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Monday, June 27, 2016

Recipe Review from 6/20/2016

This was a week in which the original meal plan didn't quite happen and some juggling was necessary.  I managed to forget one ingredient from each recipe.  Not.  Kidding.  Yes, this warrants a face-palm.

The Meal Plan as it happened not as originally planned:
Sun (L) leftovers    (S)  Cornmeal Chipolte Chedder Waffles with Chorizo
Mon (yoga)  leftover waffles
Tues - Chickpea-Spinach Masala
Wed (Husband at training) leftover masala
Thurs (yoga)  leftover masala
Fri -Cavatelli with mushrooms and asparagus
Sat/Sun (Wisconsin run)

Lunches - sandwiches, luna bars, yogurt, fruit, carrots...the usual.

Cornmeal-Cheddar-Chipolte Waffles with Chorizo and Eggs  (Fine Cooking, Issue 140)
If I recall the article correctly these were touted as "breakfast for dinner", which is what I did.   I had only one substitution, and that was to use Jarlsburg cheese for cheddar because I forgot to by the cheddar.  Much gashing of teeth.  Don't be daunted by the ingredient list.  The waffle batter comes together very quickly and can even sit a bit while prepping the chorizo.  Chorizo can cook at same time as waffles, no need to cook one thing at a time. 

These turned out darn tasty and I would love to make this again using cheddar.   Recipe calls for a Belgian waffle maker, but I used a regular waffle iron and it worked fine.  Mostly.  My first waffle stuck, causing a bit of angst, but every thing after worked fine.   Even with the Jarlsberg cheese, this is a great flavor combination.    Recommended!

For the waffles

Photo from
  • 4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal (fine or medium grind)
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1-3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbs. seeded and minced canned chipotle in adobo
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

For the eggs and chorizo

  • 12 oz. Mexican chorizo, casings removed
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sliced scallions for garnish (optional)
Make the waffles
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add the cheese and toss to combine, breaking up any clumps.
In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, and chipotle. Gradually whisk in the butter.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and fold together with a silicone spatula until the batter is evenly moistened. The batter will be quite thick. Fold in the scallions.
Heat the oven to 200°f. Heat a waffle iron. Cook the waffles according to the waffle iron manufacturer’s directions until golden brown. Keep warm in the oven.

Cook the eggs and chorizo
Cook the chorizo in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it into small pieces, until browned and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.
Wipe out the skillet. Put over medium heat, and add the olive oil, swirling the pan to coat evenly. Crack the eggs into the pan, season with salt and pepper, and fry sunny side up or over easy, 2 to 4 minutes total.
Serve the waffles topped with the eggs and sprinkled with the chorizo. Garnish with the scallions, if using.

Chickpea-Spinach Masala (Fine Cooking, Issue 140)  gluten free, vegetarian
This is super easy to assemble and the fresh flavors combined with the warming spices make for a perfect mid-week meal.  For once, I have no alterations or substitutions to report.  I made this as written. Though, a thought - a half cup or so of coconut milk added toward the end of cooking could really make this a very creamy dish.  I might have to try that with leftovers.    

If you can get your hands on some fresh basmati rice or naan, go for it.  I used instant basmati rice as I was unable to get to my local Indian restaurant.   Overall, recommended.

Serves 4
Photo from
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14.5-oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, stirred
Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cumin seeds, and cook, stirring often, until the onion starts to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, cayenne, and 1 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup water and stir. Add the spinach a couple of handfuls at a time, turning with tongs until wilted. Stir in the chickpeas and tomatoes, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Using a potato masher, mash most of the chickpeas. The mixture will thicken. Season to taste with salt, and serve dolloped with the yogurt.
[Egg noodles] with shitake mushroooms, asparagus and pesto   (Fine Cooking, Issue 140)  vegetarian
Recipe calls for a pasta called "cavatelli", which, from the pictures looks a bit like spatzel.  It was another one of those situations where "cavatelli" doesn't exist in my corner of the world and no substitutions were offered.  So, I found some frozen egg noodles and prepared according to the directions on the package.  It was an acceptable switch...not the best, but it worked.  I think a box of dried pasta would have been just as good and less expensive. 

I did like the flavor of this dish - it's bright with earthy tones from the mushrooms and a bit of bitter from the asparagus.  In hindsight, I think this dish would have been enhanced by a drizzle of olive oil.  Recommended with some caveats

photo from
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen cavatelli
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 8 oz. asparagus, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. homemade or store-bought basil pesto; more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oz. (1/2 cup) coarsely grated pecorino romano; more for serving
  • Torn fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Boil the cavatelli according to package directions until just shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, season lightly with salt, and cook undisturbed until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is just tender, about 4 minutes. Add the pesto and pasta water, and stir. Lower the heat, toss in the cavatelli and cheese, and simmer until the pasta is al dente, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional pesto. Serve topped with a little grated cheese and the basil.

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