Steak with Winter Wheat Berry Salad with Figs & Red Onion and Fennel and Radicchio Winter Salad with Pecans.
Left out the honey (by mistake) in the farro salad and substituted two shallots for the red onion. I also tossed in some feta that was hanging out in the fridge — I’d guess it was about six ounces.
Herbed roasted chicken with beet-feta-orzo salad and green beens.
I should consider calling this “dinner on Sunday” instead of “dinner tonight.” My new schedule has been keeping me so busy that I really don’t have time to cook until the weekend and on Saturdays, I’m usually more concerned with catching up on the other things I’ve missed doing during the week. Like reading.
But, at the sacrifice of precious time I could be spending with my head in a book (only twenty pages left!), I decided to make dinner tonight. The roasted chicken from last week was so good that I wanted something similar again. I stuffed some minced herbs under the skin in the morning: fresh sage, thyme, oregano and garlic. The kitchen smelled incredible afterwards. I just realized that I forgot to pop the lemon I bought in the cavity before I roasted it. C’est la vie.
The beet salad was really the “star” of the meal though. I saw this recipe a few weeks back and made a mental note to myself. It sounded like a good combination. So tonight I went about making it based on what I remembered. I roasted the beets. I used shallots. Skipped the pine nuts completely. Seasoned to taste and I tasted a lot along the way because this salad is hard to put down. I was tempted to skip the chicken and just eat this instead.
Zuni Cafe’s roasted chicken, the Smitten Kitchen version. “Farro Salad With Roasted Mushrooms and Parmesan” from Food52. Roasted broccoli with lemon.
Two things: the chicken is incredible. The skin is utterly perfect. I don’t usually eat chicken skin but this was irresistible. Secondly, the farro salad is also super. I was nibbling away at it while I made the chicken. I decreased the olive oil (and used a fairly high-quality one), increased the parmesan and I wish I’d bought more mushrooms. I think this could easily take another half-pound of mushrooms to become more of a mushroom salad with farrow and parmesan.
"Beef and Barley Stew with Mushrooms" from Simply Recipes. “Cauliflower with Mustard-Lemon Butter” from Epicurious.
Dinner tonight was a Real Dinner. Stew with melty-soft chunks of beef and roasted cauliflower so wonderful that I’m glad I had already packed away the rest of the dish, otherwise I might have gone back for seconds, thirds and possibly eaten the entire head.
I kept both recipes mostly the same, although I only casually measured the ingredients for the stew. It’s likely that I inadvertently increased all of the vegetables. In addition to turnip, I also added a fennel bulb as suggested by one of the recipe’s commenters. Really enjoyed this additional. I didn’t use sour cream.
Unfortunately, Real Dinners have become a little few and far between recently. I’ve lately been feeling a little uninspired when it comes to eating and then there’s this matter of going back to Real College: balancing 36-hour work weeks during the day with nine credits at night. Thankfully, this stew has not only fed me tonight but has also put a total of five additional meals into the fridge and freezer.
Pork and eggs with cellophane noodles over brown rice.
Somehow, as if by magic, weeks have gone by since I’ve made a dinner worth posting here. Dinner tonight is really no exception but decided to document it anyway.
I know: this doesn’t look like much. I came up with it while I sat at my desk working and craving completely different things — pancakes and eggs, fish curry, possibly a burrito — but knowing that I hadn’t done a shop in awhile and didn’t really feel like doing one tonight. So I worked with what I had: ground pork, eggs and the usual assortment of dry goods, including cellophane noodles and dried shrimp, which give this dish a nice umami flavor. It’s finished with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil that lingers towards the end of the bite. It reminds me of several Cantonese dishes I grew up eating, so I’d classify this as comfort food.
Spicy Italian sausage with broccoli rabe and orecchiette.
On what I believe was the coldest day of the winter thus far, my apartment was without heat. I spent the day working from home: huddled under layers of clothing, drinking tea and craving chicken soup.
This was a very mild-flavored dish but very warming. I poached two boneless chicken thighs (frozen and defrosted) with black peppercorns, Sichuan peppercorns, two star anise, a dried tangerine peel and a bay leaf. I was after an aromatic broth — something cozy. Once the chicken was done, I blanched half a head of romaine lettuce, then cooked the noodles. While I was assembling things in my bowl, I drizzled on some toasted sesame oil and topped everything off with the cooking broth.
Dinner tonight hit the spot.
Another old favorite, “Ants Climbing A Tree (Bean Thread Noodles with Minced Meat) (Ma Yi Shang Shu)” from Fuchsia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty. Eaten over zakkoku mai, Japanese short grain rice with mixed grains.
"Quick Beef Stew with Mushrooms and White Beans Recipe" from Simply Recipes. Eaten with brown rice.
This is good for a weeknight dinner and I would certainly make it again. However, it’s no substitute for a long, slow stew.
"Roasted Chicken With Dijon Sauce" from Smitten Kitchen, adjusted to one and a half pounds of chicken — drumsticks only. Roasted potatoes.
Dinner tonight was another instance of Make Space In The Freezer¹. You can see the back now. Just a little bit. Had I had more patience, I would have thickened the sauce longer but I was nibbling away at the pan of potatoes and tempted to eat a drumstick off the plate — I was hungry. The sauce was good but it would definitely benefit from being thicker.
1: Dinner tonight was also Slightly Unbalanced. I thought there were green beans in the fridge. There were not.