Sunday, March 13, 2016

Week 8 Grocery List and Meal Plan

Shopping List!
3 lbs Chicken (this is extra meat to add to vegetarian meals if you want extra protein)
1⅛ Pounds Ground Turkey
4 Skin-On Salmon Fillets
3/4 pound steak

½ Pound Brussels Sprouts
1 Bunch Lacinato Kale
2 Clove Garlic
1 Shallot
1 Poblano Pepper
2 Red Onion
1 small onion
1½ Cups Cannellini Beans
6 Ounces Brussels Sprouts
1½ Pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 1/2 cups assorted cut-up vegetables (I'm using leftovers!)
1 courgette (silly British recipe - its a ZUCCHINI)
1 aubergine (Read: Eggplant)
3 red peppers
1 green bell pepper 
1 large red chilli
1 inch ginger

3 Lemon
1 Lime
1 Apple

1 Bunch Thyme
1 Bunch Cilantro
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
1 tbsp cumin seeds   
1 tbsp fennel seeds   
 Handful fresh coriander, chopped    
6 Tablespoons White Turkey Chili Spice Blend (Cornstarch, Chipotle Chile Powder, Ground Cumin, Whole Mexican Oregano, Garlic Powder & Sweet Paprika)

10 Ounces Gnocchi     
4 Blue Corn Tortillas
Jasmine Rice

 5 Tablespoons Butter
⅓ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
4 Ounces Aged White Cheddar Cheese
150g feta, crumbled into pieces    
1/2 Cup Sour Cream

1 Tablespoon Prepared Horseradish
Can of Coconut milk
1/3 cup vegetable or chicken stock  
2 to 3 tablespoons Fish Sauce 
1 to 4 tablespoons Green Curry Paste 
2 tbsps brown sugar   
canned sour cherries
50g pine nuts    
50g dried sour cherries
Tub of fresh hummus
 2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon Chinese fermented black beans or black bean sauce

Recipes for next week:
White Turkey Chili with Aged Cheddar Cheese Blue Corn Tortilla Strips

Seared Salmon Apple Mashed Potatoes with Brussels Sprouts Horseradish Sour Cream

Beef and Peppers in Black Bean Sauce

Crispy Brown Butter Gnocchi with Meyer Lemon Brussels Sprouts

Green Curry Chicken with Basil

Griddled Vegetables and Feta Couscous

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Week 7 Meal Plan

I've been struggling to keep my old budget before moving to Seattle, but this week was the closest to hitting my goal that I've ever come! $57, so waahoo! If I have bought cheaper cheese, or not bought large quantities of soy sauce, sugar and brown sugar. I hope everybody likes this weekend meal selections.

4 Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs
Breaded Chicken Tenders
2 pounds ground pork
1 pound regular tofu (medium firmness)
1 14-Ounce Package Extra Firm Tofu
1 Slice Bacon  
2 (2-pounds) racks pork spare ribs

12 Cloves Garlic
4 Scallion
1 Ounce Pea Tips
1 Bunch Garlic Chives
1 Pound Sweet Potatoes
 ½ Pound Baby Bok Choy
5 1-Inch Piece Ginger
3 Zucchini  squash
1 Bunch Collard Greens
1 Red Onion
1/2 cup minced shallots   

2 Black Plantains
1 Lime

¾ Pound Fresh Ramen Noodles

2 Tablespoons Butter

1 Bunch Cilantro
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 chile de arbol
2 tablespoons paprika
1 Tablespoon Jerk Tofu Spice Blend (Ground Cinnamon, Ground Cardamom, Dried Oregano, Smoked Paprika, Ground Ginger, Dried Lemon Peel, Light Brown Sugar & Ground Cayenne Pepper)
½ Teaspoon Pork Mazemen Spice Blend (Black Sesame Seeds, White Sesame Seeds, Kibbled Nori & Smoked Paprika)

1 jar tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons Pork Demi-Glace
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
¼ Cup White Miso Paste
3 Tbsp tapioca starch (can substitute cornstarch)
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp Chinese salted black beans (fermented black beans, also called Chinese black beans)
1 Tbsp chili bean paste
3 Tbsp stock (chicken broth)
ground Szechuan pepper
2 Tablespoons Mirin
¼ Cup Coconut Milk Powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup whiskey
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
2 tablespoons ketchup

 IF you ever wanted to see what our lazy meals look like, here it is! Frozen chicken patties, store sauce and freshmaz! We slice the zucchinis into noodle shapes and its simple and yummy.

I often worry when cooking with miso that the flavor will overpower everything, so even while eating and enjoying it, I feared C would notice and say something. Throw that fear out the window for him, he loved it and I did think it was a good meal although not exactly my preferred flavor profile. The honey did manage to show through the miso and I liked the fresh nature of the veggies. I used Yah Choy, instead of Bok Choy - because last week I used them in a recipe and loved them. After two weeks in a row I think I'll go back to Bok Choy in future recipes, but its always exciting to learn new vegetables and flavors. I added a splash of mirin to the veggies to raise the sweetness.

So C was craving chorizo and I wanted to make Chinese, so the compromise was chorizo breakfast omelet and the rest of the meat would be used in dinner. I put it in with the Mapo Tufu recipe and it added a nice spice to the dish. I also have left over zucchini from the zucchini noodles I made with the chicken Parm, so I chopped up the leftover veggie and added it with the recipes recommended vegetables. I felt that it needed more black bean sauce, so towards the end I added an extra couple spoonfuls.

I was so nervous about this recipe because all the ingredients were out of my comfort zone and it was so damn delicious. The plantains you BOIL to cook, how weird! And the Baked tofu puffed up in the over and really resembled more cake then tofu (OMG we are going to make it again as dessert or breakfast). The collard were tasty too! I highly recommend this meal. C says that he'd skip the time juice garnish next time, but I liked it personally.
This meal I ended up making with some left over fried tofu and bacon, instead of using the pork medley this recipe calls for. Park of this decision was that I used all the ground pork in the Mapo Tofu, an energetic mistake.  We really liked this recipe. C wished it had more broth, so I recommend making twice as much as they say for a more soup feel. The only change we made was C added some Satay sauce because he wanted more heat. That definitely changes the flavor and I think I prefer the broth without, but both are tasty! We were also happy to buy some rice seasoning that was a blend of seaweed flakes and sesame seeds. I couldn't find the Pea Tips, so I substituted Yah Choy.

Wah, I can't believe I forgot to snap a picture of this meal! You have to do the dry rub marinade for 24 hours before cooking and then you make a whiskey sauce that you brush it with while it bakes. I guess I had higher hopes for the glaze. The whiskey sauce was tasty, but not better then Jack Daniels premade sauce, so save money and buy the store stuff in my opinion. I plated it with baked asparagus and it was ok.

Week 6! I stretched this meal plan over a few weeks, sorry to go MIA

3/4 pound beef
6 Eggs
2 Catfish Fillets
2 Skin-On Salmon Fillets   
10 Ounces Ground Chicken      
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

6 Ounces Cremini Mushrooms
13 garlic cloves
2 stalks celery
5 scallion
2 cups bean sprouts
1 Shallot
2 large carrots
1 Bunch Lacinato Kale
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Onion 
½ Bunch Yu Choy
1 1-Inch Piece Ginger
4 Ounces Spinach
½ Bunch Lacinato Kale

1 Navel Orange
1 lime

1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tablespoons Butter

1 Small Baguette
¾ Pound Fresh Ramen Noodles
½ Cup Semi-Pearled Farro
¾ Cup Polenta
2 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs
12 ounces dried rice noodles

1 Large Bunch Parsley
¼ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 tablespoon paprika
2 Teaspoons Togarashi Spice Blend (Togarashi, Ground Coriander, Dried Orange Peel & Garlic Powder)
2 Teaspoons Chicken Meatball Spice Blend (Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Ground Fennel Seed, Ground Bay Leaf & Ground Cayenne Pepper)

1 15-Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 14-Ounce Can Whole Peeled Tomatoes
4 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ Cup Ponzu Sauce
2 Teaspoons Sambal Oelek
1 tablespoon wine
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
¼ Cup Rice Flour
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon chili paste
2 Tablespoons Sliced Almonds
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 Tablespoon Capers
1 tablespoon fermented black beans (try an Asian store!)
1 cup coarsely ground peanuts   

We loved this! I substituted fruit vinegar for the wine and added extra leftover vegetables that would have gone bad in the fridge otherwise.

with Yu Choy Fresh Ramen Noodles
So I actually am not a fan of fish but this was really good. I used Thai Mountain Sauce instead of ponzu sauce and added lime juice so it was more of Thai flavor then Japanese and C called me out. I am a new fan of Yu Choy veggies. It reminds me of if Bok Choy and Spinach had a delicious veggie baby.  

This is tasty! We know I'm a sucker for farro grain. I liked the fruity elements of the meal with the orange zest and chunks of fruit.
Cacciatore Style Baked Eggs with Lacinato Kale Parmesan Garlic Toasts
 So this dish, while hard to explain out loud was so tasty! We added ground pork to the sauce for extra meat. I'm always a sucker for cheese toast and dipping the bread into the egg yolk and tomato sauce was a great mix of flavors.

 So to save time, I just bought on sale mild Italian Sausage. I've never cooked with polenta, so I was very pleased to find it was a lot like grits. I enjoyed the meal - the leftovers - not so good.

I used some old veggies in the fridge (carrots and green beans) that weren't in the original recipe. Turned out very yummy. I would make Pad Thai every week if I thought I could get away with it.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

What We've been drinking. The Good, the Bad and the Tasty.

We are always drinking too much beer, but its so tasty - we just want to try it all! Plus I read some articles that give you the blessing to drink more sours because they are good for you! Take that pro-biotic yogurt!

The Good
So C picked up the Trader Joe's Vintage Ale and decided it was not for him, but I will happily pick up that mantle and finish it. At 9ABV it is strong but has a smooth taste thats easy to drink. They describe it on their website as having "an amber-mahogany hue, abundant with coffee & cream colored foam.  The ample aromas are of cocoa and malt, with added notes of lemon and ginger.  A single sip leads to the true discovery -- mildly sweet and malty flavors, with a captivating suggestion of cocoa, citrus and spice." I find the malt quite nice! And at $4.99 a bottle - its worth a try just to see!
These next two were picks of C's that he thoroughly enjoyed. pFriem's Dark Style Ale is described as "bold, complex flavors of fig dipped in dark chocolate, ripe fruit and toffee in this immense Ale." And I think that's an accurate portrayal of its dark, heavy flavors. I don't think it's for me, but C was glowing. 

C trying out the Mastne Cieszyńskie ale was mostly him questing to find another "go to" beverage when his taste buds needed a break from German lagers. He's been toying with Belgium and Polish Ales and was quite pleased with this one. 

Lindemans Kriek Cuvee Rene breathed new faith into me about my budding relationship with lambic sour beers. Described as "deep cherry red clear body, tart taste with a moderate sourness and an authentic cherry skin presence." I was intrigued enough to try another lambic (Framboise at 2.5 ABV was just juice) and the Cuvee Rene had a bigger impact with 4 ABV. It was refreshing and tart, but not too strong in the sour department. I am coveting its more expensive sister, the
Lindemans SpontanBasil 750ml, a unique collaboration with Mikkeller. ITs 6% ABV so its either going to delight or horrify my curious taste buds when I finally take the plunge and buy the $30 bottle.

 I am always eager to try a new flavor of Paradox when I can and this one was "Sour ale brewed with cascara (coffee cherries) and aged in wine barrels." Coffee berries are one of those exotic super food berries that they sneak into expensive juices, so sure I was pumped to try the sour. I'd say the fruit flavor was nothing special to really be a selling point (maybe it has higher antioxidents then another sour, but there's no scientific research to support that speculation!) I also delight when a good sour ages in wine barrels because it justifies all the years I spent drinking wine and not knowing that I was just wishing for a sour beer.

The Bad

Ugh. UGGGGGHHHH. I just want to reiterate how bad I think this beer is. I say this right now because when I try to describe it to other beer drinkers, my description makes them go "Huh, sounds good." So don't be fooled by the idea that it is good, and buy a Rodenbach that it is probably right next to in the beer store you are at.

So it tasted like if you made a sour beer and blended it with a cherry Dr Pepper. NO STOP THINKING THAT IT SOUNDS YUMMY. Its just a sad excuse of a beer. Maybe like an off brand soda that fermented on itself a little. Don't be fooled by the 8.50% ABV - its too sickly sweet to drink enough to get a buzz.
 We recently came into a wealth of Elysian beers, and its unfair for me to call it "bad"they just tend to be too hoppy for me. The main offender being Space Dust! 8.2 ABV will hit you fast and hard, but the 70 IBU is way too bitter for me. My preferred beers seem to float about 20 IBU just for taste preference reference. We affectionately called it "hop juice" in our house. I was personally disappointed by the Hawaiian Sunburn. The flavor text they put out describe it "Elysian Hawaiian Sunburn Berliner Weisse 12oz, "a pineapple, habanero, sour ale that packs a little heat and a little sweet, backed by a tart, refreshing finish." I was so excited to try Elysian's new sour despite the fact that its a Berliner Weisse (when will I learn?) and it just felt like there was a lack of commitment by the company to showcase any of the flavors advertised. The pineapple fruit flavor was so subtle, the habanero had no burn and the sour was lack luster. For the record, C likes it enough - but not me. At least when Paradox Beer Co - Skully Barrel No. 26 let me down due to lack of mango and chili flavors the sour was still a solid beer.

Again, the warning is that I don't actually believe this beer is "bad" its just not for me... I bought a few Gose beers because I wanted to figure out if I liked then and the unfortunate conclusion was that I do not. I skipped straight over the Off Color's Fierce Berliner Weisse because I dont' like Berliner Weisse Beer and got giddy over the Troublesome. They describe it as a "blend [of] two different beers to make Troublesome. The first is a somewhat uninteresting wheat beer and the second is an overly acidic & funky beer fermented solely with lactobacillus. We blend the two beers together with coriander and salt at the tail end of fermentation to create a mild, lemony tartness and a fuller sensation of mouthfeel. And yes, it's hard to make." I thought that sounded really yummy and was hoping the funky lactobacillus beer totally overpowered the wheat blend and kicked me in the face. It was easy to drink, but not tasty enough to buy again.

Along the same lines of trying new types of sours I also picked up the pFriem Bretta. We've been really impressed with this brewery and happily trying everything we can get our hands on (as mentioned above!) I sadly am not a fan of the Bretta taste. The flavor text described it as "amazing aromas like pineapple, peach, flavors of orange zest and fennel and a tangy finish that will have you surrendering to another in no time." But I don't really care if the beer smells good; I want it to taste as amazing and complex as the descriptive notes suggest. It tasted like a cool, easy to drink beer but I sensed none of the fruit and herb notes suggested. I think I will stay away from Brettas in the future as well.

The Tasty
So for Valentines, me and C headed to Beer Junction for their celebration of chocolate beers. Although they all sounded too wild to commit a whole mug to, we tried a bunch of 4oz samples. I think at the end of the day - that was the best strategy because these beers were super bold, syrupy and sweet. What we drank:
 Omnipollo Bourbon Aged Hypnopompa Imperial Stout 11%ABV "Bourbon BA Imperial Stout brewed with marshmallows and Tahitian vanilla beans." Since this beer is no longer in production, I feel lucky to have tried it. That being said, it was super dark and I felt lacked the notes of marshmallow and chocolate promised to us! 
 Southern Tier Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout 9.6% ABV I wrote next to it on my info card "taste like Kahlua mixed with beer" Haha.. I definitely think it was one of the thicker, sweeter concoctions we tried that day. 
 Telegraph Mexican Hot Chocolate Ale 6.5% ABV- I think this was the one taster that, as me and the boyfriend split, we stink eyed each other not to drink more then the others share. Most of these chocobrews left us saying "Oh man, that's strong - you can finish it if you like." But this beer was very tasty. I liked the spices. I think again this was a limted run brew, so I felt happy to try something special.
 Dogfish Head Higher Math (with Chocolate and sour cherry juice) 17% ABV - Holy fuck this is a strong ass drink. It taste like a mixed drink you get at a bar and almost as difficult to force down. Its a conversation starter if nothing else. I'd drink it in a group with the intent to share, because I promise its hard to drink down alone.
 Midnight Sun Modern Romance Spicy Chocolate Dark Ale 9.3% ABV so after the last sample, our taste buds thought it was ready to take on any challenge. This beer is the boss fight of beer. It is no joke SPICY. I actually really liked its flavor and surprising heat. It actually reminded be a lot of Bean Traders Habenero Dark Chocolate Latte in Durham NC. Check out the Modern Romances description of their sultry brew. 
                 "In an exciting collaboration, Midnight Sun and Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge—a local artisan chocolatier—designed and brewed a very special dark ale that celebrates our strengths—and weaknesses: sensuous chocolate, warm spice, fiery chili, provocative character and amorous mood. Raw cacao powder and roasted cacao nibs add an earthy element. But every romance needs some spark. Modern Dwellers’ signature Mayan Spice blend provides sultry, lingering heat that seduces the sweetness of the malts."

Yesterday was a real treat too! It was the Washington Beer Open House and we hit up a bunch of breweries in the Ballard/Freemont area of Seattle to taste their best showings at some local breweries.
We started the afternoon at Reuben's Brews were I got to try their Tart Cherry Weisse, Dry Hopped Sour (tasty!!), Randall Cucumber Gose (so refreshing!!!), Kumquat Gose (a friend ordered this and I had to march up and get one of my own!) and their Hoppy Rye. Then we headed to Stoup and I tried their Sour Stout (really compelling and interesting flavor, I'd try a small cup again) and their almost barley wine beer. It was really tasty although I originally stuck up my nose with the claim that I don't like barely wine. We then hit up Lucky Envelope and I really enjoyed the Helles Lager 5.0% ABV, 22 IBU, it was easy to drink and refreshing after all the sour and dark beers I'd downed earlier in the day. I also had a dry cider that while not my thing was pretty good.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Took a week off to clean out the Fridge, now back to it! Happy February! Week 5.

2 Pounds Ground Lamb & Beef Blend (2 meals)
6 ounces firm tofu, cubed
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

4 Pocketless Pitas
1⅓ Cups Buttermilk Biscuit Mix (How to make biscuits with pancake mix!)

¾ Cup Milk
½ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
4 Tablespoons Butter
½ Cup Low-Fat Sour Cream
¼ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tablespoons Grated Cotija Cheese (More of Cotija Cheese)

2 Ounces Arugula (I'm using spinach!)
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and quartered
3 large carrot, chopped
3 yellow onion
11 Cloves Garlic
1 Pound Broccoli
6 Ounces Green Beans
1 Persian Cucumber
12 Ounces Cremini Mushrooms (buy button or portobello if not available)
4 Scallions
thinly sliced jalapeño
1½ Pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes
One 1 3/4-pound head of cauliflower, cored—one-third cut into 3/4-inch florets, the rest coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely grated fresh ginger
2 baking potato
2 Stalks Celery
1 Ounce Red Pearl Onions
1½ Cups Cannellini Beans
1 Butternut Squash
1 Poblano Pepper
1 Red Onion
½ Pound Tomatillos

1 Lemon
2 lime

1 Bunch Mint
1 bunch cilantro
1 Large Bunch Sage
1 Tablespoon Lamb Gyro Spice Blend (Za'atar, Ground Cumin, Sweet Paprika, Ground Coriander & White Sesame Seeds)
1 Tablespoon Shepherd's Pie Spice Blend (Mustard Powder, Dried Thyme & Garlic Powder)
3 Tablespoons Squash Chili Spice Blend (Masa Harina, Chipotle Chile Powder, Ground Cumin, Ancho Chile Powder & Whole Mexican Oregano)
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
3 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I actually am almost out!)
½ Cup Cornichons (What is a Cornichon?)
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
3 tablespoons white miso
1 Tablespoon Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 quart vegetable stock
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 Tablespoons Chicken Demi-Glace
¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

I made broccoli because C has decreed that cauliflower makes our house and fridge smell bad. Yummy recipe for lunch.

Sooo this was one of those meals that was so tasty that I ate it before I remembered to photo it. I enjoyed the mushroom and green beans in it and the only complaint for the boy was I should have made gravy, which I second the feeling. 

 This recipe was interesting because you use all the vegetable ingredients to make the broth and then it tells you to strain them out and discard. To discard so many delicious healthy veggies seemed sad, so I actually saved them and ate them for lunch over rice the next day. The turmeric was an interesting new flavor with miso that I enjoyed.

While a hit in our household, two soups back to back have dampened our fervor for the warm comfort food. I added shredded chicken to this dish. I enjoyed it for many lunches after this dinner, but C seemed one and done with this recipe.
Firstly, we LOVED this. There is definitely some tweaks I'd recommend, but overall A+++ 
C's feedback was it needed more biscuits. So I guess if I made it again, I'd cover the whole top with biscuit mix. What I did was make the biscuits from pancake mix and it added a sweet flavor to all the salt. I would recommend cooking the carrots and pearl onions longer so they are not so crisp.

Again, two soups and a chili is kind of a lot of heavy liquid meals in one week. So that was bad on me for this menu and I'd recommend stretching it out, but otherwise solid meal.

On to week 6!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Week 4 - Where did this month go?! Hope you are still eating well!

Full disclosure, week 4 is were I fell off the bandwagon with documentation. I didn't save all my receipts correctly, I didn't take pictures of the finished products of certain meals (sometimes you are just that hungry....), I wasn't excited to cook and I wasn't motivated.. so this grocery list is still complete and the recipe critiques are available, but I will up my game next blog. Also, at the end of this week, I did a week of cleaning out the fridge recipes. Some were really tasty, but again - I didn't take all the pictures I should have, so I'm tacking them to the end of this blog!

Italian Sausage
1 egg
2 Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs (I'm going to use Chicken breasts!)
2 Cod Fillets

8 Garlic cloves
1 Red Onion
5 Ounces Brussels Sprouts
2 Ounces Arugula (I'll use spinach, personally)
½ Pound Spinach
10 Ounces Savoy Cabbage
1 Celeriac
1 Pound Russet Potatoes
1 Yellow Onion
3 Scallions
1 Delicata Squash
½ Pound Baby Bok Choy
2 1-Inch Piece Ginger
1 Persian Cucumber
½ Pound Jicama

2 Navel Oranges
3 Lemon
1 Pear
1 Granny Smith Apple

1 tube refrigerated biscuits
¾ Pound Fusilli Con Buco Pasta
4 Sour dough bread
¼ Cup Matzo Meal
½ Pound Wide Rice Noodles
¾ Cup Jasmine Rice

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Cup Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
4 Ounces Brie Cheese

1 Bunch Mint
1 Large Bunch Cilantro
1 Bunch Sage (Upstairs gardens!)
5 Tablespoons Hazelnuts
1 Bunch Thai Basil (I have leftovers from last week .. that I never used?)
1 Teaspoon Chicken & Latke Spice Blend (Caraway Seeds, Ground Yellow Mustard, Dried Thyme & Ground Nutmeg)

1 jar marinara sauce
Italian breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
1¾ Cups Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon Coconut Palm Sugar
1 Teaspoon Matcha Powder
2 Tablespoons Golden Mountain Sauce
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Tamarind Concentrate

Recipe List:
This recipe .. I'm telling you man, if its a viral yummy video and looks super easy - really take it with a grain of salt. The concept it great for a unhealthy fast meal at home, but the directions did not come out as smoothly as I hoped. I usually would make my own meatballs, but I saw them on sale at the grocery for the same price as ground beef and said, "Why not?" the recipe video implies using their premade freezer meatballs you can just pop them into the casserole and bake and they will be cooked through no problem. I did not find this true. The centers were raw and uncooked. We were starving so I manually pulled the meat from the bread cooking up around it and cooked them in a skillet, put them back into the casserole and baked longer. The taste was great, but that unpleasant raw meat surprise was.. not ideal.
This one, was a disaster for a few reasons. The web address reads "butternut-squash-kale-barley-soup-with-grilled-cheese-apple-sandwiches" so I assumed that's what I was making and was kind of sad not when I opened up the link. But C loves Ricotta cheese and when the recipe card opened up I was like "Oh yeah, I remember picking this one - still excited."  But then I opened up the Ricotta cheese which I bought for a recipe earlier in January, and it was orange (definitely bad). So I threw away the main component of this meal and kinda made it up from scratch. I used a different type of noodles on purpose because I couldn't find the fusilli pasta. I added Kielbasa to the recipe to have some extra meat.
So C wanted a Grilled Cheese, but I had literally not any of the ingredients, for this yet and shrugged my shoulders and tried to make due with what was in the fridge (ack mistake!!). So instead of Brie I used Gruyere. Instead of pears, I use an apple. C didn't want to wait for the salad to be assembled so we just ate sammies (and it was like 11 o'clock at night when we ate). So I can't comment on this recipe since I did not do it. 
This recipe was a hit! Ok, the only complaint is that Latkes took me forever to make. We have a pretty small cheese grater, so shredding the potato felt intensive. The roasted Celerac root was tasty and although I worried about the mustard chutney, C couldn't get enough!

This was one that I didn't get a photo. Matcha powder is expensive but obviously a key flavor in thei meal. C bought some powder for himself to make tea ($27 for 1.1 oz - but he did but ceremonial grade!!!)  and donated the teaspoon to this recipe. I think its ingredients like this where the true value of Blue Apron shines through. They would send you the amount you needed, which is nice instead of buying a large amount of an expensive ingredient that you don't need after this recipe. We added chicken which I felt wasn't necessary. The recipe was very yummy with just the squash and bok choy. I don't think leftover reheat well though.
So as you can tell from the picture, I used Farro instead of Jasmine rice. I prefer it because its higer protein content and i think tastier flavor. C really loves Tamarind fruit, so I was excited to try the paste in a recipe. Its that delicious tangy flavor missing fromy our life! (Much better then the fruits texture and blander taste.) I also loved Jicamas! Its a root you eat raw and is so fresh and refreshing. I loved the "relish" and ate it the rest of the week as a snack.

Extra bonus recipes to clean out your fridge!
So with the meatballs and biscuit dough from the cassarole from earlier in the week, I had some extra meatballs that I made biscuits and gravy with! Here is a simple recipe for a great brekfast!

Foodnetwork's Poblano Cream Cheese Empanadas Recipe I forget whiy I had cream cheese in the fridge, but I added chicken to this recipe and made a bunch of empanadas to eat for diner and lunch for a few days.

Epicurious' Shrimp and Avocado in Tamarind Sauce was the shiney star of clean up the fridge recipe week. This helped use up some of the tamarind paste from the cod recipe and was so smashingly good. I'm not even a fan of shrimp - but I do like avadaco and C loves shrimp so I gave it a try. We will be making this again the next time I see shrimp on sale. Very very good!

Monday, January 18, 2016

What we've been drinking! The Good, the Bad and the Yummy!

The Good
ABandon Beer was quite tasty. It was recommend from Beer Junction who posted a picture of it with this flavor text, "Gilgamesh ABandon Brew Cranberry Saison 22oz, a Cranberry Strong Ale using Saison yeast aged in Pinot Port Barrels." I think it was a great sour. It wasn't too crazy with unexpected flavors. The lid gave us a challenge to break off.

Beer Junction threw a tasting event with Rodenbach last Thursday! I got to try 4 of their sours (plus Palm Belgian Pale) for just $4!
The Lineup:
I pre-gamed at home with the ABandon Brew.
Then they started us off with 8oz of the Palm Belgian Pale. I wasn't a huge fan but it wasn't bad. I think C liked it as a nice warm weather Session option.
Then the sour taste test!!
1. Rodenbach Grand Cru - So I've had this before but it set the baseline for all the tastings.
2. Rodenbach Foederbier - It was the essence of their sour. Nice to taste the tart origins.
3. Rodenbach Vintage 2013 - The best of the samples. This is something I hope to get again on tap in the coming week.
4. Rodenbach Caractere- I've had this one before and its a fruit sweet sour. C really liked it. I guess I'd rather go traditional then fruity. A great alternative to a mimosa or screwdriver in the morning!

We weren't sure what coffee brand would settle in as our favorite when we arrives to the PNW but Stumptown seems to be pulling into the lead. We've been trying all the varieties the local QFC offers. Lately we've noticed a strong biases to Ethiopian bean blends. Anyway, we will keep trying other local roasters, but its great to have a standard to always fall back on. I grabbed two roasted beans from the coffee place a block down the road, but C felt it was just "too coffee flavored". He is a sucker for notes of melon and other exotic tastes. We didn't think we'd like the hops notes in the Thiopia Goji blend, or hoped it wasn't really present and they were just trying to appeal to the strong hop culture around here. I'm happy to report in that it is indeed a slight hop flavor - but it fits nicely with the coffee and isn't overwhelming. Our favorite pick from them for sure!

The Bad

So C bought a box of this tea to my disapproving frown. He just wants to taste the world and I didn't think a fermented tea leaf was worth experimenting with my taste buds over. I think the internet suggests it might help with weight loss. Anyway, I get a text message from him saying the tea taste like dirt. Minutes later I get another text that ways that when you add honey to the tea it tastes like dirt with honey! haha .. Days later we tried it again with milk and sugar which makes it surprisingly drinkable. It tastes surprisingly like black english tea. So maybe it should be upgraded to the good catagory?

So I did not enjoy this sour beer, but I am thankful to it. When I taste it, my first reaction was "Yuck, taste like a sour beer blended with a cheap beer" but the taste was familiar. I realized it tasted like other fruit beers and cheaper sours I've tried in the past. I traced backwards and they all were Berliner Weisse Beers. These beers are categorized as sour wheat beers. Now that I know they aren't my thing, I wil avoid them in the future! Silver lining people!

The Yummy

I really enjoyed The Lost Abbey's  Cuvee de Tomme. They describe it on their site like this,

"A massive brown ale base that is made from four fermentable sugars including Malted Barley, Raisins, Candi Sugar and Sour Cherries, this beer is fully fermented before being placed in Bourbon barrels where the beer ages for one year with the Sour Cherries and the wild Brettanomyces yeast that we inoculate the barrels with."

It was on tap at Beer Junction when I stopped in to follow up on my Berliner Weisse hunch. I tasted a 4oz sample and then when in later for a full .5 liter. Its a strong 11% ABV and makes me a giggly mess of happy feels. After having it twice, I do feel I need a cool down but I still am a huge fan!

Me and C grabbed these two tins of tea at Safeway and one is much better then the other. I'm in love with the berry trifle. Its got a nice fruit flavor and with a little sugar scoop my favorite warm beverage to take on my journey to work. The Cinnamon Chalet is nice, but without caffeine, has less purpose and more a pleasant add on to an afternoon. We were very pleased to find the tins had more then the 15 sachets it claims. Both tins had 4 or 5 extra tea bags! Win!!

I'm including this here for everybody else, but not myself. I wanted to try a Lambic since its such a highly recommended intro sour. I guess it is just too sweet and juicy for my taste preference. I picke dup the big bottle for $10 at Trade Joes and me and C drank it over a few hours. He loved it. He feels it could be a breakfast alternative to juice. I think its tasty but loses points for only a 2.5% APV. Its carbonated juice.