Friday, December 30, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

Here's a one-dish quick vegan thing.  By quick, I mean, there's roasting time, but you're not busy then, you're on the couch then.  It's winter foods but bright and pretty enough to remind you that spring is coming. You can use different veg, use different spices, whatever, just toss in some potatoes with your veg and roast away. 

Buying Club 2011 - The Goods - Week 9

Ok, so a week ago I thought I'd find some clever way to do the buying club posts, and honestly, there's been a holiday and whatnot and so instead of being clever, I've come to terms with it.  You may not seek these posts out.  That's cool.  But I'll have them there to refer back to at least for the local folks ("wherever does she get that fluffy kale?")

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Buying Club 2011 - The Goods - Week 8

I've joked about how when I was posting the CSA hauls, Facebook friends facetiously suggested I should post pictures of my groceries.  But now that's exactly what I do with The Goods.

Sure, they're local and wonderful, but in the end, you're looking at pictures of my yogurt and vegetables.

Actually, you're not looking at it.  I check.  Even Sous Chef Brian doesn't read these posts - which pisses me off, because then when he's like, "What's there to eat," I'm like, The Goods.  The Goods are what there is to eat.


This week the broccoli didn't make it (weather too cold) and the tofu was expired.  So we got carrots and onions and potatoes and beef cubes for stew.  And we got leeks for potato leek soup, and brussels sprouts and both kale and lettuce for salads.   We got apple cider and milk and granola and some flour and amazing local hummus.

I'll think of something more exciting to do with this space - I want you to see the bounty of local foods.  If you have ideas, let me know.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Norwegian Cookies

Most of the time, that's what we call them.
"Norwegian cookies."
"The cones?"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Coffee Spill

Remember to take yesterday's coffee out of the pot before today's coffee brews. 

Also, we're kind of digging the ripply, bubbly look of this dried on spill, so we're not doing anything about it. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

French Onion Soup

I love this soup.   Who can beat cheese and onion in rich broth?

But like so many restaurant foods, when we started cooking at home a lot, the restaurant versions all seemed too salty.  I don't order it anymore because there is just too much risk of it tasting like a salt lick.  Soup's tricky that way.  But if I make it, I'm in control. 

There are a lot of onion soup recipes out there, with some variation.  Some folks insist you need to use yellow onions, or white, or Vidalia or red.  There's the white wine camp and the red wine camp and the cognac camp.  There's apple cider in some, and balsamic vinegar in others.  Some recipes include three hours of baking onions.   Some use chicken stock, some use beef stock and some use a mix

This is a fairly quick*, delicious soup.  It's hearty and cheesy and warm and rich and a bit sweet.  You could even make a vegetarian version with mushroom stock. 

Let's do this, shall we?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Turn your regular pasta sauce into vodka sauce

There's a whole debate over whether vodka sauce is really a food, or if it's a 1980's food trend that refuses to die.   Chowhound has some decent conversation on the topic, and folks land on both the "vodka makes tomatoes taste better" side and the "this isn't really food" side.  More than 10 years ago, NYT said it was food, but that might have been too close to the 80s.  If you were to Google it, you'd find additional sources on the debate.

I think it's food.  But since I wasn't all that aware of what was food before the 80s, what do I know?  I make cream sauces without vodka, and they're good, but in my silly little opinion, vodka sauces get you to the magical place of pepperyness balanced with sweetness, and I don't think a sweet cream sauce with some pepper in it does that as well.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Buying Club 2011 - The Goods - Week 7

I thought I'd give the goods some context this week.  This is my fridge.  It's older than me, but it works most of the time.  This is the stuff inside of it.  A lot of this stuff came from this week's buying club order.  That stuff is bolded.  Let me tell you what I got and where it's from. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Seitan and Collards Quesadilla

Do you know what goes inside a quesadilla?  Whatever you want.   That's the beauty of it.  Ok, so really, it's whatever you want, plus cheese, but you wanted cheese, right?

It's a grilled cheese sandwich on a tortilla.  With stuff inside.  And it's great for using up what needs to be used.  Last time I posted a quesadilla, it was a clean-out-the-fridge meal.  This time it was just the collards that needed to be used.   And of course, we bought five pounds of seitan a while back, so we're all set on proteins.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Buying Club - The Goods - Week 6

Sometimes stuff doesn't show up.  We get reimbursed, and if it's something we really need, we pick up it's equivalent at the supermarket.  Sous Chef Brian is getting irritated about this, but in a surprise move, I am not.  So we're missing some stuff, and more weeks than not so far, that's happened.  

Here's what we do have:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gorgonzola and Caramelized Onion Pizza

Yeah so I've been on the road.  At one point, my GPS said I was nowhere, which freaked me out.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

...and the winner is...

Want to see who won the oil spritzer and the silicone baking mat in our second Saturday's Mouse Freebie/Contest/Giveaway??  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Dip

I had this butternut squash, and I didn't want to make soup, or lasagna, and it was sitting on the counter for a little while, in fact, it was from the CSA, so it was getting on in weeks.   It was time to roast it up.  I also needed to make some appetizery-things for an event.

Butternut squash is sweet, but it goes very well with savory things.  It likes to be with cheese.  It likes to be a little bit spicy.  I'm not one to make up sweet potatoes and top them with marshmallows, so while other people swear by adding brown sugar to winter squashes, I like to add onion-y flavors and saltiness and heat.  This is that, on a cracker.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Buying Club - The Goods - Week 5

There is no week 4.  What with the holiday, we opted not to pick up last week, which means we haven't had groceries.  Like, at all.  I mean, we have a freezer full of food, so we ate, but whoa. 

I thought it'd be easier with two pictures.  How do you photograph your groceries?

So we have milk, and sadly, the chive chevre was cut out of this photo.  Eggs and spinach and beef jerky and popcorn and lettuce and yogurt and cilantro. 

More of the amazing but expensive granola, and some hidden cheese, and - brace yourselves - beef soup bones.  Yeah.  I'm making french onion.  Hummus and heavy cream and collards and broccoli and apple cider and in the plastic bag, chicken breasts.  Whole.  This will be an adventure.  

The popcorn was an impulse buy.  Impulse buys are tough, since I ordered this three weeks ago, but maybe 6 weeks ago I was like, "Hey, I'll make popcorn."  And then I realized I don't do that.  So I looked in the cabinet of boxed food (this exists. most of it moved with us 2.5 years ago) and thought I'd find microwave popcorn but I didn't.  So hey, real popcorn.

Only I don't have a popcorn machine like I grew up with.  I also don't have a non-nonstick pot, other than my ceramic ones.   How do you make popcorn?  I could Google it, yeah, but how do *you* do it?

There is still time to enter the Freebie/Contest/Giveaway, but this is probably my last post between now and then, so if you've been putting off entering, you're going to have to mark your own calendar, I'm done reminding you here.  Seriously, we're giving away some good stuff, like this:

And this:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pasta with Broccoli and White Wine Sauce

When it's cold out, I want food with rich sauces.  Two weeks ago I said I wanted lasagna or beef stew or something like that and ended up pretty happy with barbecue seitan.  This was like that.  I wanted mac and cheese or pasta with meat sauce or ... mmm ... white wine sauce.

I don't think you're going to dig through your pantry and pull out the same experimental spelt noodles I used, and I don't think you're going to have one inappropriate mushroom to add to the dish either.  But you can do this with what's in your fridge.  Let's focus on the wine sauce and leave the rest aside for now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hot Tip: How not to make balsamic reduction

You make balsamic reduction by heating balsamic vinegar.  You stir this.  You can add sugar or other things.  It thickens and makes a glaze. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

200th Post Freebie/Contest/Giveaway

I sort of can't believe this has been going on this long. 200 posts.  I'm not going to re-hash all that I explained on our 100th post-iversary but this wasn't something I thought out.  I started taking pictures of my dinners on a whim, at the suggestion of a friend. 

Keep reading to enter to win a thing

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Frosting fail

It's been a while since I've posted a fail.  I think of that as a personal accomplishment, because it's not like I'm hiding kitchen drama over here and not telling you about it.  Basically, if I make something I haven't made before, you're going to hear about it, success or not.   But this frosting, whoa... this frosting. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Salmon with Tequila and Cilantro and a Honey-Jalepeno Glaze

I think I've made it pretty clear that we're not big fish-eaters here at Saturday's Mouse HQ.   Neither of us grew up with it, and the few fish things each of us does enjoy, the other generally does not.  I could eat crab and shrimp every day.  I like lox.   Sous Chef Brian likes tuna salad, but hates what I like.  I hate tuna salad.  I could keep writing like this. Enough short sentences with overly dramatic statements about fish.

Both of us are pretty happy with a spicy tuna roll, but the good sushi place in my neighborhood is a bit pricey, so that's a special occasion thing.

Anyhow, I try to push fish.  Because it's good for us.  So we'll be staring at the fish counter and staring at each other and everyone's afraid to make a move because it all means were coming home with something scaly.   Several years ago we did a new vegetable a week, and it really changed how we eat.  The following year we tried a fish a week for a while, which resulted in a lot of evenings eating rice or quinoa.

I told you here that I wouldn't post a fish recipe until I made some fish and said it was incredible.  Here we are.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Buying Club - The Goods - Week 3

Week three of the buying club.  I'm thrilled. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Barbecue Seitan Sandwich

This really isn't a recipe so much as a dinner idea, or really, a suggestion for a sauce to put on a food.   Chewy seitan, crisp at the edges, drenched in your favorite barbecue sauce, on bread. You know I love the wheat meat.  Add jalepenos if you're feeling spicy, or pickles if you're feeling tangy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to Freeze Vegetables

Sous Chef Brian labeled the veg, and it's not that he has anything against carrots.
Whether we grow our own veggies or received too much in our CSA or scrambled to the farm market to get the last of our favorite produce before the end of the season, sometimes we end up with too much.   Freezing is a great way to keep the goodness of seasons past on hand and ready for a meal.  But just throwing most vegetables into the freezer isn't the best route to ensuring that today's harvest tastes fresh a few months from now.

I've acknowledged that my freezer overflows with homemade foods and preserved produce and bits of things (butter wrappers for greasing pans, ends of bread for making breadcrumbs, and all the leafy, scrappy ends of things I save for stock).   About once a week, I look in the fridge and figure out what's just not going to make it onto our plates in time, and then I get a pot of water boiling.

A few days ago my friend Kim was asking how we do this, and I blew her off and referred her to a website.  This is a bit more in-depth.  Just a bit.  This is slightly more serious than my "how to defrost peas" post.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Buying Club 2011 - The Goods - Week 2

I think I over-ordered.  I didn't do the day-of-the-week math.  I picked up the CSA on Tuesdays, which meant three days of good salad-eating for me and Brian, in our packed-for-work lunches.  Now that I look at this, with spinach and mixed lettuce and kale, I don't know how it's going to happen.  I pick this up on Thursdays, and we just don't eat that much weekend salad. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Whole Wheat Ravioli with Roasted Vegetables and Ricotta


It's half whole wheat and half AP flour, stuffed with roasted vegetables and some ricotta.  There's just something about roasted veg, the nutty sweetness, that works so well with whole wheat pasta.  This isn't a recipe, per se, since you'll use whatever roasted veg you have on hand.  It's more of a story of how I made ravioli for the first time, and how you can do it too. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

CSA 2011 - The Goods - Week 23 [end of season]

This is the last week of our CSA.  The fun thing about the CSA is that this week's haul looks like winter, which is appropriate, but whoa.  It's right there in the fridge. Winter. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Clip Show

this entire post is just a ploy to re-use this image.  i think i'm going to make it into the new Saturday's Mouse logo.

Are clip shows a relic of the 80s, or does TV still do that?  What about very special episodes?

Well, this isn't a very special episode where I write all about hamburgers and then break character and tell you about the horrors of the meat industry.   About four months ago I shared some of my favorite posts for our 100 posts celebration.  We're not at a milestone number, but I have some new favorites.  These are dishes I had not made before, or had not made this way, and they sort of expanded the range of what's possible in my little kitchen. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Buying Club 2011 - The Goods - Week 1

I've been pretty excited about Winter Harvest.  It's a buying club that gives eaters and cookers access to a bunch of local food growers and makers.  You order a few weeks in advance, so I had actually forgotten what I'd ordered before I went to pick it up this week.  I knew I went light on the veg, since I still have a week of CSA left, but I wasn't sure what else I had ordered. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

On The Road

So I've been out of town, and not cooking.  MSNDG came through and photographed the goods for ya'll this week.  I couldn't tell what that one leafy thing was from the picture, and neither could she, in person, but I looked in the fridge when I got back, and it's celery.  Celery that is so leafy and green and fluffy that I just feel like I need to make chicken stock.  But ya'll've* seen me with chicken and it's not pretty, so we'll see.  

I was in DC, at a conference.  Sous Chef Brian is a big fan of monuments and statues and blisters and such, so he came along.  He went around taking pictures like this:

And I went around taking pictures of hotel carpets, like this:

"Space Invaders"

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

CSA 2011 - The Goods - Week 22

I think there's one week of Farmer's Choice left.
Apples, which have been delightful.  The yellow-ish ones are like honeycrisps, but I'm not sure that they are honeycrisps.
Apple cider, which is always exciting.  Taters, broccoli, bok choy, lettuce and really, I have no idea what the big dark green leaves are.  They actually look like the leafy part of a root vegetable to me.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oreo Cookies

No, this isn't a recipe for Oreo cookies, for that you can go here.  I haven't tried it, but it showed up in a quick Googlin'.

I don't care for cream filling.  I don't care what you're filling with cream, unless you're saying "cream" but meaning "cheese," I just don't care for it.

But I like Oreo cookies.  Just not the cream.   They're not food, so I don't eat many of them, and I'm not telling you to run out and eat them.  I am saying that it's pretty easy to make an Oreo cookie cream-lessly delicious.

Open cookie.  Apply business card, credit card or butterknife. I prefer a business card.  Discard cream filling.  Dunk.

We'll be back with our regularly scheduled programming pretty soon. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan Pizza

Typically on weeknights, I will either see Sous Chef Brian for a moment between work and his class, or speak to him on the phone for a minute.   I've said before, I'd almost rather not have that moment, because there's a whole lot of, "I paid that bill," "Did you call the vet," "Don't forget it's trash night," "Have you seen my good pants?" being fired off in both directions, and there just isn't enough time.  So, to add stress to that conversation, I'll often ask him what he wants for dinner.

Worse than that, I'll ask him if he's "had a chance to think about dinner," and the answer is always, "no."  Of course not. Who would?  He's looking for his good pants, and I'm digging my heels in and making it clear that class or not, trash night is his problem.  So I asked the other day and he said, "Is lasagna out of the question?"

How dare he?  I mean, really?  It's a weeknight.

I don't know why lasagna has such a bad rap.  Really, if you already have sauce made, and like me, you don't boil your noodles, lasagna takes 15 minutes to prepare your veg, 5 minutes to layer, and then it's all oven time.  Lasagna is not such a time suck.  But it has that feel to it.  "I made a lasagna," is often received with oohs and aahs.  Really folks, it's pasta with veg, but you made it in the oven.  

Anyhow.  He actually said, "Is lasagna out of the question, and do we have eggplant?"  These aren't words that are commonly linked in our home.  I've never made or eaten lasagna with eggplant.  But OMG did eggplant lasagna sound good.  And I have a freezer full of diced eggplant.  This was going to be spectacular.  On a weeknight, no less.

I got my eggplant defrosting, realized I had no sauce so started making my quick-ish winter sauce, and turned on some music from my youth.  It was on.  On a weeknight. 

Then I opened the cabinet and saw that I had four (4) lasagna noodles.  It was pretty obvious, I keep them in a big glass jar.  Lasagna was out of the question.*

The pizza place by my office puts anything on pizza.  It's amazing to me that I can point at a slice and say, "What's that?" and they'll say, "Ranch" all matter-of-fact and slightly irked that I can't recognize the white sauce, and I'll be like, "Ranch and what?" And they'll just say, "Fried chicken."  Oh yeah, that goes on pizza.  Sorry I didn't recognize that traditional classic.  These are the same folks that make cheeseburger pizza, taco pizza, and french fry pizza.  One thing I've seen, but not had, is eggplant parmesan pizza.  I had a pizza dough in the freezer.  Luckily, it was Sous Chef Brian's late class, and I had defrost time.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CSA 2011 - The Goods - Week 21

It's week 21, the first week of farmer's choice.  Meaning I'm not racing to select veg before all the good stuff is gone.  I like that.  I really thought I'd prefer selecting my own this year, but the mad dash for the good stuff during the work day, and I guess the lack of a challenge (what is that/can I eat it) made me miss good old fashioned mystery boxes of veg.  So this week I got that.   

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Soft Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are four types of chocolate chip cookies:  Flat n' chewy, hard, soft, and icky.  Everyone has their cookie camp.  I make mine soft.  If you want to make them chewy, use the Tollhouse recipe.  Everyone else does.  It's a good cookie.  I'm all for it.  Also, other people like them hard.  I don't know what's wrong with those people.  And then some cookies are icky.  Like the hard "chocolate chip" cookies made of chalk dust that people get at Italian bakeries.  Ugh.

I was a Soft Batch kid, not a Chips Ahoy kid.  But I had some Soft Batch cookies a couple years back and there is some sort of acidic sweet chemical flavor that is no longer working for me. And they're dusty too.  I don't know what happened.

Either way, I've been working on a whole wheat recipe for a while.  I think whole wheat will only work with the thicker, softer cookies, because they're cakier to start with, and if you think too hard about it, muffin-ier.  So whole wheat works here.

Anyhow, I made you some cookies. 

I buy good chocolate chips, because I'm a spoiled girl.  I don't know, a couple years ago I had a [candy] bar and it was like wax and I asked myself what I was doing eating chocolate.  Sous Chef Brian had never been a chocolate fan, and I started buying "good" chocolate and all of a sudden he was all nomming on my secret stash, so I'm a convert, and I eat a lot less chocolate because I can afford a lot less chocolate.   So start with something you really like.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Scalloped Potatoes with Kale and Sundried Tomatoes

I've had less time to spend in my kitchen lately, and it shows.  My fridge is still hooked up by extension cord, the eggs are still in the mini-fridge, and the dishes have lingered.  Not in the creepy, crusted-on food kind of way, it's more like there's an accumulation of plastic baggies to be washed out, and jars that need their labels removed for storage, and lunch bags that have really reached the end of their useful life without a good cleaning.  Just neglected kitchen and food related maintenance.  In the next two weeks I'll have even less time to do that, so I'll cook when I can, and show it to you when I can, and we'll be back on schedule soon enough, but I don't think I'm going to the grocery store before November. 

But we still eat.  I mentioned in my CSA post the other day that I had hasselback or accordion potatoes on my mind.   I guess it was just thin slices I was excited about, because a few nights ago I made scalloped potatoes.  Scalloped potatoes aren't something I make a lot of, but neither are potatoes in general.  I think I wrote about my unsubstantiated fear of them a few months back.  They just seemed so unnecessary, like that side of starch that was mandatory on our plates growing up.   

Several months ago, my friend Kristina shared a picture of her family's au gratin potatoes, and I was like "Whoa, must make," and she was all, "You sure? It's a pound of cheese," (Ok, I'm paraphrasing) and I was like, "Hell yes."  And I've been staring at that recipe since May and yeah, I'm never going to make it. 

But I don't know, something about potatoes that have been sliced super thin is appealing to me this week. So scalloped potatoes with sundried tomatoes and kale happened.   Why sundried tomatoes and kale?  Potatoes don't have a world of flavor on their own, so sundried tomatoes are my easy answer to a lot of flavor without adding anything terrible for us.  Kale, because I still had last week's farmshare kale on hand and it was withering and starting to scare the other produce. 

The first thing I did was steam up that kale.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CSA 2011 - The Goods - Week 20


When I started posting my CSA shares this year, it was because last year my CSA haul was overwhelming.  Not only in quantity but in variety.  I thought I'd need your suggestions for how to use celeriac and salad turnips and unfamiliar squashes and purslane.  

That's happened a few times, but mostly, I get greens, onions and potatoes.  See above.  No onions this week, but you get the picture. 

The ordering window opens at noon, midweek, and without fail I'm in a meeting or on a call or something when the alert on my phone goes off.  By mid-afternoon when I select my produce, I get to see what I missed out on.   I think this one is set up for people without much going in during the day. 

So I continue posting up pictures of my fairly standard veg, because that's what I said I'd do, and I'd still love your suggestions - just less because I don't know how to use something or which parts are edible, and more because I need fresh ideas for the same old. 

Collards.  I make collards one way.  What else should I do with them?

Dill.  I never buy dill.  Some of it will probably make its way into a salad dressing, but other ideas are welcome. 

Cilantro.  Typically, cilantro says "Mexican" to me, but I'm ill equipped to make tacos or nachos or whatever this week.  I didn't go grocery shopping over the weekend and it's too late now, so we're eating what's on hand.  What else do I do with cilantro?

Apples and pears.  These are just going to go into my face.  Straight up. 

Kale.  All I do with kale is salad or chips.   Sauteed kale sounds boring, and it also sounds like a side dish, which means I'm stuck making a main dish too.  Other thoughts on kale?

Salad.  This will also go into my face, like the apples and pears.  And the good news is that last week's salad is still crisp, so I'm all stocked up.   Perfect for a week without grocery shopping. 

Four little potatoes.  I got all excited about making potatoes like this and then saw the size and shape of these.  I don't think that's going to work out.  I know potatoes are supposed to keep, so this shouldn't be urgent, but I don't know if they're uncured, or if it's an issue of them being shipped to me wet (ugh) but they don't last more than a week before they start to sprout, so it's always time to use up the potatoes.  If you look close you can see an eye on the bottom left guy already. 

This was my last week of CSA ordering.  The next two shares are "farmer's choice," so I am somewhat excited about getting a mystery box, and I have my hopes up that there'll be more variety.  We'll see.  Then we venture into the unknown territory of Winter Harvest

click the thing you want to read about