Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tiffanie: this week's menu

Evenings are busy with week, with babysitting, school meetings, anniversary dinner, and general busy start-up husband.

 My meal plans this week:

  • mushroom taco night, this time with chipotle Field Roast sausages. Spicy!
  • leek potato soup, with grilled cheese sandwiches
  • red wine braised cabbage with carrots, apples, potatoes, and Italian Field Roast sausages.
  • tofu kale scramble with raspberry chipotle sauce, over yellow rice. Plus seaweed.
  • baked eggs over sauteed zucchini and onions (a lunch for me)
The tomatoes in the back yard are really coming in, so I might also make a roasted tomato soup with basil. Best tomato soup I've ever had, at least of the non-creamy variety.

On the dessert front, I'm going to experiment with vegan rice crispy treats, and also make a strawberry rhubarb crumble. I hope to make it not-too-sweet, as I prefer the tart crumble right now.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tiffanie: this week's menu

First week of kindergarten! Plus one husband who wants to experiment with the vegan paleo diet. I shall bang my head against the fridge a few times now.

Menu plans for the week (ignoring the husband, mostly):

  • mushroom tacos and fixings, corn tortillas
  • veggie burgers and tater tots, watermelon, macaron cookies
  • bok choy and chickpea saute with toasted cashew nuts, quinoa pilaf with currants and almonds
  • peanut noodles, baked marinated tofu, beet salad
  • millet spinach polenta with sun dried tomato pesto, some sort of salad (more beets?), roasted veggies if I have time
For Mr. Paleo, I purchased some extra items: Field Roast chipotle sausages (vegan), Yves sandwich meats (vegan), Field Roast lentil sage loaf (vegan), brazil nuts, roasted pumpkin seeds. 

My CSA box this week: 
  • Strawberries
  • Scotch Kale
  • Red Cabbage
  • Leeks
  • Green Oak Lettuce
  • Green Filet Beans or Potatoes
  • Mystery (Tomatoes, Summer Squash or Green Bell Peppers)
  • Dill
I'm going to have to trade that dill for something else. The strawberries will go the first night. The kale may go into a tofu scramble with chipotle jam. The cabbage would be good in this recipe for Red Wine Braised Cabbage with Apples -- you add some Field Roast sausages on top and it's really hearty.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Turkey Curry

The meals being donated are coming in fast and furious. Still I feel I must honor my oath to cook for my family. This led, as all paths do, to curry. 

I made Turkey Curry.

It was underwhelming but good.

Recipes are a lot easier the second time you make them. The recipe called for "six turkey cutlets". I ended up with twice the amount of turkey needed. It was in three steps. But the last step had six steps. Is that legal? It made what I thought was a 20 minutes recipe take more like 50 minutes. Luckily the audience was patient, but I felt like I had egg on my face. 

Despite the confusions dinner was a success. I never made curry before and when I added the yogurt it was an "aha" moment.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tiffanie: this week's menu

My CSA box had a big bunch of broccoli, and spinach, so I'm working off of those.

My planned meals this week:

  • broccoli tofu stir fry. Easy and delicious, and the kids eat it. Win! Will serve with rice and maybe onion pancakes.
  • spinach chickpea curry from Vegan with a Vengeance. Super flavor. I doubt the kids will eat this. Perhaps some roasted cauliflower and sweet potato on the side.
  • tofu mushroom potato stew with miso gravy, also from Vegan with a Vengeance. Not summery, but I have a craving. I might make some Irish Soda Bread to go with it, or baking powder biscuits.
I still need to roast beets for salad, and also make some cabbage slaw. The husband has requested that I investigate making fermented cabbage. He's reading The Four Hour Body (and is waiting for me to read it too) and it promotes the fermented foods.

The stew is a two-day dish, so I'm up to four dinners here. I'll see what Wednesday's CSA box brings me and work with that to finish out the week.

I'm baking a marbled banana bread right now (pics later). Snack time will be good today!

Friday, August 10, 2012

FoodNoob: BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza

I selected several recipes and asked my wife which one she wanted. She asked for the BBQ chicken pizza. I picked this one for two reasons. The first is that I thought it would be very fast and easy. The second is that it required a rotisserie chicken and I know my wife will eat any unused portions of the bird.

The recipe was overall satisfactory. It required 3 cups of shredded chicken and only two was needed. Also they could have doubled the BBQ sauce amount.

Other than that my wife loved it, my daughter said "yum! yum!" and my baby sitter stayed to eat a few slices.

There were no left overs.

FoodNoob: Munificence

I often hear how the world is going to hell in a handbasket. People say that no one exercises compassion anymore. Yesterday I received evidence to the contrary.

#1 Delivered Home Cooking

In two days three different families have delivered home cooked meals to our home. Some are friends we have known for a while. One is a neighbor we have known for less than two months. The list of food is sumptuous: goulash, peanut butter bars, pasta filled with pasta (has to be seen to be believed), vegetable soup, raisin bread, polenta and more.

#2 The Omaha Steak Trunk

My aunt lives in Long Island. She is enough of a character to inspire six books and a movie trilogy. She has been sending us clothes for the baby non-stop. Then she realized we may need help with the food. She was unaware of my new endeavor. In any case on our doorstep today was a styrofoam box the size of an army footlocker. It was from Omaha Steaks. It contained the largest collection of frozen food I have seen in ages. And since this was my aunt it was half desserts and half dinners. Lasagna, cod, green beans, potatoes, tiramisu, cheesecake and more are now stored in the freezer. We have enough food for a week from Omaha.

#3 Cook Books

In the deep wilds of Illinois lives Aaron. After reading the food blog he sent me two books:

These are great books for beginners. They are very specific and make easy good tasting food. Thanks Aaron.

Shortly after reading them I picked four or five recipes, entered the ingredients into the Our Groceries SW and went to the store. There I purchased more produce than I ever had before. It took about an hour to collect everything. When I arrived at home I was relaxed for the first time in ages as I know I don't just have food in the fridge but I have a food plan for a week.

This is all a new experience for me.

Deadra: Hiatus!

Oh my word!  It's been a long time!
In the past few months I've been delinquent on my writing, cooking and thereby writing about cooking!
My wee family and I sold our quaint townhome and bought a much larger house complete with a giant yard and a giant kitchen.  I'm mostly settled into the kitchen, but I'm still sorting out the best arrangements for my vast assortment of everything.  I was pretty spoiled in the old place with the giant pantry we had custom built.  I have about the same amount of storage now, but it's arranged differently, but I'm sorting it out.
In the meantime I've been doing some cooking, lots of baking projects with my posse, and recovering from vacation food and eating out for many weeks since we sold the other house.
We're on the hunt for a natural gas BBQ and I'm excited to hone my grilling skills.  Adam is excited that he'll get to reap the rewards of having a BBQ and a wife excited to char some vittles for him.
Also with the new house I plan to reconfigure the front yard into a giant front yard garden.  I hope to chatter about my ongoings with that here, to share what I have coming up and perhaps let you know when harvest is, since I expect I will have much of everything, because I have a giant front yard and I am determined to not have just grass out there.  In the mean time, if you want some lemons, I have plenty!
Oh it's nice to be back!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

FoodNoob: Bison Meat & Too much fire

Today the meals were interesting. And after the meals we had more excitement with an unplanned fire.

Meal #7 - Oatmeal

In any relationship there is the eternal conversation. It's not heavy such as "What is life all about?" It's just "What do YOU want to eat?" I have been having this conversation with friends and family for years. This morning I had it with my 3 year old daughter.

Daughter: Daddy wake up!
Me: Please don't jump on Daddy.
Daughter: I'm hungry!

<we run to the kitchen. OK she runs.>

Me: Do you want cheerios?
Daughter: No.
Me: Eggs?
Daughter: No.
Me: What do you want?
Daughter: I don't know. I'm Hungry!
Me: Oatmeal?
Daughter: Yay!

So we had oatmeal.

Meal #8 - SafeWay Hot Chicken Tortilla

As discussed in the last blog entry, I invented a whole new form of food. It's a hot sauce chicken wrap with all the ingredients supplied by Safeway. My wife read the blog (hi honey!) and she got a hankering.

So we ate that.

Meal #9  - Bison vs. Beef

I got the grill working yesterday. It was time to make hamburgers. But I wanted to do it right. So I went to the Safeway at 1AM last night.

Never go to Safeway at 1AM. It' is like the John Hughes movie time forgot. It is not cool. It is not romantic. People are working hard in the aisles to set up for tomorrow. You do not belong in their space. 

The scene screams "You should not be here. College is over. Get a life" Midnight is fine for some reason. But after 1AM it's just depressing.

I found grass-fed beef. I love this stuff. The corn-fed beef just doesn't taste right. Bonus points to any reader who knows what tim allen movie has him complimenting his hosts on the grass fed beef from iowa.

Right next to it was bison meat. Dinner would include a taste test to see if there is a difference between beef or bison.

The next day we did hamburgers for dinner. I fried up apple smoked bacon, got fresh lettuce, gourmet mustard and heinz ketchup. I toasted buns. Sparkling pink lemonade was served to the beautiful wife. Domestic swiss cheese was applied to the burgers on the grill. The grill cooked each patty to 160 degrees as dictated by the FDA.

My daughter ate pasta for the third night running. One day I will come home and discover she has turned into a piece of linguini.

The meal took over an hour to prepare start to finish but was a success! I was at a twitter with anticipation when my wife tried her first bite. A new sensation.

We could all taste the difference between Bison Burger vs Beef Burgers and we like the Bison ones better.

Adventure - Grill catches fire

On another scary note. My grill caught fire and is now half melted. So my luck with cooking holds.

The grill is over ten years old. It's a portable weber. We have not used it in at least three years. We recently moved. The grill was relatively clean thanks to a friend from Illinois.

After the burgers were finished I left it on low for three minutes just to burn off the excess grease. When I returned to the grill to turn it off it was smoking quite a bit. There were flames in the grill area much stronger than I had left it. Also the dial that controls the gas flow and connects the grill to the propane tank was on fire.

I am not a grill expert but this did not seem good.

I used the quick release valve to remove the tank and drag it far from the grill.
Then I grabbed the garden hose and put out the fire.

Time to buy a new grill.

Monday, August 6, 2012

FoodNoob: Meals 4-6

Meal #4 - The Usual Breakfast

Today we cheated a bit. Breakfast was again Cheerios and Yogurt.

Meal #5 - Sushi Part Two

Yesterday I took my daughter, a three year old, to lunch at a sushi place. She ordered an apple juice but did not finish it. The staff was a bit taken with her. As we left she said she wanted to take the apple juice home. Since they had no take out cups they let us leave with the restaurant's glass covered in tight saran wrap.

Today we had to return the glass and my wife was curious about the sushi joint. So we ate sushi!

Meal #6 - Leftovers

The third meal was leftovers from the day before. Chicken Apple Sausage Sandwich.

Bonus Meal - The Safeway Hot Chicken Tortilla

Since this post has been so dull I will write about the meal we ate two days ago. The one dish I ever invented myself. It is called HOT CHICKEN TORTILLA!

You can buy all the ingredients at Safeway. In fact you must buy all of them from Safeway. Otherwise you end up with some other Hot Chicken Tortilla.


  • Fried chicken strips (preferably from Safeway where it's more breading than meat)
  • Spinach leaves
  • Knotted spicy cheese (I generally find it on the top shelf)
  • Tortilla
  • Hot sauce
  • Toothpicks
  • Microwave
  1. Warm Up Microwave
  2. Chop up chicken strips
  3. Chop up cheese
  4. Lay chicken in tortilla
  5. Lay cheese among chicken pieces
  6. Apply Hot Sauce
  7. Apply more Hot Sauce
  8. Lay down some spinach leaves on chicken and cheese 
  9. Roll up tortilla and use toothpick to keep it rolled up
  10. Heat in microwave for one minute until cheese melts and bubbles

I made this dish about five years ago. Since then I think I have "cooked" it two times.

It's good!

Tiffanie: this week's menu

We're all healthy again, and I'm behind on my CSA box again...

My planning is weak, here's what I've got:

  • a stir fry involving snow peas, cabbage, carrots, tomato, and zucchini, over rice. And baked tofu.
  • a breakfast for dinner, with white bean-tempeh sausage, home fries with rosemary, pancakes, and fruit.
  • a bok choy and chickpea saute with toasted cashews, over rice. With onion pancakes.
Ok, that's three. Not quite the five or six I need... after a cookbook perusal, here's what I'm adding:
  • a tofu salad that is substantial -- think chicken salad. It has celery, and grape halves, and roasted red pepper. I've made it before, it's surprisingly tasty. Not sure what to serve it with yet... bagels? A potato frittata? Watermelon!
  • Southwestern corn pudding, with cornbread (perhaps overkill, but it'll be good), and lots of roasted veggies and a green salad. For roasting: the rest of the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, squash, maybe mushrooms.
I still want to make the sprouted quinoa tabbouleh. It requires that I soak the quinoa for a full day, so I will likely do that tonight. I should also roast some beets and make a cabbage slaw. So much cabbage...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

FoodNoob: Meals 1-3

While not really day #1. It's when I was invited to the blog. So let's start counting meals here. Remember each one counts.

Meal #1 - Cheerios & Eggs!

The day began with cheerios! Breakfast of champions. It was served up to my daughter. We also served up some eggs. Scrambled. You can make them very easily. 

Step #1: Crack eggs!
Step #2 Drop in pan. 
Crap! There is a step before #1. OK step #0
Step #0: Heat pan and apply some fat like oil or butter. Then wait.
Step #3: Stir eggs and wait till yellow and fluffy

My daughter normally loves them.

Meal #2 - Sandwiches!

I went to the supermarket. They have a deli. I love delis. I can handle a deli. I am from the east coast. So deli's are like home. I ordered some smoked ham sliced super thin. Then blazing hot chicken. It was not blazing but those cold cuts were hot. And I surprised my wife with prosciutto. Some imported swiss cheese and a loaf of bread. 

Then came the mustard. I love mustard. I mean love it. I had some ingerhoffer, some honey hot and sweet. No goddamn guldens' I have standards.

The bread was a problem. I bought to much and it got stale quickly. Damn french loaf. I was raised in germany and I miss the bakeries every at ten feet intervals there. 

Yesterday we all ate sandwiches. Today my wife ate the sandwich. The food was left over. 

My daughter and I cheated today and ate sushi at a restaurant while doing errands. 

Meal #3 - Sausages.
I bought some chicken apple sausage. And then some hot ones. I forgot what they were. Maybe italian. They were red. They brought back bad memories for me. And I could not touch them. What memories?

When I was five my dad hated to cook. He still does. He could make hot dogs and pretty much nothing else. One day he told us that hot dogs were made of pig tushie, knuckles and poop. Ever since I cannot eat hot dogs or sausages that remind me of hotdogs. Also my dad never had to cook for us again. Genius.

Then I had to get the grill working. I have not turned it on for years. I went to the store to get the right propane cable. I bought one. It was not the right one. I went to another store. It was the right one! I turned on the grill. It did not turn on. I fiddled with things while wondering if this was going to be my last living moments. Then it worked!

Next I found cauliflower in the fridge and I fried it up. I poured some oil in the pan (after heating) and then chopped up some ginger. How does anyone get the goddamn skin off the ginger and still get ginger? It's like frikkin impossible. Hell no one noticed there was some ginger skin in the pan. I threw in the cauliflower. And then poured some dark sauce that was in the fridge. I have no idea what it was but it was like soy sauce. 

It turned out great!

I served it in the back yard, and got my wife a lemonade. 

My daughter ate the cauliflower plus some pata I made for her with "sprinkle cheese". This is a cheese my wife has that I grated as she did. My daughter loves it. I cut my fingers but no blood got in the cheese.


My daughter liked the cauliflower and the pasta! All were white color and that is what she likes to eat. White colored food.

My wife liked the sausages! She told me the real way to cook cauliflower. It involves an oven which scares the bejeezus out of me. All I know about ovens is that Sylvia Plath died in one.

I am now searching for recipes and will hate safeway around 1AM to buy the next set of groceries.

FoodNoob: 100 meals

I have not made a meal in about five years. I used to cook in college but it was routinely breakfast. I took a french class once and learned how to make creme brulee.  But usually I depend on restaurants, frozen food and the kindness of others. This has allowed me to live about 40 years.

My wife is both beautiful and a fantastic cook. Over the 15 years we have been together I have occasionally made grand gestures such as:

"I will cook, one night a week!"

This has yet to happen.

I am pretty uncomfortable in the kitchen.

I have had problems boiling water.
I have had challenges cleaning a non-stick pan.
When I cut carrots my wife takes the knife away from me. For my own safety.

Last week we had a baby. Our second baby. Two things occurred at once.

1) I was given 6 weeks off work for "baby bonding" time.
2) My wife informed me I am in charge of all meals (except the new baby's).

That is over 100 meals. Including food planning and grocery shopping.

I will try to document every meal as we go starting today.

Let the tale of 100 meals begin!