July 21, 2009 by
If you’re local, I hope you’ll come by to join us for a great dinner this Saturday, July 25.
I’ve had this maple-coriander liqueur brewing for nearly two weeks for us to enjoy after the meal.
This picture’s a little out of focus because I was really trying to take a picture of the strip of woods that some local developer is hoping to shoehorn nine apartments into, destroying a bit of nature that houses wild turkeys and gives shelter to foxes and owls and bunnies and even a peregrine falcon who seems to like it there in the winter.
If they’re successful, we’ll have a 3-story building about 20 feet from our back deck. E. & Z. will no longer be able to run free in this little bit of nature they’ve dubbed Sherwood Forest, where we pick black raspberries and grape leaves and have child-sized snowshoe adventures in the winter.
But that’s our problem – what I’m hoping is that the menu that CrankyGreg and I have put together will be so enticing that you local friends will want to join us for this Saturday’s dinner that’s raising funds to help cover our legal fees in fighting this crazy development. Here’s what we’ll be making, with as much very-local goodness as we can get our hands on:
- Bocconcini and Zucchini Skewers with Basil-Lime Drizzle
- Sicilian Sesame Bread
- Fresh Greens with Maple Vinaigrette
- Beet Gnocchi with Chevre Cream Sauce
- Swiss Chard Fettuccine with Salsa Verde
- White Bean & Wilted Kale Salad with Garlic and Fresh Tomatoes
- Black Currant Sorbet (or maybe gelato – we’re negotiating)
- Maple-Coriander Liqueur
And we can accommodate any dietary needs if you let us know in advance.
It’ll be $10 – $25 (you decide) per adult, and $5 per child under 10. We’ll have live music with some extremely talented neighbors, and the convivial good times that are the usual hallmark of cohousing gatherings. Additional donations will of course be welcome.
Want to come? Just leave me a comment or send an email to my neighbor who’s taking the reservations by Thursday 7/23/09:
silversneakerexc (at) juno (dot) com
Hope you can make it!
June 05, 2009 by
Paprika Braised Seitan with Chick Pea Mash
So I was out trolling for interesting meals to cook for my turn in the cohousing kitchen, when I had the good fortune to stumble on “Eat for Eight Bucks” on Serious Eats, where Michele Humes posts excellent recipes for feeding 4 people for – yes! – $8 or less. Paprika-Braised Chicken with Mashed Chick-Peas and Crispy Shallots? Yes, please!
For the vegetarian version, seitan seemed like the right protein, and I was excited to try this recipe from the always-reliable postpunkkitchen. If you’ve ever been tempted to make your own seitan, I really encourage you to give this one a try. Now that we can easily purchase vital wheat gluten, it’s simple – if just a little time-consuming because of how long it has to cook – but so delicious and will cost you a quarter of what store-bought seitan will.
So we made two batches: the Braised Chicken and Braised Seitan, each with a mild smothering of vegetables. We followed Michele’s recipe with a few exceptions:
- The seitan version used the homemade seitan cut into slices, and used just like the chicken, but not cooked as long.
- In spite of the clear flavor benefit it would provide, I left the salt pork out of the chicken version.
- To add in more flavor, we used strong mushroom broth and smoked paprika.
- We doubled the amount of all vegetables, and substituted more shallots for onion.
- Rather than frozen spinach, we were lucky enough to have fresh greens from the cohousing garden, which meant chard, kale, and mustard greens that we cleaned, blanched, and chopped before adding to the dish.
- We added whole canned chick peas to the seitan braise because we wanted to make sure to give a nice, substantial meal to the veg folks.
- According to fire code, we’re not allowed to deep-fry in the community kitchen because we don’t have the proper ventilation system. Though in my heart I wanted to rebel, we oven-roasted the slivered shallots in olive oil for 20 minutes at 400, just until they were on the verge of burning.
The sleeper star of this meal was the mashed chick peas, which were very simply rinsed, then thoroughly pureed with a generous amount of olive oil and just a little salt. When we tasted to correct seasoning, I was ready to jump in with this or that, but realized that the creamy simplicity was just right as is. What a great side, and I’ll be pulling it out often.
For dessert, I was inspired by Coconut & Lime’s Roasted Pineapple-Five Spice Sorbet. I loved the idea of the crazy flavor combination but since I don’t love cinnamon, I substituted fennel seed (which I lightly crushed) and then placed in a tea ball along with a quarter of a vanilla bean, and brought to a boil in the pineapple juice. My trusty Cuisinart ice cream maker (thanks Dad!) quickly made it into a frozen vegan treat with no added sugar.
And now on to my search for July’s meal. Any ideas?