At the market the other day, I saw a great deal! Buy two pounds of Land o' Lakes Light Butter and get a FREE dozen Land o' Lakes eggs. Well, needing both butter AND eggs on this trip, and having Land o' Lakes be my favorite kind of butter, I thought, "Wow! What a great thing! AND I'll get to try this Light Butter.... I know I don't like margarine, but this says Light Butter, and it's made by Land o' Lakes, so it's probably not going to be wet and horrible like margarine, and HEY! I get free eggs!"
The other day I had a hankerin' to try some new recipes. Well, that and I couldn't figure out what was for dinner so I emptied the fridge and then went searching through my cookbooks for recipes using the stuff I had. I had a lot of zucchini and summer squash and some left over grilled corn. Martha Stewart told me to make Creamy Zucchini Soup and Corn Fritters with my chicken.
The soup would have been good if it hadn't tasted only of salt. The first thing you do is sweat onions and A TABLESPOON of salt. Yeah. Don't do that. I threw in some extra potatoes after the first taste to try to dull the flavor and boost the texture. No dice. This soup met it's garbage disposal fate about 10 minutes into its life.
The corn fritters, on the other hand, were pretty awesome. There's hardly any batter - it just holds the corn together while it crisps up in the pan. I will definitely make these again. And if you're ever wondering if you can substitute grits for cornmeal, the answer is yes - but I got cornmeal for next time to make it more corny. You know I love my corny.
The soup was surprisingly good! I really enjoyed it for dinner, and the recipe makes "four servings" that are very generous. Unfortunately, I'm not a natural left-overs person, and now that it's several days later, I think the fate of our soup is to be a one serving meal. Pretty specific and surprisingly strong (but good!) taste. I'm not sure I can convince my taste-buds to go for it again. Our 4 year old (who loves broccoli) ate half her bowl. 2 year old brother did not, but tried it twice, so there's some hope there. I think the fact that I used Cracker Barrel Vermont Cheddar, and he got to sprinkle some on top helped my cause with him.
The pasta was not our favorite. I have to admit, I'm not a fan of mushrooms to begin with, but I was willing to try them again. I also wanted to introduce our children to something new, wrapped up in some of their favorite shaped pasta. This was not a success. The sauce was bland (it's a can of Italian Diced tomatoes, really), and the 3 TBS(!) of ricotta blopped on each serving looked pretty, but made the pasta cold, gritty and unappealing. The kids fished out the pasta, the adults grimaced through the meal. Dinner Fail. Oh well, can't win 'em all.
On a happier note, I grilled hamburgers outside again last night. Ate them so quickly, I didn't even get a picture, but, boy, that goes a long way towards fighting off the Mid-Feburary in Minnesota Blues. It didn't even bother me when the propane tank ran out just as I was putting the burgers on. I had an extra, and the grill was still hot. I also had to laugh at myself a little bit when I realized I was out on our deck, standing on the ice, in my tee shirt, grilling.
So - What have YOU been eating this week? Any successes this week? Anything require a #dinnerfail on your Twitter feed like me?
I didn't have any carrots (What? Who doesn't have carrots?), so I used what I did have: a turnip, half a rutabaga, a parsnip and some onion. I let the vegetables caramelize in the pan, then took them out and browned the meat, returned the veggies to the pan and added the wine (a half a bottle of a great red called Big Ass Zin), some water and beef bouillon and 2 TBS tomato paste.
I served them with a new recipe for CreamyMashed Cauliflower . I used jarred minced garlic and it totally overwhelmed everything else. [Fail] We threw it out after two bites. But the Pot Roast was truly wonderful. I ate it for three days.
Pork Roast with Teeny Tiny Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
Tuscan Pork Loin recipe found here.
I only had time to marinade for 30 minutes (read the recipe first, Virginia - not just the ingredients!). I liked it fine, though, I have to say, I would prefer a smaller portion of this with the fat left on, than to do it trimmed and turning it twice while cooking. The meat was a little rubbery (though I may have over cooked it by two minutes). It's becoming stir-fry in it's next incarnation.
Teeny Tiny potatoes (sold as such at Trader Joe's) were cooked for seven minutes in the microwave, then put on a baking sheet with halved Brussels sprouts. I rendered the fat that I trimmed off the pork loin, and drizzled it on the potatoes and sprouts instead of olive oil and salt. They were cooked at 375 for the last 15 minutes of the pork's time, then I upped the heat to 400 for the 10 minutes the meat was resting. I like a little more char on the spouts, and could have used 5 more minutes, but my husband said they were perfect.
Wednesday 2/10/10: Eating Well Fish Sticks and Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash
These were both on my list of new Eating Well recipes for the month. Recipes are found here and here.
The fish sticks were really delicious! Light, easy, moist on the inside, the right amount of crunch on the outside. I used all bread crumbs, as all my flake cereal had dried fruit in it. I can't imagine why a person would need a whole cup of bread crumbs and a whole cup of flakes for the breading for this recipe, though. The other breading ingredients were right on. Here's what was left in the bowl after I'd breaded everything. Yikes that's a lot of bread crumbs. And hardly any egg white left.
Next time, I'd peel the potatoes. As you can see, when I quartered the potatoes to make the mash, the skins are left whole. Maybe a smaller dice to steam them, to preserve some of the nutrition, but the skins were super big and a little unwieldy. Kids loved the fish sticks. The one who likes broccoli ate the mash, the other couldn't be persuaded, even though his favorite color is green. Sometimes you just can't make the sale.
Oh, Bobbie's Chicken, you're my favorite roast poultry. Yes. I love you even more than a perfect salt and pepper chicken. Yes. I pick at you even more than Thanksgiving turkey. You are wonderful, succulent, flavorful. Your bones make really really excellent stock. I love you, Bobbie the sculptor (and Bert, too!). Thank you for perfecting this recipe. Found on page 403 of The New Basics, this is one of our favorite standbys. We rave about it every time.
I served this with Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper Papparadelle pasta and asparagus with butter and lemon. Our four year old liked the pasta until the pepper kicked in. Then she ate the egg noodles I'd made just in case. Our two year old ate the lemony, spicy pasta like it was going out of style. And no asparagus is safe for long at our table. Mmmm!
Weekend Meal Plan:
We've been invited out tonight (Friday) with some preschool parents and their friends. Can't wait to meet new people and I'm so grateful to my parents for taking the kids overnight. Twice this weekend!!
Saturday we'll have chicken leftovers. I made some acorn squash with lots of butter and salt to make it extra sweet and delicious for just such an occasion.
Sunday is Valentine's Day. We have reservations at Piccolo. Last time we were there (for opening night), we ordered and ate the entire menu. We have two fewer people in our party this time, and I don't know how I'm going to edit my eating. Everything was amazing. I hope/bet there will be some new items and specials this weekend, and cannot wait for Sunday to come so I can eat there again. Please. If you live in or near Minneapolis, or if you know someone who does, make a reservation on their site or at Open Table and go as soon as possible. Little bites, huge flavors, great prices, nice wine list, amazing front of house, and exceptional talent in the kitchen.