February 2010


This week includes recipes from two of our Phaidon cookbooks (both courtesy of my parents): Silver Spoon Pasta and the Silver Spoon.  Everything we’ve made from both of those cookbooks has been great, and we’re so excited that it’s artichoke season so we can test out some of the delicious-looking artichoke recipes!

Saturday: Homemade pasta with creamy artichoke sauce, baked small red mullet, salad

Sunday: Crock pot barbecue ribs, Super Slaw (recipe below), french bread

Monday: leftovers

Tuesday: Pizza (pepperoni and spinach; mushrooms and olives)

Wednesday: Garlic sausage and collard green soup

Thursday: Fish with arugula pesto, kohlrabi, bread

Friday: Crock pot Moroccan-inspired chickpea stew, brown rice

Super Slaw is a recipe I got from my mother — I know she got it from someone else, but I can’t remember who or when exactly.  I don’t much care for the traditional mayonnaise-based coleslaw, but this one is completely different.  It has a lot of Thai flavors in it, with the peanut butter and ginger and cilantro, and it’s the perfect balance of acidic, sweet, and crunchy.  I usually cut the recipe in half when I’m making it just for our family, and use only red cabbage to simplify matters (half the recipe uses about half a small head of red cabbage).

Super Slaw

Dressing:

6 tablespoons rice vinegar

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar

2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

Slaw:

5 cups thinly sliced green cabbage

2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage

2 large red or yellow bell peppers, cut into matchstick-sized strips

2 medium carrots, cut into matchstick-sized strips

8 large green onions, cut into matchstick-sized strips

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk first 7 ingredients in small bowl to blend.  (Dressing can be made one day ahead.  Cover and chill.  Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.)

Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Add dressing and toss to cut.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

I modified my week’s menu plan yet again to change one of the snacks I made for Knit Night tonight.  Danny came home yesterday and requested pecan pie for an office farewell and I decided to take the plunge and try out an idea that’s been in my head for a while — mini pecan pie tarts.  I used this Bakerella post for inspiration, but since I love my mom’s pecan pie filling recipe and didn’t have any pastry shells in the freezer I improvised.

My improvised version used one pie filling recipe and enough pie crust for two 9″ (single crust) pies.  I used this recipe for pate brisse, which is my all-time favorite, go-to pie crust recipe.  I don’t have tart pans, mini or otherwise, so I used my mini muffin tins and regular muffin tins.  In retrospect I probably should have only filled the regular muffin tin cups about halfway or so, as it is they ended up as sort of “deep dish” tarts and the filling stayed gooey-er than I would have liked.  All of the tarts ended up looking sort of like the eggs in the movie Alien after they’ve hatched, but I blame that on my infernal fan oven — things bake too quickly on top and too slowly in the middle, and there’s really nothing I can do about it.  Sigh.  I thought the mini tarts held up better, but they definitely had a higher pastry-to-filling ratio.  This is probably because for the mini ones I divided the dough for one pie recipe into 24 pieces and smushed it into the cups instead of rolling it out.  Next time I might try rolling the dough partway out (which is what I did for the regular muffin cups) to make it just a little bit thinner.

Below is the recipe I got from my mom for pecan pie filling — it makes enough filling for one 9″ pie or 24 mini-muffin tarts plus 8 “deep dish” muffin-tin tarts.  I would note that if you’re making the mini pies, as Bakerella notes in her tutorial, you’ll want to chop the pecans instead of leaving them in big pieces.

Pecan Pie Filling

3 eggs

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 cup corn syrup

dash vanilla

1 cup pecan halves or broken pieces

Beat eggs, sugar, salt, margarine and syrup with hand beater.  Stir in pecans.

I also made these Black Bottom Cupcakes.  These came out beautifully, and taste absolutely divine.  I think I could have easily gotten 13 or maybe even 14 cupcakes out of the recipe, but my muffin tins seem to be a bit smaller than the norm.  One note of caution — if your muffin tin isn’t nonstick, spray the top of the pan with cooking spray of some sort.  The tops of my cupcakes stuck and had to be pried up with a butter knife, resulting in one or two casualties.

We had a lovely long weekend, lots of walks and lazing around, and the market is starting to show exciting signs of non-hothouse vegetables (e.g. the collards below, young and tender and lovely right now), which means spring can’t be too far off!

Saturday: Homemade fusilli with eggplant, capers, anchovies and tomatoes; grilled shad

Sunday: Roasted chicken, collard greens, and celeriac au gratin

Monday: Beef brisket, broccoli, and roasted beets

Tuesday: Quinoa Stew

Wednesday: Grilled lamb and rosemary sausages, eggplant, zucchini, and rice

Thursday: Great northern beans and potatoes, sweet-and-sour red cabbage

Friday: Crock pot lamb, olive, and onion tagine, carrots

*Edited to add:

I forgot until yesterday that I’m hosting Knit night on Wednesday!  In order to help me remember what I’m planning to make, I’ll include the menu plan for that as well:

– chips and salsa

– raw veggies and homemade red pepper humus

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Soft Raspberry Crumble Bars

– various assorted teas

Does everyone else out there agree that maternity clothes are generally pretty wretched?  I mean, as good as an elastic waistband may sound after Thanksgiving dinner, it just seems to me like it’s impossible to find maternity clothes that I’m not having to constant adjust because they’re falling down or riding up.  And don’t get me started on the demi-panel trend.  Whoever thought it was a good idea to put the elastic straight across the widest part of my belly rather than above it or below it has clearly never been pregnant.  Or they were, and hated it, and now want to punish all those who come after them.

*Deep breath*

I think once it gets not freezing outside it’ll be a little bit easier, because I actually have several skirts that are comfortable (the awesome maternity skirt my friend K from Diaper Their Faces made being my current favorite!), but right now it’s so cold that I have to wear tights or leggings under them.  Maternity tights, with the built-in space for a pregnant belly, are still falling down all the time, but regular ones squeeze me very uncomfortably and make me feel nauseous by the end of the day.  Once it warms up enough to ditch the tights things will be a little easier.

But this wasn’t intended to be a rant.  I was actually really excited to find this tutorial on See Mommy Sew, which looks like an awesome way to make maternity skirts that would be cute, comfortable, and customized to your particular shape.  If I had an extra $50 laying around (and/or if I hadn’t already had my birthday this year), I would totally get this one from her etsy shop.  The tulle…I just love the black tulle at the bottom.  So fun.  I think I have enough fabric in my scrap bag to try my hand at making one of these, and if I’m reasonably successful I might have to get some really fun fabric to make myself a couple more!

I just realized that I haven’t posted a menu plan in…well, I can’t remember the last time I did.  But I always enjoy reading other people’s menu plans, so I figured I would go ahead and post ours from this past week and this coming week just for the heck of it.  We usually do our menu planning on Saturday mornings, before we go to the open air market to get our produce, so our plans go Saturday to Saturday.

Sausage will likely be a prominent feature in our menu planning for the next few months, since we had a sausage-making party this past Sunday and froze about 10 kilos of homemade French Garlic, Sicilian, Rosemary Lamb, Chicken Sage, and breakfast sausage.  We finally took the plunge and ordered collagen casings online, since natural casings are impossible to find here.  Believe me, we’ve exhausted every possible source in the city of Ankara.  Even the Sausage King of Bodrum, whose wares we have sampled and thoroughly enjoyed, says he can’t get natural casings here.  And if there were a way to get natural casings, Greg (aka the King) would have found it.

Last week:

Saturday: I was ill, and honestly can’t remember what, if anything, we had for dinner.  I’m sure we fed Stephen something nutritious at least.

Sunday: Grilled sausage sampler, steamed carrots, Buttermilk Rye rolls

Monday: Shrimp with red peppers and onions, polenta, savoy cabbage

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Red lentil and tofu curry*, brown rice, steamed snow peas

Thursday: Grilled steak, broccoli, smoked paprika sweet potato oven fries

Friday: 15 bean soup, cornbread

This week:

Saturday: homemade spaghetti and tomato sauce, Italian sausage, steamed zucchini

Sunday: roast chicken, sweet potato oven fries, roasted beets

Monday: clay pot baked pork loin, fresh pasta, asparagus

Tuesday: grilled shrimp, garlic sausage, peppers, and brussels sprouts, polenta

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: black beans, brown rice, cooked salsa, steamed carrots

Friday: slow cooker beef stew, Buttermilk Rye rolls

*We make several modifications to this recipe.  We also double all the spices except the cayenne, which we omit for Stephen’s sake.  We cut the amount of water used to cook the lentils in half, and fry the tofu cubes in the spice oil before adding them to the lentils.  We serve it with chopped cilantro, shredded coconut, roasted peanuts, raisins and hot sauce on the side so every one can dress their own dish (although we do monitor Stephen so that he doesn’t just eat the bowl of raisins and/or dump hot sauce all over his bowl).  We also double the recipe to make sure we have enough left over for lunches the next day.