Oi. This past week was not a stellar week here at Lady Susan's. The menu, mostly new recipes, were meh at best. By the end of the week, the natives were murmuring.
Pasta with chickpeas and spinach
This was a dish that I made all the time in college. It is pretty good. It is a bunch of things sort of thrown together without any measurements so I am not going to write down a recipe. The thing is.....I made it with gluten-free pasta which Mr. F. slightly overcooked (thinking he could treat it like regular pasta by adding a minute to the cooking time.) The end result was this starchy mess held together by tomato sauce dabbed with beans and spinach. Blech. I am currently in a state of disillusionment with gluten-free pasta.
Thai-Style Crock Pot Curry
This was o.k. if you abandoned all expectations of this being a curry. A curry implies some sort of sauce--a pretty substantial sauce with yummy coconut milk and spices. This dish would be better described as "cooked chicken with barely perceptible Thai flavoring in a thin broth." I omitted the green pepper (blech), eggplant (all fiber and no taste), and sweet potato (iffy in curry) and added carrots. Not something I see myself making again any time soon.
This comes from Jeanne Lemlin's "Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures." Honestly, it wasn't that great. It was basically pinto beans warmed with sauteed onions, placed in tortillas, drowned in green salsa and covered in an obscene amount of cheese. Despite all that, it still managed to be dry. Mr. F. and I decided that we would have preferred the beans to be re-fried instead of being partially mashed. Since it wasn't all that good, I won't take the time to type out the recipe.
Baked Vegetables with Garlic, White Beans, and Olives
Again this comes from Jeanne Lemlin's "Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures." This was o.k. Good enough to write this down, and I can see myself making this again. It isn't anything fancy, but sometimes that is what one is looking for on a weeknight. It calls for broccoli, but I waited until the end of the week to make this and my broccoli had started to mold. (Although, if it was decent enough to begin with, I wouldn't have that issue, but the stores around here sell mediocre vegetables and it pains my veggie loving heart.) Instead, we used the vegetables we had on hand: yellow squash and carrots. This called for a slight variation in the construction of the dish which is noted below.
1 large bunch broccoli, cut into small florets (or any vegetable or combination you want)
3 medium-large boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (we used yukon gold)
1 28-ounce can tomatoes, finely chopped and well drained (Mr. F. and his heartburn cursed me.)
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained.
1/2 cup pitted black olives halved (omitted, much to Mr. F.'s disappointment)
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 cups (4 ounces) grated Muenster cheese
Bring a 3-quart sauce pan of water to a boil. Blanch the broccoli for 2 minutes (tender but still crunchy.) Remove with a slotted spoon. Plunge into cold water to stop cooking. Drain well and place in a large bowl.
Drop the potatoes into the boiling water and cook until tender (about 7 minutes.) Drain well and add to broccoli.
Stir in the tomatoes, cannellini, and olives. Combine the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pour over the vegetables and toss gently to coat. Season with salt to taste. (If you are using vegetables like squash, saute in a pan until tender versus blanching them. Also, we sauteed the garlic and pepper flakes in the oil and then added it to the vegetables. This I think brought out the flavor of the garlic more and added to the taste.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread half the mixture in a shallow dish (like a 12 x 7 x 2 pyrex). Sprinkle on half the Muenster cheese. Spoon on the remaining vegetables, then top with the remaining cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Remove the foil and bake and additional 5 minutes for a golden crust.
Like I said, nothing fancy, but I didn't mind the leftovers.
Here is hoping to better meals for this week. Any suggestions out there? My proverbial well is running dry here.