Weekly menu February 11-17, 2019

I am feeling pretty good about ourselves. We made everything on last week’s menu. That’s a lot of cooking. We tried a couple of new things with so-so sucess and had some favorites as well. This week includes a special request from John for Valentine’s Day plus a new recipe. Happy eating!

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Crispy pork cutlet. 2/9/19

We are supposed to be eating these cutlets with frisée, lemon, and capers but it is pouring rain out and it seems like going with what is in the refrigerator rather than making a special trip somewhere just for frisée is the wiser thing to do. So I use some rice left over from Jerk Chicken night and saute some celery, carrots, onions, snow peas, and broccoli for a vegetable-rice combo.

Crispy pork cutlet with veggie-rice combo, and lemon

John pounds out the pork and it becomes this gigantic piece of meat. In fact our daughter stopped by later and made a dinner for herself out of my leftovers. He breads and pan fries the pork and heats up a bit of sauce left over from the boneless pork ribs a week ago. I cut up a lemon and sprinkle some capers on top and we have a pretty presentable looking dinner. We rarely eat anything fried but this technique of shallow frying has kept the pork from having the consistency of shoe leather. Good job, John!

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Delicious lentil recipe. 2/8/19

After having this lentil dish at a local restaurant, Khyber Pass, we loved it so much that we wanted to make it at home. With just a minor tweak we found the recipe we were looking for on this website.

It is not your stodgy brown lentils but small red lentils which turn yellow when you cook them. I have included the recipe below the picture.  Since this is a vegetarian recipe I am the cook tonight. Along with the lentils I also make a really tasty tabbouleh.

Afghani dahl with tabbouleh and pita

Depending on whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore you can tweak this recipe to fit your food lifestyle.

Afghani Lentils

2 tsp. olive oil
1 finely chopped medium onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tbsp. fincely minced fresh ginger (original recipe calls for 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne
1 cup red lentils
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. kosher salt

Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a medium sauce pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and saute for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the turmeric, cumin, cayenne, lentils and broth, stir and turn the heat up to high. When the liquid boils, turn the heat down to a simmer, cover and cook until the lentils are very tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and salt. Serve with a spoonful of plain yogurt (or not) and warm pita or nan bread.

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Cod with Moroccan flavors. 2/7/19

John prepares the marinade for the cod with some input from me. I ask him to cut down on the heat because I am still feeling the effects of last night’s jerk chicken. He substitutes regular paprika for the hot paprika and leaves out the harissa he is planning on using. I think by changing some of the ingredients the whole flavor of the dish is thrown slightly off.

I precook some slabs of Yukon Gold potatoes. They make the base that the fish will bake on. Over the top of the fish are sautéed onions and peppers, cherry tomatoes, olives, and the marinade. Here is how it looked coming out of the oven.

There is fish under there somewhere!

The potatoes are delicious but the cod which John cooks beautifully is oddly floral from the saffron. I suggest that if we try it again we might go in a more Italian direction. I think John is miffed that for the second night running I am not happy with the protein. He would like to keep the dish Moroccan but add the spicier spices back in. I suggest that if he wants it that way I will make something different for myself. The discussion goes downhill from there. No doubt all will be well tomorrow when we make Afghani dahl with tabbouleh. We both like that!

Moroccan cod with potatoes, onions, bell pepper, tomatoes, and olives

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Jerk chicken. 2/6/19

John wants to try making Jamaican-style jerk chicken. I find a no-fuss recipe on the NYTimes cooking site and with much fuss he makes the chicken. The fuss has to do with grinding up a whole bunch of spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, red pepper flakes, black pepper, etc., etc. and marinating the chicken over night. Finally he bakes it and then broils it to crisp up the skin.

Jerk chicken with rice and snow peas

In the meantime I make some rice and snow peas.

John eats our dinner with gusto and I do not like it at all. The chicken skin is flabby and, to me, the most prominent taste is black pepper, my most disliked flavor. I give some of my chicken to John and enjoy the rice and snow peas.

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Relief from cabin fever. 2/5/19

I know that those of you who have suffered through the polar vortex will find our Northern Californian mewling wimpish but it has been cold (for here) and rainy for four days! And much like when we lived in much colder Massachusetts when there is a break in the weather, we fire up the grill! Hamburgers on the grill taste especially good in the middle of winter.

Grilled hamburger with a sweet and sour celery seed broccoli salad

John prepares the 80/20 ground beef with salt and a pinch of baking soda which helps to keep the meat juicy. Minimal handling keeps the ground beef from turning into meatloaf and tapered edges gives you some extra crispy bits.

I made a simple dressing of oil, vinegar, sugar (or sugar substitute), salt, dry mustard, celery seed, lemon juice, and grated onion. The dressing sat on the broccoli florets and peeled stem pieces for an hour or so before serving.

A reminder of warmer, sunnier days always lifts my spirits!



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Vegan Italian dinner. 2/4/19

I had to revamp my weekly menu plan due to bad weather which kept us away from the grocery store yesterday. Luckily I always have the ingredients in my pantry for my Italian vegan dinner, whole wheat linguine in a sauce of tomatoes, garlic, onions, and capers garnished with toasted breadcrumbs.

Whole wheat linguine with tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, and breadcrumbs

This dinner is so quick and easy. While the water is coming to a boil I toast some garlic slices and then use that garlic flavored oil to toast the panko breadcrumbs. I set both of those aside for garnishing and after adding a bit more olive oil to the pan I toss in some chopped onions. At this point the pasta goes into the boiling water. When the onions are translucent in goes a can of petite diced tomatoes, some capers, olives, pepper flakes, and maybe some fresh or dried herb. When the pasta is al dente toss it into the sauce along with some pasta water if needed. Stir it around and serve it up with the toasted breadcrumbs and garlic.

John also likes to add some finishing oil and Parmesan cheese but I think that is gilding the lily.

Posted in Easy, Italian, Kitchen tips, Pasta, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment