Tag Archives: tomatoes

Roasted New Potato Salad with Lentils and Feta

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c baby spinach
  • 4 new potatoes
  • 1/2 c lentils, cooked
  • 1/2 c feta cheese
  • 1 small tomato
  • 2 tbsp sweet onion, minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • dash salt
  • house vinaigrette du jour*

P1100487There was fresh spinach. There were potatoes. There were lentils in the refrigerator. With spring in what little prime it gets in South Carolina I didn’t want a hot meal, but it is because summer still isn’t here that I’m not sold on salads yet this year as a meal. What might draw that bridge o’er troubled waters? If you said “potatoes,” then you’re damn right I’m 1/2 Irish.

Wash, halve then toss your potatoes in olive oil, garlic, turmeric and salt. Put cut-side down on a pan and bake in a 400° oven for 40m. Let them cool for 5-10m out of the oven while you prepare a bed of spinach, onion and tomato. Top that with the halved, roasted potatoes… then top that with (cooked, drained, cooled) lentils and feta cheese.

I used some of our house vinaigrette du jour* on it — that’s just 1/4 what was left of our Good Seasons® red wine/olive oil dressing, more olive oil/red wine vinegar, some garlic powder, turmeric and asafoetida (lentils would be afoot). As far as salads go, this one gets 5 spoons both on the flavor and fullness front.

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Cabberole the Dice (or, “Say What You Will About Redheads…”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 small head red cabbage
  • 1/2 c chopped asparagus tips
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 medium orange sweet pepper
  • 4 eggs, mixed in small bowl
  • 1/3 c mozzerella, shredded
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic-ginger paste
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp red hot chili powder
  • dash asafoetida 

Cabberole.

I have made a huge mess in this kitchen. Wait, don’t run away — I promise this need not happen to you! It is nearly assured that proper prep will negate it. This wasn’t difficult, really — just a matter of finding synchronicity between the ingredients.

P1100214Chop and set to steaming the cabbage. Let steam until dark purple and still hosting its shape (8-15m depending on how crunchy you like to keep things). While steaming, start onions on ML in oil and melted butter then move to chopping/shredding anything else that needs it. Drain tomatoes and stir in both pastes; set aside. When onions begin to turn translucent add in the other vegetables and season. Add the tomatoes to that; stir.

Layer the bottom of an 8×8 glass pan with half of your cabbage. Top that with half of the tomato/vegetable mixture. Repeat one more time, then pour over that the eggs and top with cheese. Bake in 35o° oven for approximately 40m.

P1100216For serious, you guys. This was mostly an experiment and it ended up being 5 spoons of pretty durn delicious and fulfillingly filling. Vegetarians might already be drooling (I hope) but if you’re trying out some meatless Mondays I’d recommend this. Take it from one redhead who just mastered another.

Getting Over The Hump, Italian-Vegan Style

In my pantry today:

  • 1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 5 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1.5 c macaroni, dry
  • 1/2 c Nutrela
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin 
  • 2 dashes of salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 3 drops doTerra oregano essential oil
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

meatlessmarinara

I started my morning by tossing some stuff in a crock pot and walking away. First, it was slice-chunks of onion and garlic in 1/3 c olive oil resting covered on the highest setting for about 20m. Stir in Balsamic vinegar, cumin and turmeric. Add a quick dash of salt. Cover and let continue to cook for another 20m. Now this all seems very time-dependent and I know most of us are not common to such luxury; in my defense all of the time between food handlings was wisely spent cleaning up after myself and getting ready for a day outside of the home. Food needed to be ready this evening so as to keep us away from unintentional glucose emergencies that end up requiring an errant drive through. In the cupboards were cans of tomatoes and macaroni. I am nowhere near a regimented dietary state, but I can foresee history’s repeats and perhaps solve a steep caloric intake of not-really-food items with a nice marinara. The power of a nice marinara should not be underestimated.

nutrelacrumbled

Before leaving the house, turn the crock pot to its lowest setting. Return home several hours later and rejoice at the odor which awaits you. Decide that the Nutrela deserves another chance because you have no other desirable proteins and a little extra time. Boil it for 17 instead of the 7 instructed on the box. Shrug at the point of defeat against texture; drain and fastidiously squeeze out the additional water inside each nugget (that’s not as bad as it sounds — just lay them all out and press a clean cloth into them with a firm hand). Dice them until they become almost a ground sausage consistency. In a small saucepan add the now-ground(ish) Nutrela with 1/2 tsp garlic paste and 1 drop oregano essential oil. Take a second to tenderly smash while stirring to ensure the not-meat’s submissive essence then set aside for a nutrela2few minutes while the macaroni finishes boiling. Add two drops of oregano oil to the marinara; stir. When those little elbows are drained, mix some marinara into the saucepan and serve over macaroni that was pelted before and after said sauce with Parmesan (or substitute a vegan option, since this recipe is vegan until this part). So the Nutrela downgrades a 5 spoon marinara dinner to a 4 spoon dining experience. Nutrela you are not a terrible foe, but my battles with you have only just begun.

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!

Pasticcio di Carne Ricoperto di Purè (or, “That’s Fancy for Italian Shepherd’s Pie”)

In my pantry today:

  • .5 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 hot Italian sausage
  • 6 sm-med red potatoes
  • 1 c asparagus, cut
  • 2-4 blanched tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • sprinkle salt

First, call the Waaahmbulance. It is such a pain in the bottomnotches to upload any photos right now. My computer needs an OS reinstall and I can’t do that until I make sure my freelance gigs are taken care of. There was a sudden death in the family and five days of IV infusions for me to control a particularly virulent MS flare… and now I am on steroids for three more weeks and OMG NOM SO HUNGRY NOM. /ninewaahwaah

To be fair — abundant silver linings do exist. In about a week I get to put on fancy clothes and go to a state museum exhibit opening because of the brochure and notecards I made. I am working with another state organization for an upcoming event. I can feel my hands again and I have not had eyeball seizures for a full 24 hours. These and other things remind me that life is good, that I am lucky… and I am hungry.

Mince one clove garlic and mix into ground beef. Remove sausage casing and chop animals while they brown comfortably on M. In another pan, put 1/2 tsp oil and 1 tbsp butter in pan to melt. Chop and add onion and 3 cloves garlic. Let cook over M heat while you dice up those frozen blanched tomatoes. Add that, liquid and all, and let it all boil down on M for 10-15m. Stir in corn starch, bring back to boil then remove from heat. Gently wring moisture from asparagus if frozen (always better of course if fresh) and chop into thirds or fourths. Pour everything into the meat and gently stir.

Meanwhile, you’ve been boiling whole taters and browning one clove of garlic on L with remaining butter. Once the potatoes are soft enough to smash, do that with a potato masher or fork. Pour the meat mix into a baking dish, then place smashed potatoes on top. Pour butter/garlic mix over potatoes, add a little more seasoning and top all that with Parmesan. Put in 350° oven for 20m. This is a gorgeous dish of which I took many photographs. It is not your time, apparently, to lay witness upon it’s glory. 5 spoons!

Mindbending ‘Mater Meat

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c blanched/diced tomatoes
  • 3 c cooked ziti
  • 1 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 m Vidalia onion
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

So the store had a sale on tomatoes. And I bought eighteen of them. Don’t you judge me. As I’ve recently been on a blanching binge, this seemed no hard choice — it ended up being, however, a long and messy process to blanch, peel and dice that many tomatoes at once without much counter space. I ended up putting six cups of freshly blanched and diced tomatoes in the freezer, which made me feel very handy and thrifty. The other 3.5 c of diced ‘mater meat from this debacle was set aside.

Slice your onion and garlic as thinly as possible while the ghee melts on ML. Add oil and put in onion and garlic slices when ghee melts. Let everything simmer on ML for a minute, then increase heat to M and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7m. Stir vinegar into pot contents and reduce heat to ML; leave the pot’s side for 10m. When you return, stir in turmeric and red hot chili powder then add tomatoes and salt. Turn heat up to M and stir until it comes to a boil. Then walk away and return in a series of quick cycles every few minutes for the next hour. If after an hour the sauce is not yet at a consistency you like, reduce heat to ML and continue to slow boil until you get there. Be forewarned that this is a 2 person serving, so feel free to do the math on those ingredients to feed a larger crew. Serve mixed with the pasta of your choice and topped with Parmesan cheese. While delicious, this dish shows that my mind was more on ‘mater meat than on other seasonings I could’ve added — I recommend adding basil and/or oregano and/or anything else you might find in an Italian Seasoning blend from the store to try and grab that 5 spoon potential. 4 spoons!

Poor Man’s Saag Aloo (or, “Just Beet it”)

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c beet greens
  • 1 large baking potato
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1/2 large Vidalia onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 c water
  • 2 tbsp ground brown flax
  • 4 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

Drink enough coffee and you too can be inspired to experiment with aplumb! Well, with beet greens… we don’t get actual plums from our CSA. I’ve never cooked with beets before, and had never even until recently been informed of the edible health contained in their greens. I bravely sallied forth having never cooked any type of greens before.

As with most good meals, start the marriage of oil and butter (vegetable ghee can be substituted for a vegan option) in a pan heating to ML. Once melted put in thinly sliced onion and garlic, mustard seeds and kala jeera. Let them simmer together for about 10m while you prepare your greens:

Thoroughly wash and dry the greens, then pick off bite size pieces from each leaf with a stout disregard for the stems. Set aside and turn your warm pan to M. Mix your water with flax, curry, cardamom, turmeric, asafoetida and cinnamon; once the mustard seeds begin popping stir in fistfuls of leaves until everything is coated and add the water mix. Bring to a boil on M then cover and let boil while you attend to the next step:

Peel your bigass potato and slice in 1/2″ rounds. Halve those rounds. Uncover the pan and add the undrained can of tomatoes; stir. Add the potatoes, ensuring everything is covered by liquid. Bring back to a boil then cover and let cook until the potatoes make you swoon with their delectable tenderness. This ended up being much more delicious than I’d even hoped and would have earned a glad 5 spoons if I didn’t feel like my work perfecting greens has only begun. So, because I need to keep my head in the game this can only earn 4 spoons.

Succulent Strawberries, Salad and Sauce

In my pantry today:

  • Rainbow salad with strawberry vinaigrette
  • Monday Marinara

To be fair, this is two days’ dinner in one lump sum; life is for the living, after all, and I have been doing a great deal of it lately. Yesterday I had to have several items meet their maker (through me rather than by nature’s wicked hand). I had just bought those strawberries and the next day showed why they had been on sale. Shelf life costs.

Rainbow salad:

  • 1 small head Butter lettuce
  • 4-5 leaves rainbow chard
  • 1 c quartered strawberries
  • 1 ear sweet white corn
  • 1 small tomato
  • 2 tbsp crushed walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp red hot chili powder

Take the corn off of the ear, raw, and mix with your crushed walnuts and red hot chili powder. Set aside. Chop everything to your personal liking; toss greens then layer on the corn/walnut mixture, tomatoes and strawberries. Top with…

Strawberry Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 c pureed fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 c pomegranate red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

The remainder of the strawberries were not rotten but were also not pretty. What couldn’t you make with those suckers after a trip through the food processor? Put all the ingredients in a cruet and shake heartily until emulsification happens. 4 spoons!

Monday Marinara:

  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 large Vidalia onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

And today there were four ripe-n-ready vine tomatoes on the counter that looked perfect to blanch. First thing was first; chop your onion and garlic and add to olive oil warming to ML in a large stove top vessel. While that’s doing it’s thing you’ll have time to blanch the tomatoes and dice up the skinless little goons. Sprinkle the naked chunks with salt and brown sugar then have them wait panside until the garlic begins to brown at the edges. Mix tomatoes in along with thyme, oregano and hot red chili powder. Let everything come to a boil and stir periodically for 10-15m. Reduce heat to L and let simmer until dinnertime. Ours was served over spinach tortellini and topped with Parmesan cheese. 4 spoons!