Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sleek midweek makings

I guess I didn't quite make it to midweek before cooking, but this isn't the weekend, so it still counts.

After going to the gym and feeling inspired during a quiet moment in the sauna (yes, the sauna, my first time back in some months), I decided to come home and do the cooking I'd neglected over the weekend. The shopping had stopped me from doing it previously and I'm kind of glad it did; the original recipes I'd intended for these ingredients wouldn't have been nearly as tasty as what ended up happening. Sometimes delay is good; makes you reconsider and well...sometimes end up with a better solution. This is my opinion and I agree with it.

Still going with the vegetarian kick because I did not pick up any meat this weekend at the farmers market. I'm kind of enjoying it though; I get my meat fix at work when I do buy lunch, or if I really feel the need I'll have some local organic eggs or defrost some meat from my local non-GM-fed butcher. I have a small stash there for such occasions.

Israeli (pearl) couscous with cherry tomatoes and French green beans

A recipe all my own, but the focus is on clean flavors and not much else. This is basically a variation on the cold salads I was doing during the summer. I am quite pleased with this version though because it has cilantro in it, which makes it that much better in my mind. Yes, that much better.

The tomatoes are sweet and fresh and the green beans I merely steamed in the microwave to preserve their vitamins and flavor. They're a little less sweet than I would have thought but that's alright. The entire thing is tossed with basil late harvest olive oil (from Temecula on my last trip there with Rhinda), little dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add in cilantro and poof, you've got yourself a healthy meal. Not much going on there but fresh awesomeness.

The other thing I made last night?

Roasted cabbage

Surprisingly this turned out excellently. I've done it once before back in San Diego when I stumbled upon a recipe for roasted cabbage with lardons of bacon. I have no bacon here, nor have I had it in a long time in my household (eaten it fairly recently from the cafe at work via the hot English breakfast that Hapa and Ginger sometimes insist upon). But English bacon is not bacon.

Anyway, this turned out amazingly.

Tossed in regular olive oil and the same late harvest basil olive oil, sprinkled with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Wonderful, absolutely wonderful. I guessed on the temperature because I was too lazy to get out the old recipe and then account for no bacon.

I just eyed the thing and took it out when it seemed ready. The answer is yes.

I ate a good amount of this last night after it was done and I was watching more American TV (The Mentalist, to be exact). It was lovely.

I think I will take to roasting more vegetables in the coming weeks, now that the weather is getting slowly colder. It reminds me of home and goodness and it's so easy. Plus it doesn't make my house smell as much as sauteing and this makes me happy. And it adds heat from the oven. Wins all around.

That's it for this midweek cookout but I imagine more will be happening as there are still tomatoes, cilantro, potatoes, onions, and garlic to be had. Plus whatever I have in the freezer. But unfortunately that was the last of the American pearl couscous that I shipped over. Guess I'll need to find another supply or potentially bring some back with me next time I'm in California. I think I'll focus on what I have here - which for now is a crapton of lentils and regular couscous.

This fall and winter cooking season is going to get tasty and interesting.

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