What are your staples?
Apropos of the "What do you cook your new love interest" post, I gots me to thinking..
When Mr Goddess and I began dating, I went the meat and potato route... Him being a meat and potato kinda guy.. but I have gradually turned him on to all sorts of other foods...
And while we are FAR from eating dodgy TV dinners every night, my repertoire gets a bit thin after a while.
Staple meals in our house are:
Bolognese/Ragu pasta sauces
Seared tuna on wilted greens
butterfly lamb roasts
curry... any sort of curry
stuff on mash (I make a mean mash)
Occasionally I';ll roast a duck, or braise a pork belly, or do something spectacular with fresh caught fish or game... but after a daily commute and a full time job, there are PLENTY of days, where it's risotto on monday. left over risotto on Tuesday and arancini made from left over risotto on Wednesday... you know what I mean??
So, Share you staples with me here, and maybe we can improve our basic "day-to-day"
Inspire me, hounders.....
There are only a couple days a week we can cook, so we have to make things that reheat well or can be used in a variety of quick ways. we don't eat the same things every week, but these are always on our repertoire (recipes change every time, depending on what looks good or is on sale at the store):
Burrito Filling (mixtures of meat/beans/veggies and spices)
Grilled Chicken and Fish
Red Sauces and Pasta
Burgers (Buffalo/Beef/Chicken/Turkey with fresh herbs and cheese in the middle)
Hearty Soups in winter
Hearty Salads in summer (top w/the grilled chicken or fish)
Eggs and Grits
Paninis w/meats, cheeses, veggies, spreads, etc.
We only have one day off together, and if the weather is nice we spend hours grilling meats and veggies, eating the best we bought that night.
*** My latest love (cheesy shrimp & grits - Paula Deen's method) ***
OR the following I try to have on hand.........
* Plugra, Plugra & more Plugra - it's really good butter
* Olivier (Williams-Sonoma) good extra virgin Olive Oil
* Apricot Jam
* Dean & Deluca Coffee (Georgetown Blend)
* Half & Half
* 2% Milk
* Splenda (the yellow packet)
* Good Honey
* Sonoma Gourmet - Blue Cheese Dressing
* Duke's Mayo
* Grey Poupon (original)
* Sonoma Gourmet - Honey Mustard Dressing
* Lemons (a huge bowl full)
* Real Vermont Maple Syrup
* Fresh Parmesan
* Free-range Eggs
* Homemade Egg &/or Tuna salad (my Grandmother's old recipe - yumyum)
* Fresh Market's Pimento Cheese
* Challah Bread (for French Toast)
* Boarshead Provisions (lunch meats/cheeses)
* Pepperidge Farm loaves (crunchy oat)
* Jif Extra Crunchy
* Diet Coke (mini bottles) & regular for guests
* Stoli - one in the freezer & another at the wet bar along with the other liquors
* Cold Yuengling Lagers (light)
* Maytag Blue
* Good water crackers
* Ginger Snaps
* Dean & Deluca Spices
* Williams-Sonoma Pasta Sauces (they're all good)
* Angel Hair &/or Penne
* Cans of Tuna
* Frozen Salmon
* Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey
* Haagen-Dazs Vanilla
* Marie Callendar's Frozen Lasagna
* Fresh Tomatoes
* Heath Bars
* Pino Grigio - good vino!
* Merlot bottles too
* Williams-Sonoma Clean Collection - kitchen soap, hand lotion, candles, etc.
I went back to full time work last year...and had to adjust back to cooking as soon as I walked in the door in the evening. It's taken a while and we had to break the intial eat out every night habit. These days here are some of our more common meals:
pasta tossed with pesto
pasta tosses with sauteed veggies(whatever is in the fridge)
Eggs of any sorts actually
Waffles(actually one of our favorite dinners)
salmon cakes servied over mixed greens
Cod, Hailbut or sole braised in wine and citrus juice
Roasted salmon with cilantro pesto
Lentils and rice
Beans and rice
Main meal salads - most commonly this is a big greek salad with some tuna tossed in or a avocado, mango and feta salad with some shrimp tossed in
Curried veggies over rice
As you can see none of this is highbrow...and we don't eat a lot of meat in general. But it puts quick tasty meals on the table most nights. I find the IQF fish at Trader Joe's to be pretty acceptable(I live in Phoenix so good fresh fish isn't easy to come by) and it thaws very quickly under running water after work.
Salmon with Cilantro Pesto
(this is the original recipe...when I make this I cut back a lot on the butter and use mostly olive oil)
1 1/2 lb salmon fillet
2 medium garlic clove
1/4 c walnut
1 cup fresh cilantro
2 tbls butter
1 tbls olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
For pesto: With machine running, drop garlic through feed tube of food processor and mince. Add walnuts and chop finely. Add remaining ingredient, except salmon, and process into a paste(I add the oil wtih the machine running).
Place salmon fillet skin side down on a large baking dish. (Remove pin bones). Salt, pepper, and squeeze a little lemon on the fillet. Spread pesto evenly over salmon. Bake uncovered until barely opaque through out.
less than 5 min prep:
*toast (bread, butter, and jam are all top notch) and fruit
*smoothy (it can be done in 2 minutes if you have the right stuff sitting around -- frozen fruit, orange juice, yogurt and a banana)
*Grilled lettuce with mustard dressing
*chips with lots of dips (guacamole, cheese, two or three different salsas, bean dip -- I just try to keep 'em all around)
*canned soup (not so inspiring, I guess)
*spring rolls from Trader Joe's with nuac cham dipping sauce from world market and lettuce, mint, cilantro, etc. (if I have them)
5 to 25 minutes:
*steak tacos with grilled veggies, *HOT* sauce, fresh cheese and hoppy pale ale
*huevos rancheros made with red beans
*curry made with store-bought curry paste and broth
*sauteed green beans (spicy or citrusy, depending what else I'm eating)
*eggs with fresh herbs and mustard
*pasta with some arbitrary combination from these: tomatos, olive oil, sausage, parsley/chervil, taragon, chives, basil, peppers, challots, wine, cheese, pepper flakes, chile puree, tomato paste, mushrooms (truffles if they're in season and I've recently won the lottery)
*bean, rice and cheese burritos
lots of time:
*thick cut pork chop with homemade applesauce, mashers and green beans or a salad
*fish fry (with south India spice paste mixed up fresh)
*"fresh" curry (not with a paste)
im the queen of the fritata - i always overbuy at the farmers market, so when i end up with odds and ends, it all goes into a fritata. i even tried hummus once, and i have to say, it wasn't bad.....;)
I've been trying to think what staple foods I fix at home and there are just so many things. So it's easier to say what staple categories we have.
American "meat & potato" meals
Any combination of styles
Rice & Kimchi with almost every meal
A lot of soups and stews
Any kind of non soup leftover is fair game for omeletts, pancakes, or tortilla wraps
Do you make your own kimchi or is it store bought? If you make your own, do you use fish sauce?
I love kimchi, but I have to make it in the winter because I must use the garage as a refrigerator. My wife is not an aficionado of kimchi and does not want it in the house. She does not tolerate the smell. She also does not like sauerkraut which I do. Two large heads of Napa cabbage and diakon go into my kimchi along with the most pungent chiles that I can grow or find. Fish sauce, however, is not one of the ingredients that I use.
This recipe is from a paperback book entitled HAWAII Cookbook & Backyard Luau by Elizabeth Ahn Toupin published in 1967.
2 pounds celery cabbage (I use Napa cabbage, it may be the same thing)
1/2 cup coarse salt
1 quart water
1 1/2 Tablespoons red hot peppers
1 minced garlic clove
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 scallions, finely chopped
"Wash cabbage and chop into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle with salt. Add water and let it stand overnight. Rinse cabbage with cold water and let drain. Make a paste with the rest of the ingredients and rub into the cabbage slices. Pack into a quart jar and cover. Place in a plastic bag to prevent odors from permeating other foods, and refrigerate. It will ripen in 4-5 days."
I assume that there are variations of kimchee recipes, and each Korean family must have a traditional one. I've added diakon (white radish) to my recipe. You will have to experiment until you find a recipe which suits your taste.
I also grow garlic chive ('jiao cai' in Mandarin) and use it instead of scallions. The garlic chive was given to me by a Taiwanese coworker more than 30 years ago and it survives MidAtlantic state winters. I use extremely hot chiles like Red Savinas which are cousins of the orange Habanero. I grow this cultivar in my small chile garden. The ripe chiles are processed and frozen until I make kimchee in the winter. The batch that I make probably is more like a gallon rather than a quart.
My family has Korean friends and we ate at their place a lot growing up. But I don't remember ever having kimchi. Don't know if that's because they didn't have it, or if it was because I hadn't acquired a taste for it and just don't remember it because I never ate any. She did make absolutely wonderful jap chae, though. I'm trying to get my relatives back home to get her recipe for me.
I buy Bonito Flakes and make a really simple easy fish broth that really does add alot to recipes.....a smoky element to whatever I use them in. Opening & smelling the bag when first opened, reminded of smoked turkey.
1 c Bonito
2 c water
1/4 AC Vinegar
Cover & simmer several hours and skim the top just before transferring to a storage jar.
* FRESH: Free Range Eggs, Raw Milk, Raw Cream, Raw Cheese
* PRODUCE: Garlic, Carrots, Beets, Cabbage, Spinach, Green Beans,
Peppers, Celery, Onions, Squash, Potatoes, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Apples,
* MEAT: 100% Grass-fed Beef, Buffalo, Chicken, Goose & Chevon. Wild Fish.
* NUTS & SEEDS: Native pecans, Sunflower Seeds. Unhulled Sesame.
* GRAINS: Oats, Wheat, Flax, Brown & wild rice.
* OILS: Coconut, Red palm & Olive oils, Coconut Milk.
* SEASONINGS: Honey, Unsulph Native Sorghum, Sucanat, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Sea Salt, ACV, Turmeric, Curry, Cumin, Cayenne, Caraway, Poppy, Basil, Oregano, and many more.