Touch of Nectar











Lacking decent leftovers from dinner last night for my lunch today, I was at a loss for what to bring. I stood there staring out the fridge before I came up with something.

This is one of those clean-out-the-fridge type recipes where whatever is in your refrigerator will work. Soba Noodle Salad with Vegetables and Tofu. It really takes no time to put together. Just a matter of boiling water and adding the noodles. Meanwhile chop up some veggies and tofu. Drain and rinse the noodles in cold water and toss it all together. Easy!! And it uses things I normally have in the house. Bonus. And it’s vegan. Double bonus!

Pretty simple lunch, but it will be yummy!!

In the left box is baby corn, edamame and the soba salad with snow peas on top. In the right box is strawberries, grapes and a couple of wedges of orange.



Normally when I have leftover mashed potatoes, they tend to get thrown out unless Hubby eats them. I just don’t like reheated mashed potatoes. Blech.

I stumbled across a recipe on Zaar that saves my unloved leftovers! Quick and Easy Potato Rolls. These are basically biscuits made with leftover mashed potatoes. Can’t hurt to try them, right?  So I made some up last night. Not only is the dough super easy to work with and they come together in no time, the recipe produces a light, fluffy, slightly sweet biscuit. YUM! I’ll be making these again for sure!



{October 29, 2008}   Lunch – Bento #9

Number Nine… Number Nine… Number Nine…

Bento #9 is mostly just dinner leftovers and a mish-mash of what was in the fridge.

In the larger box is sauteed mushrooms, fried rice and edamame.

In the smaller box is baby corn, cucumbers, yellow bell peppers and garlic mushrooms (from a jar – Trader Joes).

I also have some strawberries, grapes and a couple of wedges of orange in a third box.

Hmmm… that’s a lot of veggies today. Oh well. I like veggies.



A couple of nights ago I had made Pork Skewers with Pineapple Scallion Rice. I didn’t have any pork leftover but I had a ton of rice. Instead of just eating plain ol’ rice again, I decided to make something a little more interesting. I had some diced pork chops in the fridge that needed to be eaten, so I started with those.  Had I not been feeding the hubby, I would have used tofu. I added some chopped onion and garlic, then raided the fridge to see what vegetables were lurking in there. 

I ended up with green onions, snow peas, a handful of shredded carrots and some green cabbage. Basically a stir fry. I added some sesame oil and soy sauce as the vegetables were cooking. When they were almost done, I added the rice and a little more soy sauce. As that was cooking away, I beat two eggs, then poured that in, scrambling them into the mix. Voila! Dinner is served! I steamed some pork buns and shrimp gyoza from out of the freezer to go with the rice. Fast and easy dinner – and a great way to clean out the fridge!



{October 28, 2008}   Dinner – Pork Scallopine

I had a pork roast in the fridge that needed to be cooked, and I didn’t really want to do the whole “roast” thing, so I decided to cut it up and make… Scallopine! Loosely based on a chicken scallopine recipe I found on Recipe Zaar, it was pretty easy to make!


First I cut the roast into 1/2 inch slices. Then I pounded those down to about 1/4 inch each and dropped them into a ziplock bag with flour. In hindsight, dredging them in flour in a small pan would have been easier and more effective. I heated a bit of vegetable oil in a skillet and browned the pork on both sides. I set aside the browned meat, with a tinfoil tent to keep it warm while I made the sauce.

I deglazed the pan with chicken broth, then added onions, lemon zest and lemon juice. I let this reduce for about 5 minutes, then added just a bit of cornstarch to thicken it up. Meanwhile I boiled some mini gnocchi and steamed some green beans. The gnocchi was simply dressed with a bit of butter. With the sauce for the meat that was all it really needed. Dinner is served!



A bit of a strange lunch today. I wanted more than just meat and potatoes for lunch, so I looked to the jars that were in my pantry. Not shown is another small box with strawberries, grapes and a small wedge of cheese. That will most likely be my breakfast.  I am going to be wishing for something crunchy (pretzels, chips…) later today. Maybe the cucumber will satisfy that.

In the main box: Teriyaki Meatloaf, roasted potatoes, cherry tomatoes and peas (from the freezer).

In the smaller box: garlic mushrooms (from a jar – TJ’s), artichoke hearts (also from TJ’s), cucumber slices and yellow bell pepper.

Not all that exciting, but I’m not wasting any food!



{October 27, 2008}   Bacon Cheddar Bread

We ran out of bread yesterday and hubby needed some for sandwiches for work. Time to pull out the bread machine! I love the bread machine. Just dump and let it do its thing.

Every time I make bread, I try a different recipe. I had limited ingredients this time around, so I raided the fridge to see what I could find – leftover bacon! And a small hunk of cheddar cheese. Perfect!

 


The bread was done before dinner was ready, so of course Hubby had to have a steaming hot loaf drowned in butter. You could smell the bacon and see the little flecks of red/brown throughout the loaf. The outside of the loaf was nice and crusty, but the inside was soft and moist. Perfect for sandwiches for this week.

If it lasts that long.



{October 27, 2008}   Teriyaki Meatloaf and Taters

Hubby is a meat-n-taters sort of guy. Me? I’d probably be a vegetarian if he weren’t around. Last night, dinner was all about him. I made a Teriyaki Meatloaf, flavored with brown sugar and soy sauce, with more of the same drizzled on the top. It really did taste a bit like teriyaki. I also made roasted sweet and regular potatoes and peas. The meatloaf was inhaled. Seriously. I looked over and his plate was EMPTY! That doesn’t happen all that often.

The potatoes I did in a very simple way. I just tossed them with a good drizzle of olive oil, then spread them on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Then I sprinkled them with salt and freshly ground black pepper. I could have added herbs – sage or rosemary would have been especially nice, but I was looking for simplicity. They were baked (with the meatloaf) for about 25 minutes. Just until they were done, and browning very slightly on the edges. I don’t like over-browned potatoes. Hubby won’t eat sweet potatoes, but I love them, so he got mostly white potatoes and I got mostly sweets. Fine by me!

 

Dinner all plated up. The peas were simply frozen peas I zapped in the microwave. But we had clean plates all the way around!

Hubby was sent off to work today with a meatloaf sandwich – on homemade bread!



I knew when I saw these cookies on Epicurious that I was going to have to make them. I completely enamoured with the concept. They are the perfect cookie to make around Halloween time!

The dough MUST be refrigerated before trying to work with it. It is very soft, but produces a light, soft cookie.  In hindsight, I would have chilled the dough in small batches. It softens up very quickly as you are rolling and cutting your shapes.I went out and bought a set of
 
 
 

 

animal cookie cutters specifically for this recipe. With a toddler in the house, I have a feeling I’ll be using them often.  When looking at all the other kitchen and baking things at the store I found icing! Made by Wilton. I iced the cookies with this instead of making a separate batch of Royal icing. It was okay – a little sugary for my tastes. Looks pretty good on the cookies though.

 

 

Gingerbread Skeletons
Number of servings will depend on your cookie cutters

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1
white decorating icing , with small tip In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter together. Add molasses and water. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, ginger, and allspice. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet and blend until the dough holds together.

 

Cover and chill for 2-3 hours.Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out dough 1/4″ thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheets or cooling racks.
Using the white decorating icing, decorate the cookies with “bones” so that they resemble skeletons.
 


I let the cookies cool for about an hour before putting on the icing. I made skeleton fish, sharks, camels, bears, elephants, geckos, cats, flamingos and a bunch of others. Not exactly traditional Halloween cookies, but it was fun!! Half of the cookies are gone already thanks to Hubby and the Madster.  I couldn’t find my gingerbread men and women, so we only had animal skeletons. I don’t think anyone minded. lol.

 



{October 26, 2008}   Simple Pea Salad
I had a bunch of radishes in the fridge that needed to be used up before they got woody and chewy. So I did a quick little search through my recipe files and found a simple salad.This recipe originally appeared in the May 1990 issue of Gourmet Magazine.

Pea Salad
Serves 8

4 cups cooked peas

3/4 cup finely chopped scallion
1/2 cup finely chopped radish
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (to taste)

In a bowl toss together the peas, the scallion, the radish, the tarragon, the oil, the vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste until the salad is combined well.

 

Via the wonders of RecipeZaar (which I use to store/file/sort all of my recipes) I scaled down the servings from 8 to 2. I used dried tarragon and red wine vinegar. I zapped frozen peas in the microwave for about a minute then just tossed everything together. Great quick lunch. And surprisingly very flavorful! I love peas with tarragon, and the radish gave the salad a nice crunch.



et cetera