Thursday, October 30, 2008
What's Cooking Wednesday on a Thursday: Three Veggies/three meals - variations on a theme
Please go to Shan's place for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.
So, I'm still using up CSA produce and supplementing it with the last goodies from our Farmers Market, which is shrinking, shrinking, shrinking in terms of merchant participation, especially on Wednesdays.
I still have glorious onions and garlic (I'm not counting the garlic as one of the "three"), and I couldn't resist getting more gorgeous baby eggplants. To supplement all this, I decided to try Tantre Farm's oyster mushrooms, which may be the best mushrooms I've ever eaten. Here's a little pic of my "palette"
And that's the only pic you're going to get, other than one for my third variation - my camera just wasn't in the right place at the right time.
So here goes - Three Veggies/Three Meals - Variations on a Theme
Very, very simple.
2 sliced garlic cloves (I minced these for the frittata.
1/2 chopped onion
2 baby eggplant, chopped
5 (but these are HUGE) oyster mushrooms, chopped
Basically, I heated a little olive oil over medium heat, threw in the garlic for about 30 seconds, added the onion and the eggplant, turned the heat to medium low, cooked for about 2 minutes, added the mushrooms and returned the heat to medium. I cooked this mixture until the veggies were just barely soft.
Meal #1: Cavatappi with Pasta Sauce
You can't get much better than basic, in my book.
To the basic mix I added a little white wine and Trader Joe's pasta sauce starter (basically just tomatoes, onions and garlic), about a TBS of dried basil, a 1/2 TBS of kosher salt and lots of black pepper.
I simmered all this for about 10 minutes, cooked up the cavatappi, and tossed everything together, grating a little fresh parmigiano reggiano on top.
It was completely delicious, and probably our favorite of the three.
Meal #2: Roast Squash-Brown Rice casserole
I guess I was feeling nostalgic for the 70s on some level.
I roasted a delicata squash earlier in the day - just pierced it a few times and baked it at 400.
I seasoned the veggie mix with Montreal steak seasoning (probaby a 1/2 TBS) and lots of chili powder (that didn't have enough UMPH, as it turned out)
When I was ready to put things together, I cut open the delicata, scraped out the seeds, and scraped the flesh into a bowl. I added 1 cup of brown rice, the veggie mix and 1/4 cup of reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar. I mixed this together, put it in a small casserole dish and put another 1/4 cup of the cheddar on top. I baked it with foil for 10 minutes at 375, and without foil for 10 more.
Analysis - this was the loser. However, I think it *could* be a winner with the following changes:
Layer the casserole:
Put the veggie mixture first, then the squash pulp, mashed, and finally a mixture of the rice and cheese.
Skip the chili powder and use 1 tsp cumin and a chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce instead.
Use... um... good cheese. Real cheese? Use less, but use something that actually melts and has flavor.
I'm willing to try this again - it had potential.
Day number three was much more successful, and I even have a pic:
Meal #3: Autumn Frittata
Spice the basic veggie mix with lots of Montreal steak seasoning.
Beat 2 eggs and 4 egg whites with a 1/2 TBS kosher salt and LOTS of smoked paprika (maybe 2 tsp?).
Keep the veggies on medium as you finish sauteeing, and add the egg mixture. Stir the center of the frittata until somewhat set. Crumble 4 oz of Feta over the frittata. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes.
This was total yum.
All three meals were frugal, easy and at least two were delicious. Good deal!