I have been trying to eat better now that I have the time to cook, so here’s the rundown on what’s been in my fridge and pantry this past week:
Kale Cheese (Colby-jack and havarti with dill)
Red onions Mushrooms
Cabbage Grape tomatoes
Milk Cottage cheese
Fennel Brussels sprouts
Carrots Fuji apples
Egg bagels Wheat bread
Liverwurst Sausage (bratwurst and Trader Joe’s chicken with spinach and fontina)
Cavatappi Spaghetti sauce
Canned tuna Balsamic vinegar
Lentils Jar of minced garlic
Lemon juice Olive oil and canola oil
Rice Canned garbanzos
Nothing like what I was planning to get, but I got to the farmer’s market too late to buy anything except the fennel (which turned out to be half rotten, probably from the freezes). Still, I got to remember the joy that is shopping at Trader Joe’s, though the 5pm crowds were atrocious, and I found a decent selection of produce, even if the quality wasn’t great, at the neighborhood market. I probably overbought, but I simply cannot resist kale, and I’ve been having a weird protein craving thing happening, probably because I started working out every day and my body isn’t used to it. Cabbage I’m not so into, but it was mad cheap on sale, and I figure that way it made up for the overpriced tomatoes since the larger sized ones were scary and whitish. The liverwurst has satisfied my once-a-year craving, but it was absolute crap quality. Next time I’ll search out a better producer.
Here are some of the various delicious treats I’ve been making and eating:
My friend Dino makes the most amazing lemon-Dijon kale at his restaurant, which inspired the next one. I will say, however, to all the recipes that said the lemon in the dressing would “cook” the kale so it was tender, bullshit! Maybe it was the crap quality kale I got, but next time I plan to steam or blanch it before it goes in the salad. Also worth noting, this was enormous; I had to put it in my 14-inch skillet just to have enough room to toss everything together. On the other hand, because the greens are sturdy, you can dress this all at once and leave it in the fridge for a few days without turning to mush, so it becomes a great instant meal.
Gynormous chopped salad with lemon Dijon vinaigrette
¼ head of cabbage, chopped loosely
2 stalks of kale, torn
2 carrots, sliced thin
1 Fuji apple, chopped
3 or 4 mushrooms, sliced
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
¼ cup each lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and cider vinegar
Probably a tbs garlic
Olive oil (I drizzle in the oil while using a stick blender and just quit when it tastes right and the consistency seems good. This one stayed emulsified in the fridge, too)
I also used the dressing to mix in with a can of tuna one day when I was hungry for a high protein quick snack. I’m a big fan of tuna with salad dressing. I know, I’m weird.
The next one I adapted from one of Mark Bittman’s recipes. I used regular rice instead of brown rice, and added a whole lot more vegetables, but it was damn tasty, and filling, and lasted like 4 days plus a couple servings that I froze.
Rice and lentil veggie pot
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 bratwurst, deconstructed
1 cup rice
2 cups lentils
¼ head cabbage, chopped coarsely
3 stalks kale, torn
4 bay leaves
Salt & pepper
1 cube each veggie and chicken boullion
Freeze dried shallots
I started with the oil, onion, carrots, and fennel, letting them get nice and warm and then adding the bratwurst which was as chopped and crumbled as possible. It really didn’t add as much flavor as I wanted, and I probably should have either left it out or used 2-3 sausages so it would have a presence. I added a little more oil, the spices, and the rice and lentils so they would cook in the oil for a couple minutes, then added 4 cups of water and the cabbage. I think I needed a little more than this in the end. The water didn’t cover the whole thing, but I left a lid on so it would steam at least. I added the kale about 10 or 15 minutes later so it wouldn’t overcook and get bitter. Aside from the sausage issue, this was a roaring success and I will make it again many times.
One quick meal was shaved sautéed brussels sprouts with garlic, mushrooms, and balsamic vinegar. I like to do these in butter because it just makes me happy and I like the flavor combo, but do whatevs. Also good with sausage if you like that.
Another favorite snack has been a quick “caprese” thing I throw together: chopped tomatoes, cottage cheese, garlic, balsamic vinegar, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper.
My pasta dishes have been fairly lackluster, but I rarely dislike pasta, and have been thrilled to discover a new favorite, cavatappi. For me, pasta is all about what you put in it, so a noodle that holds maximum sauce makes me happy. Generally I dig farfalle or gemelli, but after having cavatappi, I may never go back. I also added cottage cheese to my pasta one night when I wanted something a little more filling, and it was surprisingly good.
I won’t talk about the liverwurst toasted on a bagel with cheese and Dijon mustard. It’s a thing. Don’t judge me.
I expect I’ll do a little better next week, and probably do more of my cooking all at once so I have more different things to choose from throughout the week, but I thought it was a pretty decent start and I like some of the snacks I’ve started making. Certainly beats grabbing uneaten food off of tables and taking it home! (Just to be clear, I would never do this for an individual person’s dish, because ew, but if it’s a shared dish in the middle of the table, it’s considered fair game. Hey, broke people eat what they can get.)