Tag Archives: dinner

TNP, vol. IV(egan) – Pumpkin Stew

  • 1 c mashed pumpkin, chunky
  • 1 can lentil soup
  • 2 c cherry tomatoes
  • 3-4 L kale leaves or 1/2 c blanched/squeezed
  • 1.5 c vegetable broth
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 M onion, diced
  • 1 S-M jalapeno, diced (with seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp rock salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

pumpkin-lentil-stewI know what you’re thinking — “you have an 11lb pumpkin’s worth of pumpkin and all you can do is puss out with soups?” And for that I’ve got three responses:

  1. A stew is an entirely different animal than a soup. Well, not entirely. It’s just much more about the solids than the liquid.
  2. I also made pumpkin oatmeal, which is a good step above soup.
  3. Be gentle; this is my first pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 425. Start your garlic and onions on ML in the coconut and 3 tbsp olive oil. While they become friends go ahead and blanch your kale and ready those cherry tomatoes (I wasn’t planning on using them but by Thor’s Hammer I was not about to let them get a day wrinklier on the counter). Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 tsp olive oil and place in a baking pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and put in the oven for 20m, or until their skins begin to split.

While those roast, go back to the pan and turn heat to M. When hot, add spices and jalapeno and stir for no longer than 1 minute. Add pumpkin; mix. Add lentil soup and kale, mix gently until hot. When done add the tomatoes to the pot and serve. I did a pretty good job covering up that inside-of-an-aluminum-can taste that no soup on a grocery store shelf can hide… even with a little processed food in its foundation, this stew gets 5 spoons! The chunky pumpkin is an excellent stand-in for the potatoes usually found in this recipe and the cherry tomatoes provide an unexpectedly flavorful bite. Make sure, however, to look for a low-sodium can of soup to offset that sea salt.

There is still 1/2 c puree in the fridge, and a quart of cubes in the freezer… something else will have to be made. I will continue to sally forth, roughly handling gourds wherever I go.

The Neverending Pumpkin, vol. I – The Initiation

pumpkinIn my pantry today:

  • 1 11lb pumpkin

Having never before opened up my own pumpkin, there was no frame of reference here for just how much pumpkin is in a pumpkin.

My folks sent us home with one several weeks ago and it has been lounging as a kitchen table centerpiece since. Time came, though, to pony up — either cut it open and use it or set it outside to rot. The kitchen table wants not to continue ringing in the new year set on autumnal harvest mode.

punkinseedsThe first step was to address the seeds. I jabbed the top off and removed, then rinsed the seeds. I let them soak in cold water over night and roasted them the next day with a little salt and cayenne pepper.

I roasted half of the pumpkin and made puree happen. That required skinning the roasted slabs of pumpkin, putting the flesh through the food processor, then letting it rest for an hour in a colander under a plate. I made sure to save the water that squeezed out — it looks like water, but still packs all the same pumpkinoatmealnutrients as flesh proper. About two cups of puree resulted from this. Half of that was stirred into the following morning’s steel-cut oatmeal with a little brown sugar. And then the remaining pumpkin? I had to procure help getting it diced into cubes in order to sally forth.

gallonopumpkinchunks

This is a gallon plastic bag full of raw pumpkin chunks in water (to keep them from browning à la apple)

From this pumpkin I assumed I’d get seeds and a meal (maybe two). From the second half of the yet-to-be-cooked pumpkin resulted in a gallon and quart of 2″ cubes.

A quart of chunks was frozen in a bag of water, then what will follow over the next day or two will be a couple of meals made with pumpkin — I know from the enormous amount of recipes online that I could have made something sweet, but I wanted better for pumpkin. I wanted to give it top — not dessert, but dinner — billing.

Truth be told, I have never cared for pumpkin pie, so all the sweet-sounding things didn’t trip my wires the way most sugary things might. So I guess I didn’t necessarily want better for pumpkin, but perhaps for myself.

Stay tuned for at least one pumpkin-bacon and one vegan pumpkin dinner!

Creamy Kale-fredo

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c mezze penne pasta
  • 1 c minced, marinated* kale
  • 1/2 c cashew butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 c chicken broth (for equitable option, use veggie broth)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • dash turmeric

kalefredoAll the creaminess of an Alfredo with none of the cream! This is not to say I was gunning for an Alfredo sauce when I started, but the richness and flavor reaped by cashew butter is a worthy replacement for actual cream. Start this whole shebang by mincing your garlic and letting it simmer in a pot on M for a few minutes (I washed dishes).

Upon your return to the stove, smack the cashew butter up in that pot. Add broth slowly; stir to meld the two. Heck, go on and stir in all the seasonings while you’re at it. Once everything has made friends with one another, introduce the lemon juice and kale; cover and simmer on L for a few minutes while you cook the pasta. Drain it and add to the sauce pot. Toss everything together and let it sit on L for at least 5m (let the pasta saturate itself in flavortown) before digging in. 5 spoons!

kale*The equation I use for making marinated kale is: KALE (- STEMS + A FEW DROPS OIL) + FOOD PROCESSOR x 15 MINUTE WAIT = “MARINATED” KALE

Thai Me Up! (Or, “An On-Hand Attempt at Recreating a Proper Peanut Sauce”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c rice noodles
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 3/4 c lite coconut milk
  • Juice of 1/4 lime
  • 1 c cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp carrot sticks, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp gyoza sauce
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

P1110492Ok, this is in stages. But completely worthwhile stages. In fact, to simplify this otherwise daunting-sounding rip off of an otherwise respectable Thai dish:

1. Put sliced garlic and onions in 2 tsp olive / 1/2 tsp sesame oil warming to ML. Let cook until garlic begins edge-goldening. Prep anything else while this goes on.

2. In separate pan, put remaining oil in on M. Lay cabbage and carrots in oil and toss delicately with 1 tsp soy sauce. Cover the pan and turn off the burner. Let sit until mealtime.

3. Spoon peanut butter into garlic pan and let melt. Turn up to M and throw in remaining seasonings along with gyoza sauce, coconut milk, lime juice and remaining soy sauce. Stir until the first boilin’ bubble appears, then turn burner to L.

4. Boil noodles according to package directions. Drain and, while hot, mix into the peanut sauce. Serve topped with cabbage and carrots. Garnish with a

5. Spoons! 

Papardelle-icious to Vegetarians and Carnivores

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package Trader Joes® lemon-pepper papardelle
  • 2 c fresh spinach
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Parmesan to top

P1110468Yum. And an easy “yum” at that. So easy that though I didn’t have time yesterday to write down the ingredients today they are still simple to keep emblazoned in the senses. If you haven’t cooked papardelle before, try it out and learn how it got its name from the Italian verb “pappare” (to gobble up).

P1110447Fry your garlic on ML until just the edges begin to turn golden, then remove the pan from heat and sprinkle on the seasonings. Let that sit while boiling papardelle to the perfect al dente and chopping spinach. When the pasta gets drained, turn off the burner. Mix spinach into the oil/garlic/ and move that pan back to the burner you just turned off (don’t turn it back on). Cover the pan for 1m, then uncover and stir until the spinach is wilted to your taste. Mix in the papardelle and ensure everything is properly coated. Sprinkle with Parmasean. Between the papardelle, spinach (and Parmesan), this vegetarian dish will have more protein – and visual interest – than eating a chicken breast. Of course that doesn’t mean you couldn’t add meat if you want, or skip the cheese for an easy vegan dish. 5 well-deserving spoons!

Put a Bowtie on That Chicken

In my pantry today:

  • 1 12 oz can chicken breast meat
  • 1.5 c bowtie pasta, cooked
  • 2 c cabbage, cut small
  • 1/2 c carrots, cut small
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetida

IMAG0443This is as easy on the wallet as it is on your palette. Drain the can of chicken and rinse thoroughly; set aside. Cook pasta; set aside. Saute garlic in butter and oil over ML for as long as you can stand to — I went about 20m, which wasn’t tough on time since the pasta requires time to cook and the chicken needs rinsing. Turn heat up to M and stir-fry carrots and cabbage for a minute then reduce heat back to the M side of ML and add seasonings, chicken and broth. Let everything simmer while you stir in Parmesan to thicken the broth. Right before serving, mix pasta with sauce/cabbage. Set aside logic and sprinkle a little Parmasean on top for 5 spoons of simplicious!

Tomato-Topped Tortellini (or, “Salad Capricious”)

In my pantry today:

  • Trader Joes® spinach tortellini
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 M sweet onion, minced
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • dash asafoetida
  • dash sea salt
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar

tortellinitomatoHeat the oils to ML and address it with your minced finery. Turn them back to L and let sit for an hour or two; this seems like a huge investment for an otherwise simple meal, but trust me on the flavor quotient. If you don’t have that much time to invest, don’t worry your heart — this will still turn out beyond edible.

Closer to mealtime, boil/drain your tortellini and prep tomato and cheese slices until the slice:cheese ratio works for you. While the love for cheese can connect almost all of is it also comes with a wide gradient of loves; slice for yourself and don’t look back.

Add your oil, garlic, onions and Parmesan to a pot where you’ve replaced the tortellini drained. Toss gently and let sit for 5m before serving topped with slices of tomato/mozzerella. Drizzle the tiniest bit of balsamic vinegar over the whole shebang, close your eyes and dream of Italy. 5 spoons!

The Lo Mein Course

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c leftover vermicelli, cold
  • 2 c broccoli florets
  • 6-10 baby carrots, quartered
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 1/3 c red cabbage, diced
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tbsp sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin/minced
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • dash asafoetida

P1100374I don’t generally order lo mein when take out is afoot… dumplings and other fried things are my vice; I could make a meal easily out of everything on the Appetizer menu at most Chinese restaurants. This is to say that I am no expert on Asian cuisine (as I just used Americanized Chinese take-out as my primary example of Asian cuisine), but it can’t hurt to start with garlic and two kinds of onion in oil on L for an hour. This will deliver plenty of prep and clean-up-from-prep time.

When your time is right, put 1 tsp of olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot (or use a big pan if you’re fancy, but I make messes) and turn to MH. When the highest MH is reached, toss in your vegetables and stir fry for a few seconds. Pour broth into the pot, add seasonings and 3 tsp soy sauce. Stir then cover when boiling happens and reduce heat to ML. Let the vegetables cook in the flavored broth until fork-tender (about 5-10m).

While that’s going on, pour room temperature vermicelli into the pan with oil, garlic and onions. Mix well. Remove the stock pot from heat and mix in noodles. Once there’s a successful consummation cover the pot and let it sit for 3-5m. A hearty 5 spoons await.

 

Pinto Squili is Illin!

In my pantry today:

  • 1 20.5 oz can pinto beans
  • 2 squirrel legs
  • 1 large Vidalia onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetida

squiliNo, we’re not that poor — but I’ve lived in South Carolina my entire life and have never taken advantage of what’s right in my back yard. All over my back yard. Because I am mostly homebound, I hear them all day every day using our gutters as freeways. Maybe now I will feel as though I was able to exert more control over the tiny creatures who don’t know I am lord of their dominion than fist-shaking can communicate. Damnit.

7450267292_936d31c32d_z

Dramatic recreation of how LouLou approached us this morning.

Have you ever dressed a squirrel? Because I’ve never even cleaned a fish, and this inadequacy is why I’m only using the legs. They were plump and easy to remove; the crock pot handled the rest of those hairless gams’ day. Chop up your onion and garlic for the event and throw it all in the crock pot. The longer you can let it simmer, the more tender your meat will be. Make sure to reach into things and take out any bones before serving. This wasn’t as terrible an idea as the wife told me — when cooked this long, the meat really resembles any other. Apart from the cultural finger-waggling that comes with eating rodents, this gets 4 spoons and will have leftovers frozen.

I will forever remember this small animal by the not-very-flashy name I gave him while ripping off his limbs: Pinto.

 

 

Pan-a Stew-a: A Remedy for all Ills or Difficulties

In my pantry today:

  • 1 10 oz can chicken breast, drained
  • 1 14 oz can butter beans, drained
  • 1 L sweet potato, diced
  • 1 c kale, minced
  • 4-8 baby carrots, or whatever’s left in fridge
  • 1-2 c Basmati rice, cooked and cold
  • 1/2 L sweet yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 14 oz cans chicken broth
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/3 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Parmesan cheese to top

panstewThis will be a cold February night’s remedy for all ills and difficulties; it will be, as well, a panacea of flavors. Get those large onion and small garlic minces into butter and olive oil heating to the M side of ML. After about ten toe-tapping minutes, add sweet potatoes, turmeric and 1 can of broth. Stir to coat. Another 5 minutes in, fond the last dregs of a still-viable bag of baby carrots and add them to the pan as well. Cover and boil over MH until potatoes begin to show signs of tenderness towards your fork. Add kale, chicken, rest of seasonings and rest of broth. continue cooking on L, covered until dinnertime. Five minutes before said time, increase the pan to M, add rice and slap the cover back on. As pan reaches the zenith of M turn it back off. Let sit for 2-5m then serve topped with Parmesan. 100 reasons for 5 spoons tonight!