one man's ceiling
Sunday, April 29, 2007
  days five and six
so, a little catching up on the veggie diet week.

so after the garlic soup there was the crazy-hectic thursday night where i worked, my zuska and e went to a book group and j hung out with a friend. on the menu: vegetarian chili, which didn't really taste any different than normal though it was the first time i made it in a slow cooker without meat.

the trouble with slow-cooking is that it basically works so long as you don't lift the lid. but making something that requires spices can make it a bit of a gamble if you can't make corrections until the end. granted, a chili isn't a big deal to fix at a late stage, but given that i wasn't home when the fam ate meant that i had to be rather sure of my spices in advance.

i leaned a bit heavier on the cumin and oregano and doubled up on green chilies. doubling the chilies was not planned; i bought fresh jalapenos not realizing i still had a can of chopped chilies in the cupboard. i added the canned babies to the onions at the bottom of the pot so their moisture would help steam out in the beans and mixed the fresh jalapenos with honey in a can of diced tomatoes to flavor out the sauce.

it was a thinner chili that i'd intended -- more of what that cheerleader calls a "stoup," part stew, part soup -- and totally edible. i took some on-the-verge-of-stale corn chips and crumbled them into the bowl, dumped some shredded cheese on top, then the chili. all good.

friday night being movie night usually means a lo-stress, easy comfort meal. my super nachos generally have ground meat (beef or turkey) simmered in cuban style black beans among the cheese, olives, chips, guac, sour cream and salsa. doing the beans alone kept the flavor and still the girls hadn't guessed about the week's meatless options. to be fair, it helped to not introduce super complicated new dishes that required close scrutiny, the only one being the first night's fried veggies and spanakopita which was well loved.

saturday is traditionally sauce night -- a meat sauce with pasta, or some form of meal with a sauce -- and i was all set to go all-veggie but my zuska used her veto power and so it was a traditional sauce with ground beef and sweet italian sausage. during dinner we informed the girls that this was the first meal since the previous saturday that had meat. they blanched at first, almost ready to insist it wasn't true, but then we outlined the week for them.

today, back to our regular omnivorous ways, we did a mango chicken with a quick stir-fry of garlic green beans. the mango chicken recipe comes from coconut & lime, a great food blog that does the sort of things i wish i could do; namely, invent recipes on a consistent basis. i should be (and am) grateful that i can do as much as i do in the kitchen, and don't need a secondary career in the culinary arts. the recipe is easy, and if you've got mangoes in season (they're just starting here) i would strongly suggest giving this a whirl. i think the only thing i would have liked more would have been a thai iced tea to go with it.

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Just a suggestion - if you'd like to carry on theme-ing your cooking weeks - how about feel-good foods. Stress reducing foods? Mood enhancing meals? I think we are all au fait with the eat-a-bowl-of-pasta when you're down trick, but surely there are new heights of sophistication to be tapped... and you'd be the Man.
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recipes and musings on food -- and anything else for that matter -- from a guy with a sticky brain who likes food. perhaps he likes food too much.

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