Chinese barbecue pork

When we went to Sur La Table, we were surprised by how enjoyable it was to do a cooking class. The chef was fun and funny and made the meal prep easy and non-intimidating. He definitely saw potential in David though and gave him all the “hard” prep tasks and my more hesitant self was perfect for peeling the ginger with a spoon. When we are among friends and strangers in social settings, I am for sure the extrovert while David takes a bit longer to warm up to the crowd. However in task-oriented or performance-based activities, David readily let’s down his hair, dons his apron and digs in, while I question everything about myself and am paralyzed by my crushing imposter syndrome! By the end of class though, I eased up on myself and enjoyed every bite of the meal we cooked alongside Chef Roy. The food was so delicious that we decided to make a new New Year’s Day tradition of cooking Chinese food at home. So we invited my parents over and served up some Chinese barbecue pork and it tasted like perfection!

Marinade:

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon Chinese five spice

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons honey

1lb pork tenderloin

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and pour over pork. I placed the pork is a casserole dish covered in the marinade and let sit in the refrigerator for two hours. Take out of the frig thirty minutes before cooking to get it to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking dish in foil and place a wire rack on top. In a non stick skillet add a tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium. Add the pork to the skillet and brown on all sides about 4 minutes per side. Using tongs transfer to wire rack and roast in the oven about 15 minutes or until internal temperature registers 145. Transfer pork to cutting board with a well and tent with foil to let rest for ten minutes. Then slice and enjoy.

Broccoli Cauliflower fritters

Mrs. Constantine asked Henry at preschool: What is your favorite food? Henry earnestly responded as though there could be only one right answer for him and everyone else: BROCCOLI. At pick up, Mrs. C had to verify the validity of that three year old’s statement to which my mother, who gets Henry from school, confirmed swiftly. He has said that green vegetable is his all time food choice for almost a year now, so yes, we eat a ton of it! I once heard a TV doctor say that broccoli is better for you than an apple so we are going with that. Broccoli is part of at least three-four meals at our house since it is green, easy, and both boys don’t protest it. From time to time, I try to do more with those flowery stalks than a mere steam or sheet pan roast. Two days ago we turned some broccoli and cauliflower into fritters and we won’t be turning back!

They may not look like the most tantalizing dish you have ever laid your eyes on but I promise that once this plate went down we left no fritter behind!

1 head of broccoli

1 head of cauliflower

Salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs

1 tsp dices garlic

1/4 cup panko

1/4 cup flour (or you can do all panko or gf panko)

Steam the veggies together on the stovetop for about five minutes. Remove and place into a large mixing bowl with all the other ingredients. Mash together with a potato masher. In a frying pan, heat up a tablespoon of olive oil, with that tablespoon grab a heaping scoop of the broccoli mixture and plop into the pan. Using the back of the spoon give your heap a little press to flatten a bit. Repeat until you have about four patties in the pan. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until fritter is golden then flip and repeat.

Coconut Curry Squash Soup

Are you ready for the snow-apocalypse? the bombogenesis? the bomb cyclone? They are predicting quite a monster storm to hit Boston tomorrow. Some stations are saying 12 inches others 15, but the consensus is that there will be super high winds accompanying the storm ranging from 50 to 60 mph. Sheesh! That sounds nasty. My biggest concern is having power during this storm. Living in the woods is delightful during delightful weather but a little nerve-wracking during storms when trees come down. Please keep everything crossed that the timber falls away from any homes and that the power stays on. In preparation for staying home for at least the next 24 hours, we prepped some healthy cozy soup. Nothing feels better in winter than a warm belly. Especially after a week of record low temps! Tonight’s dinner was a crowd pleasure and super simple to throw together because you just throw everything into a single pot. My favorite kind of recipe because clean-up is easy peasy so this will definitely be a dinner we make during the busy work week.

1 butternut squash cut into 1 inch cubes

1 diced onion

14oz can of coconut milk

2 tablespoons lemongrass (I bought the Roland brand)

2 tablespoons fresh diced ginger

1 tablespoon diced garlic

2 tablespoons of butter

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of red curry paste

zest of two limes

juice of one lime

2 cups of water

In a large pot over medium heat, add the butter, garlic, onion and ginger and sauté until fragrant. Add the curry paste and mix into the aromatics. Add the butternut squash and water, bring to a simmer. Let simmer in pot half covered for 15 minutes. Add coconut milk, lemongrass, salt and pepper and simmer for 15 more minutes. Stir in zest of two limes and the juice of 1 lime. Use a blender or immersion blender to make smooth and creamy in texture. We toasted up a slice of bread and used it as a spoon to shovel in this delicious soup! Enjoy.

“Grown up” cheesy noodles 

When we came home from Cali, I really got into my cooking groove. There were three goals in my mind: mealplan like a boss (no waste permitted and no meals out), shop for low cost but high quality meals, and be creative with leftovers. Rarely can I commit to this kind of work. I struggle to eat leftovers, always have an excuse as to why we should dine out, and blow too much of our budget at the grocery store only to find I cannot keep up with everything in the frig after all! But this easy pattern of excess and carelessness on my part needs to stop because David and I have some big plans for our future (and near future) and this was one area of my life I knew I could tackle. So far I am excited about this endeavor and happy to report that other than packing material for the foods, we had zero waste this week and I saved almost $100 at the grocery store making smarter purchases and utilizing our CSA share to fill in any gaps. 

It is SOOOOO easy for me to stop somewhere along the road and grab a quick meal but I started to think about how much it would cost if I just made it for myself. Author Michael Pollan notes that to eat well and save money one should eat whatever you like as long as you make it yourself! I am embracing this notion and excited that I have a few weeks before heading back to school to settle into this kind of mealplanning. And with David helping me along the way we are both agreeing to our dinners which means we are more willing to eat it, enjoy it, and eat the leftovers of it! 

This might totally be second nature for you already but it definitely is a process for us. Sometimes we get into a great pattern of cooking but buy random one time use ingredients and then don’t know where to go from there. Now I am trying to mix delicious meals with fun ingredients with plenty of staples and versatile ways to use them all in case on a particular day we want to cook it up differently. That touch of flexibility let’s us be creative and not get paralyzed by the notion of: but tonight we are supposed to eat meatloaf! 

As one of our “clean out the frig” meals to avoid waste but to eat deliciously, we whipped up some grown up cheesy pasta!


Ingredients:

Pasta of any kind

Lemon

Ricotta cheese

Chives

Mint

Butter

English peas

Make the pasta al dente. In a small bowl combine diced chives, diced mint, and the juice of a half a lemon with a cup of ricotta cheese. Add the zest of a lemon and mix all the ingredients together. When the pasta is cooked place is a bowl and mix in a tablespoon of butter and English peas. Top with Parmesan cheese and scoop into your bowls. Add as much of the ricotta mixture to your bowl and enjoy! 

Random noodles 

This dreary weather pattern is getting to me Boston! We are on what feels like week 1000 of dark skies and endless rain. Where is summer, New England?! The only positives of this dreariness are: my students are not distracted in the slightest from preparing for their finals and the last days of schools (to be honest I don’t think they really realize that summmer vacation begins in F O U R days!) and my yard is so green and lush it feels like we live in an arboretum. It for sure does not feel like summer and so my stomach is craving all the cozy carbs of winter.


Inspired by Sarah Waldman’s singapore noodles, but lacking any of the ingredients for it, I made random noodles tonight and damn were they good! I started by boiling some chopped broccoli and asparagus for 4 minutes and then added rice noodles to the mix and removed from the heat for 8 minutes, drained and doused with cold water. Meanwhile back in the pot, I added about a tablespoon of sesame oil and brown sugar and stirred over medium heat. Adding the noodle mix back in, I added a tablespoon or a little more of oyster sauce and chili paste and a few sprinkles of fish sauce and mixed well over medium high heat. To finish it off, I added an egg and beat into the mix. It was so so so so good! I went back for seconds…and thirds 

Cauliflower fried rice

In an attempt to refocus my nutrition and to keep mealtime simple because life, I tried a pantry cleaning fried rice minus the rice. It was surprisingly delicious and definitely going to be another recipe in our rotation.


So what did I do?

It is probably going to be a little different everytime but here was this version:

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil with a tablespoon of minced garlic.  Brown the the garlic. Add  in a pound of ground chicken. Cook through. Add two eggs and scramble quickly. Add in chopped scallions, diced carrots, peas, and bok choy. Cook until these vegetable look softened. Add in the riced cauliflower and salt and pepper to taste. Cook another 3-4 minutes. Add soy sauce. I added about 2 tablespoons. Enjoy!

Post winter hibernation 


Every year it hits me! My winter blues and carb-overloading shift as the weather becomes tinged with the tiniest bit of springtime. I woke up this morning feel like I could smell spring and rolled my car windows down and knew that the 37 I felt rushing in was the beginning of this new season.

A new season always makes me feel like I can tackle a new challenge. This season, I am bringing back healthful foods because to be honest I miss them! I like eating my fruits and veggies but when the ground is covered in feet of snow I inevitably feel like I only have time to make pasta and bathtubs full of it!

Today I kissed winter and carbs goodbye and did a little meal prep to keep this momentum going into my first week back to work from spring break. Dinner tonight was chicken lettuce wraps and breakfast tomorrow will be a yummy broccoli and spinach frittata. I have some cold brew in the frig for morning too and am kissing my Starbucks addiction good bye too! Fresh starts here all around 

Take 1lb ground chicken, 1tbsp soy sauce, 1tbsp hoisin sauce, 2 tbspoon watwr, 1 tsp olive oil, 3 diced scallions and 2 shredded carrots and mix up together in a skillet and serve in some Boston Bibb! Easy peasey