failures

Fail

Fail_IMG_9872Here’s what I learned from tonight’s failed dinner:

1. When making Parmesan Chicken Goujons, it’s okay to use regular breadcrumbs instead of panko.
2. When making Parmesan Chicken Goujons, do not forget to grease the baking sheet!
3. When making Penne alla Vodka, do not substitute half and half for the heavy cream, it will curdle, leaving you with little white nerdles in your meant-to-be creamy sauce. And it doesn’t taste as good either.
4. Roasted Broccoli is hard to mess up.

Love,
Nina

Weekly meal plan: day 2

Chicken_Salad_RiceFrittters_IMG_9400Tonight was a relatively easy night. We had Brown Rice Fritters, Weekday Grilled Chicken and a CSA salad of arugula and red peppers with mustard vinaigrette.

The rice fritters were disappointing. I’d had the recipe on  my Pinterest Recipes to Try board for a long time and was so excited to finally make it. I thought it would be fun to make the rice patties with Rose, but that was disappointing too.

I probably should have read the reviews before getting excited about this one. But I’m a visual person, I like to look at the pictures and think later.

The rice, egg and cheese mixture for the fritters was very dry and crumbly, it was a major challenge for Rose and I to form the patties. Frying them was difficult too, half of them fell apart and had to be discarded.

To top it all off, they didn’t even taste that good. They were okay, edible, but certainly nothing to email my dad about.

In case you’re keeping track. Here’s how the weekly meal plan is going so far:

Monday (Make Ahead: 1 hour to prep, 5 minutes to reheat):
Spicy (or not-Spicy) Vegetarian (and Turkey) Chili and nothing else! This is a one-dish meal, baby.

Tuesday (Quick: 30-45 min start to finish, if you have leftover rice on hand):
Weekday Grilled Chicken, Brown Rice Fritters (make Rice Pancakes next time, instead), a simple salad.

More tomorrow, as always.

Dinner debacle with a silver lining

Couch_IMG_8862My original plan had been to heat up the eggplant parm that my neighbor Melissa gave to me this afternoon, and serve it with some Italian sausages. The sausages, because I was sure Rose wouldn’t like eggplant parm.

At 5:30, I decided that instead, there had to be something wonderful I could make with the rest of yesterday’s whole roasted chicken. I posted a request to facebook and got to searching the internet for recipes. There are a lot of great rotisserie chicken recipe collections out there, here, here and here (among other places).

After looking through a whole lot of recipes, I determined that I didn’t have the right the ingredients for any of them, and went out to the garden with Rose.

When we returned, Shane requested his first cup of the healing bone and herb stew (or sludge) that our acupuncturist recommend I make for him. He drank it down, came into the kitchen to tell me it was bad, but not awful. And then ran back to the bathroom to be violently sick.

I proceeded to do away with the stew/sludge, at which point Rose walked into the kitchen, and pointed out how terrible it smelled. I sent her away, finished disposing of the offending stuff, and wiped the entire kitchen down with white vinegar.

At this point it was a quarter to seven. I went back to my original plan of heating up the eggplant parm. But it was still frozen rock-solid! Rose and I ran out to the store to get beans, so that I could make Chicken, Rice & Black Bean Salad.

When we got back home to cook, Rose started to complain that she was going to vomit too. This happens a lot, Shane is her trigger. I set her up in bed next to Shane with a bowl. While she moaned and groaned, I declared “I am not coming out of this kitchen until dinner is made!”

Around 8pm, when dinner was finally ready (the salad mentioned above, plus cucumbers with yogurt), Rose was too sick to eat. She lay on the couch beside a plate of food that she thought she might be able to try, but never did. She also complained that I smelled of bone stew.

Turns out, Shane’s taste buds have been negatively impacted, we believe, by all of the drugs he’s on. Nothing tastes good to him except juice and hard candy. He sat at the table to keep me company, but didn’t eat.

The thing is, I don’t really care what a disaster dinner was, because today was the best Shane has felt in weeks. And that makes me very happy.
Chicken_Rice_Bean_Salad_IMG_8858

 

 

Just Thai

Injury man wanted takeout, so we had takeout. I think it’s hard for him to see me doing everything, and not be able to help. We had Thai, it wasn’t very good. That seems to be the gist of things lately, not very good. We’re still better off than many—probably most—people in the world. That’s a plus, and a thing to remember.

Too earthy

Tofu_Kale_Wheat_Pasta_IMG_7694Crispy baked tofu over whole wheat linguini & kale with a creamy, lemony ginger sauce. Sounds good, right? Does it? I’m not sure anymore.

This dish did not go over well with my family, at all. It was too earthy-healthy for Shane. With whole wheat pasta, tofu and kale, I should have known it wouldn’t be up his alley. Also, it turns out he doesn’t like linguini. It had too much green in it for Rose, I knew that from the start.

But was it good? I’m having trouble being objective. I thought it was good when I was tasting in the kitchen, but as soon as I saw the sour faces at the table I doubted myself.

I think it could be more successful as a tofu side dish than it was as a pasta dish. Perhaps I’ll make it again, just for me, without the pasta. Maybe next time I make chicken for Shane and Rose.

Rice vermicelli with shrimp

Vermicelli_Shrimp_IMG_7503Shane and I both found this dish a bit disappointing. It wasn’t bad per se, it just wasn’t that great. I felt like it could have used twice the amount of lime juice, zest and fish sauce that the recipe called for.

We found the recipe for Rice Vermicelli with Shrimp in this month’s Food Network Magazine. I had high hopes for a new one-dish meal to add to my repertoire. Shane pointed out that he didn’t subscribe for the recipes, he likes Food Network because it’s good for collage. It does seem logical that the magazines that churn out 100 or so new recipes per month generate fewer hits than those that carefully curate a handful at a time.

Anywhoo. We didn’t die or starve.

Turkey burger failure

TurkeyBurgers_IMG_7423I’m an idiot. Shane has been asking for turkey burgers for days. I finally got around to making them but I couldn’t find the recipe I usually use. So, I tried another recipe and it wasn’t good.

The thing that makes me such an idiot is that I didn’t even look right here on my own blog, in the recipe index, where I have the recipe for the very turkey burgers that Shane loves.

Everything else was fine. We had sauteed mushrooms with sage, a simple salad, roasted new potatoes, and for me, baked tofu with dipping sauce.

Salmon & peas

Salmon&Peas_IMG_7233Poached Salmon with Avocado Sauce is a weird recipe. It’s possible that I missed a bunch of crucial information and/or steps because I’m totally scatterbrained today. It’s also possible that this is a truly strange recipe.

This is not to say the result was bad, the avocado sauce was really delicious. Poaching was a nice way to cook the salmon, though I’ll find another poaching method if I make this again.

The recipe instructs you to pour boiling broth over the salmon and then let it sit for 10-15 minutes. In our case, this resulted in extremely rare salmon in lukewarm broth, after 20 minutes of soaking. I cut the filets into strips, turned the oven on high, and popped it in, broth and all, for another 15 minutes and it was fine.

The salad had great potential, tomatoes, fresh peas, tarragon, but there was no real dressing, so it was bland. Again, it’s entirely possible I missed something.

Did I mention that the avocado sauce was really good?

• Avocado Sauce for Salmon •
adapted from Bon Appetit

2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
the juice of 1 lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. You can also use a stick blender. Serve with Salmon.

 

Perch?!

Perch&MustardGreensSalad_IMG_7214“Perch!?” Shane exclaimed, incredulously, when I told him the type of fish I’d purchased at the farmer’s market today. Apparently, Perch is the fish they used to throw back, when they caught them in Ireland (where Shane is from).

I was sure the Perch would be fine, because it was fresh, unlike the flounder we had earlier this week. And it was fine, good even. I cooked it in a totally ad-hoc way, in a saute pan, with olive oil, butter, lemon, white wine and capers. The fish came out tender and buttery in flavor, and the sauce was just right.

The salad was not so good, I should have used kale. If I had, it would have been great, but I used mustard greens. They were really good, spicy, horseradishy, mustard greens, and they were totally wrong for this particular salad.

Below is a better look at the salad. Doesn’t it look like it should have been good? Sheesh!
MustardGreensSalad_IMG_7210