This week started of with unabashed decadence: bacon cooked salmon with bacon farro risotto and grilled butternut squash. The lamb was good, but after bacon cooked salmon, it’s all a bit downhill.
Week of February 12:
Sunday: Bacon cooked salmon, farro risotto with bacon, and grilled butternut squash
Monday: Homemade veggie pizza
Tuesday: Slow cooked Moroccan lamb w/ pine nut & spinach cous cous
Wednesday: Home-made black bean burgers, fruit salad
Friday: Turkey sort-of picatta, grilled carrots and asparagus
Saturday: Take-out from Flavors of East Africa- the goat dish was the winner, but the chicken curry was a close second.
Sunday we had salmon as usual, but I had Farmer’s Market bacon burning a hole in my fridge, so I was inspired. I made my farro risotto and made the bacon to crumble on top, and then cooked the salmon- skin side down- in the bacon grease pan. Crispy salmon skin is amazing to begin with (my parents actually refer to it as ‘healthy bacon’, because the oils are the good for you kind, but it has that same oily crispness), and made in bacon grease only improves it. I just cooked it on medium heat until a meat thermometer stuck in the thickest part told me it was 132deg. It paired beautifully with the risotto and squash, though it definitely is one of the more decadent things I’ll ever make again.
Monday was home-made pizza night. PMM and I got home very late due to rain, and the ensuing panic on our southern CA freeways- change your windshield wipers people, it’ll work wonders!- but pulled off a joint effort pizza in slightly less than a 1/2 hour. And in case you don’t have your very own helpful toddler and are thus not aware, that means that this would have taken about 15 minutes, and that she must have been extremely well-behaved for that 1/2 hour. We bought crust dough from Trader Joe’s, and, while it’s not great pizza crust, it’s super convenient. Just make sure to spread it very thinly so the pizza doesn’t take forever to cook. We use jarred tomato sauce (just regular pasta sauce), pre-shredded mozzerella, canned sliced black olives, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant. Served up with a salad- topped with berries and goat cheese- this made a reasonably healthy startlingly quick dinner.
Tuesday was lamb. I just felt like having lamb, and I love coming home to food basically already made. Here’s a link to the recipe. I made a few alterations- I threw in the lemon at the beginning (I’m not home to add anything halfway through), and I added about 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped dried apricots and 1/2 cup of chopped eggplant with about 1/2 hour to go (when I got home). For cous cous, I just made it (boil 2 cups water, add 1 cup cous cous, remove from heat covered for 5 minutes) and stirred in about 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts (lay pine nuts on tinfoil, toast in toaster oven for ‘light toast’) and about 1/2 cup of finely chopped spinach.
Recall that this is ‘frugal February,’ and cans of black beans are both cheap and tasty. Thus Wednesday was black bean burgers. Quick food, these were OK. Until the Ninja suggested they were missing cilantro and I ran to the kitchen to dig for some. He was right; the cilantro made me happy to eat them.
Thursday is almost always leftover night, though this week we were a little short on leftovers. I think the Ninja ended up with a PB&J- and very pleased by it.
This was fancy Friday: I went with turkey picatta. Thin cutlets of meat- whether veal, turkey, chicken, or pork (or beef, but I’ve never seen those)- cook extremely quickly. You can’t get a complex sauce to impart flavor to them, but you can pour one on top. I shy away from veal for mild ethical hesitations, but I’ve never met a turkey I would feel guilty about eating.
This isn’t a real picatta, because I don’t bother breading the cutlets- they always seem to get soggy and it just adds fat and junk to the meal. I lightly salt and pepper the cutlets and add to a pan with about a tablespoon of heated oil. Usually olive oil, and it usually sets off the smoke alarm. Canola would be smarter. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes on both sides and set aside. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of chicken broth (or 1/4 broth and 1/4 white wine, if you have it), then add 1 tsp grated lemon rind, 3 tblsp of lemon juice, and 1 tblsp drained and rinsed capers. Bring to a boil and cook on medium high heat until it thickens. Pour over the pork to serve.
Saturday we got take-out from Flavors of East Africa, a ‘Kenyan inspired’ restaurant nearby. The chicken curry was wonderful tender shredded chicken in a sweet coconut curry; a bit too salty for me, but great flavors. The goat meat was a big shank, grilled to a perfect char- it added flavor, rather than tasting burnt. Yum. We’ll likely go back there eventually, but we don’t get food out too often, so it’ll probably be a while. We do frequently get their sambusas (small meat or lentil filled fried flaky pastries) at the farmer’s market, and I don’t see that abating any time soon.