I like to cook. Sometimes my daughter likes to eat.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Dinners Week of 07/26

This week's challenge: how to turn MZ into a chile head? I am craving good hot food, where the heat is cooked in rather than added at the end. But what would MZ eat? I know she could get used to chile if I made consecutively hotter dishes over a few intensive weeks, but I don't think she'd enjoy the ride. So I continue to dumb the recipes down, and hope that she develops an appreciating for the sensation of hot food on her own.

Sunday: Dinner at Friends' house

Monday: Grilled Lemongrass Beef Noodle Salad (Bun Bo)
Lemongrass-marinated grilled flank steak sliced over a layered salad of rice vermicelli, julienned zucchini, cucumber, shredded carrots, thinly sliced romaine lettuce, chopped mint, cilantro, Thai basil, green onions and crushed roasted peanuts. I marinated the meat, made the nuoc cham and prepped the veggies (all except the herbs) the night before. When I got home from work, I marinated the carrots and zucchini in the nuoc cham, boiled the noodles and chopped the herbs while R grilled the meat. MZ enjoyed hers deconstructed.

Tuesday: Grilled halibut, boiled new potatoes with butter, steamed broccoli

Wednesday: "Spicy" Grilled Chicken, "Spicy Eggplant with Tomatoes", Whole Wheat Chapati, Cucumber Raita
The chicken was from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking, minus most of the cayenne. I made the marinade and put it in a zip lock with the chicken the night before. We received both eggplant and roma tomatoes in our farm box, so this quick recipe from 5 Spices, 50 Dishes was perfect. When I got home, I quickly cut up the eggplant and tomatoes. I added 1/2 t garam masala at the end to make up for the missing cayenne, thinking otherwise it might be bland. Definitely a make-again dish. The chapati, purchased from the frozen case at our local pan-Asian market, was an easy accompaniment. I made the raita from a diced cucumber and some yogurt and spices while the vegetables and chapati cooked. R and I added lime pickle for heat, MZ prefers the sweeter taste of tamarind chutney.

Thursday: Slow Cooker Tacos - FAIL
Wow, this estofado recipe did not work at all. When I started it in the morning, I thought it needed more liquid, but then thought more would be created as the pico de gallo salsa cooked down. R called me at 5 pm to suggest that it hadn't quite gone to plan, but was very polite and so I just thought it wasn't a lot of meat. It was shoe leather. Very salty shoe leather. We ate it in warm tortillas with a lot of sour cream and salsa.

Friday: Lemongrass Chicken, Asian Slaw and Judy D's fabulous Coconut Lime Rice
Angie's lemongrass marinade was outstanding! The chicken went really well with this new slaw recipe. I made brown Kalajiri rice in the rice cooker and stirred in a can of light coconut milk, some lime zest and the juice of one lime at the end. Also on the table: delicious heirloom tomatoes and good bread to start, grilled corn, teriyaki flank steak, edamame, and Mitchell's ice cream for dessert. A feast with good friends.

Saturday: Leftovers for MZ, NOPA for the adults

Asian Slaw
This recipe is based on the Ginger Pickled Red Cabbage Slaw in the China Moon Cookbook. I love this cookbook, but rarely have all her house-made pantry items on hand these days. To compensate for the lack of handmade pickled ginger, I added handfuls of fresh, tasty herbs and some carrots for contrast. This salad is gorgeous and tasty. It was great with grilled meats and hot rice, and would be good on a SE Asian-flavored burger.

2 T minced pickled ginger (sushi ginger)
1/4 cup ginger pickling liquid
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 T sugar
1.25 t kosher salt
1 lb red cabbage, cored and cut into fine strands
2 medium carrots, grated
3 green onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
2 T each chopped mint, cilantro ad Thai basil
1 T black sesame seeds

Combine the first five ingredients in a nonreactive, shallow bowl. Toss with the cabbage. Toss again in 15-20 minutes, cover and refrigerate for a day, tossing occasionally. The mixture will turn hot pink. Just before serving, add remaining ingredients, reserving some sesame seeds for garnish. Serve.

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