A Month of Meals

Hard to believe it’s only been a month since we started blogging about these recipes. It feels like forever, but I guess the old saying is true: Time doesn’t fly when you’re meticulously documenting and annotating.

That said, and speaking of flying, one of us will be out of town for most of next week – so we’re putting the meals on hiatus in the meantime. Wouldn’t want to miss out on the fun. Since no (blog-worthy) meals will be prepared next week, expect the next update on February 10.

Muramoto – Sushi Platter

We’ve been to Muramoto a few times so far with friends and it’s always been a great experience. We order an assortment of the different types of sushi so everyone gets to try a little of each.

The Duck and Tarantula rolls were the notable winners of our impromptu taste test, so they’ll probably be on the list the next time we visit.

Meal #12: Baked Fish with Crispy Breadcrumb Coating

Rounding out our assortment of comfort foods this week is a contender from the fish department, a modified cod recipe which looked pretty simple to make.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3/4 teaspoon thyme
    • I don’t think we actually put any in here, but I presume the “Italian part of the panko bread crumbs covers this.
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley
    • Our cilantro plant has finally withered away and we were able to use its last healthy leaves in this recipe. We’ll probably get another considering how versatile it’s proven to be.
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • Mayo is in general a pretty gross and heavy ingredient, so we substituted it out with tartar sauce which is one step up on the list of appetizing thick white sauces.
  • 1/4 tablespoon lemon zest
    • The juice is just as good
  • 2 cod fillets
    • As much as we liked the cod that we prepared a week or two ago, we had a bag of frozen tilapia that needed to be used up – so we took two fillets of that instead.

Finished Product

We simultaneously prepared a batch of kale chips and served them together, a tasty pairing. The recipe was easy enough as expected, but I did have to pop the fish back into the oven after taking a bite – the timing was a little off, the insides needed a little more cooking. After an extra 10 minutes everything was good to go.

Meal #11: Chicken Parmesan

Maybe this week’s theme is enhancements to familiar comfort foods – we’ve got another augmentation of a familiar recipe here with Chicken Parmesan.

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
    • The cookbook was going to have us to the whole song and dance of putting these in a blender and turning them into tomato sauce. We just skipped all that and reached for our endless supply of prepared tomato sauce, fresh from the non-perishable cupboard. It seemed like one can of the good stuff was enough to replace what the 28 ounces of whole tomatoes would have turned into.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
    • We are so close to using up our cilantro, so we’ll keep on substituting.
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to taste

Chicken / Noodles

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ounce mozzarella cheese
  • 1 ounce fontina cheese
    • Never heard of this type of cheese so we just used more mozzarella instead.
  • 2 chicken breasts
    • Replacing this with chicken tenderloin was a good way to retain some of the chicken moisture
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon basil
    • Yep, you guessed it: cilantro
  • 4 ounces spaghetti
    • We don’t have a kitchen scale so we used the old “put the dry noodles through the hole in the ladle and that’s one serving” trick. It was pretty accurate – although I did add some extra noodles to be safe, since I like to taste test as they boil…

Finished Product

The chicken and the noodles turned out pretty well. I especially liked the chicken, but the noodles were middle-of-the-road – they could probably have used more salt or sugar, or both. For this dish in particular, the two aspects seemed a little disjointed: the chicken and pasta could be eaten fairly independently of each other and combining them didn’t change the taste by much. It may have just been my presentation though. Ultimately, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to complain about comfort food, it was a pleasure to eat regardless.

Meal #10: Turkey Taco Salad

Full disclosure – this is actually a beef taco salad, since turkey are only in-season for the two weeks surrounding Thanksgiving, after which they return to hibernation and are bad luck to eat.

Beef also tastes better. Without further ado –

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 6 ounces ground turkey
    • Beef is the name of the game
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1 romaine lettuce heart
    • I don’t really know what kind of unit of measurement that is, so I just took some leaves of romaine lettuce and decorated the taco with them until it looked appetizing
  • 3/4 cup black beans
    • Pinto beans are our preferred flavor and we had some left over from last week
  • 4 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 1 scallion
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    • Lemon, always lemon
  • 1 ounce cheddar cheese
    • It wound up being pepper jack, I don’t think it’s a critical distinction.

Finished Product

These taco bowls turned out great. They’re familiar but different – we had done similar taco fixings in the past with pre-made taco mix but never got quite as adventurous with the ingredients. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the tomatoes, which are usually very sour and unpleasant for me to eat, blended quite well with the rest of the flavor and were not off-putting at all. Overall this was a nice, comforting meal.

Meal #9: Chicken Curry with Cauliflower

Rounding out our week, a nice curry to keep things on the more familiar spectrum of foods before we go on some new adventures in the next couple of days.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
    • The curry flavor didn’t really come through in our taste tests until we tripled this amount. We might just have some weak curry powder, or we’ve built up a resistance – your choice
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
    • Since our local grocery store has an international foods selection about as bland as a slice of white bread, we had to settle for tikka masala instead. We also seemed to think that the recipe assumed this was a dry, concentrated ingredient, but we had a salsa-jar of our tikka masala. So we just added enough to make it seem like things weren’t burning in the saucepan
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
    • Pride: We make our own chicken broth at home
    • Shame: It’s because we make chicken wings way too often
    • Real question: If we don’t blog about them, do the calories count?
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower
    • I assumed this just meant “the other half of the cauliflower from the last recipe”
  • 12 ounces chicken breasts
    • In our various encounters with cooking chicken, we found that chicken tenderloins are far juicier than the chicken breast called for in many recipes. Since this is going to be cut up into bite-sized pieces, the presentational aspect of the whole chicken breast isn’t really a consideration
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
    • Does anyone actually like peas? We used frozen edamame instead for a similar texture but much better taste
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
    • Our cilantro plant is slowly wilting, perhaps you can observe the decline in its health over the last few posts. But I’m optimistic we’ll use it all up before it spoils

Finished Product

This curry was delicious – it’s hard to go wrong with these types of ingredients, and despite our modifications to the recipe I think we weren’t off any worse. The only complaint would be that it lacked in the spice department – almost thinking we could have used our extra habanero from last week here – but that’s an easy problem to remedy.

Meal #8: Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Garlic, and Walnuts

The recipe book suggests this pasta is a great option for a cold winter night, so we’re giving it a shot on one of the coldest nights so far this season.

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • You can multiply the spicy ingredients by a factor of 5 when cooking with us – I think we used closer to a whole teaspoon
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 ounces campanelle
    • I used some more mundane pasta instead
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons parsley
    • A green and leafy garnishing, did you mean cilantro?
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts
    • Nuts were a new ingredient this week and we wanted to be able to snack on them too, so we bought almonds instead

Finished Product

This pasta was different from what I’m used to in a pasta dish. A much earthier flavor and reminiscent of truffles. It wasn’t bad, but it was a new flavor/texture combination that I’m not sure I’d make again. We had some leftovers and mixed those with traditional pasta sauce later – which we found more palatable.

Meal #7: Shrimp Burgers

This week’s theme: using up our leftovers. We had some extra shrimp and avocado, so we made a simple but tasty shrimp burger to kick off the week.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces shrimp
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayo
    • Tartar sauce was a good substitute here, matching the fishy flavor
  • 1 scallion
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
    • Another theme this week: Using up our cilantro instead of parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
    • As usual, lemon juice is pretty close
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • We just sprinkle this on as needed, too
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 hamburger buns

Finished Product

These burgers turned out pretty nice – we served them with a side of sliced pineapple and threw in some extra guacamole into the burger to add to the texture.