A Tale of Two Meals

Laura’s Meal:

Winter Squash- Tahini dip: at first seemed a little odd. I got it as a general idea for using roasted squash while perusing the internet.  I tried making some on Wednesday, and served it with crackers for a snack.  It was good, but I felt like it was lacking something to pull it all together.

That was cumin and cilantro.  Adding those, this time, made a really nice mellow dish that played off the mild sweetness of the squash and savory qualities of the tahini and garlic that really harmonized in a way that could complement a south american, mexican, or middle eastern meal (god help me from food purists taking my soul for that advise).

General recipe: About 1 1/2 cup of roasted squash (mashed with a fork), 3 tbsp tahini, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1/4 tsp cumin, 2 tbsp of chopped cilantro, salt to taste.  Really, I feel like the varying sweetness of different squashes makes this a good dish to really just adjust everything to taste.

My most favorite cornbread, 'house cornbread' baked in a cast iron skillet. Yum, and with mandan bride dent corn, double yum!

Cornbread, oh cornbread.  How I have missed you! Now that we have a lovely grain mill, cornmeal is a reality, and I was keen to make cornbread this week, god help me!  I used the Mandan Bride Corn (the lovely multicolored dent corn we got from the Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain CSA) which made a white cornmeal with flecks of colors in it… really neat.  I used it in my favorite and trusty “House Corn Bread” Recipe from Nikki and David Goldbeck’s American Wholefoods Cuisine.  I bequeath this wondrous recipe with a little modification:

House Corn Bread: ( makes 8 pieces)

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp honey
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Put butter in pan (and put in oven for a minute or so) or preheated cast iron skillet to melt butter in your baking vessel.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients together.
  4. Pour the mix into the hot baking dish.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes until done.
  6. Adoringly love your moist, complex, slightly sweet cornbread.

Spicy Slaw: Cabbage, shredded carrot, pickled radishes, cilantro, spiced red currant vinegar, lemon juice, cayanne, and salt.

The meal assembled: Cornbread broiled with tomato and cheese (Atwell's Gold from Narragansett Creamery), kabocha quash tahini dip, spicy slaw and hardboiled egg.

Very happy with my meal in the end.  I might not have used tomato had I known the cornbread was a little sweeter than normal, using the Mandan Bride Cornmeal, but still delicious with cheese.

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Theresa’s Meal:

So, if we are following through with the literary play off, Laura’s meal was Darnay, and my meal was Carton, though it doesn’t quite work as a pure allusion.  I would say that Laura’s meal was the Darnay to my Defarges!

I tried, and sort of failed at making a good dinner.  It wasn’t bad, per say, it was just bland and not really appropriate.  Now is not the time for asian-style food, but I gave it a go.

Roasted Beets (red, chioggia, golden) in maple teriyaki sauce.

The recipe for Maple Teriyaki Beets comes from Farmer John, and I had high hopes for this recipe.  Truth be told, it could have been really good, but i failed to plan in a lack of soy sauce.  We had finished up the bottle earlier in the week, and I tried to make due with my popcorn spray mixture, half Brag’s Amino Acids and half soy sauce.  Not quite the right taste  I would have doubled the sauce, since we had way more beets than the recipe called for.  In the end, the parts that had been well sauced were good, the rest, bland.  I’ll try this again in the future, when we have proper ingredients.

Maple Teriyaki Beets

  • Roasted beets
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tables spoon minced or grated ginger

Blend the sauce ingredients together, and pour over the beets.  Broil on high for a few minutes until the sauce is hot, and the beets are beginning to crisp.

Stir Fried Green Beans

Again, bland.  Green beans with garlic are good, but it needed something more.  Probably a sauce, or something.  At least I have determined that we can successfully brown and lightly crisp frozen green beans.  One good thing out of this!

Baked Spicy Tofu

I wanted marinated tofu in a ginger-soy sauce.  Alas, no soy sauce.  So the last dregs of our probably expired hoisin sauce went on top here, and broiled until crisp.  Again bland.

So, it wasn’t bad, just dull, uninspired and a little misguided.  Laura is really the one who can make a tasty tofu and stirfry dish.  I tried, and that attempt has tought me a lot.  Next time, I will not plow forward without say sauce.

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Interesting breakfast this morning.  We had leftover winter vegetable bisque, and cornbread, so we broiled the conbread with cheese and served it ontop of the warmed winter vegetable bisque.  I must say, a perfect combination! A good idea for a meal in the future.

Toasted Cornbread and Cheese over Winter Vegetable Bisque.

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