Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Help Me Make Dinner?

I've entered some stagnant water with my meal planning. This fall I was getting new and exciting produce from my CSA, scanning cookbooks and websites like mad, and discovering great dishes.

Things went a bit haywire over the holidays; we ate out a lot, ate at our parents' houses, and when we did eat at home, we sort of just scraped something together and passed out. Then my CSA took a two-week break for the holidays, and I was ever so lost without my veggies and the 500 apples they were sending me every week.

So, now that I have a fridge full of food again, I'm feeling a bit lost. I want to try some new recipes, but I haven't got the energy to hunt for them. So! Lest I resort to another week of the same risotto, potato soup, and stir fry that I have been eating for weeks, perhaps you could peruse this short list of stuff I have sitting around my kitchen and give me some ideas. Please? I can't promise I'll save some for you, but I will describe it to you in mouthwatering detail! That's just as good, right?

Okay, here's what I have:

Potatoes (Oh, so many potatoes!)

And some non-produce items I already had:

Arborio rice
Brown rice
Black beans

Hopefully at least ONE person will give me ONE idea. Then I will have a new recipe and won't feel like a jackass for posting this. I'll return the favor when I'm feeling more inspired...


  1. mmm . . . Polenta . . . So here is a recipe I found on the internet one day when I had discovered how delicious polenta was:

    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for pan

    1/2 cup milk, preferably whole


    1 cup coarse cornmeal

    Freshly ground black pepper

    1 small onion, chopped

    1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) chopped pancetta

    1 pound spinach, washed, trimmed and dried

    1 to 1 1/2 cups Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled.

    1. Heat oven to 450 degrees; brush a layer of olive oil on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine milk with 2 1/2 cups water and a large pinch of salt. Bring just about to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and add cornmeal in a steady stream, whisking all the while to prevent lumps from forming. Turn heat to low and simmer, whisking frequently, until thick, 10 or 15 minutes. If mixture becomes too thick, whisk in a bit more water; you want a consistency approaching thick oatmeal.

    2. Stir 1 tablespoon oil into cooked cornmeal (polenta). Spoon it onto prepared pan, working quickly so polenta does not stiffen; spread it evenly to a thickness of about 1/2 inch all over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and put it in refrigerator until it is firm, an hour or more (you can refrigerate polenta overnight if you prefer).

    3. Put polenta in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it begins to brown and crisp on edges. Meanwhile, put two tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and pancetta is nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to take onion and pancetta out of pan; set aside. Add spinach to skillet and sauté until it releases its water and pan becomes dry; sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper.

    4. Take polenta out of oven, sprinkle with Gorgonzola, then spread onion-pancetta mixture and spinach evenly on top of cheese; drizzle with another tablespoon olive oil. Put pizza back in oven for two minutes, or until cheese begins to melt and pancetta and vegetables are warmed through. Cut into slices and serve hot or at room temperature.

    I usually skipped the panchetta and added more veggies and have tried it with mozerella, blue, and jack cheeses instead. Also I've taken just the polenta part of the recipe and made a bruschetta mix to top it with. YUM!!

  2. Roasted Cauliflower is delish! You know, a bit of olive oil and 375 for 30 minutes ish or till it goes golden.. Yum.

    Oh, and I made this recipe once before and it was really good. http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/02/cauliflower-and-caramelized-onion-tart/

    I will come back if I think of anything else. I need to find something to do with Swiss chard from our last harvest box.

  3. spinach/kale quiche! one of my fave vegetarian burritos is black beans and homefries (cubed pan-fried works best for burritos.) you can add cheddar or nopales if you're feeling crazy.

  4. I was also going to say roasted cauliflower & broccoli, but I realize what we've been having lately isn't exactly roasted, so much as it's broiled. It's my new favorite obsession. N.C. makes it tossed w/ a little olive oil, salt, pepper, put under the broiler for a few minutes (uh, until it's yummy looking? a little browned in places, 5-8 minutes). Then, he tosses it with garlic powder (or garlic salt, but only if you leave off the salt earlier). Normally we'd use regular garlic, but the garlic powder (or salt) does something really nice. Mmmmm, and now I'm hungry.

    That's really just a side dish though.

  5. Quinoa salad: Make up a batch of Quinoa, add in any chopped veggies you like raw, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. I like to add feta cheese, but basically anything you like, add in. Since Quinoa is a complete protein (or add in those black beans for good measure) I like this as a entree served with salad, or use it as a side. Makes a great lunch to pack too. It is not fancy, but it can use up veggies and allows endless experimentation.

    Rosemary Garlic Fries: Cut potatoes into wedges, toss with olive oil, chopped garlic and rosemary (fresh or dried) and shove them in a 400F oven until crispy on the outside. All the joys of fries without them being horrible for you.

    None of this is revolutionary, but sometimes all it takes is trying one new dish...good luck!

  6. There are some websites where you put in what you have and they give you recipes. My potato curry recipe would dispatch some of the spuds...but you'd need garbanzo beans and chicken broth.

  7. Thanks, everyone!

    I've got some good ideas now. I will report back with results!

  8. I don't know what to make out of what you have, but yes, there is supercook.com, which lets you enter ingredients and gives you some recipes.

    I just wanted to say that I am uber-impressed by the fruits and veg you've got stocked. And here I was happy because I have spinach and apples on hand. :)