Recipes – week 1

I – (Sep 22-28) The first thing I wanted to cook after getting our groceries was the sword fish. Being from Portugal, I’m a big fan of fish, which is pretty much all we eat in the Summer… So I just drizzled the sword fish steaks with olive oil, lemon juice a bit of salt and pepper and grilled them in our stove top grill. I am not a fan of trying to hide the fish flavor, and good fresh fish will always taste amazing to me.

There were two items on this grocery basket that I had never cooked before: the okra and the beets. So I wanted to do something simple and easy. Of course, Jeff immediately suggested fried okra (he grew up in the South!). I followed the instructions found here and it came out great (except that for the first batch I forgot to add the salt and pepper to the cornmeal and they came out a bit bland…). I will say that the slimy thing was a bit weird at first, but with the crunch from the outside, I quickly got over it. We had plenty of fried okra to eat with our fish and a lot left that we ended up eating almost as a snack.

For the beets, I wanted to make sure I used everything, from the bulb to the leaves. First, the bulbs (I was a bit afraid because beets seem to make everything pink, but I managed to keep the mess to a minimum) – I found this post and I more or less followed all the instructions. I wrapped the bulbs in tin foil and baked them at 400F for about 1hour. They’re so easy to peel after that. After peeled, I just kept them in a ziplock bag to avoid getting plastic boxes tinted.And anytime I wanted to cut the beets, I would put a bit of plastic wrap on the kitchen counter and cut it on that (to avoid the wrap from sliding around, put a bit of water on the kitchen surface and then the plastic wrap – it clings and doesn’t move anymore).

So our first meal consisted of grilled sword fish with fried okra and a salad (lettuce, beets, apple and walnuts with a simple vinaigrette). I felt like I was eating at an expensive restaurant.

The next thing we made was meatballs in pepper’s sauce. Here’s the recipe. Because our peppers were green only, the dish wasn’t going to come out as colorful, so I added some shredded carrots I still had in the fridge. This came out really tasty. I also prefer to keep the meatballs smaller because they cook faster.

To go with the meatballs, Jeff made Paula Dean’s delicious mashed sweet potatoes. The honey and cinnamon flavors were incredible. And with the gravy from the meatballs on top… it was delicious!

Finally, later in the week, I used the beet leaves and stalks to make a creamy pasta sauce, just like this. The only thing I changed was to reduce a bit the amount of butter used in the beginning and add 4 slices of cut bacon to it. Again, yummy! Sorry, no pics of that one, we were too busy eating it…

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