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Monday, November 3, 2014

Recipe Review from 10/27/2014

A week that started warm - as in I was sitting out on the porch enjoying the sun in barefeet warm - then temps plummeted to 24* (-4*) with rain and snow showers, and by Sunday we were back up to a sunny but cool 60* (15*).  But, that's Fall in Northern Minnesota.

The garden is basically battened down for the winter.  I got all of the beds but two - the corn/bean beds - tidied up and the various tomato supports/hoops/row markers put away.  I also cleaned out all but one of my flower beds, put away my Buddha's, and took down the rabbit fences.  Hosta and daylilies were cleaned up, annual flowers pulled out, and another bag of coffee grounds dumped.  This is a new thing, I've been picking up bags of used coffee grounds from Starbucks when I can and they are available, and dumping them on the garden beds.  Free compost!  

It was a busy workweek and that's reflected in The Meal Plan:
Sat (yoga, yoga workshop, lunch with friend) (S) pasty
Sun (L)  pizza  (S)  Salmon with tomatoes   Make Italian Soup!
Mon (Yoga/Bkgrp/Legion mtg)  out
Tues (yoga/chili cookoff at work)  leftover soup
Wed (AM yoga) leftover soup
Thurs (yoga)  leftover soup
Fri - out
Sat - leftover soup 

Slow Cooked Italian Vegetable Stew (modified from Slow Cooker Revolution by ATK)  vegetarian, gluten free
A pretty basic and easily assembled vegetable soup.  What I really liked about this dish was it's vegetable chunkiness - as in more veggies to broth ratio.   I also liked the recommendation to add the zucchini during the last 30 minutes to hour of cooking so it retains its shape and texture.  The original recipe called to saute the eggplant, but I decided to roast mine for ease of prep - I could start the onion and rest while it was in the oven.  Plus I've heard that roasting brings out greater flavor. 

This was even better as leftovers, served with some fresh made English muffins compliments of the husband!  This also mad a lot.  This easily made 6 dinners for two of us.  Good dish for company served with a crusty bread and some cheese. 

1 onion, diced
3 celery stalked, diced  (my addition)
1 red pepper, diced
1 lb potatoes, cut into 1/4" chunks (I used red and yukon gold)
1 lb eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/4" chunks. 
1 lb zucchini, cut into 1/4" chunks and set aside
1 tsp dried oregano
1 28oz can diced petite tomatoes (recipe called for whole, I like petite diced)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 2 tbsp fresh basil, thinly sliced
Grated Parmesan

Toss or spray diced eggplant with olive oil of choice.  Place in an oven preheated to 400* and bake about 15 -20 minutes or until lightly roasted and browning. 

Saute onion, celery and red pepper.  Add potatoes and eggplant.  Add oregano.  Add tomatoes and tomato paste, bring to a simmer.

Place in slow cooker and cook on high 4 hours or low for 6 hours.  During last hour of cooking, stir in zucchini.  This part is key, according to ATK, adding the zucchini later in the cooking process prevents the zucchini from turning to mush. 

Serve with fresh grated Parmesan. 

 Homemade English Muffins (Honest Cooking Blog)
On Tuesday evening, the Husband surprised me by making a batch of English muffins.  I have read that these were quick and simple to prepare, and he proved that this evening.  Perhaps two hours from start to finish (I really wasn't paying attention) and a half hour of that is just letting the dough rest.

He had to deviate slightly from the recipe as we were nearly out of milk (2%) and half and half - those were combined and topped off with a tich of water for the whole milk called for.  He noted that the temp of his warmed butter and milk might have been too warm and impacted the yeast; he let the muffins rise for an extra 5-10 minutes to compensate.

These did turn out a tich more bread-like than what I associate as "English muffin", but the flavor, overall texture, and size were spot on.  He used a wide mouth canning ring to cut the dough into shape - how cool is that? 

These were good fresh, and even better over the next couple of days. 

Muffins in front ready for the oven; muffins in pan still baking!
  • 4¼ cups AP flour, more for dusting
  • 1¾ cups whole milk, warm
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • cornmeal for dusting
  1. Heat the milk and butter until the milk has warmed and the butter melts
  2. Combine the milk & butter mixture with the egg and sifted dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. This can be done in a stand mixer or by hand with a considerable amount of upper body strength
  3. Once dough comes together (it will be damp and velvety), transfer to a floured surface and roll out dough to a 1? thickness.
  4. Using a English muffin ring or a large canning jar lid, cut out rounds and transfer to a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal.
  5. Dust tops of the muffins with cornmeal as well. Continue to cut out muffins, re-rolling dough when needed.
  6. Cover muffins with a kitchen towel and allow them to rise for 20 minutes. Using a cast iron pan on low heat, cook muffins about 3-5 minutes on each side until brown and crisped
  7. Transfer muffins to a 325° oven for 12-15 minutes so they can continue to dry out
  8. Open muffins with a fork and toast before serving

Baked [Salmon] with Tomatoes and Feta  (Cooking Light, Nov 2014)  gluten free
A super simple, one dish meal with time leftover to clean-up the kitchen before sitting down.  Original recipe called for cod, but I think just about any fish will do: cod, halibut, seabass, salmon, tilapia, etc.   I used salmon and adjusted cooking time accordingly.   I had lots of extra tomato mixture leftover because I was only cooking for two.  I should have halved the tomatoes, but I was using up some end of the year garden produce.

I would make this one again, it's good enough for company, and quick enough for a mid-week meal. 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
photo from
1 1/2 cups chopped onion 
3 cups chopped tomato 
1/4 cup dry white wine 
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, divided
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar 
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
Dash of crushed red pepper
4 (6-ounce) cod fillets (or any firm fish of choice)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup) 
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomato, wine, 1 teaspoon oregano, vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper; bring to a simmer. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle fish evenly with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Nestle fish in tomato mixture. Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a f

1 comment:

Karl A. said...

I feel your pain, it was only 44 degrees in the desert this morning :) . I finally turned my furnace on yesterday. I'll probably turn it off by wednesday, when it gets back up to 80.

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