Vegetarian

BLTs and CLTs

Tonight we’re talking about CLTs (not to be confused with TLTs). This is what folks around here are saying:

“Shane! What the hell did you do to this sandwich? It’s so good!”

“It’s a CLT, Nina. Or as I like to call it, a clit.”

“What the hell kind of cheese is this? This isn’t brie, it’s much better than brie.”

“It’s triple brie.”

“Rose, eat your sandwich.”

“Is this egg? I don’t want egg.”

“It’s an egg and cheese omelet inside of a BLT sandwich.”

“You should really try it, mine is the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten.”

“Ok I have to say this is actually really good.”

You get the picture. So, what the hell did Shane do? By the looks of it he toasted regular old hamburger buns in butter and then piled them high with perfectly seasoned ingredients.

The “triple brie,” the lightly mayoed buttered bun, the perfectly salted chunks of tomato, the sprinkling of crushed wasabi peas on the side salad. It all came together like, well, the most perfect thing ever. And then geez, putting a cheese omelet inside of a BLT. Stop it Shane, just stop!

Solo salad

I’m super bummed to be missing out on being on Cape Cod eating my all-time favorite dual-purpose vegetarian and/or turkey chili, and hanging out with friends whom I haven’t seen in eons—not to mention friends & family I see all the time.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my nearly 10 years of being a parent, it’s that when your child has a stomach bug, the best thing you can do for the child, for yourself, for your sanity and for all of humankind, is to get that child the hell away from everyone else as soon as possible!

So Rose and I are back from the Cape early, she is recovering on the couch, and I’m going to make the most of my time at home. Starting with one of my favorite salads: roasted eggplant, goat cheese and arugula with a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

Be well, one and all.

 

Bowties with breadcrumbs, gruere & squash

Bowties with Breadcrumbs, Gruyere and Squash is one of those dishes that sounds kinda weird but is actually really good and interesting. I posted about it once before, but to be honest my photos didn’t make it look all that appealing, and so I won’t blame you if you didn’t try it.

The recipe is from the cookbook Keepers which is a great source for quick weeknight meals. This one takes very little effort, just basically grating and boiling.

I like to serve all of the parts separately, that way if certain people don’t like certain things they can skip them. Also that means I can go real heavy on the squash for a nice, high veg-to-pasta ratio.

You can use whatever kind of pasta you like. In fact, I don’t think we’ve ever used fusilli, which is what the recipe calls for. Also you don’t have to restrict yourself to zucchini, summer squash works real well in this dish too. And if you’re a vegetarian, go ahead and skip the anchovies, it’s just fine without them.

Here’s the recipe. Oh also, we’re on instagram now, please follow us @thesteadytable Enjoy!

Weeknight salad win

Greek Salad

Sometimes in my struggle to get Rose to eat food that isn’t complete junk, I forget that she loves Greek salad. Recently, we’ve been all about feta, romaine and olives.

This is a great salad to make in bulk, so long as you don’t dress it, a big salad can last for a few dinners.

All you need is some nice romaine lettuce (chopped up), decent tomatoes (campari tend to be reliable), cukes, Kalamata olives (pitted – do yourself a favor), some great feta (french and bulgarian are my personal faves) and fresh oregano leaves.

The fresh oregano leaves really make the dish, just wash them and throw them right in there with the romaine. We don’t add raw onions or anchovies, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

For dressing, make (or open a bottle of) your favorite vinaigrette. If you use some of the brine from the feta, it adds a nice salty flavor and takes down the tang of the vinegar in the dressing. Don’t forget to serve it on the side if you want to stretch your salad for a few days.

Now go, eat!

Sous chef Sid and eggplant


I love me some roasted eggplant. It’s my go-to thing for when my family is eating meat, or just to have on hand for adding to salads to make them more delicious and special.

The easiest way I’ve found to cook eggplant is to slice it thin-ish, lay it out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spray with spray oil, sprinkle with salt, flip over, do the same, and then roast at any old temperature (really—I just bung it in the oven with whatever else is cooking, it’s very forgiving) until soft and a little golden. Flip it halfway through if you like.

It may seem weird to hear me talk about using spray oil—it’s weird for me to hear me talk about it—but after experimenting with lots and lots of eggplant-roasting methods, I realized that this is really the best and easiest way to evenly coat your eggplant with oil.

It may make you feel a little better to use canola or olive oil spray rather than Pam which can seems ambiguous in terms of being something that’s ok to consume.

Are you dying to know what’s in the taped-up aluminum foil box? I know you are. That, my friend, is the work of sous chef Sid. We discovered these gorgeous tomatoes called flavor bombs which—contrary to what the color, flavor and name would lead you to believe—are not actually genetically modified.

Sid thought they would best be presented like so:
And then insisted we tape the box back up. Thanks for the help little guy.

It’s all about that cauliflower 

 Seriously though. The best thing I ate this past week was a fantastic cauliflower dish from food52. My family won’t agree, but in this case, they’re wrong.

Last week, one of Rose’s classmates told me that cauliflower is good with salt and vinegar. I can’t say I was convinced, but it did inspire me to put cauliflower on my wunderlist.

I took some liberties with the recipe, halving the cauliflower but using the full amount of other stuff, because who doesn’t like their veggies with extra stuff? I also used a whole hell of a lot more salt than called for. A quarter teaspoon? Pshaw!

In addition to being delicious, this was quick and easy. A make again for sure. 

Simple meal, major feat

Ravioli & avocado saladOn Tuesday I made cheese ravioli with the simplest of sauce and an avocado & tomato salad. Easy as it was, this was by far the biggest dinner achievement of the week because the kitchen floor looked like this:kitchen floorIt was a what’s-in-the-fridge kind of meal, cheese ravioli is a freezer staple for us. The sauce was just the juice from a can of plum tomatoes simmered with half a stick of butter. That’s right.

The ravioli and, um, butter, paired surprisingly well with a salad of diced avocado, halved grape tomatoes and finely chopped arugula dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt.

Another ad-hoc success this week was tortilla soup. You can read all about it here, or just look at the picture below. Wishing you a less-snowy week ahead, unless you like that kind of thing. xoxotortilla soup

Brie quesadillas

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

This week we accidentally stumbled upon brie quesadillas (top left) when we ran out of cheddar. Shane and I devoured them and wondered why brie quesadillas are not a thing. The kids were happy with cheddar, and for once we didn’t suggest they try something new because that would have meant fewer for us.

If you take one thing away from this week’s post, it’s brie quesadillas. They add a little pizzaz to a quick last minute meal (that may or may not have been given any forethought). Go ahead and make some while you still can—before a certain someone bans brie and tortillas for being un-American.

In other dinner news (clockwise from top right) 1. Linguine with Arugula, Pecorino and Pepper is something that kids are often uncharacteristically willing to eat despite all the green. 2. More brie for me on the night I fed them chicken. 3. Arugula salad with chili-lime roasted sweet potatoes, balsamic dressing and feta. And not to be left out, probably our all-time favorite dinner: Shane’s pizza (below).

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

A regular old weeknight post

Vegetarian optionIt’s been so, so long since I did a regular, non-special occasion, weeknight post. This kind of breaks my heart because the whole point of this blog was dinner, every night. We still eat together, I just don’t have time to post. I feel like I’ve said that before.

Tonight was inspiring. Everyone was sitting down at the table (sort of). Everyone (except Sid) was eating. It was (almost) perfect. It was delicious, because it was Better Miso Glazed Salmon (which I don’t eat).

Vegetarians do not despair! It was also baked tofu (recipe below) with some of the butter-miso sauce put aside before it went on the salmon. Add to that roasted carrots, roasted little potatoes, salad and I’m hooked.

• Baked Tofu •

Ingredients:
1 package extra firm tofu

a few glugs of peanut oil
salt

Press tofu between several layers of paper (or clean cloth) towels, weigh down with a cast iron skillet or something else heavy for 1/2 hour or so until a lot of the water has been squeezed out. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tofu into 1″ squares and toss with olive oil and salt, be generous!

Lay tofu squares out on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet – separate them so they’re not touching. Bake for about 20 minutes or until starting to become golden but not firm (they firm up after the come out of the oven). Remove from oven and let sit for a moment or two. Serve with your favorite tasty sauce (such as butter-miso sauce)

Oh, and here’s that salmon:

Salmon

 

Vegetarian chicken cacciatore (and regular chicken cacciatore)

veggie_chicken_cacciatoreOh hey there! It’s been a long, long while hasn’t it? We don’t have room for The Light in our tiny temporary basement apartment, but we added a new lamp in the kitchen so now I can take semi-decent pictures of dinner that don’t look all gross and flourescenty.

Shane and I recently became weary of our months-long, and very steady rotation of beans & quesadillas, penne alla vodka and pasta with Marcella’s famous sauce for dinner. He mixed things up when he had a week off of work, bringing recipes out of retirement and adding some new things to the mix from a cookbook Rose got him at a yard sale.

I was inspired to do the same with dinner tonight. There were a lot of mushrooms in the fridge so I resurrected easy chicken cacciatore, and while I was at it made vegetarian chicken cacciatore—aka white beans with garlic, rosemary and tomatoes—for myself. Rose said the chicken was amazing, especially the “soup.”

The chicken seemed like it would have been nice with some crusty bread or rice or pasta. The beans were just right with a side of roasted eggplant. chicken_cacciatore