Sticky rice with Chinese sausage. There is a Vietnamese grocery store with other Asian ingredients not too far from my house. When I was shopping for something completely different I came across some of this sausage, and decided to buy it and later figure out something to do with it. I then ended up buying sticky rice to make this recipe….but didn’t read how to cook it until it was time to do so. An overnight soak followed by a steam?! Nevermind. I made what is probably an unacceptable substitute (brown rice), but it got dinner on the table that day. Never having eaten this kind of sausage before or had this dish, I wasn’t quite sure how to judge it. The sausage was definitely sweet for my tastes. I made some stir-fried greens with chili oil on the side, but I ended up stirring everything together for the leftovers and found the spice and slightly bitter greens nicely balanced out the sweet sausage.
Mama Chang’s Hot and Sour Soup. I made this a couple weeks ago, when it was soup weather. This recipe comes together so quickly but is exploding with flavor. I accidentally bought silken tofu, which the recipe specifically says not to use. Instead of adding in the tofu and then whisking in the scrambled egg, I added the egg and then stirred in the tofu and everything turned out fine.
Ultimate spaghetti and meatbrawls with serious Sunday gravy (from In My Kitchen). This isn’t how I grew up eating meatballs. The sauce is prepared more like a bolognese, but leaving out the meat (because it is in the meatballs) which makes for a more broth-y sauce. The recipe called for an hour of reduction, but I probably would have given it at least two if I was willing to push dinner off that late. After reducing it further after dinner, then eating it again as leftovers I was sold on the broth/sauce. It turned into a complex sauce full of umami from the tomato and parmesan. Definitely worth making, but just give yourself some time. This would also be especially amazing with fresh pasta if you have the time.
Ground pork and mushroom tacos with baked Spanish rice (from The Thug Kitchen Cookbook). I had some leftover mushrooms from the previous week’s hot and sour soup, plus ground pork leftover from the meatballs. I sauteed the pork to render the fat and break it up, and removed it from the pan when it was browned through. Then I cooked the minced mushrooms in a couple batches. When they were browned I added in some chopped chipotle en adobo, a few minced garlic cloves, cumin, salt, and the pork back to the pan. It made for a spicy and meaty taco filling rounded out nicely with some lime crema and cilantro. The rice was from Thug Kitchen, and was an easy baked dish. I’ve made similar versions before, but this one was especially good because it was made with brown rice and had just the right amount of liquid to cook the rice but not end up soggy.
Smokey black-eyed peas with roasted sweet potatoes and collards (from The Thug Kitchen Cookbook). I need to learn that recipes which call for a whole sweet potato per person are just crazy. I made six servings of this and 4 potatoes would have been plenty. The real star here are the beans, which are cooked with chipotle en adobo, allspice, nutmeg, paprika, and garlic. It makes for an awesome stew to balance out the sweet potatoes.
Green chile baked flautas (from The Thug Kitchen Cookbook). These check off all the right boxes for a tiring work week: fast, easy, healthy. You make a mashed bean filling with sauteed onion, a few spices, and corn (though I subbed sauteed kale), put it in a tortilla, roll it up, and bake it. After having made these a couple times now I think the filling would be better in a different format, because the tortillas don’t get super crisp or add much to the dish like this.
New old-fashioned coffee cake (from Flour). I make this coffee cake about once every five years. It is dense, buttery, and just delightful.
Maple oat scones (from Flour). I’ve made these before and loved them, but this time they turned out a bit dry. Did I not incorporate the butter enough at the beginning? Bake them for too long? Make them too small? They have great flavor and are not overly sweet so I will definitely try them out again.
Lemon cremes with oat-thyme crumble (from The Sprouted Kitchen). I had some leftover silken tofu from the hot and sour soup and had always wanted to try this recipe. The creme comes together about as fast as it takes you to put everything in the food processor and whiz it. The crumble was a simple combo of oats, nuts, coconut oil, and sugar, that I would make again and again just as a granola. For a dessert that came together in about 3 minutes and then just needed to be served, it was quite pleasing.