Thursday, July 28, 2011

Millet Salad

As mentioned yesterday, I was planning on Tabbouleh for dinner last night. But the recipe looked rather bland, so the only part I followed were the directions for cooking millet.

I started by toasting 1 cup of whole millet in a tiny amount of oil.  After a few minutes of toasting, I filled the pan with water, brought it to a boil, then simmered the millet for about 15 minutes.  When it was finished simmering, I drained, rinsed, and drained again.  Had to get it cold before mixing with veggies.
Meanwhile, I chopped veggies.  Lots of veggies: tomato, cucumber, onion, garlic, and bell pepper.  I had about 1 1/2 cups of chopped tomato, 1 1/2 cups of chopped cucumber, 1 cup of chopped green onion, and 1 1/2 cups chopped pepper.  Plus a few cloves of garlic.
Add about 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/2 cup crumbled feta, and 1 tsp dried cilantro.  Give it all a stir and store in the fridge until the millet is done.  None of these measurements are accurate.  I poured olive oil and lemon juice straight from the bottle.  Same with the cilantro.  And the cheese was the end of a container.  I also added salt.  Before putting in the fridge I tried a bite and it tasted great so I left it alone.
Add the millet and eat.  Turned out pretty good.  Doug thought the onion was a little heavy.  I really liked the sweetness of the bell pepper.  We both agreed less olive oil and more cheese would be an improvement.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Veggie Fare

Doug mentioned while we were on the mainland this summer that he would like to try eating vegetarian more often.  Maybe even more often than not.  As someone who ate primarily vegetarian (because it was easy and I was lazy) in college, I have no problem with this.  We're not doing it because we feel bad for animals.  In fact, bacon is my primary reason for not being vegetarian.  If I could make the entire pig into bacon and waste none of it on pork chops, I would.  Then there are the lambs.  If it weren't for needing fiber for my knitting habit, I would eat ALL of them.

But, back to the vegetarian thing.  It won't be 100%.  Some meals will be planned with meat.  Many will not.  And I'm using the term lightly.  Eggs and dairy are just fine.  Fish is a grey area.  I might call bacon seasoning and pretend it isn't meat.  Doug said he'd like to try to be about 90% meatless.

My last post was on the veggie pasta with homemade cheese.  Last night we had Rice Noodle Salad; eggs were the only animal product.  The recipe was fun because I used rice noodles for the first time.  At first I was a little concerned about the lime juice.  I could smell it in the sauce and worried it would be over powering.  It wasn't though, and Doug ended up eating 3 bowls of the stuff before he could stop himself.  He would have had more for lunch today, but he forgot his lunch at home.

Half way through his first bowl.

Tonight I'll be trying to make Tabbouleh with millet.  I've never used the grain before, but have a small amount on hand.  A recipe in the current issue of Vegetarian Times was my inspiration for what I plan on making.  The recipe itself looks rather bland, but I think I can fix it up with garlic, bell peppers, and cheese.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Made Cheese!

I've always thought making cheese seemed like a fun idea. The dinner I made last night had a quick, 3 ingredient version of ricotta. It was super easy. I'll be making it again. The recipe it was in is called Linguine with Quick Lemon Ricotta.  The lemon flavor was different from anything I've made for dinner before, but not bad.  Next time I'll put in garlic instead.  We like that much better around here.

The actual cheese part was 2 cups 2% milk, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, and 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar.  Microwave for 4 minutes on high in a quart-sized measuring cup, stir gently, and drain.

First, you need cheese cloth to make the recipe.  Having none on hand, I decided a coffee filter in a strainer would work just as well.  I was right.
The cheese as the whey drains out.
Finished cheese.  Ready for seasonings.  In this particular recipe that was salt and grated lemon rind.  I have a feeling that the smoked garlic salt we acquired in New Zealand will make a much better addition.

And next: pictures from the rest of the recipe...
Golden grape tomatoes, grown locally in Hawaii.  The recipe called for plain grape tomatoes, but I brought these home instead.
The joys of a teeny tiny kitchen - the pans are teeny tiny too.  You CAN cook a 12oz box of noodles in a 1.5qt pan, but it's kinda messy.  Now I remember why most pasta in the last few months has been shaped pasta instead of long noodles.  They cook easier in small pans.
The other veggies of the meal: summer squash, zucchini, and bell peppers.  Garlic was also added.
Ta Da! Dinner.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Adventures in Wine Opening

Before getting to the wine part, I need to share my excitement about buying a lamb roast.  While the cost was comparable to other decent cuts of meat at Costco, it was still a huge splurge for our grocery budget, but totally worth it in my mind.  I cut the thing in half to make two roasts.  Then each roast fed us several times,  so I really stretched out that lamb.  Sadly I took no pictures of the meals that followed.

The second half of the lamb roast does bring me to the wine adventure though.  I decided that the leftovers from the roast should be made into Shepherd's Pie.  The recipe calls for dry red wine.  I chose a bottle of Pinot Noir.  It had a cork.  I couldn't find my corkscrew.  Up until now, all wine bought to use at my house has had a screw top.  This was a problem.

I thought the problem would be solved by a quick stop at a cheap store. Turns out you shouldn't buy corkscrews at discount stores.  The one I bought was nothing like any corkscrew I've ever used before, but the directions looked easy enough.  I removed the packaging and the first thing that happened was the handle fell off.  No big deal, I could hold it in place to get the job done.

Then the glue holding the whole thing together gave out.  Ahh, now I know why this was marked down half price, in the discount store.  Now the screw is not attached to anything, and I'm holding some rather useless plastic.  Enter the Husband.

He managed to get the screw part into the cork.  Then put a bunch of effort into pulling it out.  But a screw without leverage won't budge.  I know: A hammer!!

 Trying to get the hammer lined up on the screw and bottle.
 I'm actually really nervous about wine going EVERYWHERE.
 Ta Da! Cork out of bottle.

Only one other time have I opened a bottle of wine without a proper cork removal device. It involved shoving the cork into the bottle with a wooden spoon.  It resulted in wine all over the kitchen, including the ceiling.
 Doug snapped a picture of his food.  He mixed the potatoes into the gravy.  To be fair, much of the gravy bubbled up over the potatoes while cooking.  I will be making this recipe again, and looking for a proper corkscrew in the meantime.