Koshary Vermont Style

We just made this for dinner, and, while preparing it, I was trying to figure out how to market it to Mk and Z. It occurred to me that it was, essentially, a koshary dish, with lots of extras added in. This inspired me to add crispy garlic and onions that I bought in jars at the Asian market last week and have been trying to figure out good places to use them.

This dish was surprising in how great it was. All of the ingredients combined in this magical way to make for a super yummy bite each time.

Edit: after posting the recipe, I realized I forgot to add the kimchee :( Oh well, something for next time.

When is a recipe not a recipe?

When I only pretend to follow it. Tonight, I tried to make Tuscan White Bean Soup with Escarole, except we don’t have any white beans, and I don’t even know what Escarole is.

So I used kidney beans and kale instead. I’m calling it Etruscan Kidney soup (for no particular reason).

I also put a nice twist on our typical seedy salad (in which I toast some pumpkin and sunflower seeds in olive oil, and add tamari, garlic, and lime juice) by tossing in some goat cheese. Yum!!

Update: turns out Etruscan soup is a real thing. That’s definitely going on the menu for next week!

Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts

Tonight is new dish Wednesday and since J is off to PTO I decided to find my own ideas. I was originally planning on making Chick Pea Polenta and White Bean Soup but my brain absolutely failed me when I went shopping and I ended up with none of the correct ingredients. So, instead I went with plain fried polenta (just straight out of the tube and into the frying pan) and Quinoa with Brussels Sprouts (side note: I just now learned that Brussels has an ‘S’ at the end). The recipe is good, and I love the attitude:

Heat the oven up to 400 degrees. Tear off any fucked up lookin leaves on the brussels sprouts and chop them into quarters (or halves if they are little). Toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil and spread them out on a baking sheet. Roast those sons of bitches for 20 minutes, stirring half way, or until the sprouts are golden and kinda burnt in some places. Goddamn delicious. Just trust. Boiling these tiny cabbage-looking motherfuckers is a crime. ROAST OR GTFO.

My dad and I made this recipe for Thanksgiving last year, and it was great. Of course, he didn’t follow the recipe and his version was much better. I mostly did and regretted all the vinegar. But it was pretty yummy. Z loved it, and Mk took her usual one bite, but they doused the polenta in ketchup (I know) and managed to get enough food for the night.

I’ll try the real polenta next week, maybe.

Just Cook

The NYTimes launches a new website with this paeon to home cooking:

Cooking is patience. Cooking is trust. The low heat of the stove combined with the butter and the rendering fat of the chicken will slowly turn the skin golden brown and crisp, so that it releases easily from the pan. At which point you will turn the chicken over, carefully, and cook it some more. (Use the downtime to make rice and prepare your green beans.) Then, the smothering. When the chicken has cooked through, take it out of the pan and pour off all but a couple of tablespoons of the fat in the pan, and make a quick gravy.

It looks like they have some good vegetarian recipes as well. I might try this one:

The NYTimes also has a nice essay extolling the virtues of a sharp knife. Quoted here for truth:

A good sharp knife is a cook’s best friend. It will help you to work with precision, and quickly. A dull knife conspires against you and slows you down.

And here is another reason for keeping that knife sharp: It makes your food taste better (and look better, too).

…And if you are attuned to how the knife is performing, your cooking is bound to become more focused and mindful. That always improves the way food tastes, too.

Cheesy Lemon Rice

Jessica has instituted a new policy at the house where, each week, we have to try at least one brand new recipe. Although we both love cooking, it is too easy to fall into a cooking rut (to twist a metaphor). So we’ve been doing this for the last four weeks, and we’ve really lucked out with out recipes. So far, not a single clunker.
I’m going to try to keep a record here of all the new recipes we try.

Yesterday, I saw this video on the NYT page:

My dad was coming over for a visit and I wanted to try something new, so I decided to give this a shot. But, instead of pasta, I decided to use brown rice, kale and feta cheese. Also, in order to convince my kids to eat it, I called it cheesy lemon rice. I think caramelizing is an acquired skill. One that I definitely have yet to master. The video said that you shouldn’t move the lemons around too much or they won’t carmelize. What she didn’t mention was that doing this would mean that the bottom is much darker than the top. Jessica standing next to me was the one who told me that I was burning them. In the end, because they were so dark, I only used about a quarter of them in the rice, chopped up finely. The rest I served in a dish on the side. Jessica and I were the only ones to actually eat them, which was fine with me because, despite being “caramelized” into near blackness, they were amazing. Crispy and chewy and bursting with juice and flavor. I definitely will try this one again.

My dad had the idea of adding mashed butternut squash with sunflower and pumpkin seeds toasted with olive oil and tamari with garlic. Yum!

Jessica’s great contribution to the meal was Eggplant Pasta Salad which we served warm. She added kalamata olives and baby spinach to the recipe.

All in all, a great meal!!