On a warm Sunday, I heated up my kitchen for several hours making an Italian-style beef stew recipe from Fine Cooking. It was supposed to be Italian-style beef and porcini stew, but neither my local Food Lion nor my local Lowes Foods had dried porcinis. Boo. I subbed fresh shiitake mushrooms and, luckily, had some porcini broth in the freezer. I know, how odd, but it was the strained and unused soaking liquid from the last time I made something with dried porcinis. I added beef broth to supplement the porcini broth (I didn’t have quite enough) and subbed cipollini onions for pearl onions just because I felt like it.
Now, the only reason I made beef stew on a warm day is because I’m trying to clean out some of the older stuff in our freezer. But, it was worth it. Excellent—a keeper recipe.
I made another winter-worthy dish for the side: Tokyo Bekana cabbage risotto with mushroom, onion, garlic, thyme, white wine, parmesan and chicken broth. What kind of cabbage? I had never heard of it either but we received a few bunches in our CSA share. The link above describes it well. I followed a standard risotto recipe and it was sooo good. I love risotto. The leftovers made a great breakfast with and without eggs fried in butter.
We had a lot of local kale in the house this week so I sautéed it with bacon, onion and tomatoes for a side on two nights.
The hearty meals continued because I wanted to try a new Tuscan-style pork loin roast recipe which was excellent and will replace the recipe I’ve been using. I pulled some Mediterranean-style butter beans out of the freezer that I adapted from this lima bean recipe.
Last night, we had pea and pancetta ravioli made by Melina’s Fresh Pasta in Durham—I ordered it through The Produce Box. Peas and pancetta reminded me of spaghetti carbonara so I made a carbonara-inspired sauce with shallot, spring onions, garlic, whipping cream, two yolks and one egg, parmesan, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Oh boy, it was thick so I thinned it with pasta water, but, oh boy, it was good, rich and good.
For our side, I sautéed local asparagus with local leeks and spring onions, garlic, and orange and lemon zest. It went really well with the ravioli carbonara.
On My Menu
Right now, I’m in the midst of making a strawberry crostata or galette—can’t remember if there’s a difference. I’m following a New York Times recipe for the pastry and another recipe for the filling—the simplest of the recipes I looked at. I’ll sprinkle sliced almonds on top if I have them in the freezer (that is, if I can find them). And, I’ll make either vanilla- or almond-scented whipped cream. I’m bringing that to brunch tomorrow at my sister-out-law’s. Jim’s bringing the fixings for tequila sunrises.
After a tequila-induced nap, I’ll do something with the other bunch of local asparagus, maybe roast and toss them with lemon zest and parmesan. We’ll have the leftover pork loin for dinner. And I’d like to do something with either two sweet potatoes or a butternut squash that have been hanging around for too long. Maybe spiralize and sauté the sweet potatoes—they’re purple so that would look cool with the asparagus. I’d just roast cubes or slices of the squash.
We’re overdue for a fish dinner and I have a lot of CSA dill in the refrigerator so I’ll come up with a fish + dill recipe idea. More kale on the side. It’s a good thing we love kale.
The rest of the week, who knows? I still have more freezer excavating to do so whatever I randomly pull out will end up on the menu. I’ll report back next week on what I make.
eCookbooks and Food eBooks on Sale
Act quickly if any of these interest you, ebook deals last a day, a week or sometimes longer. Click on the title to get to the Amazon deal. Blurbs are from Amazon unless otherwise credited.
Wahaca: Mexican Food at Home by Thomasina Miers ($0.99)
Eat your way around the markets of Mexico with this collection of over 130 mind-blowing recipes from Thomasina Miers, co-founder of the award-winning Wahaca restaurants. Inspired by the flavors of Mexico but using ingredients easily found in Britain [hopefully, the U.S. too], Wahaca is all about cooking authentic Mexican food in your own kitchen.
Dinner Tonight: 200 Dishes You Can Cook in Minutes by Lindsey Bareham ($0.99)
In this collection of simple, accessible and mouth-watering recipes from the winner of the Guild of Food Writers’ British Food Writer of the Year Award, Lindsey Bareham helps solve this never-ending question. Packed full of ideas from Lindsey’s award-winning weekly column in The Times, this book will become your go-to source for a quick fix after a long day.
Pizza Camp: Recipes from Pizzeria Beddia by Joe Beddia ($2.99)
Joe Beddia’s pizza is old school—it’s all about the dough, the sauce, and the cheese. And after perfecting his pie-making craft at Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia, he’s offering his methods and recipes in a cookbook that’s anything but old school… Beddia takes you through the pizza-making process, teaching the foundation for making perfectly crisp, satisfyingly chewy, dangerously addictive pies at home.
Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour ($0.99)
In Feasts, the highly anticipated follow up to the award-winning Persiana and number one bestseller Sirocco, Sabrina Ghayour presents a delicious array of Middle-Eastern dishes from breakfasts to banquets and the simple to the sumptuous. Enjoy menus and dozens of recipes for celebrations and occasions with family and friends, such as summer feasts, quick-fix feasts and brunch.
Beaten, Seared, and Sauced: On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America by Jonathan Dixon ($1.99)
For the first time in the Culinary Institute of America’s history, a book gives readers the firsthand experience of being a full-time student facing all of the challenges of the legendary course in its entirety. On the eve of his 38th birthday… Jonathan Dixon enrolled in the CIA (on a scholarship) to pursue his passion for cooking… Each part of the curriculum is covered, from knife skills and stock making to the high-pressure cooking tests and the daunting wine course (the undoing of many a student). Dixon also details his externship in the kitchen of Danny Meyer’s Tabla, giving readers a look into the inner workings of a celebrated New York City restaurant.
Looking for more e-cookbook and ebook deals? Check out previous lists, some are still on sale.
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