Meal #34: Italian Vegetable Stew

Eggplants seem to be a common theme this week – not sure how that could have happened.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 eggplant
    • We were hungry, so we used a whole plant
  • 1 Yukon Gold potato
    • Hunger and convenience demanded 2 Idaho potatoes
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
    • This cheese was also a theme for the week, and in sticking with the theme we’ll keep it out of the recipe

Finished Product

This was reminiscent of the previous day’s eggplant dish, but destructed and served on rice. Something common we’ve noticed in this book is that there isn’t usually a carb pairing, so we kind of have to intuit whether to prepare one ahead of time. It’s not hard to do, but we could see this dish disappointing if it weren’t served with rice. Put together, it was very tasty.

Meal #33: Stuffed Eggplant

Back from our international food extravaganza, we wanted to make something that was a little healthier.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese
    • Didn’t wind up including this because it was hard to find at the grocery store
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • Apple cider vinegar is pretty close
  • 2 tablespoons parsley

Finished Product

This was a tasty return to normal eating habits for us. We did sneak in some chicken broth so it’s not technically vegetarian anymore, but if we ever were to make a veggie dish this would be near the top of the list. A nice smooth texture on the eggplant with savory filling made for a nice reminder of home cooking.

Amsterdam Day 5: Fish Salad

Technically not my meal, but I did try a bite or two, so I feel qualified to post about it. I didn’t know salad could taste this good – it was like the best part of sushi combined with the best parts of a fruit salad.

Amsterdam Day 4: Bitterballen

We’d been told good things about bitterballen and ordered a few at the Winkel 43 restaurant. From what we could tell, they were fried balls of mashed potato with various meats mixed in, like a croquette. From what else we could tell, they were also delicious and we want to make them at home.

Amsterdam Day 3: Drinks

We made our way to the lounge at the top of the DoubleTree and had a taste of these fancy drinks. A tall glass of tequila and syrup on the left, a fruitier mixture on the right. They were tasty, but not that strong – a little inspiration towards starting a drink mixing section of the blog, but for now we’ll stick with food.

Amsterdam Day 2: Hot Dogs

We went to a cozy place named Bulls and Dogs to try out their fare – the hot dogs were delicious, and had a lot of variety. It took a lot of effort to not make a mess from how stuffed full of ingredients they were. The corn on the cob was weaker but we’re spoiled being from the Midwest. Fries served with mayo is just something we had to get used to as well.

Amsterdam Day 1: Pasta

We got back recently from a 5-day trip to Amsterdam – I’ll share the best meal from each day.

This came from a restaurant where the entire menu was in Dutch, so I’m not sure the actual title of the dish – but it was a tasty pasta with some veggies mixed in. Very pretty arrangements and nice atmosphere too – we were the only guests in the building.

Meal #32: Baked Cod with Cherry Tomatoes and Artichokes

Huh, another fish dish. That’s odd. This is the first baked fish we’ve tried to make from the book though, so maybe for the sake of trying new things it’s ok to have fish twice a week.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 5 ounces frozen artichoke hearts
    • I don’t understand the need for frozen hearts, canned never bothered us.
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives
    • Spellcheck doesn’t know what kalamata is and I don’t either, so we went with good old-fashioned black olives.
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
    • Didn’t seem necessary.
  • 1 shallot
    • It’s a yellow onion this time.
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
    • I’m assuming “Italian Seasoning” contains some thyme.
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 8-ounce skinless cod fillets
  • Lemon wedges
    • Some lemon juice will do nicely instead.

Finished Product

This was a good end to the week – it turned out flavorful and the taste of the olives, tomatoes, and artichokes really meshed well. It got a little watery, likely due to our frozen cods retaining some of their juices.

Meal #31: Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

We’re pretty good at making stir-frys on our own, but decided to give the book’s recipe a spin.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
    • We’ve never heard of this and decided it probably wasn’t that big of a deal to omit.
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 12 ounces of flank steak
  • 6 ounces broccoli
    • Approximated here, I’m no chemist.
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 scallions
    • Or white onions.

Finished Product

This looked a lot better than it tasted. Probably the first plainly-obviously-wrong recipe we’ve encountered in the book. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and cooked it according to the instructions, but the meat was just in for far too long and I knew it  within the first minute of cooking. It was completely done through, turning it chewy and tough. Oh well, we’re not lacking in the stir-fry department – even had the meat been fine, this is very much a Westernized version of something that we make better ourselves. Not to brag.

Meal #30: Fish and Couscous

We made this about two weeks ago but had left for vacation before getting a chance to post this next batch of delicious creations – we’ll start with another tasty fish dish.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt, pepper, and brown sugar to taste
  • 3/4 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 8-ounce cod skinless fillets

Finished Product