A meal for them

Rose practically cried last night when I served yet another meat-free meal. We had to tell her that there was no meat available due to the storm just to calm her down, which was sort-of true. Shane kept a stiff upper lip, but I know deep down he’d had enough of the meatless dinners too. So tonight, I cooked a meal just for them. I think they appreciated it. And I had an egg.

 

Post Sandy

I expected that we’d be out of power and desperately trying to munch our way through the fridge before everything went bad. We got off easy, up here on a hill in the borough of Queens, but we still need to eat our leftovers.

Our leftover dish was Friday’s Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagne. We also had farro with chickpeas, basil and pecorino. I like to cook my farro al dente and then throw in whatever fresh herbs I have on hand, a good bit of olive oil, dried fruits, beans and/or cheese. I used the gorgeous beets from my csa box to make a beet and gorgonzola cheese salad that also uses the greens (so that I don’t have to feel guilty).

Cake warning

A note about the delicious Mocha Roulade cake. Do not feed this cake to children or anyone who’s very sensitive to caffeine, particularly late at night…

Stormy birthday

I have to admit it’s been a rather delightful day in spite of Sandy the storm. I got a bonus day home with my family, slept in, was woken up with cuddles, coffee and gifts. And then Shane spent the entire day in the kitchen preparing my birthday meal and cake. To top it all off, we still have power (knock wood).

One of Shane’s signature dishes is pizza from scratch, dough and all. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how he makes it, but it’s delicious. I added some crispy kale to the mix since, Shane (admittedly) thought that pizza counted as a vegetable.

For dessert he made a delicious Mocha Roulade birthday cake from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook. The cake was so long that we didn’t have a platter for it. And so dark and rich that I couldn’t even finish my slice, which is rare for me when it comes to dessert.

Thanks to my family for a wonderful day. If you’re in the area, please come by for cake!

Red sauce

This has been a tumultuous week, I feel like it’s been non-stop action, good and bad, start to finish. I couldn’t think of anything in the world I wanted for dinner after back-to-back parties today, and a lot of drama over the impending storm.

When all else fails, I make pasta with red sauce. I always serve pasta & red sauce with grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, the lack of cheese in the photo above was an oversight.

Those cube shaped things are Butter-Braised Kohlrabi, which might be my favorite kohlrabi recipe yet. I didn’t trust the recipe when it said not to peel the kohlrabi, and I think that was a good choice.

I also discovered a great way to entertain a 3-5 year old while cooking. Boggle Junior! All you have to do is insert the card, every time you do, you get a whole 30-60 seconds of “free time” to cook while he or she looks for letters and spells the word. Genius.

Sushi plus

My folks are in town, no one really seemed to know what was going on, and I have a migraine. We decided everyone should come over here and we’d get takeout, so I could lie around and be spaced out on headache drugs if necessary. When my mom, dad, sister and the Magnani’s arrived, they had brought a lovely radicchio salad and the fixings for csa bok choi with the most delicious re-constituted shiitake mushrooms by my cousin Kirst. All of it went beautifully well with sushi from Spicy Shallot.

For dessert we had extra-chocolatey chip cookies that Rose and Shane made, and early-birthday surprise of Canelles from Canelle Bakery.

Butternut squash lasagne

What do you make when you don’t know when or if people will be coming over for dinner? My first choice is lasagne, tonight it was Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagne from Martha Stewart. With butternut squash from my csa box, and sage from our coop’s communal garden, I was more or less all set to go. I like to keep a box of Barilla no-cook lasagne noodles in my pantry and I used them instead of making fresh pasta, which is what the recipe called for.

The lasagne is easy to make and all it needs is a veggie side or two to make a hearty meal that can be served whenever your guests arrive, or even saved for another day.

Yes, I made a meatloaf

I know that I’m exceptionally meat-tolerant for someone who doesn’t eat meat, but every now and then I feel like I’ve gone too far. Like tonight when it really hit me that I’d made a meatloaf. Meatloaf! It just feels weird.

This meatloaf however, Ina Garten’s Turkey Meatloaf, solved some major dinner-related problems for me. I have to give it credit for that. Also, Shane ate almost all of it, which means that it was pretty good, or that he didn’t have lunch.

Problem number one: Thursday night is a bitch. Somehow between bus drop-off and csa pickup and the resting and snacking that needs to happen in between, I can never manage to get dinner on the table by 7-ish. And 7-ish is when it dinner really needs to be on the table for the evening to go smoothly. Solution: This meatloaf is quick and easy to prepare, and then it bakes for an hour and a half leaving plenty of time to get your evening stuff done. The recipe says you can serve it hot, at room temperature, or cold in a sandwich. It’s incredibly versatile as a make-ahead recipe.

Problem number two: Shane bought a ton of ground turkey at Costco. There is so much ground turkey that we barely have room for the important things, like compostable food scraps, ice and vodka. Solution: The recipe uses up 5 pounds of ground turkey. Hallelujah!

In case you’re wondering what I ate, we also had rice, ad-hoc baked tofu, and another variation on that delicious roasted broccoli. This time I added a squeeze of lemon and parmesan cheese. Yum.

 

No-bake pasta bake

Have I mentioned that I’m not the best planner-aheader? I was all set to make a vegetarian version of this Easy Pasta Bake with Tomato, Mozzarella & Prosciutto from The Kitchn tonight. When I got started I realized that the tomato sauce it calls for, Marcella Hazan’s Famous, would take 45 minutes, and I just didn’t have that much time.

My solution was to make a no-bake version of the dish, and it came out pretty well, in a messy, cheesy sort of a way. Shane called it “a delicious, cheesy dish,” and had seconds.

What I did was this: I started the Marcella sauce, which really is remarkably good for something so easy and with so few ingredients, and put the water on to boil. About 30 minutes into cooking the sauce I put the pasta in. Meanwhile I grated 1 cup of mozzarella, I thought the 2 cups that the recipe calles for would be too much for a no-bake version, and it would have been. Then I chopped the fresh mozzarella. When the pasta was cooked and drained, the sauce was also done. I added the pasta to the sauce pot and mixed in the cheeses. All was done in 45 minutes flat.

We also had a fennel, apple, dill and caper salad (with Rita’s Dressing, naturally). This week’s csa box is officially depleted.