Posts Tagged 'recipes'

meatless meal: potato and leek soup

hello world,

yesterday, the weather was gray and rainy- not cold, but brisk and generally miserable. we all slept until 7:30am (a sleeping in miracle) and after breakfast, V and i went to do our weekly shopping. at the supermarket, i noticed that leeks were on sale and grown in the united states. i bought 2 bunches and during V’s nap cooked up some soup.

i modified the recipe from the joy of cooking to suit our family. here’s my version:

potato and leek soup

ingredients: 6-8 large leeks, 2 large or 3 medium baking potatoes, 3 tbsp olive oil, 5 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock or some combination of stock and water), salt and pepper to taste

  1. thoroughly wash leeks and chop, using only the white parts (i usually go right up until the green part splits)
  2. on low, heat oil in a dutch oven. add leeks, stirring often until soft, but not brown (about 20 minutes)
  3. peel and thinly slice potatoes
  4. add potatoes, stir through then add stock and bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft (about 30 minutes)
  5. turn off heat and puree until smooth. (here, i used an immersion blender which i killed. the recommended way is to use a standing blender, making certain to leave an opening for steam to escape.
  6. season- 1/4 tsp of either white or black pepper and salt to taste
  7. gently reheat and serve.

we didn’t plan this into our menu for any particular meal, but it has made an excellent supplement to my usual sandwich for lunch. this soup isn’t super smooth (see dead blender), but it tastes good anyway. some folks add cream, but this is a non-dairy version.

happily warm with winter soup,


ps- i should note that i super multi-tasked while making this soup. not only is it painfully simple, it also required minimal attention. i had neko case on the ipod, laundry in the washer and the dryer and finally sorted through the holiday photos to put into an album. MHM watched a movie i didn’t want to see and V slept right until i poured the soup into its storage container. i had a very pleasant sunday afternoon.


success in the kitchen: cm’s own meatballs

dear world,

i am a reasonably accomplished cook. i can bake bread and i have some old standbys, but mostly i make salads. in our kitchen, i am the beta cook to MHM’s alpha cook. this weekend, however, i succeed in making meatballs. ok, everyone can make meatballs, you say. but this is not true! i have failed miserably (several times) at most forms of meatloaf  and usually just avoid the forming of meat into a shape that is not burger.

yesterday i made meatballs without consulting a recipe, without asking any questions and with complete success! here’s what i did:

cm’s own meatballs

ingredients: 1/2 pound ground sirloin, 1/2 pound ground pork, handful of chopped fresh parsley, 1 egg lightly beaten, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to taste, 2-3 tbsp olive oil, your favorite tomato sauce, 3/4 pound penne pasta

  1. combine the ground beef and ground pork in a large bowl with salt and pepper
  2. add parsley, egg and 2 tbsp of breadcrumbs and mix until evenly incorporated (add more breadcrumbs if mixture is too wet)
  3. roll meat mixture into 1 inch balls and set aside (approximately 12-13 meatballs)
  4. in a large dutch oven heat oil over medium high heat
  5. brown the meatballs in batches and remove
  6. remove some of the left over fat from the pan and add tomato sauce
  7. once the sauce heats through, turn heat down to medium low, add meatballs and simmer with the lid on until cooked through (1/2 hour to 45 minutes)
  8. cook the pasta, drain and stir through with the sauce
  9. serve with fresh chopped parsley and the cheese of your choice (i chose pecorino romano, MHM chose parmesan)

i am super proud of my culinary adventure this weekend. we used the last of the homemade sauce left over from summer tomatoes and V ate almost an entire meatball herself! i should also note that the recipe will serve 4 hungry people (or 2 adults, a small person and leaves at least 2 portions for leftovers). this meal was exactly what we needed on the sunday night before  a long work week.



meatless meal: tomato, basil and goat cheese

hello world,

our meatless meal this week is one of my favorite stand-by’s. we discovered it a couple years ago in a marcella hazan italian cookbook and have modified it to suit our week night dinner routine. here’s what we do:

tomato, basil and goat cheese

  1. make your favorite basic tomato sauce (or grab a jar of basic tomato sauce)
  2. boil enough penne, rigatone or cannelloni to feed your family
  3. when the pasta is al dente, move it from the pot directly into the pan of sauce and stir through
  4. turn off the heat and crumble in a small log of goat cheese, stirring until smooth
  5. tear fresh basil directly into the pan, stir through and serve

for our family of 3, we usually use about 1/2 a box of penne and 3/4 of the goat cheese. if you’re serving more people, just add more pasta and cheese. i do want to note that choosing pasta with a hole through the center is preferable for this dish because it allows sauce to get in every bite. with spaghetti or linguine the sauce just falls off onto the plate- clearly not as tasty.

enjoying our meatless monday success (on tuesday!),


simple salad with roasted chicken

hello world,

i had a notion to try a recipe we found in food and wine magazine for crab, apple and watercress salad. except funds are a little tight for crab, i forgot to buy the granny smith apple and no one at the market had watercress. i did accidentally purchase 2 containers of walnuts, however.

here’s what we had instead:

simple salad with roasted chicken

ingredients: 1 whole bone in chicken breast, 1 handful of arugula, 1 handful of salad greens, 2 celery ribs, a couple cherry tomatoes, 1 small red onion, 1 small handful of chopped walnuts

to roast the chicken breast:

  1. heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. coat chicken breast with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper
  3. place chicken breast skin side down and roast for 25 minutes. turn and roast an additional 20 minutes skin side up. (important note: depending on the size of your breast, timing will vary. chicken is done when no longer pink and juices run clear.)
  4. let cool and pull meat from the bones

to make the salad:

  1. arrange arugula and salad greens on plates
  2. chop celery, halve tomatoes and divide between plates
  3. thinly slice onion and sparingly divide between plates (reserve one slice if you don’t have shallot for the dressing)
  4. toss a handful of chopped walnut on each plate
  5. arrange chicken on top of the salad and drizzle with dressing to taste

dressing ingredients: 2 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 small shallot minced, 2 tsp dijon mustard, 2 tbsp walnut oil, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper (taken directly from food and wine recipe)

  1. whisk the vinegar with the shallots and mustard
  2. add salt and pepper
  3. whisk in the walnut oil and olive oil

the salad tasted great! i think i added a little too much vinegar and adjusted with a little more olive oil than the recipe called for, but overall it went quite well with the other flavors on the plate. i think i might use more salad greens and less arugula next time because the spiciness of the arugula was a little overpowering. lemon juice would be an excellent substitute for the white wine vinegar in this dressing, too.

nana joined us for dinner and she liked it, too. (i should mention that nana brought backup iceberg lettuce and backup salad dressing in case she didn’t like greens and walnut oil.) for starting out with lofty goals we ended up with something nice, tasty and light. with MHM out of town, simple is key.

happy labor day,


summer salad with lemon dressing

dear world,

i got inspired yesterday during V’s morning nap to make a simple salad for MHM and i for lunch. after buying such fresh vegetables and greens from the market just hours before, i couldn’t resist throwing together a simple salad. (V’s not so good at eating raw veggies yet so she got to have annie’s mac and cheese instead.) this recipe serves 2. here’s what i made:

summer salad with lemon dressing

ingredients: 2 handfuls salad greens, 1 good handful arugula, 6 cherry tomatoes, 1/2 a cucumber, 1/2 a summer sausage, 2 tbsp feta cheese, juice from 1/2 a lemon, lemon zest, 1/3 cup olive oil, salt and pepper

  1. wash and dry the salad greens and arugula and arrange on 2 large plates
  2. halve the cherry tomatoes and divide between plates
  3. thinly slice cucumber and sausage, then halve the slices and divide between plates
  4. crumble feta each plate

lemon dressing

  1. zest 1/2 a lemon into a 2 cup measuring cup
  2. add lemon juice, salt and pepper and whisk until salt is dissolved
  3. pour in olive oil while whisking
  4. pour over salads and serve immediately

you may not need all of the dressing. the recipe makes a little more than 2 salads can handle unless you’re really hungry and add more lettuce than we had yesterday. i ended up with enough left over to have one more salad this afternoon. also, i only used a small pinch of salt in the lemon dressing because the sausage and feta added enough on their own. if you have some extra green beans left over from dinner the night before it might taste good to toss those on top as well.

enjoying the summer’s bounty,


thursday night dinner: fish sandwiches

dear world,

in our household, there is always one weeknight dinner that must be easy to cook and take as little time as possible. we are preparing for a road trip to visit family (leaving town tomorrow!) and tonight is that night for us.

several years ago, i found a simple recipe for pan fried fish sandwiches in cooking light magazine and over the years have modified it to suit our family. the best thing about this recipe is V loves it!

here is a quick, healthy main dish that will satisfy your family, too.

fish sandwiches

ingredients: 4 medium fillets of white fish (i prefer catfish or tilapia), 1/2 cup flour, 1 egg beaten, 1 cup corn flakes (crushed), vegetable oil, , 4 hamburger buns, tartar sauce, salt and pepper

  1. heat oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. use enough oil to completely cover the bottom of the pan.
  2. season both side of the fillet with salt and pepper
  3. prepare 3 plates: 1 with flour, a low shallow dish for the egg and one for the corn flakes
  4. coat each fillet with flour and shake off excess
  5. dip each fillet in the beaten egg
  6. coat with crushed corn flakes
  7. helpful tip: i set up a large cooling rack over a plastic cutting board and place each piece of fish on it prior to cooking as well as after cooking. this saves your counter tops from a mess and allows excess oil to drip away before eating.
  8. cook fish about 4 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the fillets
  9. remove to cooling rack
  10. serve on hamburger buns with tartar sauce

we usually eat this with a simple salad or whatever vegetables we have left from the market. i love this for a simple weeknight dinner.



simple side dish: far out far eastern salad

dear world,

do you ever think, dinner tonight will be so good, but i could really use a little something green to balance out my meal? sometimes a can of green beans or frozen peas is just not the right answer. the far out far eastern salad is a great accompaniment to any main dish.

far out far eastern salad

salad ingredients: 1 medium head of your favorite lettuce or 1 bunch of mixed greens, 2 green onions, 2 small carrots, a handful of roasted peanuts

  1. wash and dry lettuce or greens and toss in a large bowl
  2. add thinly sliced green onions (both white and green parts)
  3. add thinly sliced carrot coins
  4. crush peanuts with a frying pan or chopper and add just before serving

dressing ingredients: 3 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar (white wine vinegar is a fine substitute), scant 2 tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, pinch of white pepper, 1/4 tsp minced green onion

  1. whisk first 4 ingredients together until sugar dissolves
  2. whisk in remaining ingredients

the recipe above makes two large side salads or four smaller salads. doubling works great if you have a larger family. i usually mix the dressing in a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup for easing pouring and easier to clean up.

happy eating,