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Grape-elling With Sweet Reality

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c red grapes
  • 1 c blueberries
  • 1/4 c white sugar
  • 1/3 c white wine
  • 1 c water
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal (any type but instant)

So those grapes that seemed so delicious and friendly because of that sale rack on which they so leisurely reclined? Yeah, over several days the entire bag has gone into just about every room in the house with the best of intentions and I cannot live this lie any longer. Time for a crumble.

Slice the grapes in half but not the blueberries. Put in a cold pan with corn starch mixed into water and white sugar (I have not opened this bag of sugar in nearly a year you guys), add wine and bring to a low boil on M. Reduce heat to ML and stir until thick. Mash together the last four ingredients above to make the topping and dollop on the grapes/blueberries; bake in a 350° oven for 25-30m and serve some hot then serve some cold — 4 spoons!

 

Meatless v. Meatloaded

In my pantry two days ago:

  • 1/5 c black beans
  • 1 ear corn, kernals removed
  • 1/2 c Rotel® tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

This sounds a lot more complicated than it is — just mince your onion and garlic, saute on ML for a 10-20m then turn heat up to M and when the pan gets there, add a dash of vinegar and honey. Reduce heat to L and let sit for another 5m or so before you begin adding in beans and tomatoes. Mix seasonings with broth and corn starch, add to pan with corn and turn heat to M until a first few bubbles  pop. Turn heat to L and let rest for 10-15m before serving over (you guessed it!) rice with a little cheese on top for good measure (to remove the  vegan option on this already hearty meatless number). 4 spoons!

*It is of importance to me that on this day I also purposefully overcooked beans so that there are two more portions in the freezer for easy later use.

 In my pantry today:

  • a roll of pork sausage

So dinner the other night was excellent and meatless. Today — blame the steroids, because I’m not above doing that — I wanted to smell a big, cheap-ass tunnel of pork browning on my stove. After I met the odor quota, some was bagged for freezing, some grease reserved and then this:

  • 3/4 c browned ground sausage
  • 1 c leftovers from above (sans rice)
  • 2 c penne pasta

Toss all that together. NOM. 5 spoons!

*Also of note this week was the blanching, chopping and subsequent freezing of 10 giant tomatoes.

 

Some Kind of Alfredo (or, “In Very Few Ways Actually a True Alfredo”)

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c cooked ziti
  • 1 c chana dal
  • 1 c kale, stems removed
  • 1/2 leek
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/3 c pine nuts, mostly toasted
  • 1/2 can your favorite “cream of” soup
  • 2/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  •  1 Swanson® Flavor Boost packet (vegetable)
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 tsp olive oil

I made 1/2 this dish yesterday as the base for something I had not yet fully recognized. What I made was exquisite, and I did not know where the end of it’s journey would lie. Here’s how it all started:

  • 1 c chana dal
  • 1 c kale, stems removed
  • 1/2 leek
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/3 c pine nuts, mostly toasted
  •  1 Swanson® Flavor Boost packet (vegetable)
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Start the thinly-sliced leeks and minced garlic in olive oil warming to ML, and let them rest for about 5 more minutes before you re-address their situation. Meanwhile, flash-blanch your kale, drain it in a colander then transfer to a cutting board to mince well. Stir pine nuts into pan and let sit another minute or three before adding the kale and dal. Stir everything together along with the Flavor Boost and let rest on L. Then turn off the stove. Then put it in the fridge when you don’t have time to keep cooking.

Fast-forward to the next afternoon. I’ll let you do the math up there on which ingredients haven’t yet been utilized; the only meat, then, involved in this recipe is: BRAINMEATS! Slice a little zucchini and pan sear it in 1 tsp of olive oil on MH until the edges brown. Set aside. Add a can of “Cream Of” soup in your choice of conciliatory flavor, some almond milk, Parmesan and cayenne pepper. Bring to a slow boil then reduce heat to L and let set while you boil that pasta. Drain it then put it back in its now-waterless pot. Add pan of deliciousness; stir and let set for a few minutes on L. Serve topped with zucchini and Parmesan. 5 spoons!

The Burritotal Package

In my pantry today:

  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 large zucchini
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1″ of a leek, minced
  • 1/4 c cream cheese
  • 2 c shredded cheddar
  • 1/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 4 0z can tomato sauce
  • 1 4 oz can chipotle salsa
  • 1/2 tsp Fiesta chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 diced tomato (garnish)
  • 1/4 c minced cilantro (garnish)
  • 1/2 c sour cream (garnish)

This spent an extra day not getting written, but only because I’ve got other stuff to do and not because it’s been, like, sitting out on the counter waiting. I don’t have a whole lotta time for soliloquy now either, though, so this is gonna be a quick and dirty recipe rundown:

– Slice leeks and mince roasted garlic. Warm on ML in olive oil for 10m. Increase heat to M. When at full M,

– Add small slices of zucchini and stir fry for 2m. Then,

– Stir in beans. Reduce heat to L and cover.

– Prep garnishes; set aside.

– Mix chipolte salsa and can of tomato sauce together. Heat.

– Make a thick cheese sauce on ML with: cream cheese, cheddar and milk.

– Drizzle some of the salsa/tomato sauce mixture into the bottom of a glass baking dish.

– Smear the inside of a tortilla with cheese. Put in some beanzchini. Fold, place in baking dish.

– Repeat three more times.

– Cover burritos with remainder of cheese sauce and drizzle more red sauce on. Put in a 350° oven for 10m. Serve hot with tomato, cilantro and sour cream to garnish

5 spoons!

Photo Recap of the Weekish

In my pantry today:

  • Photographs of food I’ve been making but not writing about and I’m not going to make having taken them a complete moot point in this often otherwise cruel world.

These wontons began beautifully but ended badly. And that’s a damn shame, because fun ingredients like fresh garlic and sushi ginger began their filling. And then something happened which would then ruin the subsequently beautiful soup I’d made for them.  An unwittingly pureed bean paste teaches me to fold in a whisked egg rather than use the food processor for this step. I was heartily saddened upon the dinning time; these wontons can go to… well, I’ll just positively chalk them up to a learning experience. The soup itself was a delight. And an excellent appetizer for the take out Chinese I immediately offered to purchase in apology.

Because I felt a failure at rocking a delicious vegetarian concept, I thawed a roll of ground sausage. Because you can’t fail with ground sausage. Except this time. To be fair, it was less of an abject failure and more of a “this would be great if it wasn’t missing something” issue.It was still great, and beget the beans for additional recipes.

And then I looked at the tiny container garden on my back porch and did a spit take at the jalapeno plant. I picked a dozen peppers, left plenty behind and then stared at the pile for a few minutes.

I do not like pickled jalapenos. In fact, I really have never cared for most peppers. Cooking them before wasting away inside on the counter was a must. Several ideas arose, but for the moment I boldly went a little TGI Fridays with some leftover sausage-n-corn dip and made poppers. The remaining ten or so peppers were halved, the seeds removed and roasted with a little olive oil, garam masala, turmeric and Greek seasoning. After that they were diced and used in a very spicylicious curry (not pictured, but which utilized those above mentioned white beans and became two days worth of meals).

I’m almost caught up now. Next post is being written — and this forthcoming one’ll get it’s very own at 5 spoons!

Comfort in Chaos (or, “When CAN’T Potatoes Fix the World?”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c cooked white beans
  • 1 medium baking potato
  • 1/2 c quinoa
  • 2 14.5 oz can vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp safflower oil
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

I can’t find my camera. This is taken using a cell phone. Don’t you judge me.

There is a heckuvalot going on right now. The new floors make our entire downstairs feel like a new house into which we are moving fresh, and moving into anywhere requires a great deal of work. Meals have been consisting largely of prepackaged dinners from the Indian grocery, sweet potatoes roasted in advance, bananas and coffee. Lots of coffee. I’ve gone a week without any episodes (of my MS exacerbation) and I’ve gotten a new prescription called in for more Neurontin (eyeball seizures cannot prevent me from editing css style sheets!). So there, life. Suck on that.

Start this meal in your most favoritest way — mincing fresh garlic and onion. Put in pan heating to M with oil and ghee and let it come to and stay at full heat for  and seasonings; stir. 2-3m with vigorous spatula attention. Add 1/4″ slices of potato and all of your seasonings; stir. Let come to a boil on MH then reduce heat to M and walk away for 15m. Upon return, add another can of broth mixed with corn starch. Fold in cooked beans, bring everything back to a boil on M. Stir in 1/2 c quinoa then reduce heat to L and let simmer until eatin’ time. 5 spoons!

Leftover Greens Soup

In my pantry today:

  • 1/2 c ground Hot sausage
  • 1.5-2c leftover New Years collards from Dad
  • 1 can field peas with snaps
  • 3c chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 1tsp McCormick’s Hamburger Seasoning

Cook your sausage in a medium pot on M, breaking it up as it browns until it is as finely crumbled as possible. Once that is accomplished, throw in the collards and (well drained but not rinsed) can of field peas. Toss them with the sausage crumbles, using the grease to get everything nice and flavorful. Add asafoetida, garlic and McCormick’s; stir. Add chicken broth and bring to a very gentle boil. As the temperature is increasing, add the cashew butter. Stir until the cashew butter is completely melted into the stock. Once it is, turn heat to the lowest setting you’ve got and let sit until dinner time.

Because the low tonight is 23° there seems fewer better options than soup (besides, beans weren’t soaked for chili). For leftovers, there are rarely other options after a few days. While using them all is a goal towards which I strive, I no longer recognize leftovers as edible once they’ve been in the fridge for a few days. They will taste like the fridge. So the rest of the holiday collards — for this was only approximately half of what there was — are in the freezer. Because no one in their right mind wastes good greens.