Using up the refrigerator (that’s what I do around here)

We had lots of unused vegetables from our CSA and leftover ingredients from Feastly and life, and needed to get rid of them. So… I made a casserole; a crazy veggie corn casserole. And it has in it: 2 eggplants, 6 ears of corn , 6 bell peppers, 3 hot peppers, 1 red onion, 5 cloves of garlic, and 1 cup of leftover rotisserie chicken. This was literally what we had in our fridge, and it needed to go away.

So I diced and salted the eggplant. Cut the corn off the cob. Diced the peppers (bell and hot). Diced the chicken (again). And mixed it all up in a bowl.

Then I made a cheese sauce. Oh god. Diced the red onion. Got it simmering in olive oil. Added several tablespoons of all-purpose flour (too many tbsp of flour). Added oil back to try to recover from too many tbsp of flour. Then pulled out leftover chicken broth. And in that pan, I keep stirring and stirring until it got thin enough to add a quarter of a pound of parmesan cheese and an eighth a pound of cheddar cheese (both of these were also leftovers). I mentioned this was a cheese sauce, right? And then I added a little bit of milk to thin it out more.

And after Laura very kindly transferred the mix of veggies into our covered casserole, I poured the sauce over and mixed it in. Then I covered it with panko crumbs from our pantry and shoved it in the oven at 350°F.

We’ll let you know how it turned out.

 

P.S. We also made apple sauce today, finishing the apples from our insane, mistaken purchase of a bushel of apples.

Dictated by Adam, transcribed and edited by Laura

New Bounty for Week #7

 

I think we made a mistake… what are we going to do with an entire bushel of apples?!

Besides juggle, I mean 🙂

Week #7 - juggling

Anyone got some suggestions? Please?

Why does everyone think a 4hr slow cooker recipe is helpful?

Seriously, if I’m around to turn on the slow cooker 4 hours before dinner, I’m around enough to cook. Okay, now our slow cooker can switch over to warm after a set number of hours, but things still cook (at least a bit) on warm. It might be that my first slow cooker didn’t have a timer option and I came home to quite a few batches of overcooked chicken something. But 4 hour cooking times in a slow cooker still sounds like a really awkward time to work with/around.

Eh, I might just be cranky about how many vegetables I chopped up for this one – more specifically, how long I was standing up to do so. Also how much in leftovers there are. Trust me, there was no way this recipe, as written, was going to fit in my 6 quart slow cooker.

I think I’m starting to understand what Adam means by his (usually anguished) cries of “It got away from me!” We are totally going to be eating this for the rest of the week.

At this point, in a change from how things usually go around here, I’m thinking I will not keep this recipe. Basically too much work for the end result (for me) – those of you with working olfactory senses might get more out of it.

Vegetable & Chickpea Stew

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes … lots. 8-12 servings?
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 17; Dinners: 3 recipes left

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 – 1 large onion, diced
  • 10 purple potatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp salt, divided
  • 1 tbsp curry powder of choice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cups broth
  • 32 oz chickpeas
  • 4-5 small peppers, diced
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 28 oz (5-6) tomatoes, diced
  • 10 oz baby spinach
  • 1 can coconut milk
  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot on medium heat. Add the onion and 1 tsp of salt; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and 1 tsp of salt; sauté for several minutes.
  2. Add the curry, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and chili powder; cook, stirring a bit, until fragrant – about 30 seconds. Pour in some of the broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to pull up any brown bits. Add the rest of the broth, chickpeas, peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes; stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 45 – 60 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Add the spinach and coconut milk; stir until spinach wilts. Pull off the heat and adjust any seasonings if necessary. Serve.

Probably should have been the first pizza I tried ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This here is the mother recipe of pizza – the simplest pizza to base the ratios you remember off of, the base recipe you improvise off of. Dough, sauce, meat, veggie and cheese. The baseline of pizza. The ‘oh f***, I don’t have a plan for dinner’ emergency dinner of pizza – as long as you’ve got a batch of dough in the freezer.

I mean, unless you’re like Adam and I, who for some reason don’t keep a jar of pasta sauce in the house. Probably because we’d use it in a non-emergency-food spot. Which rather defeats the purpose of emergency sauce, in my opinion.

The original calls for sausage, we used chorizo, and I am pretty darn sure it would work with chicken sausage, chicken strips/chunks (browned on the stove first please), meat substitute or whatever you want/have lying around.

So our pizza doesn’t look too … square in the pictures below – I had some issues pulling the pizza off the pan. The cheese and whatnot slide around – still tasted good 🙂 We kinda devoured the whole thing for dinner – thought there’d be half a pizza for leftovers. Nope.

Baseline Pizza

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes 1 pizza
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 18; Pizza: 1 recipe left

  • 1 batch of pizza dough (I used the 2nd half of the thin crust we made back in July – it’d been hanging out in the freezer for a while)
  • 1 jar tomato sauce – use as much or as little as you like (the Wegmans’ store brand tomato & basil sauce worked quite well for us)
  • ~3oz sausage link, or other meat product of your desire
  • 1 pepper, color of your choice, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 onion, yellow or red
  • ~ 4oz Monterey Jack cheese (~1 cup)
  1. If you have a baking stone, place it in the oven on a rack in the bottom third of the oven. If you do not have one, place a baking sheet on a rack in the bottom third of the oven, to heat along with the oven. Preheat the oven to 550°F or as high as it will go; heat for at least 30 minutes before baking.
  2. Lay the pizza dough in the middle of how you are keeping it from sticking in the oven, such as a large square of parchment – we used a Silpat but as mentioned, had issues getting it back off. Press and push, staring in the middle working outwards, the dough into a flat-ish round, about 10-inches wide. If the dough starts to shrink back, let it sit for about 5 minutes, then continue. Once shaped, let it sit to rise until ready to top, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. If your meat topping is not cooked through, do so now before adding it to the pizza.
  4. Spread the tomato sauce nearly to the edge, then distribute the meat, pepper, and onion evenly over the pizza. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on.
  5. Transfer the pizza on the parchment or silpat into the hot oven. If using the parchment, after 5 minutes, use a spatula to lift and slide the parchment out. Bake until the crust is golden and crispy/charred in spots, a total of 8-10 minutes.

Rainbow Pepper Steak – stir-fry!

This is from one of my earliest obtained cookbooks – 365 Ways to Wok, which is apparently out of print now? what. I thought the 365 series just kinda … stayed in print.

Anyway, it was one of those books I picked up in my first year of learning to cook and the thought process went something like “Need to do a style that let me walk away from the stove, forget everything, and stuff burns… oh, stir-fry! 365 recipes! I’ve got to be able to do something from this!” This recipe fits that bill, plus it’s week-night fast, especially if you dice thing quickly and mix up the sauce before starting the stir-frying. The main thing about this one though is that it’s pretty. Using 3 different colors of bell peppers is just visually interesting – the taste will probably be pretty similar if you use 3 of the same type though. What can I say, red and yellow peppers tend to run twice the per pound cost of green bell peppers. Oh, also, pay attention to how long the peppers are cooking and get them off of the heat while everything is still bright and crisp looking, rather than waiting for things to get tender. Visually and taste-wise, dinner will be better for it.

It’s not a great recipe (yet) but entirely serviceable and tasty. Plus Adam and I have some ideas to punch it up we’ve noted down, so you know, I’ll eventually get back to them. 1 year? 2? Any bets?

Stir-fried Steak with Rainbow Peppers

serves 4-6

  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 medium leek, the white part only, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb beef, cut crosswise on the diagonal into thin strips
  • 2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
  1. Mix together the beef broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a wok until hot and swirl to coat the sides. Add the peppers, leek, and garlic. Stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes and remove to a plate.
    Vegetables
  3. If needed, add a bit of oil. Add the steak and stir-fry until it just loses its red color, about 2-3 minutes.
    The Meat
  4. Return the vegetables to the wok. Stir in the beef broth mixture to coat the meat and vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and water mixture; cook over high heat, stirring until sauce boils and thickens, 1-2 minutes. Serve with rice.

Finished

Experiments on this recipe to try:
1. Instead of thickening the sauce in the wok with the meat and vegetables, cook the rice in the un-thickened sauce. Either toss the stir-fried portion with the rice, or just serve on top of the rice.
2. Instead of returning the vegetable to the wok in step 3, remove the meat and cook down/thicken the sauce on its own in the wok. Then pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in a serving bowl and serve with rice.

If anyone has more ideas for this one or try one the experiments above, drop us a line and let us know how it went. Comments to share with everyone or by email (kitchenchemi.cook at gmail.com) for just us.

In which there is much pain (Jamaican Jerk Paste)

So this is one of the recipes I’d written up but lost in the break-in – thus no idea how many recipes were left after this one and no photos 😦 I do know it was the last one in the queue for the Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades section (huzzah!)  I’ll try to recreate it as best I can.

I’d say something stupid about this being a 5 pepper spicy recipe, but there’s 10 habañero peppers in this one.

I know, I cut them up myself.

This is a spicy recipe – have milk at the ready to drink, starts with a quick burst spicy pain, and it just lingers, spicy. Check the skin under your lower lip where the paste touched to see if it’s turning colors ’cause it’s still tingling hours later spicy. So much so that I’m not even going to recommend ways to make it milder for those that don’t like all the spicy – it would just be a futile endeavor. Don’t like spicy? Please, please, skip making this one. Adam and I like the spicy food.  Originally, i.e. when we started dating, I had a much higher tolerance for spicy pain goodness then Adam.  Annnnnd then he went to Peace Corp. Yeah, when Adam ‘I’ve been in the Peace Corp in the Caribbean’ thinks a recipe is bordering on too spicy, you know it’s spicy.

Adam’s Peace Corp post was in Suriname. Live in the jungle on the Caribbean coast, food traditions from Hindustani, Javanese, and African-creole, Peace Corp. His tolerance for spicy food is much, much higher than mine now. One time while down there, he chopped up some mystery peppers from the bush in his front yard. Washed the knife, washed the cutting board, washed his hands. And then did what he always did after washing his hands. Ran his palms down his face, from forehead to chin.

He says the burning in his eyes stopped after about 36 hours.

Yeah, I did something similar the night of making this paste.

Let’s just say it wasn’t my eyes. Somewhere a lot more intimate. The second after I did that, Adam and I look at each other in this sort of half horrified, half amused ‘did I/you really just do that’ kind of way and I spent the next ten minutes alternating between crying from laughing at my own stupidity and from owie while pouring milk over my skin to try and wash off the capsaicin.

When the universe uses that large a clue bat, even I notice, Captain Obliviousness me.

This recipe is getting recycled out of spite.

Ow.

(Adam: Aw, I liked this one! And do recommend it for anyone who likes really spicy food.)

(Laura: Fine, fine… we can keep it.)

(Adam: Glee!)

Jamaican Jerk Paste

adapted from Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary Edition
1 1/4 cups

Originally the recipe calls for fresh lime juice – I used the bottled lemon juice we have in the house. I don’t think it decreased the spicy level.
I also omitted the optional orange juice, because, well, orange juice gives me migraines.

  • 1/3 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 10 habañero peppers
  • 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 bunch green onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Purèe all the ingredients together in a food processor or blender until the mixture has the consistency of thick tomato sauce. If necessary, thin with additional lemon juice or vinegar.

I used it to top grilled chicken and it was tasty. You could also use it on a pork chop.

One more warning: this is “Not-for-the-faint-of-heart” spicy. If you do not enjoy fire-hot spicy food, DO NOT EAT THIS. Please, you will regret your actions.