spaghettini+roasted heirloom tomatoes*+sundried tomato slivers+cured olives+feta+fresh mint
Tossed until feta was slightly soft. Lots of fresh pepper. A sweet-tish wine to cut the salt. Good bread and olive oil.
*from the freezer, the last of last year’s bounty.
Simple. Tasty. Fast.
A wonderful reflection on the community-building nature of a food swap.(This happened to be ours. I’m so happy the talented author could join us)
All the food I made is gone. Is it a shame, that once it is made, we don’t see it again? Remembering the beauty on the plate, I wonder sometimes if I have the right to things that are so good, so good for me, filled with warm colours and spice and soul. My wish for today is that everyone, everywhere, gets to taste even a fraction of the bounty I enjoy daily.
What does that word mean, earthy? There are earthy candles and earthy women (synonymous, I think, with wholesome farmgirl?) Earthy can be coffee, chocolate, interior design, and knitting. When I was growing up in the 70’s, you couldn’t get away from earthy, from earthy brown fridges to macrame owls. In the current and trendy locavore universe it seems the more dirt that clings to our food the more “earthy” everything else has become. Earthy is enjoying a renaissance.
Words are so overused. How about local? Sustainable? Green? Anything endng in “vore” organic, and gourmet/gourmand? I’m especially tired of the word buzzword, and don’t even get me started on foodie. To date I’ve almost reached the earthy saturation point, if it weren’t for the fact that sometimes, there is no other word.
Close your eyes and conjure up this: Warm lentils and many kinds of mushrooms, bathed in a little butter, grainy mustard, and a drizzle of reduced balsamic. Slivers of sun-dried tomato frolic with some salty goat feta, and a perfumy hit of cilantro, tumbled with peppery arugula. It’s January and damp. You have a fat book, some scattered newspapers, or a new magazine. It’s time to eat.
Earthy Warm Lentil & Mushroom Ragout
1 1/2 cups green or Dupuy lentils
3 cups water
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 clove garlic, sliced
4 oz each Shitake, Cremini, Button, and Oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp. butter
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. grainy mustard or Dijon
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. balsamic reduction (crema) or 2 tbsp. good balsamic
Sat and pepper to taste
2 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 oz goat Feta
In a saucepan, combine first 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes until lentils are tender and the water is evaporated. Set aside. In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add finely diced onion and minced garlic. Cook 1 minute. Increase heat to high. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until all liquid has evaporated and mushrooms begin to be glazed with the butter. Add cooked all remaining ingredients except for feta, stirring to combine. Remove from heat. Serve with crumbled feta. Serves 6.
Eventually I’ll get a few recipes posted to complement this. Of course use whatever works for you. If you’re completely stumped, use it word for word. We are vegetarians, but there are places to inject some meat (if you can get it from a respectable meat-producing farmer, try!) Breakfast is usually pretty basic, because my kids don’t love breakfast.
- For each day I split my plan into two columns, What We’re Eating and What To Prep Before I go To bed (remember, I don’t watch any TV, so I have time to feed my family! I will relax with a book, LATER)
- Do your shopping on Sunday for an entire week. God won’t mind, I promise. You’re feeding yourfamily for Ch*$%t sake. oops…
Moving right along. It looks something like this:
Vegetable Stew with Dumplings (this is dinner tonight)
Before Bed Prep: make stew, roast vegetables, dice and cook squash, make Pumpkin seed pesto, make smoothies, make vegetable lasagna, make tomato-lentil soup, shred mozzarella cheese, make a huge batch of roasted tomato sauce (this will all make sense. Read on)
Breakfast: Smoothies (made Sunday night, with frozen fruit from the summer, yogurt, and soy milk and ina pitcher in the fridge for when the kids get up)
Lunch: Italian Vegetable Subs (roasted eggplant, zucchini, and peppers, also in the VEG lasagna, with some of the tomato sauce and the shredded cheese)
Dinner: Butternut Squash & Red Beans with Rice and Pumpkin Seed Pesto (1/2 the squash gets saved for tomorrow)
Before Bed Prep: mix fruit and nut “sprinkle”, make Greek Pasta Salad
Breakfast: Yogurt with Honey, Dried Fruit and Nut Sprinkles
Lunch: Greek Pasta Salad
Dinner: Vegetarian Lasagna (made this on Sunday night! Sigh…)
Before bed prep: cut veggie sausage into rounds, peel and cut potatoes and boil for 5 minutes, cook some some tofu slices in soy and rice vinegar, make wraps.
So, you can see how this all works. Two or three days ahead, we’re doing a bit of prep (Sunday is the heavy day) and the result is a great meal on the table, fast, with only a couple of jobs to do each night. Read on…
Breakfast: Spanish Tortilla (using the potatoes, cut up sausage, eggs, and some of the cheese;)
Lunch: Marinated Tofu Wraps
Dinner: Tomato-Lentil Soup (also made on Sunday) Butternut Squash Quesadillas (using the rest of the wraps, the remainder of the squash, a bit of the shredded cheese, folded up and warmed in a dry pan)
BBP: make apple crumble, prep pizzas
Breakfast: Apple Crumble (yes, this is fine for breakfast. It’s fruit! It’s oats!)
Lunch: Mini English Muffin Pizzas (save some of the roasted veg, cut up, the tomato sauce, and shredded cheese)
etc etc etc….
Coming up Next:
-I’m going shopping on Sunday. What do I buy?
I hope you read the previous post by 5challenge Great ideas there, thank you!
Sundays are my day to spend in the kitchen. I plan, prep, cook, and clean top to bottom. It’s in my Critical Path for the week, and it has to be. Like most people, I work. Like many people, I work a lot, and am a single parent. I leave in the morning at 7am, and don’t walk in the door until almost 6:30 pm. Anyone who would think of starting to make dinner at this hour is insane. Food should ideally be on the table as soon as we get in the door. The kids are grumpy and ready to eat. I am grumpy and ready to eat and have to listen to three kids be grumpy. These are the days the drive through is for, right?
Not so fast. We walk in, and within 5 minutes are enjoying roasted butternut squash with white beans and pumpkin seed pesto, followed by apple crisp and a steaming pot of white grape tea. Tomorrow for lunch, there will be roasted italian vegetable subs in their lunches, and granola on the table for breakfast. I don’t have a cook, or a nanny, just me, and them.
Let’s get one thing straight, I am a trained chef, but I am not special or overly talented.We don’t good Zagat-worthy meals at home. We just don’t. But I’ll tell you one thing: I am thinking ahead four or five steps, I don’t watch any tv, and you can bet there’s no way we’re eating fast food. Good food, seasonal, and pretty cheap are my priorities. If they are yours, read on.
Back to Sunday. I get up, and read the paper over coffee. Then it’s down to business. Here is my game plan:
1. PLAN. Everything. Every breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack. Pull out some easy recipes, and make a grocery list. Get the kids to help. Ask them what they want to eat this week, and get them to write it down.
2. PREP. Whatever can be done ahead, do it. Look ahead to the entire week. Use that precious Sunday to get like, 3 or 4 days ahead, so you start the week off relaxed. (Can you imagine?)
3. GROUP. Do 1 task for several meals. Tomato sauce is a huge one. Cutting vegetables. grating cheese, using the food processor. It doesn’t take twice as long to do twice as much, when everything you need is already out, right? Take it out once, wash it once. It makes sense!
4. DOUBLE. Using the principle, above, make two of whatever you are making. One can go in the freezer if it freezes, or become lunch the next day. This isn’t “leftovers” this is enjoying fresh food, twice.
Some good strategies. Next I’ll help you put them into action.
-A simple menu pan, shared.
-What to shop for to make it happen (hint: it involves next to no boxed/processed food. Really)