Sunday, May 30, 2010

May Cooking Club Recipe

The cooking club recipe for the month was from the Food Network, and it was Ina Garten's "Scalloped Tomatoes". I was a bit nervous, because I don't normally eat cooked tomatoes except in tomato sauce. I wasn't sure I'd like it or not. I ended up altering a lot of the recipe, but it still turned out really really wonderfully. I was surprised at how much I loved it. The original calls for you to chop up the tomatoes and sort of fry them in oil for a bit, but I decided to grill them since the rest of the dinner I was making would be grilled as well. This added a lot of flavor and depth to them, and I really recommend it this way. I chopped them up after they'd cooked on the grill and had softened up a bit. I added the bread to the grill too but it didn't toast up as well as I'd hoped. I chopped it up and added some of it to the tomatoes and left some for the topping.
The recipe called for rosemary as seasoning and as I'm not a huge rosemary fan, I used oregano instead. Everything went into the pan and I topped it with the rest of the breadcrumbs and some rice cheese Parmesan before baking it off and cooking the rest of my dinner.
I served it on top of grilled polenta rounds, and it had a flavoring similar to spaghetti sauce, but with a different, more solid texture. It was really good. I would make this one again for sure.

May Wrap-Up

So, May has turned out to be one heck of a stressful month, but I did manage to cook/bake quite a bit. I expect it'll start slowing down a bit as the temperature heats up with summer time just around the corner. I made a Pasta Fritatta, and it turned out pretty good. It's an egg dish, sort of like a quiche, but no crust. You can make it pretty much any way you like, but this had cheese, ham, and cooked whole grain spaghetti in it. I was able to freeze the leftovers so it'll last a while.
This is my version of meatloaf. I make it with ground chicken instead of beef. And I use a lot of veggies. In fact it's probably a 2:1:1 proportion of veggies to starchy filler to meat. I used whole oats and whole flax seed as the filler/binder, and for veggies I added: chopped mushrooms, shredded zucchini, onion, and green bell pepper. I used yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and Heinz 57 sauce as the flavorings, and also Egg Beaters instead of an egg. It turned out really flavorful and delicious, and the leftovers also freeze and thaw well. It was a great way to actually eat healthy food while eating something as traditionally unhealthy as meatloaf.
This was a pretty simple roast made with Yukon gold potatoes and chicken legs and mostly oregano for flavoring. I threw in the green beans for the last part of roasting so it was all done in one pan. Easy and delicious.

Other things made but don't have pictures of include molasses cookies made with safflower oil instead of shortening, and peanut butter cookies with flax meal used for some of the flour. The molasses cookies I need to continue experimenting with to get the oil to flour proportions right. Baking really is a science, so you have to get it just right. I've been experimenting with new oils and flax this month because I'm trying to get my health under control, and that's a big part of it. It's hit or miss at this point, but you have to do that to see what works and what doesn't. I'm enjoying it so far...