Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cookbook Challenge: The Massive Recap

Well geez! I've fallen so behind, that I'm not sure with my current blogging habits it would ever be possible for me to catch up. I swear, I'll try to do better, but for now I've just gotta put this all out there so it's not hanging over my head taunting me.

So let me begin my massive recap of all the cookbook challenges that have been going on here the past month or so (and yes, I'm going to cheat and add one last photo, probably tomorrow because it's sitting on my camera & it's late & I'm too lazy to boot up the ole iMac at this hour for one measly photo).


Tomato-Cheddar-Packed Turkey Burgers
How to Eat Supper #24: Tomato-Cheddar-Packed Turkey Burgers

I admit I ended up using ground beef because Aldi was out of ground turkey on my shopping day. I'm not sure what the difference would really be except maybe my version had a bit more flavor thanks to the fat. Delicious anyways, and if I remember correctly (please don't hold me to this it's been at least a month since I made these) have a bit of a kick.

Lemon Garlic Roast Salmon on New Potatoes
How to Eat Supper #25: Lemon Garlic Roast Salmon on New Potatoes

Nothing too special here, but at least an alternate way to prepare the fish. Which will come in handy since I'm trying to incorporate a fish main course once a week into our meal plan. Just remind me next time to cook the frozen salmon filets longer. As I don't cook fish often, and the recipe was written for fresh fish, we ended up digging in while the center of the fish was still not opaque. I had my suspicions, so avoided the center of my smaller filet. Mike trusts that anything I give him is good & prepared properly, so he ate his entire large filet and ended up with an upset stomach...sorry dear. Live & learn, right? Love ya!

Belgian Beer Bar Tartine
How to Eat Supper #26: Belgian Beer Bar Tartine

Now I have always avoided radishes, so I was pretty sure I would not like these very simple open-faced sandwiches, but whether it was a faulty memory or because radishes aren't in season or something, I was surprised that the radishes weren't as bad as I thought. They were very mild, so I'm assuming they weren't at their peak. But I think that ended up being a good way to introduce them back into my palate. Sure, this sandwich doesn't look like much, but it was surprisingly filling (and delicious - I ended up eating it was dinner and then lunch & dinner the next day) those Belgians sure do know their stuff when it comes to bar food.

Crispy Tortilla Eggs with Avocado & Lime
How to Eat Supper #27: Crispy Tortilla Eggs with Avocado & Lime

Ever since starting this cookbook challenge, I've been eating eggs way more often than I ever did (granted I still stay away from the yolks most of the time). In addition to the occasional scrambled eggs or hard-boiled egg whites for breakfast, it's nice to get some options for incorporating eggs into dinner. They're cheap and hearty, and when prepared like this make an awesome variation on the at-home-mexican fare. Something that's not tacos or our typical mushroom blackbean quesadillas is welcoming (seriously we had been eating those quesadillas once a week for probably at least 6 months). And even more impressive is that after giving avocado another shot (I think this was shot #3 at liking avocado), I didn't mind it at all in this dish! So avocado, you shall get another chance at winning me over.

Scandinavian Spiced Meatballs with Caramelized Apples
How to Eat Supper #28: Scandinavian Spiced Meatballs with Caramelized Apples

First let me say that you can't even tell there are apples in these meatballs' sauce. Number two, it must be revealed that these meatballs contained prunes. Number three, does anyone know what I can do with the majority of a jar of prunes??? Despite these "issues," the meatballs were pretty good, kinda like a non-creamy version of swedish meatballs. But in the future, I will not be including the prunes. They didn't really add anything, besides a random chunk or two in each meatball. And seriously, prune ideas, please! I'm trying my darnedest not to waste a lot of food, which means I'll need to figure out what in the hell to do with them so the can be consumed. As you can probably tell from the fact that I'm doing this cookbook challenge, there's not much cooking-wise I'm not willing to try.

Oven Crisped Pork, Peppers, and Greens with Turkish Almond Sauce and Whole Wheat Couscous
How to Eat Supper #29-31: Oven Crisped Pork, Peppers, and Greens with Turkish Almond Sauce and Whole Wheat Couscous

The night I made this meal using three recipes from the cookbook, I also managed to knock out a 4th which I have already shared (the Jam Tart). I was on a roll to say the least. Though I must admit, my couscous was a bit under cooked - I'm learning grains are not my friends. The only weird thing about this meal was the sauce and that was only because it had chunks of almond in it, so it appeared to be creamy and then all the sudden BAM! you have chunkiness. I'm so glad I tackled this set of recipes because it helped make me realized how good, hearty and simple a piece of meat and a baking dish of roasted vegetables can be. As I am very much a recipe follower (I like to try new things - foods, techniques, etc), it is not often that I just throw some things into a crockpot in the morning or into a roasting pan at night. But after making this, I couldn't remember way that was. When you do, you end up with a homecooked meals reminiscent of those growing up. Meat, vegetables, an entire meal. I've gotten in the habit of making a dish instead of a meal, so sometimes dinner is lacking those all important vegetables or we end up eating two servings worth of entree because there is no side. But since making this, the past couple weeks have each included a roasting pan dinner which ended up being a great way to use up the bags of potatoes and sweet potatoes I bought.

Black Pepper-Honey Steak
How to Eat Supper #33: Black Pepper Honey Steak

This final recipe is from only last week and I wasn't super impressed. Nothing special here, just a little extra bit of caramelization thanks to the honey, but even then my steaks looked rather bland. As we don't eat steak (or even red meat for the matter) very much, it's not that huge of a deal. Plus it probably didn't help that I most likely overcooked the steaks - perhaps the pepper/honey coating would shine on a properly cooked steak.


So that brings me up to date on my cookbook challenge, as you can see I'm just over 1/3 of the way through all the recipes in the book (total of 95). And though I thought this major recap of several meals was just a cop out and an admit to finally get caught up on my backlog of photos, I actually kind of enjoyed this format. Writing about the meals became easier when I didn't have the pressure of dedicating an entire post to just one. So perhaps a monthly recap of the cookbook challenge will suit me more, I'll just have to write my blurbs after cooking them, so I don't forget (I can dream, right? that I'll actually stay on top of that - ha!).

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