2010 - Week 52 Cooking Results

Chicken Breasts covered in the Yuzu sauce combined with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, maybe some honey and sautéd

These didn't turn out exactly like I wanted, however, I did combine the yuzu sauce with a bit of honey, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. It turned into a nice sauce, but after cooking, the sauce had lost the fiery pepperiness. It stilled turned out pretty well and tasted good in the wraps that I made, though I think I will try them again in the coming week.  Though I may change what I put them in.  I probably used about 3/4th a teaspoon of honey and the yuzu sauce and about a tablespoon  or so each of the vinegar and soy sauce.  I'll pay more attention again next time.

Hamburgers (last of my farmer's market bought beef)

nom nom nom nom nom nom.

Potato Burrito

So this was probably the most complicated meal of the week, though it didn't require a ton of preparation.  I took a few of the Yukon Gold potatoes and diced them into about a half inch dice.  Took a healthy bit of olive oil and started cooking them.  I added about half an onion, and a bit latter a whole green pepper and jalapeño.  I used my 12" pan so there was plenty of room for browning.  In another pan I combined a can of black beans and diced tomatoes.  I added about half a can of chipotle pepper diced, a diced jalapeño and some sauteed onion (I sauteed it first in the 12" pan before starting the potatoes).  That combined with some cheddar cheese, a mix of greens, topped with sour cream and some Juan O'Sullivan's Verde Salsa wrapped in a burrito wrapper and it made for a good meal.  I think I may make this for a movie night (meets the requirements of being gluten free and vegetarian).

Tuna Melt

I used some of the hot sauce that Santa had brought to us at the Matta's and made a simple tuna salad and then made melts after that. It's a classic simplicity that's always nice to have from time to time.

Eggs and Hash browns

I've made hash browns before, but it has been a while. I had the last of the yukon gold potatoes and ran them through the shredding disk on the food processor. It made for quick work of the peeled potatoes. I quickly dried the potatoes with some paper towels and then tossed them with some melted butter, salt and pepper. I made enough that it filled both my 8" and 10" non-stick pans. A little more butter in the pan and then some patience. It made for some nice and crispy potatoes. Certainly the best I have ever made. The only problem was that I started to make the scrambled eggs a bit to early, so I had to keep the eggs warm for a bit longer then I would've liked. I was pretty happy over all.

double dose of hashbrown goodness

2010 - Week 52 Cooking

As another year draws to a close, I got a large reminder this past month and a half or so.  We (well more like I) spent entirely too much on food.  Between a couple trips out (far more then normal) and Thankgiving, between that, it almost broke the budget.  Anyways, back to being conservative as far as the money spent on food.  There are a few things I have left in my mind as to what to do, and things I already have (like a full size ham).  But I'm going to try to, at least until some things get back in line, spend about $75 a week on food.  Now this may sound like a lot for two people, and it really is.  But considering this is a reduction, I think that it should go well.  This may lead to some specifically inexpensive meals that I may, or may not talk about as we go into 2011 (pancakes, etc).

Beyond that we had a nice weekend in Cedar Rapids.  For me, at least, it has been very good for me to get away from the whole Christmas weekend.  I got probably the best sleep I had gotten in a month.  Even beyond the kittens deciding that playing with my CPAP machine is a new fun night time experience, I just haven't been sleeping well.  So I had 4 nights of good sleep in a row, 3 of them without an alarm.  On Thursday, I made 4 loaves of pumpkin bread for the groups that we were sharing Christmas with (Mattas, My family, Shannon's parents and Sister's family) and then to beat a blizzard that was going to start late Thursday or early Friday so we headed to the Matta's early.  It was nice to not have to worry about a lot of things for a while.  I kept my phone on, had my computer with me, but if nobody paged, I wasn't planning on doing anything.  While I kept track of various things on my iPod touch and Blackberry, I basically didn't type for several days.  It was kind of nice.  Christmas eve with Shannon's family, Morning with the Matta's, and Day with my family, or at least the family that was in Iowa.  Sunday we met up with Cam, Mai, Dave and Mark and had a nice long BS session catching up and discussing current events.  Cam gave me a spicy sauce made from Yuzu (I think) and what tasted like a whole lot of pepper.  It was quite spicy and now I have to figure out how to use it.  The whole sitting around and shooting the breeze with old friends made for a nice end to the weekend.  We headed back home and as Shannon cleaned up the travel stuff, I went to remove the snow.  Someone was nice enough to snowblow the the front sidewalk, but I still did the driveway and the other walks and was tired by the end.

Yet another week of cooking...  If you may notice, I'm trying to use up some potatoes...

  • Chicken Breasts covered in the Yuzu sauce combined with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, maybe some honey and sautéd
  • Hamburgers (last of my farmer's market bought beef)
  • Potato Burrito
  • Tuna Melt
  • Eggs and Hashbrowns

2010 - Week 51 Cooking Results

Fennel and Potato Hash with and egg or two

I was going to make this Thursday night, however, with the coming storm, we decided we would head down to Cedar Rapids instead.  So being that it was still left, I made this tonight.  It turned out pretty well.  I should've used my 12" pan instead so that things could've browned a lot better.  I do think, however, that it needed a lot more oil then the recipe called for.  Being that I added more oil and then some of the rendered bacon fat from the 3 pieces of bacon.  I also made up some scrambled eggs to make it into a dinner.

Lamb Burgers

Quick, easy fast.  I love lamb.  Clearly I was a bit in the bag by the time dinner was completed.  I have since learned where the = sign is on my blackberry (provided by work).  What can I say, I've been having long days and have been not a big fan.

Sloppy Sammys

I uh...added too much spice.  Quite a bit of hot paprika, cayenne pepper and some other things and it was just overpowering over all.  This was another "in the bag" night of cooking.  Oh well, it's gone now, so it's not that big of a deal I suppose.  I still don't understand why people buy things like Manwhich....


I love pancakes.  They're so cheap and easy to make.  And so good.  Why buy batter and a mix?

Cupboard Pasta

So because of a change in plans with my youngest sister's husband, they came into Des Moines on Wednesday to head to Cedar Rapids.  So I offered to make them dinner.  Now I had a vague idea of what I was going to make.  Simple sauce tossed with noodles.  So I looked in cupboard, started off with about half an onion that I had already diced.  Cooked that off in some oil, added a can of tomato sauce.  Shannon grated up about a cup of parmesan cheese and then I remembered that there was some ricotta left, I added that as well.  So it was left with a creamy pinkish reddish sauce that I tossed with pasta.  I whipped up a little salad dressing and heated up some bread.  So that's a meal for 6 (Shannon, myself, Lovina, her 2 girls and my brother Joseph).

2010 - Week 51 Cooking

In the past week, I went to two relatively new restaurants.  On this past Thursday, Shannon and I went to Zingaro.  I kept a smile on my face from the beginning to the end of this trip.  Everything was playful and it just made very well.  I really enjoyed it.  The Chef, Hal Jasa, I ran into on a fairly regular basis between the Des Moines Farmers Market and Mars Cafe (he remade their menu and had a Farmer's Market Salad).  I watched him do amazing things when 1/3rd of his cooking tools broke one morning, and I watched him riff to figure out how to deliver the items ordered with the reduced tools.  It was quite impressive.  I hope it turns out well for him.

I went down to Flour Pizza  with a couple of co-workers.  Shannon and I tried to go a bit before but, well, I didn't realize they weren't open in the evening.  It was quite good.  I had some Azucar and it was quite good, along with their pizza as well.  Shannon and I will go down there again sometime during this next week.

Over the next week I suspect I'm going to be working pretty late (yay) so because of that the meal are going to be very simple.

2010 - Week 50 Cooking Results

Croque-Madame Sandwiches (p78 December 2010/January 2011 Fine Cooking)

These were quite good, though, I perhaps left them a little took long (had to scrape off a little blackness, but not to much).  Clearly not good for you though.  It is one of those foods that is nice to have from time to time when the weather is cold.  It is the kind of sandwich that you eat with a fork though.

Cheddar and Salsa Pigs in a Blanket (p7 December 2010/January 2011 Cook's Country)

These were pretty good.  I think I'd like to try them with the Eden Farms Berkshire Hot Dogs (I think they have a better flavor then the Hebrew National).  I didn't cut them into small edible pieces, and put them in the freezer like the recipe suggested, but it did make for a sort of nostalgic, even though I don't think my mother ever made this, kick back to the youth of all of us.

Cheddar and Salsa Pigs in a Blanket

Creamy Pasta with Lemon Pepper Chicken (RC December 2010/January 2011 Cook's Country)

This was quick and simple to make, which is a good thing, especially on a Friday where you don't bother to leave work until after 6.  It was pretty good.  Better then some, not as good as others.

White Bean Soup with Rosemary Croutons (RC December 2010/January 2011 Cook's Country)

This also made for a quick dinner.  I would've I think, liked it a bit thicker, perhaps puree more of the white beans, but it still made for a good dinner on a cold winters night.


White Bean Soup with Rosemary Croutons

2010 - Week 50 Cooking

So on Friday we headed down to Carly's new restaurant Flour.  For some reason I had gotten the impression that it was open nights, at least on the weekend.  So we parked, headed over to the lighted sign and found the restaurant dark.  Being that we were already out, and already downtown we walked over to Proof (just cady-corner to Flour).  She greeted us warmly and then begin to struggle where she would put us.  The restaurant was booked up.  So what does she do?  She brings out another table and makes sure that we're well taken care of.  Being an early and strong supporter has it's benefits, I suppose.  We had a wonderful meal, as one would expect, and then headed to walk around the sculpture park a bit.  Not to long, it had gotten significantly colder.  Thanks go to Carly and the rest of the staff at Proof for a wonderful evening.

  • Croque-Madame Sandwiches (p78 December 2010/January 2011 Fine Cooking)
  • Cheddar and Salsa Pigs in a Blanket (p7 December 2010/January 2011 Cook's Country)
  • Creamy Pasta with Lemon Pepper Chicken (RC December 2010/January 2011 Cook's Country)
  • White Bean Soup with Rosemary Croutons (RC December 2010/January 2011 Cook's Country)

2010 - Week 49 Cooking Results

Spiced Yogurt Waffles with Toasted-Pecan Maple Syrup (p22 December 2010/January 2011 Fine Cooking)

These ended up with a nice tang to them.  I thought it was quite a nice thing.  Over all the combination of the two sides made for a nice dinner.  Shannon skipped the Pecans, as she would, but even with that it came out well.  Worth it to make again.

Carrot and Leek Soup with Herbed Croutons (p22 December 2010/January 2011 Fine Cooking)

This was absolutely fantastic.  It had a nice bright orange color and after being blended, ended up creamy and smooth.  There was one drawback to this soup however.  I didn't get a chance to have leftovers.  I left the heat on very low, and by the time we made it back upstairs, it had reduced down so much, and slightly, well, became burnt.  So we had our bowls but there was nothing left worth eating.  Though for the rest of the week, I made certain that the burners were all off when I was done cooking.

Carrot and Leek Soup with Herbed Croutons

Yogurt-marinated Roast Chicken (p22 December 2010/January 2011 Fine Cooking)

I put everything together the morning before making this.  It was pretty easy to do.  When I took it out of the bag, it was well covered by all the herbs and yogurt that was in there.  Into the oven it went.

It roasted undisturbed for about 45 minutes while I made the cannellini beans.  The chicken was quite good looking coming out of the oven and tasted quite good.

Yogurt marinated Roasted Chicken

Turkey Cutlets and Black Beans with Tangerine-Habanero Mojo Sauce (p25 December 2010/January 2011 Fine Cooking)

I should have prepared more be fore starting to make this.  I really hosed up the mojo sauce.  So much so, we ended not using it at all.  So we basically had turkey cutlets with black beans.  Which was a good meal in and of itself.

Cannellini Beans with Lemon, Roasted Red Peppers, and Bacon (p27 December 2010/January 2011 Fine Cooking)

Served with the yogurt marinated chicken.  It turned out pretty well.  I should have chopped the lemon zest smaller, but it was quite good.

Cannellini Beans with lemon roasted red peppers and bacon

2010 - Week 49 Cooking

I was hoping that we would be able to go to Flour Pizza on Friday, however, they'll be opening on Monday.  I'm looking forward to it.  Des Moines can do with more good pizza choices.  I also want Frank's Pizza to stop toying with us all.  Either open a shop again, or don't, but these cryptic updates are starting to grate on me.  I also want to go to Zingaro.  With menu at Mars Cafe, Hal Jasa has impressed me with the quality and one morning the ability to improvise as half of his cooking implements broke.  As we head toward the end of the year, I really wonder if I'm going to continue to do this.  I haven't, for a while, longer felt safe discussing large sections of my life so if I don't do something like this, then pretty much my site will go idle, which seems a bit silly to me.  That and hardly anyone actually comes here to actually read what I write.  I do my best to throw the minimal amount of google juice that I have and push it towards places and people that I'm excited about, but in all honesty, it probably doesn't make that much of a difference.

On a more positive note, while I was flipping through Fine Cooking this morning (already read it), I figured, hey, this set of recipe would make a good week of meals.  So I told myself, have you finish playing Civ5, you'll make this into a list...more then a few hours later, here it is.

2010 - Week 48 Cooking Results

Eden Farms Berkshire Pork Burgers

Good as always.

Yukon Gold Potato, Leek and Fromage Blanc Frittata

A movie night dinner!  Since one of the expected guests went vegetarian, and another can't have gluten, it makes it tough to find things.  Not that I don't enjoy cooking for them both, when looking for ideas to cook, the things that catch my eye generally have at least one of either.  But this turned out as a nice meal.  I've made many frittatas before but this is also quite a nice combination.

Yukon Gold Potato, Leek and Fromage Blanc Frittata

French Chicken in a Pot (p13 Holiday 2010 Entertaining)

Sear chicken a bit, add in some veggies, cover and a pretty low level for a while.  Turned out great.  I used a chicken from Foxhollow Poultry Farm.  I'm a big fan of their work.

Mexican Tortas with Black Beans and Chorizo

While I used Spanish chorizo and it didn't break up like it should, it still turned out very well.  It made for a nice simple quick dinner.