Home Assignment #3

Wild rice! I had to cook some for last week’s kale and wild rice salad so decided to make a big batch, and it would be my grain choice for this week’s home assignment.

For breakfast, I’ve heard about this porridge so decided to make it. I subbed raisins and pecans for the dried blueberries and hazelnuts, and used half and half instead of heavy whipping cream because I thought that would be a bit much! It’s delicious, I’ve had it twice so I had better get busy making my other recipes before I use it all for breakfast.

Hell’s Kitchen Mahnomin Porridge

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I love eggs, and I love breakfast foods in general. It’s an easy dinner on a weeknight. I made this quiche without a crust because I didn’t want to bother with it. (I’m not the best with pie crusts and didn’t have any frozen or refrigerated on hand.) It still tasted delicious.

Cheesy Wild Rice Quiche

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Last but not least, I had to do some baking because that is my favorite thing to do in the kitchen. I rarely bake for the 2 of us because then we eat it all! However, I’m going away this weekend with some friends so I decided to bake and bring these muffins to share. (Yes, I left some at home for my husband.)

Cranberry-Orange Wild Rice Muffins

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Week Three Assignment

For the whole grains assignment I chose to make Farro. I had big plans and then came down with a cold so had to scale things back a bit and work with what I had on hand. The first thing I made was a frittata.

I realize now that you can’t see the farro at all in these photos, but it’s in there! I thought it added a nice flavor to the frittata and also helped to make it a little more filling.

The second thing I tried to make was an oatmeal-like breakfast but I was unhappy with the results. I think the problem is that I was using the already-cooked farro so the flavors just didn’t really ever combine – I would like to try this again starting with uncooked farro and just make it like I would make oatmeal. I forgot to get a photo of the end result.

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By the end of the week I was feeling better so I was able to make a pilaf with mushrooms – this recipe called for equal portions wheat berries and leftover rice, I used brown rice. Kids balked a bit at the mushrooms but they still said they liked it overall (ironically, they didn’t want to eat it because of the mushrooms, but the mushrooms were what made it taste good!).

Mid-week I also tried to throw together a salad with some balsamic vinagrette I had in the fridge. But the balsamic was too overpowering. If I made this again I’d use a dressing with lemon and shallots instead. (other ingredients were cucumbers, green onions, dried cranberries, and pecans)

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I’ve always been kind of afraid to cook with unfamiliar whole grains, but my takeaway from this assignment (and from last week’s class) was that there are lots of ways whole grains can be incorporated into a meal and they are really very uncomplicated to use.

Home Assignment #2

Vegetables – I like most vegetables but I’m not very creative when I use them. We eat lettuce-type salads often, and other vegetables are usually steamed or roasted or raw. I decided to try kale because I never use it and cauliflower in a recipe (instead of raw with hummus or dip).

The first kale recipe was a salad with wild rice (maybe I will count for week #3 too!), feta, pecans and dried cranberries with a vinaigrette dressing. The original recipe called for walnuts and pomegranate seeds but I subbed with items on my shelf. It was delicious, we had it as a side for dinner with enough leftovers for a few lunches.

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For the second recipe, I made the Sesame Ginger Sauce from class and sauteed/steamed the kale. My husband really liked this one, maybe not the kale as much as the Asian flavored sauce. We have some leftover sauce that he wants to use for a stir-fry this week.

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I made the French Cauliflower Soup from class. The recipe intrigued me – I like the creamy texture using the butter and egg yolk. My husband really liked it, (he had seconds!), and I have enough for a couple of lunches.

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I don’t know that we ate any more vegetables than we usually do, but we certainly used them in different ways.

Assignment 3

I chose quinoa for my whole grain.  I cooked with it and made a quinoa and with fresh peas hot side dish on Friday evening.  Saturday morning, I mixed the quinoa with cooked steel cut oats with cut up apples and blueberries.  Sunday evening, I made a cold quinoa salad with cucumbers and carrots with a balsmic/olive oil dressing.

Assignment 2

Shopping for produce that I have never used was a fascinating experience.  In the end,  I chose fennel and Red Chard.  While in the store, I did look up potential recipes for both options.  I wanted to ensure that I would find something that could potentially be a success at our home.

I made three dishes:  Fennel – I made broasted fennel and carrots with garlic and lemon; I made an egg dish with the red chard, potatoes, and ham and sauteed the red chard with smashed garlic and red pepper flakes.

 

Produce – shopping

Week Two Assignment

For this week’s assignment I chose celery root (celeriac) because the mention of it in last week’s class intrigued me – I’ve never used it before and never really had heard of it being used; and eggplant – not because I’d never used it but because my younger son suggested it and I thought (wrongly) that this might get him more interested in trying to eat it!

The first thing I made was eggplant parmesan, which was pretty easy to make, and my husband and I both liked it but it was a thumbs down for both kids. I think I’d still make it again – eggplant is a flavor that takes some getting used to if you’re not familiar with it. Also, the sauce recipe that came with this was pretty yummy.

 

I was excited to cut into those wacky looking celeriac bulbs so I cut one up and roasted it to go with some ribs my husband was making. In all the recipes I had looked at, it seemed like it might take this vegetable a while to roast in the oven, but one recipe I found called for putting it into some aluminum foil (sealed around the edges) for 25 minutes before opening it up and roasting for 15 minutes. It has a nice mild potato/celery flavor to it. Kids were noncommittal but ate a few bites.

 

One thing I’ve discovered about celery root is that it has a lot higher water content than a potato. I had a second bulb so I made a small amount of potato celery mash and after I boiled the veggies I had to heat it on the stove for a little longer than you’d normally have to do with just potatoes to get the mixture to dry out enough. I thought the end result was quite tasty, and adding the potato mellowed out that celery flavor.

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Finally, I really love baba ganousch and have never made it. I had one more eggplant left so I found a recipe online. Who knew it was so easy to make! (although I had to go back to the store to buy some tahini) And turned out quite yummy with pita bread. Kids wouldn’t go near it but I think I can get them to come around.

 

I don’t think I really changed the amount of produce that we ate this week, I think I just changed it a bit from the veggies we normally have. Also, I feel I didn’t really do a good job of incorporating these dishes into our meal routine. They all ended up being more like little food experiments I sprinkled in throughout the week (but the experiments got me a little more comfortable with these veggies so perhaps I’ll be more likely to use them in the future). I would say that produce did not end up being more prominent in our meals, other than the night that we had eggplant parmesan, which was the main course that night. I think I still need some more work in that area.

Home Assignment #1

My pantry and freezer are fairly well stocked. We shop a couple of times a week for fresh produce, bread, milk as needed. Most dinners tend to be spontaneous and fairly simple – salad or frozen vegetables, microwave potato, something on the grill, pasta with jarred sauce or leftovers if we have them. Sometime on weekends, we cook a big batch of something (soup, stew, chili) so we have leftovers for lunches and dinners.

i do like it when I make a plan for the week, not necessarily for every meal, but enough to have a few ideas so I can shop for ingredients if needed, take something out of the freezer, and know what I’m going to do when I get home from work. Otherwise, we’re standing in the kitchen trying to figure out what to do, grazing along the way and eating dinner at 9:00.

For my first recipe, I made the tomato sauce recipe from class. I used frozen Roma tomatoes from my garden, cooked pasta, grated cheese and a dollop of the leftover pesto from class.

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For my second recipe, I decided to make use of my Instant Pot to cook adzuki beans that I got in my CSA share and made Carrot and Ginger Adzuki Bean Stew.

I enjoyed making these recipes. I learned that by taking a few minutes to collect the ingredients makes the prep go faster. It doesn’t really take that much time to prepare a meal with ingredients that I have on hand.