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Not much to say about this week. Simple meals, all of which were easy and fast to make. Pretty much about what I can handle right now.
Buffalo Turkey Burgers (from Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook), sweet potato fries, and carrots
I am a sucker for anything with buffalo sauce. (The recipe actually called for “Louisiana hot sauce,” which I’m not convinced is the same thing as buffalo sauce, so I used Frank’s.) The ground turkey is mixed up with some sauce and spices, and the recipe had celery as a burger topping, which I thought was a little weird. Also, I hate celery, so it was definitely out. And I made my burgers on the small side, so they’re a little sad-looking. I wish they tasted better, but I actually think that has to do with the current state of my tastes than the recipe itself. This had way too much cumin in it. Geordie thought they were fine, so maybe I’m just sensitive to cumin right now? I’d make these again, but I’d cut way back on the cumin. And add a little more sauce. The recipe suggested 1 tablespoon of sauce to be divided among 4 hamburger buns. I’m pretty sure we used about a tablespoon each. It’s an okay recipe, but it really needs some adjusting.
Bacon Mac & Cheese (from Food Network Magazine) and corn
Definitely not healthy, but it was Mother’s Day, and I wanted some comfort food. A little complicated, because it was all made from scratch (well, except for the pasta). Good mac and cheese has to start with a good homemade cheese sauce. There’s no getting around it. It’s totally worth it. Not something I’d make often, but definitely a nice treat every once in a while. Like, maybe once a month. If that. But, oh, it’s so good.
Tomato, Basil, and Three Cheese Ravioli with bolognese sauce and salad
I did not make this ravioli. I do not usually buy prepackaged ravioli from the store – for so many reasons. Our local grocery store, however, carries its own brand of all-natural ravioli, which also eschews the use of added colors and preservatives. There’s nothing on the ingredient list that doesn’t belong there. Including onions! So, I’m cool with it. The sauce was leftover from my homemade batch last week, so that’s something. This was a great meal to have on Monday, a day which is usually a tiring one for me. The salad took longer to put together than the pasts dish. The salad, by the way, was pretty blah. Salads really aren’t my thing. The homemade croutons were a nice touch, but still. It’s just lettuce and carrots. At least the raspberry-balsamic vinegar was awesome.
Hamburgers with sweet potato fries
Pretty standard stuff here. Nothing I haven’t done before. I used frozen sweet potato fries because I didn’t feel like messing with sweet potatoes, and I still haven’t perfected the crispiness of homemade fries. This was just a nice, filling dinner that took no time at all, and I really don’t have anything bad to say about it.
Grits with Avocado, Cheese, and Bacon
Um, I seem to have forgotten to get a picture of this. But, that’s okay. It was just grits, with some cheese, avocado, and bacon. And a little chipotle chili powder. Nothing very exciting. But it was easy to make, very fast to put together, and hit my comfort food craving right on the nose. Mmm, grits.
Toasted Fruity Israeli Couscous (from Five Ingredient Fix) and corn
I really wish I liked this book better than I actually do. Some of the recipes in it are really fantastic, and others are just . . . well, a little on the dull side. This is one that I had marked for making, and I made it this week because it sounded pretty simple to do. And it was. The couscous is toasted along with some pistachios, then you just add water and cook the couscous as you normally would. Toasting it first really does bring out a nice level of flavor. After cooking, I threw in some chopped dried apricots and some golden raisins, along with some shredded chicken. Before serving, it got a splash of blood orange olive oil (which I had also used to cook the chicken in), which added an extra zing of fruitiness. This was a pretty decent dish and took very little in the way of effort. And that’s the nice thing about the recipes in this book: when they work, they really do work.
Today is Food Revolution Day, as put forward by Jamie Oliver in his continued quest to encourage people to practice their cooking skills and cook not just for themselves but for others. To quote the website, it is “a global day of action for people to make a stand for good food and essential cooking skills.”
For Doristas, it meant that this week’s assignment was an open-ended one. We were allowed to select whatever recipe we wished to make. All that was asked of us was that we “cook it, share it.” A wonderful idea, really, because one of the best parts of making anything homemade – bread, dessert, entree, whatever – is being able to share it with others. Most of what I make tends to only be shared with Geordie, but that’s where blogging about French Fridays comes in: I’m able to share it with anyone who stumbles across the post!
I’ve missed the last two Fridays in blogging only. I made the dishes, I just haven’t gotten around to writing about them yet. Still working on that. But this one I didn’t want to slip to the wayside. I knew straightaway that I was going to make a dessert of some kind, because desserts are so easy for Geordie to take the work, making them quite shareable, and one of the most shareable desserts I know of are cookies!
Specifically, cocoa sablés.
Remember the olive sablés we made a couple months ago? Well, these are a more traditional sablé, still with the sandy texture but this time flavored with dark cocoa. They’re not overly sweet, but they are a little decadent and I bet they would be delicious served as ice cream sandwiches (as Dorie herself suggests). They are also easy to make, and as I got about 40 from my batch, there are plenty of them for sharing!
I’m afraid I didn’t take many pictures of the process, but it really wasn’t necessary. This is cookie-making at its most basic – and, in my opinion, good cookies are almost always simple and basic.
Butter and sugar are creamed together. Vanilla is added. In goes a mixture of flour, cocoa, and salt. I decided to add in the optional chopped chocolate bits. And thus, the mixing is done. It took me longer to chop the chocolate than it did to mix all the ingredients together.
But now we must wait. The dough is divided into two parts, and each part is rolled into a log and wrapped in plastic. They must sit in the fridge for three hours, thus delaying our chocolate fix.
But that’s okay! My logs went into the fridge around 3:30; by the time dinner was over at 7, they were more than ready to be sliced and baked. After 15 minutes, Geordie and I had a lovely, chocolaty after-dinner treat.
These sablés are very rich. They go down much easier with some milk! As Geordie said, they’re terrific as a dessert – as a slightly sweet closing to a meal – but maybe a little jarring as a snack. As a cookie, I really enjoyed both making them and eating them. I intend to try the basic butter sablé in the near future, because I am finding that I really, really like sablés. I’m pretty sure they’re now my favorite cookies.
Geordie took most of the cocoa sablés to work today – and brought home zero. Yay! Success!
As I said, most of what I make is shared only with Geordie, and that is especially true with the French Friday assignments. It was really nice to send him off to work with these beautiful, delicious cookies. Homemade cookies were made for sharing!
I hope to be able to be a little more involved with the Food Revolution next year. Right now, I’m still not feeling up to cooking as much as I was before. I do what I can, but often, I’m either too tired or just not interested in what I had planned to cook. Raw vegetables still make me queasy. Once they’re cooked, I’m fine! But I have to get them cooked first. I’m hoping I get over that soon.
Anyway, this week’s FFwD assignment was a lot of fun, and because we got to choose our recipes, the Doristas went all out and picked some really good ones! Check out the links to hear their stories and see their delicious dishes.