, a slice of deli ham, and an egg cooked like a pancake and then sliced up. I made a tasty sauce with soy sauce, fish sauce, water, rice vinegar, Splenda, and pepper flakes.

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Seared scallops, broccoli, new potatoes. 8/1/20

Seared scallops, broccoli with lemon zest, and new potatoes

Well, here it is August and we are no closer to getting through with this pandemic than we were three months ago. Maybe conditions are worse. But we have to eat and I am going to cook my way through this and lose weight at the same time. I am giving myself a little pat on the back because as of this week I have lost 50 lbs!

John made some delectable seared scallops for our Saturday night dinner. No fried scallops this time but seared ones are almost as good. Our portion size was a little larger because John wanted to use up the remnants of a bag. We plan on going to Costco for some new ones next week.

For my part I steamed the potatoes and served them with a squeeze of lemon. I also did a quick sauté on the broccoli and made the florets fancy with a little faux butter and some lemon zest.

Posted in American, Easy, pescatarian, Shellfish, Vegetables | Tagged | Leave a comment