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Tag Archives: Sunday Dinner

A Week of Winter Compost

This time of year I wish I could be cozied up by a roaring fire, thumbing through garden catalogues, dreaming about spring gardens, but the reality is that I’m living every suburban mom’s life: balancing cooking, cleaning, carting kids, and, in my case, composting.

In other words, life is busy, and I love it all, but spare time is sometimes in short supply.  Therefore, I present a week’s worth of winter compost buckets.  Maybe it’s the gloomy grey skies and chilly temps outside, but I think all these scraps are pretty, in a quirky kind of way…

I'm not one for avocados in the winter, but they perfectly complemented the Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos as well as the Black Bean and Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos.  We like choices.

I’m not one for avocados in the winter, but they perfectly complemented the Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos as well as the Black Bean and Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos. Sometimes we need choices and these were two great ones.

roast chicken brussels lemon pound cake 2.21.15

Some things become classic for a reason, and this meal is our quintessential Sunday Supper: roast chicken, mashed potatoes, shallot gravy and pan-roasted Brussels sprouts. I make it often, but it definitely tastes best eaten on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What's Sunday Supper without dessert?  Especially during Lent?  My middle boy loves lemon pound cake so we have a thin slice for dinner and the rest goes back to the dorm to fuel a huge college appetite.

This is the bottom of the bucket above…What’s Sunday Supper without dessert? Especially during Lent? My middle boy loves lemon pound cake (five eggs) so we each had a thin slice for dinner and the rest went back to the dorm to fuel a huge college appetite. Aren’t the spent stock blossoms from my bouquets around the house pretty even when they are destined for compost?

If your regular old meatball recipe has gotten stale, steal this idea: add a few ounces of chopped prosciutto to the meat mixture, bake, add sauce and spaghetti and get ready to swoon.  The best part?  My Whole Foods sells "cooking prosciutto" for just $10/pound.

If your regular old meatball recipe has gotten stale, steal this idea: add a few ounces of chopped prosciutto to the meat mixture, bake, add sauce and spaghetti and get ready to swoon. The best part? My Whole Foods sells “cooking prosciutto” for just $10/pound and it’s really just the dried ends of the pricey “good stuff”.  Here’s a recipe to try if you are intrigued.

Meal for a friend 2.24.15

One of the things I love about the South is the way friends and neighbors look out for each other with the gift of food. In this bucket you can imagine a meal lovingly prepared for an inspiring family who is coping with cancer complications and mitochondrial disease. I felt blessed to provide this meal and offered the best comfort food I know: two lemon roasted chickens, garlic mashed potatoes, pan-roasted green beans, all homemade Caesar salad, and my favorite weeknight dessert, Banana Poppyseed Cake.

 

Kalad Sale Parm Roasted Cauliflower 2.26.15

I’m pretty sure I could eat this meal once or twice a week if my family would concur: Kale Quinoa Salad (with dates, onions, and bacon instead of almonds) and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower. It’s healthy, filling, and really yummy.

 

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Composting Valentine’s Day

Confession: I love all the hearts and flowers and corny cards associated with Valentine’s Day.  Instead of thinking of it as a money-making holiday created by the candy and greeting card industry, I much prefer to remember it as the Catholic feast of Saint Valentine, a Roman priest martyred for marrying Christian couples.

I’ve got plush heart pillows on my soafs and pretty hearts hanging in my windows and of course a sparkly red wreath on my door.  Of course I’ve already made heart sprinkled sugar cookies and spent an entire episode of Downton Abby (just started season two) putting candy in mini bags with pretty red ribbons for my girl’s ballet pals.

So I made these lovely little Linzer tarts (tortes?) for my loved ones this weekend.  They are essentially a crisp almond meal cookie filled with raspberry jam.  I’ve got my own secret recipe but this one is similar. There is minimal compost from cookies naturally, but they are so pretty I had to share.

Valentines Linzer Tarts

The cookie-making bucket looked like this.

Brussels, Potatoes & Steak

What you can see (clockwise from the top):

  • brussels sprouts trimmings (really questionable quality sadly)
  • shallot skins & stem ends
  • eggs (for the cookies!)
  • carrot sticks (left over from lunchbox)
  • blueberries (left over from lunchbox)
  • In addition to the Linzer tart cookies, I also made a some quickly seared hangar steaks with this sauce paired with roasted brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes.

Here is the bucket for both Valentine’s Day family dinner and Sunday Supper.

Valentines Scallops & Sunday Supper Fittatta

What you can see (clockwise from the top):

  • lots of egg shells
  • lemon halves
  • bits of wilted salad greens
  • tea bag
  • orange peelsshallot skins & stem ends
  • espresso grounds
  • WhatI made with all of that:

Valentine’s Family Dinner

  • Scallops with Fresh Linguine
  • Caesar Salad with homemade croutons
  • Sunday Supper
  • Rich Vanilla Pudding with Strawberries & Lizer Tarts

My middle boy was a bit under the weather so our intended meal with friends and family was cancelled.  A sensible idea but when I cancelled dinner I didn’t make the meal… which resulted in hungry mouths at  seven wondering “what’s for dinner?”

frittatta eggshells 2.15

Frittatta to the rescue.  These never used to be in my rotation since I made my fair share of quiche and scrambled eggs, but quiche needs a crust and scrambed eggs really screams breakfast.  Enter the frittatta.  Made in my ten-inch cast iron pan with eggs, milk and whatever bits and pieces I have on hand, this meal is fast, fresh and super easy.

The Sunday frittatta included smoked salmon and shallots sauteed  in butter and some    almost old mozzerella.  A quick simmer on the stove and a minute under the broiler and dinner was served along with a quick Caesar spin-off, some sesame bagels and more Linzer tarts of course.

Hope your heart was happy this weekend.

 

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Sunday Supper: Cauliflower Steaks

How many times can I sing the praises of a Sunday meal with family?  Is there anything more satisfying than knowing that one day of the week is dedicated to time spent leisurely preparing a meal, then leisurely enjoying that meal around the table with the people you most love?  For a mom who loves food and a family who appreciates that food (most of the time) I think not.

This Sunday was even more enjoyable than usual with two things to celebrate: my middle boy was accepted to his top college choice (It’s great to be a Florida Gator!) and my oldest boy made a surprise visit home for one day.  Woohoo!  Time to pull out the stops in the kitchen.  In my house food is love.

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What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):

  • cauliflower stem end & leaves
  • kale stems
  • strawberry tops
  • Pink Lady apple peels (organic from local farm and amazing, plus lots more peels underneath)
  • more cauliflower stem ends & leaves
  • banana peel
  • half of a lemon
  • TAZO teabags (underneath)

What I made with all of that:

If you are a cauliflower fan, run, don’t walk, to the nearest grocery and buy a head (or two) so you can make that delicious cauliflower recipe.  I’ve been wanting to try it for weeks and it was everything I expected it would be; rich, creamy and delicate all at the same time.   By now you know I am a recipe tweaker, and this one is no different.  The initial cook time is longer than stated, with at least five minutes per side to begin caramelizing and I used half olive oil/butter combo.  As well, I used a higher milk to water ratio for the puree.  And it was amazing.  Just saying.

For the Roast Pork Loin recipe, I simply subbed dried, freshly ground coriander seed for the rosemary, added some olive oil to make a paste, then rubbed it into the meat and let it sit for about six hours.  I took it out an hour before roasting so that it was not ice cold going into the hot oven, ensuring a more even roast.  It, too, was wonderful.  Dipped into the cauliflower puree, it was memorable.  The side of kale added just the right bitter finish.

Hungry?  Run out and get some cauliflower!

 

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My Compost Overfloweth

 

You might think that between going Christmas shopping, attending and hosting parties, baking, going to Mass and Confession, writing cards, and studying for exams (not me, thank heavens) that there would be less time for cooking, and consequently compost.  You would be incorrect.

 

Remember the Bible verse from Proverbs, “Raise up a child the way he should grow and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  I’m keeping my fingers crossed on my kids’ moral and spiritual futures, but as far as food is concerned, even my pickiest sugar fiend who routinely stops for a dozen “Hot Doughnuts Now” on the way home from school (truly he has the app on his phone) wants to eat at home.  That means smoothies and eggs for breakfast,  lunch on their own (often packed by me) and a hearty dinner with lots of veggies.  Phew!  It tires me just thinking about it.  But honestly, I love to cook, especially with food from our garden.  Sadly, I have not had much time to document it.

 

So, here are the last week’s buckets with the quick odd comment and a goal to be more timely with my trash talk  in the coming holiday weeks…

 

Sunday Supper: This required two photos since there was so much food, including Beef Brisket, Chili & Ginger Glazed Carrots & Turnips, and of course Mashed Potatoes.  Dessert was cookies from a dear friend’s cookie exchange party the same day.  My contribution to the exchange was Gingerbread Thumbprints with Eggnog Frosting & Crystallized Ginger.  What you can see (clockwise from top):

 

  • turnip greens (they look fine here, but trust me there were wilted, and I was not in the mood for any more greens, plus I kind of hate turnip greens)
  • carrots scrapings
  • turnip root tips
  • russet potato peels
  • photo #2 yucky on the other side iceberg lettuce (that could not wait till Toss It Tuesday)
  • photo #2 banana peel
  • photo #2 red onion skins & stem ends

 

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Many cups of tea (for studying), smoothies and a quick Spaghetti Carbonara with Swiss Chard.  If you’ve never made carbonara before it can quickly become your BFF for nights when you have no clue what to make for dinner.  Trust me.  You can’t ruin this recipe and you have to eat it the minute it is finished.  But, typically if it’s a carbonara night everyone is standing around the island waiting to fill their bowl.  (Recipe says it serves three but I can serve three hungry teens AND me, so it’s hearty.)  What you an see in the bucket (clockwise from the top):

 

  • brown banana peels (if it’s a weekday, there are bananas in my bucket)
  • teabags (and several more hidden underneath)
  • lemon halves (to go with the tea)
  • colorful Swiss chard stems (one day I will get around to pickling these, probably when chard is out of season)
  • spent spider mum petals (lasted less than a week from my supermarket eco-friendly, higher priced  “green bouquet”.  No, that does not make me happy.)
  • eggshells (we go through at least two dozen pastured eggs every week in case you were wondering)

 

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This “bucket” (or paper towel, which I toss on the compost pile too) is nearly as pretty as the finished Sausage and Kale Strata I made to eat after one of my daughter’s Christmas choir concerts (she sings in both church and school choirs).   Add raw milk, challah and fontina cheese to the stuff below and you’ve got dinner!  Full confession: I actually made two strata (strati?), one with spinach and sausage, one with just kale for my sausage hater.  Not sure which was better.  We ate both with lightly dressed local hydroponic salad greens and celebratory sparkling apple cider.  What you can see (clockwise from the top):

 

  • lemon halves
  • kale stem ends
  • red onion skins & stem ends
  • a dozen eggshells

 

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Gosh, I hate wasting the tops of leeks!  Every recipe and even cookbooks ignore them and I’ve ranted on this before, but with a spare ten seconds I searched the internet and found, voila!  You can use them to make stock (technically a broth, since there are no bones.  I may actually do this since I’m always in the market for a good veggie broth and boxed ones are bleh!).  You can also sauté or even frizzle them.  Who knew?  And as this article points out, it’s likely the dark ends are the more nutritious part anyway.  Let me know if you already cook these or if you give it a try!  Anyway, I made Potato Leek Soup to celebrate my boy getting home from college unexpectedly early (woohoo!).  What you can see (clockwise from the top):

 

  • green leek tops
  • potato peels (lots hidden too)
  • onion skins

 

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And that’s it for my week … what ended up in your compost pile this week?

 

 

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Sunday Supper: Roast Chicken

Gosh, I love everything about Sunday dinner; planning it, setting the table, serving it, sharing it with people I love, even putting away the leftovers.  (Notice I did not say I love the cleaning up.  Nobody loves the cleaning up.  I’ve got a reputation for using every pot in the house, and then some.)  This was a particularly good one.

Does roast chicken sound boring to you?  Not if it’s a sumptuous chicken from Ancient Paths Farm.  Wow.  It was the plumpest, juiciest, tastiest bird I have ever roasted.  Pastured chicken is heads and shoulders (and feathers) above regular old organic chicken.  If you have the opportunity to buy some in your neck of the woods (haha) take the plunge and try it.   You will NEVER be able to go back.

Funny side story … the day I was scheduled to pick up my chickens, I miscalculated the distance from my home and realized I could not get there AND get my girl from school.  I had to enlist the aid of my parents, who felt like they were driving to a drug deal or at least a clandestine affair.  It was pouring rain and I told them to just look for the van in the lower parking lot of the park near their house … okaaaay … at least I didn’t tell them to do the chicken dance!  Anyway, the chickens were procured with a minimum of fuss and they were really worth the effort.  It made for a lot of fun conversation all around.  The only bad part is I promised them a loaf of Apple Pie Bread … and I still have not baked that … oops.

In any case, here is the extra special super yummy Sunday bucket.

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What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):

  • collard green stems and ribs (I hate ribs)
  • brown sage leaves
  • lemon half
  • lots of egg shells

What I made with all of that:

  • Chicken Roasted with Lemons and Sage
  • Creamed Collards (If you hate collards, like many around my dinner table, I promise you will at least be able to eat a few healthy bites of these.  If you love collards, you will want to jump in the serving bowl and swim in these.)
  • Roasted Sugar Snap Peas
  • Potatoes (Normally, I would make mashed potatoes and gravy, but I had leftover “insides” from the potato skins I made for Halloween.  I mixed those up with caramelized onions, lots of butter and good bacon, topped it with shredded parmesan cheese, and baked it till it was a gooey, salty, cheesy, mess.)
 

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Sunday Buckets

Perfect Atlanta weather calls for a perfect Sunday schedule: Mass, soccer game, grandparents for dinner.  We were able to check the boxes for everything!  Sadly, we lost the soccer game AND the Falcons lost AND Florida lost too.  Come to think of it, Azarenka lost as well … but life is not all about sports!  It’s about food!  Here’s my Sunday lineup:

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What you can see (clockwise top to bottom):

  • A rotting homegrown plum tomato (darn!)
  • Cauliflower leaves and core
  • Husks & silk from six ears of corn
  • Watermelon rind, Vidalia onion tops & skin,
  • Sunflower petals
  • Thyme stems

What I made with all of that:

  • Local grass-fed Beef Burgers with Applegate Farms Sunday Bacon, Gorgonzola Cheese and Sauteed onions on on Buttered, Toasted Egg Buns
  • Corn-on-the-cob
  • Roasted Potatoes & Cauliflower in Dijon Vinaigrette
  • Watermelon

Here’s to late yummy late summer meals!

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in The Daily Bucket

 

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