Sweet & Sour Eggplant

Tonight I made a sweet & sour pork dish, of sorts. I baked pork chops on a cast iron griddle in the oven, while eggplant wedges cooked below. After cranking up the heat to 400, I sped up the process while cooking some white rice in the rice cooker.

When the pork and eggplant were done, I sliced up the meat and blended it with the eggplant wedges – plus lots of honey mixed in. The resulting dish, served with rice, tasted somewhat like sweet & sour pork. And the eggplant wasn’t bad either.

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Scrambling for Veggies

Last time I wrote we didn’t have enough veggies, but a plethora of bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes, and beets arrived Wednesday with our Capay delivery. So, this morning we made a healthy veggie scramble:

  • Start by sauteeing the (sliced or chopped) bell peppers in olive oil; set aside in foil to keep warm and tender
  • Prepare the scrambled eggs (I used about 8 eggs total for two of us); then add the bell peppers and stir
  • Add fresh, chopped basil and stir; serve scramble with fresh, ground pepper

No cheese, you say? You won’t even realize it’s missing.

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Brain Food

With a limited supply of vegetables, I wasn’t quite sure what to put in tonight’s pasta. Starting with Hodgson Mill‘s flax seed fettuccini, I decide to experiment with a combination of canned tuna and white beans for a protein-packed “pesto” of sorts.

While boiling the pasta, I cooked the tuna and beans (plus generous amount of olive oil) in a separate sauce pan over medium heat. I added fresh, chopped basil and mixed the “pesto” with the noodles, and then served each plate with fresh parmesan.

Surprisingly, it turned out delicious – and was as filling as a heavy cream sauce without all the fat. I recommend trying it when your down to the most basic canned goods. Plus, your brain will appreciate the extra dose of Omega’s from the flax and tuna!

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Nouveau Hamburger Helper

I like to experiment in the kitchen and tonight’s dinner was case in point. It reminded me of Hamburger Helper, even though I’ve never technically had it before. I browned ground turkey in a large saucepan, and added onion soup mix  plus water while it simmered to add some flavor. Meanwhile, I boiled pasta and added sliced banana squash to the meat mixture. I poured the pasta into the pan with the turkey and squash and mixed it all together. Voila! Nouveau Hamburger Helper (I think)!

Completely random, kinda delicious!

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Case of the Mondays

Easy soup from scratch – I boiled leftover (frozen) chicken broth from all those nights of boiling chicken. To the simmering broth I added white beans from the can, chopped onions, Parmesan, and fresh basil.

David suggested adding scrambled eggs and we poured the combo over white rice. Call it recession recipe, or simply a lack of groceries, but it was healthy and hearty!

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Tuscan Breakfast Sandwiches

To accompany our first tomato, I made breakfast sandwiches with a Tuscan slant. First I sauteed onions in butter, then poured in the egg batter to make a scramble – which I topped with fresh ground pepper and basil. I toasted sourdough, added shaved Parmesan to the scramble and sliced the tomato, which was still warm under the Mountain View sun! 😉

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Food Mecca in the Desert

Scottsdale, AZ produces some fine chefs from its Culinary Institue (like my sister), so it should come as no surprise that it houses some pretty great restaurants too. While in town last weekend, I thoroughly enjoyed our interactive dinner at “gastropub” Digestif. Part chef’s demonstration/neighborhood bistro, we watched all the action from the bar. Although the main dishes were excellent, the side dishes were the most fun. We had an amazing Mac & Cheese dish with an especially potent French cheese, and Mexican street corn. All local ingredients, of course – but by no means snobby about it.

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Right across the corridor is a truly unique wine bar where my sister works, called Kazimierz. When you walk in, you immediately feel as though you’ve entered a) a medieval den b) a dark wine cellar, or c) a prohibition-era speak easy. I think the decor was meant to convey all three, actually. The best part of the extensive wine list are the wine flights – I went with the sparkling wine flight, featuring bubbly from Austria and France.

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Last, but far from least, were the Sprinkles cupcakes. So rich that I could only handle one small bite at a time, chased by a large swig of milk. But cupcakes are always fun, especially when you’re having an indulgent mother/daughter day, which included “Julie & Julia.” 

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Although I’ve read both books, it was nice to see women on the big screen enjoying cooking after a long day of work and commuting, or exploring French cuisine in order to reap the rewards of full and happy husbands…which is why I’ve enjoyed nearly six months of blogging my Dinner with David

Bon Appetit!

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If You Can’t Stand the Heat

The summer heat has finally hit the Bay Area, which has turned our first tomato red (and produced a second!), and inspired some warm weather dinners in the Jackson house.

Last night, I roasted pork chops with honey, pepper and fresh, sliced apricots in the oven at 400 degrees – which turned out deliciously sweet. I served the pork and juices over rice.

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Also, pictured below, is our delightful heirloom tomato caprese salad. David takes credit for this concoction. Just drizzle olive oil over sliced, fresh tomatoes and add fresh basil, pepper and mozzarella cheese.

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Tonight, I made a turkey meatball salad recipe from my archive of Everyday Food recipes. Starting with the basic turkey meatball recipe, you put sliced, roasted bell peppers (from the jar, or homemade) on a bed of lettuce, add the cooked meatballs, and shave parmesan on top of the finished product. Very light (except for the swirling pool of butter), and easy (of course)!

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Turkey burgers!

I’ve been making turkey burgers since my first post-college apartment, when I didn’t have a lot of skill, but enjoyed cooking for David (my roommate Kim and I shared her George Foreman grill for the occasion). Oh, how things have changed; but every once in a while, turkey burgers straight from the freezer are the only solution to busy weeknights when the cupboard is bare.

Since we had turkey burgers once already this week, I decided to change things up a bit for tonight. I sauteed leftover bell peppers with chopped onions (all from Capay), and kept the mixture warm while I fried the burgers in a pan and toasted the bread. Add lettuce, tomato, and whatever condiments your prefer – et voila! Couldn’t be an easier dinner. You can also saute mushrooms or any veggie, really.

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