I made and cleaned a mess of a kitchen untold numbers of times this past week. I thought I’d share the week’s food and non-food recipes. Some were inspired by our attempts to more thoughtfully purchase, prep and eat (i.e. making things ahead of time and ensuring leftovers). I also learned that writing recipes takes thought and patience – new appreciation for those old biddies (how I imagine them) who write such old-fashioned-ly snarky things in The Joy of Cooking, and to all recipe makers out there!
Sunday: Super Bowl! Spent the evening with good friends, S & R (who happen to have a 7-month-old, J, who is WV’s girlfriend – I am hoping one day S and I are machatunia).
I made Fried Rice with Bok Choy – our homage to the San Francisco in San Francisco 49ers. We also brought Home Made Rolls and S made the most delish crab cakes to put on them. This recipe is also my favorite for making hot dog buns, from the book W has mentioned before – Make the Bread, Buy the Butter. I tease him by calling the author, Jennifer Reese, his mistress because he starts mucho kitchen sentences with “well, Jennifer Reese says…” She gives a definite “MAKE!” to hot dog buns, but says not to bother with, and “BUY!”, hamburger buns. This is confusing – why not just use the hot dog bun recipe to make hamburger buns and rolls? She says they wouldn’t hold up to a greasy overloaded hamburger, but they did hold up to a crab cake and I’m guessing will be much better than any store-bought hamburger bun (which, lets face, likely won’t hold up well either). I get the feeling from her book that she also wanted her hot dog and hamburger buns to be appreciably different in flavor. However, these buns are so tasty, I don’t mind them being the same for hot dogs and hamburgers and even rolls for dinner with pasta. Your alternative is always the grocery store disgusto-buns that have human hair and duck feathers and who knows what else (I’m serious) in them. So there’s that.
Monday: Babywearing WV in a double hammock, I was a dough-making fool! Eight pizza doughs and 18 more rolls rose during the day and then W and I cooked 4 of the pizzas – 1 for dinner and the others to freeze. Hallelujah for our stand mixer! We need to order more flour.
Pizza Dough and Pizza Recipes – It’s taken numerous iterations to get to what we think of as our “go-to” pizza recipe when it comes to both the dough and the process. We used to buy dough from Trader Joes, which sells a single dough (white or wheat) for 99 cents, which ain’t too shabby price-wise, but compared to home made dough, doesn’t hold a candle to the flavor. After several girl’s nights where my friends easily made tasty, tasty dough to make pizzas, I realized we should (and could) too! Our favorite recipe is from an Italian cook-book (makes sense) we got for our wedding. I often make 8 doughs at a time (we. eat. alot. of. pizza), quadrupling the recipe and using two bowls. I also usually make W help. Then we’ll assemble 2-4 pizzas that night, freezing the remainder of the doughs in individual portions as well as the left over pizza – it’s a great snack or dinner in a pinch. Brings new meaning to “frozen pizza.”
Tuesday: Day o’leftovers. Lunch was Peanut Sauce and Glass Noodles, which although I made the Friday before I started this post, were so tasty and the recipe so simple, I thought it would be a good one to add.
Wednesday: Walter had a long day at work (usually he works from home, but he had to go to several meetings) so I was stuck at home thinking about chicken cutlets. I did something about that. Also, I made some baby food for WV.
Chicken Parmigiana – Oh man, this turned out soooo good! I have never made this…probably mostly because my mom makes chicken cutlets to die for and I just didn’t want to try and fail – failing meaning, not tasting like my mom’s. But this was a delish dish that made it onto sandwiches and as dinners over the next two days. W and I figured it cost less than $2.00 a serving…and these were organic chicken breasts. Recalling that our chicken parm sandwich from a restaurant a few weeks ago was nearly $10, well, I, uh, wow.
Apple Sauce – Originally made for a certain baby, but as you can see here, after choosing the best organic apples, washing them, peeling them, juicing them, reconstituting them, heating them, and finally pureeing them…WV DID NOT WANT TO EAT THEM. He made several adorable “this sucks, mom” faces, pulled off his cute bib, and spit them out. Okay, so now it’s adult apple sauce.
Thursday: Juicing Fiends!!! No need for a recipe here – I’d pulled out the juicer for the apple sauce, so kept it out for a round of home made orange, carrot and apple juices. Mmm…liquid ambrosia. The key to juicing is just prepping the ingredients all at once (makes you feel accomplished); then they’re ready whenever you want juice (makes you feel lucky). Carrot juice cut with a hint of apple is my favorite. The rest of the day was full of leftovers.
Friday: Breakfast – eggs and W’s Home Made Bread. For dinner I made Pink Alfredo Sauce with onions and mushrooms and spinach pasta. This has got to go into our rotation as well – it came out scrumptious!!! I kept “re-saucing” my pasta, just to have some more!
Saturday: Breakfast – Orange & Oat Scones. W’s mom gave me this beautiful stoneware scone pan that I don’t use often enough. These scones did’t show the thistle impression because they were too chunky with the oatmeal, but the pan keeps them in a nice shape. One note, if you are using a pan like mine and not a cookie sheet, you’ll need to adjust the baking time to ~25 minutes. Also, the recipe calls for 1 cup of buttermilk; I didn’t have any. Using one of my favorite handy cooking references, Substituting Ingredients, I added 1 cup of milk and 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar instead. I made two batches – one with and one without chocolate chips. Sixteen scones didn’t last long…they’re great with afternoon tea, too (and we gave a few away)!
I also made a new batch of our Go-To Granola, which I always modify in some way according to the ingredients I have laying about (this time I had date pieces and craisins). Usually I double the recipe, but this time I didn’t and it went much faster – mostly because mixing ~10 cups of ingredients is much harder than mixing ~5 cups of ingredients. Tasty for upcoming breakfasts with milk or yogurt or as a snack by itself.
Lavender Baby Powder – One of my mom’s friends sent me a small shaker of home made baby powder, and it turned out to be the best thing we’d ever put on WV’s butt! Especially for cloth diapering, which necessitates not using any sticky creams. Anyway, we ran out. Ack!!! I didn’t want his rashlessness to end!!! I haven’t made this recipe exactly because I’m waiting on the kaolinite (white clay) to arrive (bought 5 pounds here), but(t) have posted the full recipe because it kinda sucks without the clay (very hard to shake out of the bottle, trust me). Can’t wait for the clay to arrive and amend my currently eking-by baby powder.
Butt Spray (yep, that’s really what we call it). I made a batch of wet wipe solution (I make our own cloth wipes, too – more on that forthcoming). This is super simple and avoids all the nastastic and harsh ingredients in regular wipes. One batch lasts about a month.
Sunday: Crock Pot London Broil with Veggies – To prep for a few extra meals this week, I whipped this up and let it simmer all day. The house smelled divine. On Saturday I had cooked up 2 cups of rice to have for the week, when needed. That came in real handy for this diner! I like prepping a big pot of rice (might do some quinoa tonight, too) for the rest of the week. It came out a little tough, but I think that is because of the meat cut itself; other crock pot meats I’ve made with the same recipe were quite tender.
What’s in store, recipe-wise for this week? Well, for V-Day, I’m going to try salted caramel brownies cut into hearts. No other major cooking plans…maybe I’ll defrost some pizza. And chuckle at these cooking fails again! Bon Appetit!!!