Thursday, May 27, 2010

Good Food

Every once in a while, a week of really good food just materializes. This week that applied to everything except for Eli's and Raizel's birthday cake which was so moist it kind of collapsed a bit as it was transferred from the pan to the cake plate. Eli called it "volcano cake." It was good, just unusual looking!

Here are some of the yummiest things we ate:

Tilapia Fish Cakes
I'd made fish cakes with other fish before, but never tilapia. This was delicious! And it's one of the less expensive fishes available here. Here's the recipe (it's also on p. 12 of the adoption cookbook, for those of you who have a copy!).

2 lbs. fish, cubed
1 cup onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic
3 T. cilantro
1 T. cumin
2 tsp. kosher salt
6 T. matzo meal or flour
1 egg

Put everything in the food processor until coarsley ground. Shape into 2-inch patties. Sauté in a pan for 2 minutes per side.

I served the patties with a tartar sauce recipe I adapted from one of my Frugal Gourmet books.

Tartar Sauce
1 tsp. mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, mashed
2 T. dill
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

There you have it. We really enjoyed this.

Goat Yogurt with Lemon Curd
This was heavenly (at least to me; I don't think anyone else in the family appreciated the goat...). It's like plain yogurt with a hint of goat cheese flavor, then the lemon on top of that. Yum. We also had the lemon curd in the jelly roll cake. On Sunday when grandma and grandpa are here (HOORAY!) we'll have it with scones.

Homemade Bagels
The LMNOP (lord and master, etc.) is the true bagel expert, but I went ahead and did it since he is well-occupied with other things. Straight out of the oven they tasted nothing at all like DD's. His bagels are magical. The slightly crisp outside, the dense slightly chewy inside, with wisps of steam escaping as you take a bite. Great texture on the surface and inside. My bagels just didn't look as pretty, and the contrast between the dense and crisp wasn't quite as great. The funny thing was - when I reheated/toasted the bagels for lunch today (having been in the freezer overnight), they tasted *exactly* like DD's would taste the next day. They actually seemed better to me than the day before. And the second best part (after the taste)? They only cost 4¢/each to make!!

Ah, bread. I love baking bread. I still regularly fantasize about my eight years working in a pâtisserie surrounded by those glorious smells and textures. I've never had better bread then they had there, never had better pasta, definitely never had a better croissant, and never had a better (or any!) strawberry napolean. But back to the bread. I made eight loaves of my usual whole wheat oatmeal bread, which usually holds us for two to three weeks. (Maybe not quite so long with visitors coming!) The same dough recipe can vary a good bit from week to week, depending on humidity and how distracted I get while it is rising. Once in a while it comes out perfectly, and one has a renewed gratitude for what a miracle the process of making bread is from the seed growing in the ground, to enjoying it at the table.

Pinto Bean Patties
We had these for dinner tonight. I based it on my felafel recipe pretty much...

2 cups pinto beans, soaked overnight
2 cloves garlic
1 onion
1 T. cumin
2-1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/4 cup flour

Toss everything in the food processor and process until finely chopped. Shape into small, thin patties (about 1/4 inch thick and 2 inches wide) and sauté in a pan until browned on both sides.

These were delicious topped with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and green onions. And, no, you don't even have to cook the beans first! This makes it really easy to put together. I always toss a bunch of pre-soaked beans in the freezer to have on hand. Everyone ate the patties and a bunch of sautéed bok choi (except Eli, of course!). This recipe costs pennies to make.
I did a lot of double-cooking in the last couple of weeks so I can spend less time in the kitchen when grandma and grandpa are visiting. It looks pretty good. I really want to go back to doing this more often. It's usually just as easy to make two of something as one, and it saves all that repeated effort later. So, for now it looks good.

There! Two non-menu posts. How about that? I might even get some pictures up before much longer. We've had lots of good adventures!

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