Last Week I Cooked…

I cook for two roommates, and most of the time if I ask what I should make for dinner the answer is “whatever you like!” But this week each had a special request and it was nice to have my dinner planning guided by others for a change. So this led to trying a new recipe (Korean tacos) and a riff on an old favorite (pesto pasta).

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal MattersSlow cooker Korean tacos. This was a great dish because it took basically no thought and can feed a lot of people. I seared the pork and assembled the braising liquid the night before in the slow cooker pot, put it in the fridge, and then in the morning just slipped the whole thing in the slow cooker and turned it on. The pork was just mildly spicy and sweet, but just a bit on the dry side. The slaw was awesome, and made the whole thing into a real meal. I can see myself making the pork like this again just for the ease of it, but if I’m really trying to impress I’ll go a different route.

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal MattersPesto pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes and kale. Basil season is here!!!!!!!!!! I bought a giant handful from a farm stand along with the kale, but jumped a little ahead of the season to add the cherry tomatoes. I followed Alice Water’s pesto recipe from The Art of Simple Food. While I was making pesto and cooking pasta I roasted the halved cherry tomatoes at 350F for as long as it took me to do those things (probably about 30 minutes). When the pasta was cooked I reserved some cooking water and drained it. I put it back in the pot along with the kale and tossed it all to wilt. Then I added the pesto, a dash of the cooking water, the cherry tomatoes, and some cubed mozzarella cheese. We had a salad alongside with a balsamic vinaigrette and it tasted like summer.

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal MattersSauteed pork and cabbage over rice. I’m on a mission to clear things out of the freezer, and had a vision that the ground pork should become dumplings. But 2 grocery stores were out of dumpling wrappers, and I just could not fit making my own into a Wednesday night, so instead dinner became dumpling filling over rice. I cooked the pork in the wok and then removed it and drained most of the fat (saved for future cooking!). Then I cooked the cabbage and finished with some soy sauce, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, and white pepper (inspired by this dumpling recipe). We ended up eating it with some chili garlic sauce on top, and I was so happy to have dinner done in under an hour.

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal MattersBig salads with cucumbers, radishes, carrots, and leftover pork (from the tacos). I made a simple sesame lime vinaigrette, and this was the perfect use for the rest of the pork on a hot night.

Grilled spicy Italian sausages with peppers and onions. This will forever be my favorite grilled meal. It is the perfect thing to cook when you are away from your own kitchen and need to buy all the ingredients at the grocery store. Slice the onion into rounds and a bell pepper in half, throw everything on the grill, and then in the last few minutes toast the buns. Slather your bun with Dijon mustard and then go to town.

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal MattersMustard potato salad, cucumber salad, and wraps with hummus, turkey, sprouts, guac, tomato, and dilly beans. It is picnic season!!! I brought this to an outdoor concert and now I’m ready for all the picnics. The cucumber salad had scallions, dill, garlic, and a 1:1 dressing of white wine vinegar and olive oil. Obviously best eaten with your toes in the grass listening to some music.

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