Sunday, February 26, 2012

dinner anyone?

I apologize to anyone who panics without a real recipe with measurements.  I don't follow recipes when cooking (baking is different).  I take that back.  I love recipes for inspiration, but I tend to do my own thing once I have the basic idea and plan in my head.  When it comes to a new food item (like polenta) I use a recipe for the basic ratios.  If you want to try your hand at these meals, don't be afraid that yours will likely turn out slightly different than mine. That’s the fun of cooking.

These yummy eats were two of our dinners last week.  They both happen to be vegetarian.  It's tough to come by meat here that looks worth cooking, so at least twice a week we eat vegetarian meals.  It took me a bit to feel comfortable serving a vegetarian meal this often to my family.  At first I felt like something was missing on the plate but I've since come to terms with vegetables taking the lead role in my meals. 

Potato and cheese croquettes with mushroom sauce, sauteed spinach and candied squash
Boil about a pound and a half (totally guessing) of potatoes with their skins on (sneaky vitamins for the girls) and mashed them like mashed potatoes.  Add salt, pepper, fresh rosemary and some diced matured Edam cheese (cheap and easy to find in Ethiopia-any cheese will do) to the mash and let the potatoes cool.  Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan on medium heat.  Form round potato patties with your hands dust them with bread crumbs. Saute them in the oil until they were browned on both sides.  When all the croquettes were browned I lined them on a baking sheet and kept them warm in the oven at 300 degrees.  This dried the potatoes out and crisped them up a bit.

In the mean time sauteed a cup of walnuts in about a tablespoon of butter until the butter is frothy.  Add a big bunch of fresh spinach and a dash of salt.  Saute until the spinach is wilted. This dish is packed with vitamins and omega-whatevers.

For the candied squash place thin slices of squash in a glas pan, dust with cinnamon and brown sugar.  Crumble about a tablespoon of butter over the squash and add a handful of strawberry flavored dried cranberries (raisins or plain dried cranberries would be fine).  Bake in the oven at 400 degrees, stirring periodically until the squash is tender and your children come running in because the whole house smells sweet like cinnamon and sugar.  Watch them promptly run back outside when they learn that it’s squash, not dessert.

At the last minute I decided the croquettes needed a sauce. Heat a cup of homemade chicken broth in a sauce pan.  When it’s bubbling add a teaspoon of flour/water mixture about a quarter cup of milk and whisked until the sauce thickened up.  Add some Parmesan cheese to taste (my Mom sent Kraft Parmesan!) and ¾ cup chopped canned mushrooms.  A dash of salt and pepper finished the sauce.  It was pretty slammin on the croquettes.

The girls loved the croquettes.  I let them and munch them outside while they played.  Does anyone else have kids who are roaming eaters?  Getting them to sit down and eat their dinner is next to impossible.  Usually they inhale their food for about 5 minutes then start roaming.  It drives me insane.

Squash curry with vegetables

This was a simple Friday night meal.  I started by dicing the squash and roasting it in at 400 degree oven with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast until the squash is tender.

While the squash was roasting I sauteed a chopped onion and two tablespoons of freshly grated ginger in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Tip: I keep fresh ginger in the freezer since it’s used infrequently.  It’s easy to grate and won’t mold when frozen.  Add a tablespoon of curry powder and continued stirring until the onions are cooked and the curry and ginger has browned a bit.  Add a ½ cup of coconut milk and 1 ½ cups of homemade chicken broth.  Stir and let it bubble and thicken for 5 minutes.  Next you can add any sort of vegetables you want to the sauce.  I added snow peas and green bell pepper.  Add the roasted squash to the sauce at the end.  I ended up adding more ginger, curry, salt and pepper to taste as well as fresh parsley before serving.  It depends on your personal taste.  Serve over white rice. 


Bfiles said...

thanks for all the ideas lately. I am trying to eat less meat here in the DR and just eat more healthfully in general.

Heather P. said...

I think you should open a restaurant or catering business when you return to the states. You are such a talented cook! Your pictures look delicious -:)