Since we’ll be moving in a few months, I’m in another “clear out the cupboards” phase (much more appealing than clearing out my closet). Today’s ingredient? Farro and some veggies from my CSA box. A few trusty Google searches later led me to Smitten Kitchen’s (via Serious Eats) recipe for Honey Harissa Farro Salad.
Alterations: I had a beautiful bunch of carrots from the CSA, but couldn’t find parsnips at the store so substituted rutabaga. I ended up adding a bit more harissa to my dressing to spice it up and less olive oil.
Do-again?: The salad was totally fresh with good texture. I ate it for dinner last night and lunch today (perked up with a little more lemon juice on day 2). Would pack well for a picnic too.
My bookclub meets for brunch every other month. Last month’s meeting, to discuss the Paris Wife, was held right before I left for a trip to New Orleans. This means I should have been trying to eat healthily since I know it would all go to (delicious) hell in NOLA, but instead it meant that I was in the mood for Southern food and opted to try to make Pecan Praline Bacon.
Alterations: I used Trader Joe’s Black Forest bacon and chopped my pecans in my Ninja.
Do-again?: Bacon on its own is indulgent. This is a step beyond. The spice and sugar bring it to the next level. You can’t eat more than a piece or two but it’s worth it (and so easy in the oven to boot).
When you pin a recipe multiple times, you know you have to make it. This is what happened with the Comfort of Cooking’s Spicy Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese — it was only a matter of time. It’s also just a template for whatever mishmash of vegetables you may have in your house and proves my point that you just need cheese and/or hot sauce to make anything taste good.
Alterations: I trimmed the recipe in half and used a combination of chopped peppers, chard, carrots and onions for my vegetables.
Do-again?: Super tasty. I mean, how can you go wrong with delicious roasted veggies, spice and cheese? This seems like the perfect comfort food solution to getting rid of odds and ends in the fridge.
About a month ago while on vacation in the Grand Canyon, we ate in the dining room of the historic El Tovar Lodge. Since it was a cold night, we started with a cup of French Onion soup. The rich broth and gooey cheese hit the spot and I’ve been thinking about making the soup ever since. I had some chicken thighs that needed to be used and recalled that I had pinned a TheKitchn recipe for Braised French Onion Chicken and figured I could kill two birds (sorry but I had to) with one stone.
Alterations: I halved the recipe and used dried instead of fresh herbs. I also used Emmentaler instead of Gruyere since it was on sale at my local grocer.
Do-again?: This was delicious, rich and very easy. My boyfriend said he really liked the flavor, especially the herbs. The chicken became very tender and the broth tasted good when sopping up with a sourdough baguette.
A few weeks ago I purchased a bottle of pomegranate molasses at a gourmet warehouse sale. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but it was a pretty bottle and sounded good. Inspiration found me when I stumbled across this Food & Wine recipe for Eggplant and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses and after I got a 3 for $2 deal on Eggplant at the Grand Central Market during a jury duty lunch excursion, I decided to make the stew this week.
Alterations: I forgot to buy an onion so I chopped up a couple of shallots instead. I also used a lot less oil, which may have been why I burned the hell out of some of the stew. The problem could also have been not stirring enough or the level of heat. I added a little bit of honey after I finished cooking as well as the pomegranate molasses was quite tart.
Do-again?: This dish was tasty and had a very different flavor. I really liked the smooth texture of the eggplant and the slightly crunch of the lentils. The tart and heat from the chiles played off each other nicely.
The last time I had a craving for spaghetti squash was in the midst of my Paleo experiment. The craving was really for marinara sauce and I figured the best non carb vehicle to eat it would be on spaghetti squash but my grocer was fresh out. While I’m not on the Paleo bent anymore, I still felt that my spaghetti squash craving needed to be satisfied. TheKitchn’s recipe for Spaghetti Squash with Lemon, Ricotta and Asparagus looked like the perfect springtime menu and as luck would have it, my CSA delivered my first crop of asparagus this week.
Alterations: I brushed my squash with a bit of chile-infused oil to give it a little heat. I used dried thyme instead of fresh and added some lemon pepper seasoning as I thought the flavors needed to be punched up a bit more. I also forgot to put the nuts in and threw in some smoked prosciutto bits based on a commenter on the blog. I used a Meyer lemon from my tree.
Do-again?: This definitely tasted like spring and I actually preferred it reheated the next day because it crisped the asparagus up more.
After a week of road trip, it felt necessary to eat a bit lighter. We declared it soup and salad week. First up on the agenda, Caprese Soup, inspired by Domestic Fits.
Alterations: I roasted 2.5 pounds of tomatoes and substituted a bit of 2% milk and a tablespoon of greek yogurt instead of the cream. I had the balsamic glaze but I forgot to drizzle it on!
Do-again?: My boyfriend said this tasted like pasta sauce, which was a good thing. I added a little balsamic drizzle on the leftovers and it really brought it up a notch!
I could eat butternut squash in pretty much any preparation and be happy, but butternut squash ravioli with sage and brown butter has to be one of my favorite. I have to admit - PaleOMG’s Garlic Chicken Butternut Squash Lasagna didn’t even make me miss the pasta.
Alterations: I used my mandoline to get the butternut squash as thin as possible and made several layers in an 8x8 baking dish.
Do-again?: The combination of flavors is just so good - the coconut/tomato combo gave it kind of an Indian profile which we just loved.
We wanted to make a simple casual yet Californian feeling dinner as a send-off when my boyfriend’s parents were in town. We’d been eating out most of the week, so something on the lighter side was definitely in order. We took inspiration from Tasty Chicken’s recipe for Chicken Fajita Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette and also made some guacamole on the side.
Alterations: Since we didn’t have enough time to properly marinate, we cheated and used a pollo asado mix from Trader Joe’s. We used a grill pan to char the chicken, peppers and onions.
Do-again?: This hit the spot. The dressing was tart and refreshing and went well with the chicken and peppers. We would definitely make this again.
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You know you’ve done something right when you bring a dish to a potluck and everyone asks for the recipe. It’s even more special when that dish is a vegetable side! Thanks to REMCooks for the recipe for Roasted Cauliflower with Red Chile, Cilantro and Lime - you made me look good!
Alterations: Per the suggestion later in the post, I used a combination of broccoli and cauliflower. I used ancho chile powder and used some homegrown lemons instead of limes.
Do-again?: Yes, yes, yes. My boyfriend didn’t want me to leave home with this dish so he could keep it all for himself. This will go into the rotation again soon.
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