Again, good, but not quite good enough

The title really says it all… tossing together cooked tortellini, nuts, dried figs, and salad greens, then drizzling with red wine vinegar is pretty decent. It’s just not terribly exciting, taste or texture wise. I’m sure it will work perfectly well as an emergency ‘I’m hungry and need to throw something together quickly; what do I have in the refrigerator’ kind of thing. It’s just not worth planning out and making sure the ingredients are available.

On the plus side, now we have a bag of emergency cheese tortellini in the freezer. Goes with the emergency pasta sauce in the pantry. 🙂

Tortellini Salad

Original from TheKitchn
Makes 2 servings
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 10 recipes; Lunch: None! Hurray, another section done!

  • ~10 oz tortellini (I used cheese and see no reason other types wouldn’t work)
  • ~1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried Mission figs
  • Salad greens
  • Red wine vinegar
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the tortellini and cook as long as the tortellini package directs you to. Or until they bob to the surface and are tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. Roughly chop the walnuts. Cut off the stems of the figs and then roughly chop them.
  3. Combine the salad greens, tortellini, walnuts and figs in a bowl; toss together. Drizzle with red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinagrette) and toss again to coat. Divide between serving bowls. Alternatively, withhold the walnuts until the end and sprinkle on after the division into serving bowls.

I’m failing to think of a clever title

Does it seem like I’m keeping most of the recipes I try to y’all? Does to me… Might be because most of the new ones I find are through TheKitchn.com – who knows where they get them, but presumably someone has tried it out before the post goes up (and the bad ones don’t get posted). I think they’ve got enough writers that all the published recipes get tested before hand – unlike cookbooks and magazines who are under a deadline… So at least one layer of filtering before I ever try the recipe.

I’m hoping it’s also that I’m developing a sense of what usually works together and don’t add the ones that won’t to the queue of things to try – it’s nice when your own actions/abilities are a factor in the outcome 🙂

So what’s the recipe I’m keeping this time?

Sweet potato, caramelized onions, sausage, and eggs hash. While that definitely sound like a breakfast type of food to me, Adam and I happily used the leftovers for lunches that week. Because when there’s only two people in the house and you make an 8 serving recipe, there’s gonna be leftovers. This is basically a meal-in-a-bowl (definitely not a one-pot recipe) that really does work for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Probably gonna be most impressive at brunch though – the partial cook ahead of the sweet potatoes, onions, and sausage can let you make a very pretty presentation with the eggs (and a cast-iron skillet if you got one).

For those of you who don’t eat pork, I see no reason this wouldn’t work with chicken, turkey, or other non-pork sausage. Vegetarians, I haven’t cooked with non-meat sausage enough to have a feel if it would work or not. Give it a try and let me know, would you? I’d like to know and think you might get to it before I can get back to this recipe. Thanks! 🙂

Sweet potato, onion, sausage, and egg hash

Original from TheKitchn
Makes 8 servings
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 19; Breakfasts: 1 recipe left

  • 2 lb onions (2 should do)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • table salt
  • 1 lb your favorite sausage (chorizo is rather good too), sliced
  • 3 lb sweet potatoes (about 3)
  • 8 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves or 2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

To serve:

  • large eggs
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil, parchment paper, or a Silpat.
  2. Peel the onions, slice in half lengthwise, cut into thin moons, then cut the moons in half. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter until it foams. When it starts foaming, add the onions and sprinkle with salt. Do not worry about cramming, everything will cook down. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are a very dark brown. If the onions appear to start burning, lower the heat. They will probably cook for 30-45 minutes before turning the very dark brown.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, chopping it into smaller pieces with a spatula. Cook until browned and beginning to crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain off excess fat.
  4. While the onions and sausage cook, chop the unpeeled sweet potatoes into about 1/2 inch to a side cubes. Finely mince the garlic and fresh rosemary, if using. In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, garlic and rosemary (fresh or dried) with the olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper.
  5. When the onions and sausage finish cooking, toss them in the sweet potato mix as well. Spread the mix out evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Roast in the 450°F oven until the potatoes are soft and browned, about 30-45 minutes.
  6. You can at this point, refrigerate the hash for up to 5 days and finish off (detailed below) the day of serving – Adam and I continued straight through and it worked fine. But! I think this would be an awesome way to prep during the weekend for guests during the week.
  7. Heat the oven to 425°F. Spread a relatively thin layer of the cooked hash in a baking dish, cast iron skillet, or individual ramkins. Make small wells in the potatoes and crack eggs into those wells. Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are hot and eggs are cooked through. If you like your eggs runnier, cook for less time – the sweet potatoes and everything are already cooked and safe to eat. Serve with Parmesan cheese on top, if you like.

All the weekend work for food ready for travel

These pockets too had all the moving parts. The difference here is that the end results are worth it (it may have something to do with doing this over the weekend, rather than a weeknight). I rather like making dough and this dough was just a pleasure to work with – neither too sticky nor too dry, easy to roll out into (almost) the shape I wanted, easy to handle, and cooked great. Both Adam and I liked the combination of mashed sweet potatoes, kale, and lentils. Which is good, for the purposes of expanding our food repertoire, lentils being new to us 🙂

And who doesn’t like caramelized onions? I seriously need to try out the caramelizing onions in a slow cooker thing though. Wha. Tasty tasty onions – take forever though. Well, it feels like forever while standing up.

Adam and I have been using these as dinners on the evenings we have classes (Adam grad school, me I’m taking an intro class in ASL [American Sign Language] after work). The pockets work great being frozen and then slowly defrosting over the day in our bags. Hurrah for reusable sandwich bags for catching the defrosting ice/water.

Whole Wheat Lentil Pockets

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes 6 pockets
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 25; Lunches: 2 recipes left

Dough

  • 1 cup warm (neither hot nor boiling) water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Filling

  • 3 small to medium sized sweet potatoes (not yams. As Adam would say “They’re entirely different SPECIES!”)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed & picked over (also known as French green lentils and Puy lentils)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch of kale, ribs and tough stems removed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Combine the water and yeast (I use the measuring cup for the water); let sit until yeast dissolves.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the whole wheat and all-purpose flour, plus the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer; mix on low speed with a dough hook. Add the olive oil and dissolved yeast; mix on low until a shaggy dough forms. Pull the dough out and knead on a clean board until the dough is smooth and elastic. Lightly grease the bowl with a little olive oil, butter, or spray; return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise until doubled in volume, about 1-2 hours.
  3. When the dough is set aside to rise, start preheating the oven to 400°F. Prick the sweet potatoes several times with a fork or other pointy object. Place on a baking sheet or wrap in aluminum foil and place directly on the oven rack. Bake until very soft to the touch, about 45 minutes to an hour. Set aside to cool.
  4. Once the sweet potatoes are in the oven, cut the onion in half. Thinly slice one half and set aside; dice the other half. Warm about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; sauté the diced onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the cumin, cinnamon, and allspice; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the lentils and water to the saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. While the lentils are simmering, cut the kale into bite-sized pieces. Add the kale and salt to the lentils then cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes more – the lentils should be soft but not mushy. Taste and adjust seasonings here. Transfer the kale and lentils mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving most of the cooking liquid in the pot.
  6. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. The thinner the slice, the sooner this will happen – thin enough and you might even hit the original recipe’s 20-25 minute estimate.
  7. Once the sweet potatoes are out of the oven, increase the heat to 450°F. Divide the dough into 6 balls and let rest, loosely covered (with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel), for 20 minutes. While the dough is resting, peel the sweet potatoes and mash in a bowl until smooth. Add a sprinkle of salt if necessary. If the potatoes are a bit underdone, cutting them into 1 inch chunks will make the mashing go faster.
  8. On a floured board, roll a ball of dough into an 8 or 9 inch circle. Spread 1/6 of the sweet potato mash (~1/4 cup) over one half of the dough, leaving a boarder around the edges – this is where the dough will seal together. Add 1/6 of the lentil mixture (~1/3 cup) over the sweet potatoes, and top with some of the caramelized onions. Fold the unused half of the dough over the filling, then pinch and fold the edges to seal the pocket shut. Transfer to a greased or parchment papered baking sheet, brush the top with olive oil, and cut 2-3 small slits in the top for steam to escape. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes (or until browned). If serving now, let cool for at least 5 minutes before hand. Otherwise, let cool on the baking sheet and then transfer the entire baking sheet to the freezer. Once completely frozen, wrap each pocket individually and store in a freezer safe container. To eat, thaw and reheat in a microwave (or oven), or eat at room temperature.

Whole Wheat Lentil Pockets

Lunches and the search for them

So last week my (brain? stomach?) body finally revolted at the thought of another almond-butter sandwich. Nausea and fatigue at every attempt to take another bite, even at 4:30pm while my stomach was growling and there was half a sandwich left. Time to figure out a new solution to this lunch thing. I see three options:
1) deli meat sandwiches
2) dinner leftovers
3) make something on the weekend, stick it in the freezer and pull individual portions for lunch

Deli meat is expensive. Let’s consider this one back-up.

Using dinner leftovers means we have fewer leftovers for dinner. And since I do menu planning on Saturdays before we go to the grocery store, if we run out of dinner leftovers, there’s no plan for dinner mid-week or something. Adam can improvise, but the lack of a plan makes me antsy. Not too good an idea to plan around.

Which leaves weekend cooking. And in that vein – tried out a casserole this week: Cauliflower Chicken Sausage casserole.

Unfortunately, this one was not filling enough – maybe if there was a carbohydrate or twice the sausage. Works as a light lunch I suppose- I just don’t eat light lunches apparently. Not that fond of cauliflower either.

On wards then.