Beaten and Squashed


You would think that by now I’d have a better-developed sense of time. As in, how much of it I really have. As in, I probably should not have bought either the beets last week, or the sunshine squash the week before that, because I got all the way to Friday I hadn’t had time to do anything with them despite my intentions. I did manage the beet salad yesterday, finally, after roasting the beets on Friday (that’s the salad in the not-so-wonderful photo above. My method, below). The squash was the real mistake, because I put off cooking it until it wasn’t going to be good to eat much longer. So I peeled and cubed and roasted the squash, too  to have with dinner. As a result, we didn’t eat until almost 8 pm. And we were hungry before then. Now, I have leftover squash, but not enough to serve as a standalone side dish again. It’s going in the freezer until I can figure out what to do with it. But at least you can roast multiple vegetables in the oven at the same time.

Tonight: My daughter is working on the Girl Scout “Simple Meals” badge with her troop, and the girls each have to plan and cook a meal at home. She wants to make something with chicken, and we have some chicken legs in the freezer. She’ll be figuring out what to do with them this afternoon.
Monday: Perch was the least expensive fish at the farmer’s market yesterday, so I bought about a pound and a half. We have some potatoes, so I’m going to play a bit with a Mark Bittman recipe for Roasted Monkfish with Crispy Potatoes, Olives and Bay Leaves. I’ve never actually made this dish with monkfish. I don’t currently have enough bay leaves. But I do have quite a lot of fresh dill that needs to be used up. I don’t think the dill would stand up to the heat in the oven, but might be good sprinkled on top at the end.
Tuesday: Might really  make calzones or pizza this time, after having them in the plan for a couple of weeks now. The first time I thought I’d make them, we had lots of leftover chili instead. And yesterday, instead of pizza, we had an onion extravaganza. My son found a recipe for some French-inspired onion soup, and he asked me to teach him how to make it. To go with the soup,  I (once again, blithe to the time constraints) decided to try pissaladiere, which, if you’re not familiar with it, is sort of like a pizza, but with an egg in the crust, topped with caramelized onions, stewed tomatoes, olives, anchovies and no cheese. It was delicious, but wasn’t done until about 20 minutes after everyone had finished the soup (there was also salad).
Wednesday: I am going out to dinner with a client. The family gets take out.
Thursday: There’s a recipe for broiled tofu with a couscous salad in my Simply Ming One Pot Meals book that looks promising, though I’m going to make the salad more of a winter salad somehow. If I freeze that leftover squash for a few days, I can use it as a substitute for the the summer squash, which isn’t in season right now.
Friday: I have a leg of lamb in the freezer that wants to be a stew. Maybe with prunes or apricots. And which I could make in the slow cooker . Although I need a recipe. And I’ll need to bone the lamb, which is one downside of the CSA—they don’t provide boneless cuts of anything very often.

Roasted Beet and Chevre Salad
Inspired by the Roasted Beet Salad in Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. It’s designed to be flexible. I’ve written the ingredients list for a single serving* so you can make this just for yourself for lunch with a slice of crusty bread (I like rye bread with it), or multiply as needed.

2 large beets
1 tablespoon olive oil
a little salt and ground pepper
salad greens, about 2 cups per serving
1/3 cup of Chevre per serving, sliced into 3 or 4 pieces
a few pecans. If you’re not as lazy as I am,  toast them first.
some citrusy salad dressing. I whisked together 1/2 cup olive oil, 4 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 cloves of garlic chopped, 1/2 tsp of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper.

To roast the beets: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Peel the beets and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss the cubes with oil and a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Spread the beets in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes. Stir the beets and roast for another 10-15 minutes. The cubes should be tender, not crunchy.

Let the beets cool, then toss them in a bowl with a couple of tablespoons of salad dressing. Wash and dry the greens, and toss them separately with dressing. Arrange the greens on a plate, and top with a half cup to 1 cup of beets. Distribute the Chevre slices and pecans here and there around the plate.

*I bought two large beets at the market. If you are making this just for yourself, this amount provides enough beets for three or four servings. If you don’t want leftover beets, roast one medium-sized beet tossed with a teaspoon or so of oil and salt and pepper to taste, and when they’re cool, toss with a teaspoon or two of dressing.

Carrots, Cabbage and Kale


IMG_0275 - Version 2By this point every winter, my cooking whipsaws between attempts to evoke summer or tropical weather (for instance, last week’s beer-battered fish) and comfort foods. Those comfort foods include ingredients such as cabbage, root vegetables and beef that were at the heart of many of the Central and Eastern European-inspired dishes I ate growing up. Yesterday’s forage at the farmers market included carrots and kale, as well as beets and potatoes (the cabbage is left over from last week’s borscht). I also picked up some cherry tomatoes, more scrod, and smelts—which the woman in line ahead of me convinced me to try (just pan fry them, she said). They’re tiny, and remind me (by their looks, anyway) of herring.

Also on today’s agenda: beef stock, and a new batch of yogurt. Our CSA, Chestnut Farms, had beef knuckles for sale, and I bought enough for several pots of stock, though I’m going to do only one today (more about making stock and yogurt at some point soon).

For dinners this week, I’m thinking:

Today: Having fresh scrod again is as good a reason as any to try Crisp Cod with Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce, which I found in my binder of magazine clippings. Will serve this with rice, and bok choy or maybe chard (but really, bok choy, probably).
Monday: Green chicken enchiladas, with rice, refried black beans and salad. To use up leftover chicken from Friday night. I’ll use jarred salsa verde this time. Can’t take the time to make it from scratch this week.
Tuesday: Spicy chickpea stew. Essentially the recipe for Tunisian Vegetable Stew from The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home book. I’ll be able to finish up that head of cabbage here.
Wednesday: Our schedule for the day leaves little margin for error, which suggests something in the slow-cooker is our best bet. Chili again, this time with ground beef. And something. Cornbread? Salad? Some veggie side?
Thursday: Another of the Moosewood Collective Books, The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health has a recipe for Orange-Glazed Tofu on Greens, which will use the kale.
Friday: Meatballs with ground lamb, couscous and, to use the cherry tomatoes, this Shaved Fennel, Roasted Tomato and Pistachio Salad with Yogurt Dressing from TheKitchn.
Saturday: Perhaps pizza

I’m going to make the smelts for lunch today. At some point this week, when I have time, I’ll roast the beets for a salad. Otherwise, they’ll keep, as will the potatoes, for a bit. We’ll probably end up snacking on any carrots that don’t end up in the stock.