Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cooking in the Swoony House

Now that we've gotten the kitchen mostly unpacked after our move, I am once again cooking. It feels so good! It feels especially good in our new kitchen, with its Viking stove & Subzero fridge. The first meal I cooked in the swoony house was Russian sandwiches and sweet corn, in tribute to my grandies. Every August, they had this for dinner almost every night, taking advantage of the farmstand bounty of this time of year. So, I toasted my Health Nut bread, sliced tomatoes and Cabot extra-sharp cheddar, fried up bacon and broiled the whole shebang two nights in a row. The tomatoes I used came from a parishioner's garden while the sweet corn came from the farmstand in North Ridgeville that I'd always meant to stop by when we lived in Westlake. I finally made it on my penultimate trip to Oak Leaf Cottage.

My first "real" dinner was a roast chicken, rubbed with herbes de provence, pink Himalayan salt & olive oil before being popped in the oven, surrounded by potatoes, carrots & onions. Since Jeannene is mostly a pescatarian now, I treated some halibut in the same manner as the chicken for her. We had some cucumber salad from Whole Foods with it. It was a nice homey meal for our first dinner together here.

Sunday night, I sauteed some shrimp with olive oil, lemon pepper & salt. These went on a bed of butter lettuce, along with chunks of buttery avocado, which was then all drizzled with fresh lemon juice and olive oil and sifted with salt. It made a wonderful dinner, especially with a loaf of rosemary bread to accompany.

Monday night ended up being grab it & growl, as I attended my friend Adam's ecumenical council (he was approved for ordination pending an approved call!) but I cooked again Tuesday. I made basil & lemon chicken (Quorn faux chicken fillets for Jeannene...and they were actually rather good) with Trader Joe's multigrain pilaf and steamed broccoli. It's been so long since I had access to a steamer that I overcooked the broccoli, but Jeannene likes it that way so all was well.

Basil & Lemon Chicken

1/2 c. chopped scallions

1/2 c. fresh basil leaves, cut in chiffonade

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt & pepper

6 chicken breasts

Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything but chicken & oil. Rub into the chicken. Place in a well-greased baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and bake 30 minutes. (honestly, though, I think this would be better if the chicken were just drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with a little salt & pepper before baking, then topped with the scallion/basil/lemon mixture after baking. I think the flavors would be brighter)

Last night, I made myself a meatloaf. Pie is no longer eating with us, now that he has his own kitchen. Jeannene was at work all night and would have eaten an Amy's vegetarian meatloaf entree had she been home. So, I have lovely leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches! This meatloaf, based on one of Paula Deen's, wasn't the best meatloaf I've ever made, but it certainly was tasty. I did not dig the sauce and had my lunch lefovers today just plain. Ketchup would be good, too. But you might like the sauce. Jeannene thought it sounded good.

Cheeseburger Meatloaf

2 lb. ground beef

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 chopped onion

1 chopped green pepper

1 c. shredded cheddar

1/4 c. worcestershire sauce

1 c. sour cream (I had never thought of using this as a binder...I used light sour cream & it worked fine)

1 c. crushed Ritz crackers

1 tsp. seasoned salt

8-10 slices cheapo white bread

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix everything but the bread. Shape into a loaf. Line a rimmed baking sheet with the bread. Place the meatloaf on the bread. Bake 1 hour. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Discard bread. Serve meatloaf with a sauce made of 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 can milk and 1 and a half cups of shredded cheddar, mixed together and heated through.

Jeannene has asked if I want to have "a nice dinner " tonight. I am not sure what this means, but perhaps we'll explore one of the restaurants in Columbus. If she ends up letting me cook, I intend to make Southwest-style corn chowder & pick up some sourdough rolls at Whole Foods to go with it.


Jacquelyn said...

Great recipes! And I never knew they were called this, but I love Russian sandwiches! My favorite! Thanks for sharing, and for mentioning Cabot cheese :-) Our farm family owners appreciate your support!

Daria de la Luna said...

Jacquelyn, it may just be a quirky family name for them. I know my great-grandmom called them that so we do, but whether anyone else recognizes them as such is another matter. And Cabot? My very favorite, hands-down.