Tag Archives: basil

7 Meals in 36 Hours (Or, “Driving Through Driving Through”)

In my pantry today:

  • 5 freezer and 2 “tonight’s” dinners

See I wasn’t really writing about what I was doing while I was doing it and the photographs are shameful afterthoughts to two days’ work and to several new recipes. I’ve been meaning without much forward momentum to make more meals to freeze and have on hand — while we could eat prepackaged dinners from the Indian grocery as if they’re going out of style (assuming they’ve ever been in it), there’s got to be a cheaper and more nutritious business to be had. It will all start painlessly enough:

  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 1 medium bulb garlic
  • 1/3 c olive oil

Slice and mince the respective bulbs and put everything in the crock pot on H. Let cook until the onions begin to beckon translucence. Erstwhile, work on two meals worth of

Aloo Matar

  • 1 10 0z can whole white potatoes
  • 1 c peas
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 4 small-medium jalapeno peppers
  • 1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 2-3 tbsp coriander
  • 3-4 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

Chunky slice the onion, garlic and chiles. I left the seeds in the peppers this time because the four I picked were pitiful in stature. Melt ghee and sprinkle in the mustard seeds. Cook on ML until the onions begin their wilt then crank the heat to M. The mustard seeds should be popping by the time you mix the turmeric, ginger-garlic paste and 2 tbsp each: coriander, cumin into a buttery paste. Transfer everything to a food processor, pour in a dollop of broth and pulse until as smooth as possible. Return to the pan, add tomatoes and broth. Stir and bring to a low boil on M. Reduce heat to L and let cook down for a few hours before adding additional seasonings, sliced potatoes and peas. It’s not exactly like the store-bought version I so love, but it is an adequate substitute full of good things. 4 spoons.

Now go back to the crock pot. Everything should be sizzling at a light boil. Strain out all the onion and garlic chunks and throw them in the food processor. Pulse until as smooth as possible, then divide 2/3 of the goop back into the crock pot and 1/3 to a new pot on the stove. In this pot, there will be some kind of completely inauthentic version of

Red Bean Makhani

  • 1/3 pulsed crock pot doins
  • 1 11 oz can red beans
  • 1 6 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 c half and half
  • 1/3 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

Mix seasonings into the pot, making it even funkier a gunk. On heat rising to M, add in the tomato sauce, vegetable broth and cream. Throw in the beans and everything cook at a light boil on L for an hour or two. Then, return to the crock pot for marinarings. 5 spoons.

Crock Pot Marinara

  • 2/3 pulsed crock pot doins
  • 3 36oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 6oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 4 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Put all of that in the crock pot and cook on L overnight. 4 spoons.

There’s enough going on in the Aloo Matar pot before the potatoes and peas went in that 1c was taken out as a base for a

Creamy Corn Curry

  • 1 c that stuff in pan #1
  • 1 c corn
  • 1 c diced frozen spinach
  • 1 16 oz container 1% milk
  • 1 5 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

That little cardboard box of milk in the back of the cupboard? Empty it into a saucepan and bring it to a low boil, then keep it there for a couple hours. When it has thickened, skim off the skin and add the reserved stuff from pan #2. Stir cornstarch into the evaporated milk then thusly stir that into the milkpot. Add a little more almond milk to thin out any overthick attitude. Stir in corn and spinach, remove from heat. 4 spoons.

Five meals went into the freezer, and still there was enough marinara to make a

Cheesy Penne Bake

  • 3-4 c penne pasta, cooked
  • 2-3 c marinara
  • 1/3 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c mozzerella cheese
  • dusting of cayenne

Mix the pasta and sauce in a baking dish and sprinkle cheese atop. Bake in a 350 oven for 20m or until cheese is beginning to brown at the edges of the dish. This 5 spoon dish concludes a deeply satisfying almost-two-day-long act against the desire to hit a drive through at the end of a long day. I am so grateful to have had the ingredients and time to start taking care of this before the most hectic parts of the holiday season begin. Happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Another Fun Sauce Served Over Rice! With Kidney Beans!

  • 1.5 c cooked kidney beans
  • 6 blanched tomatoes
  • 6 oz coconut milk
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium Vidalia onion
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 sprig basil (optional)

I never mean to start out with a list of ingredients wildly at odds with my socioeconomic standing. There are a lot of staples in the cupboard, and staples for me are the items you’ll see repeated — garlic, onions, curry, hot chili or cayenne pepper, different cooking oils. I find that maintaining a foundation of things like these makes making tasty meals possible on a budget… but it can force me into ruts. You all know I like sauces that go over rice — ah, but I am so much more!

…I say this as I go into another sauce/rice recipe, of course, but my intentions with it are good! I have just learned how to blanch tomatoes and I was hot to do another batch. In familiar tradition, these blanched and diced and drained tomatoes became another sauce. Their journey, however, was a noble one.

After blanching, dicing and draining off the more watery tomato juice, add your tomatoes (about 3c diced) to a pan that’s had garlic, onion, mustard seeds and kala jeera simmering in its oil foundation on [heat to M then reduce to ML after 5m] for a good 20-30m. Add remaining seasonings and stir, let come to a boil on M and keep it in ML-M uncovered for an hour or so — until everything has thickened. Remove from heat and let cool a little before pouring into the food processor. Pulse until smooth then return to the pan, this time with a little coconut milk and lime juice. Mix everything together well as you fold in the beans, then top with a sprig of basil and cover. Turn heat back to M and let it steam for just a minute or two before serving over Basmati rice. 4 spoons!

Barley Bride all in White (or, “Flavor for Fatigue”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c barley, uncooked
  • 1 c frozen(-from fresh) spinach
  • 3/4 c ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 c shredded mozzerella
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium Vidalia onion
  • 4 leaves basil
  • 2 tbsp Greek seasoning
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

So I’ve hit my head pretty hard at least five times this week from my own dysmetric clumsiness, the piece de resistance having happened last night with a hammock. Were video to have been taken, I would be wildly viral right now; instead I have to be the person who nobody witnessed being flipped upside down like a bad carnival ride. This morning the headache remained, along with blurry vision most likely due to a little trauma to my occipital lobe… but other than that I meet no criteria for a true concussion. Regardless, still gotta eat, right?

This will be a nice single-dish meal for the confused and lethargic amongst us. The barley experiment from a day or two ago was both the flavor and ease inspiration. Start the event with mincing your garlic and onion as finely as possible and throw them in an oiled pot warming to M; once it reaches full temp reduce to ML and let simmer. Mix water with turmeric and 1.75 tbsp of Greek seasoning, mix in uncooked barley and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to L and walk away for 15m. In that little window, mince spinach and basil as finely as possible and add to the oil when onions look translucent. Mix well and let that simmer for another 15m. When the barley is a moment from completion, take from heat and add ricotta cheese. Stir until a creamy sauce tenderly holds each pearl of barley. Top with mozzerella and Parmesan, then cover the pot and return it to your off burner until the cheeses melt. 4 spoons!

Double Feature: Basil, Beets and Barley (or, “Wait, That’s Three Things.”)

In my pantry today:

  • 5 small beets, baked and peeled
  • 3 c cooked barley
  • 1 c goat cheese
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 c fresh basil
  • 1 c fresh spinach
  • 1/2 c radish microgreens
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 small Vidalia onion

I think I’m finally getting the hang of our CSA weekly bundles. I’ve got four days until the next pickup and only 1 tomato, 1 head of kale, 5 beets and 7 carrots left before Tuesday. This is a vast improvement over weeks prior, and I’ve yet to determine if this pace has worked. Check back after Tuesday.

I’ve also been hemming and hawing about the beets a little — they’re a new and foreign element to my kitchen, but I remind myself that that is not their fault. They may be the poor and huddled masses in my crisper drawer now, but social justice will catch up… hopefully riding the iron horse of deliciousness. I apparently made a 5 spoon issue out of it yesterday, sources report. Mince 4-6 (depending on size, y’know) cloves of garlic and 1/2 c basil in as teeny-tiny flakes as possible. Cream it with 1/2 c goat cheese and apply in neat balls to the top of chilled beet slices. I salt roasted these beets day before yesterday — cut off and reserve the greens, scrub the roots and place in a glass baking dish with a 1/2″ of salt in the bottom. Cover the dish and bake at 425° for 45 minutes to an hour. Let cool, peel and refrigerate for future beet use.

While you’ve got the garlic-mincing going, go ahead and dice up 2-4 cloves and 1/2 a Vidalia onion. Start your butter and oil warming to M in a cold pan with the garlic and onion. Once it reaches full heat, reduce to L and let cook for 15m or so — until your garlic crisps to golden brown and your onions are near caramelization. Using a slotted spatula or spoon, remove the crispy garlic and sweet onion; set aside. Return heat to M and mix in your barley. Once it’s well-coated, add your mixture of spinach, chopped basil and microgreens. Toss until the spinach becomes bright green, then add back the garlic and onion and continue mixing with a pinch or two of sea salt. When everything is warm together, add dollops of goat cheese and cover the pan. Serve in 5m. The onions will deliver sweet bites in the midst of garlic’s tasty reign, and goat cheese will apply a creamy reasoning to the entire argument. 5 spoons.