Sick Wave, Heat Wave

Week one of The Weekly Galette went according to plan. I cooked; Joel photographed; I blogged; we patted ourselves on the back. Week two didn’t go quite as smoothly. First, Bear (affectionate name for our daughter) came down with a head cold. Just as she started feeling better, I came down with it and Joel fell soon after that. We were a mess. Fortunately, Bear threw me a bone  this week and decided to set up giant feasts with her play food every single day. I was able to lounge on the couch while she meticulously plated food for her stuffed animals and babies.

As work and housekeeping piled up around me, cooking was really the last thing on my mind. On top of that, a heat wave crossed Minnesota dashing all of my dreamy thoughts of fall scented cookery.

Food wise our week was actually pretty tasty but it was a colorless week all the same, and I fear the photos below depict exactly that. Yet, I must remind myself that the point of this blog isn’t to show off a perfect plate every night. I’m cooking for a family and sometimes a family has an off week.

The Menu


Sunday

Greek Meatballs and Tzatziki (recipe from Rachael Ray @ FoodNetwork)

I’ve made this recipe for Greek meatballs many times and I always love the flavor of the grated onion, oregano, and lemon. I didn’t have fresh oregano on hand so I substituted 1 tsp dried oregano for fresh. Also, I cooked the meatballs directly on the pan and didn’t bother with the cooling rack. Who wants to clean that?

Herbed Orzo Pilaf (recipe from Food Network Kitchen @ Food Network)

I wasn’t in the mood for pita and tzatziki sauce with our meatballs so I substituted the above recipe for buttery orzo. It was a great addition to the meatballs. I used whole wheat orzo and really liked the nuttiness of its flavor here.

Sides: Leftover roasted carrots and steamed green beans


Monday

Corn and Tomato Soup (recipe from Giada De Laurentiis @ Food Network)

This soup is surprisingly flavorful and so easy to make. I was feeling too lazy to make a proper vegetable side dish so I thinly sliced a stack of swiss chard leaves and added them to the soup after blending. I had to cook the soup twice as long to soften the leaves but it was worth it. Bear particularly loved this soup and ate the leftovers with gusto for lunch and before bed.

What’s that burrito looking thing? Its a Greek meatball taquito! I felt so thrifty as I spread a thin layer of sour cream on the bottom of each tortilla and topped the sour cream with torn apart Greek meatballs from dinner the night before. I rolled up the taquitos and placed them seam side down on a baking sheet. Then I brushed them all over with a thin coating of olive oil and sprinkled salt over the tops. The taquitos baked at 450 degrees until they were golden and crunchy.


Tuesday

Roasted Halibut with Lemons, Olives and Rosemary (recipe from Melissa Clark @ New York Times)

I’ve made this recipe for halibut many times. Mostly because it’s good, but also because it’s so easy. I swapped Cod for halibut this time with great success. Mahi Mahi is also nice.

Squash and Tomato Gratin (recipe from Chris Morocco @ Bon Appetit)

I made this squash and tomato gratin last summer and really enjoyed it. It wasn’t quite as good this time around but I think it’s because I added too much squash and not enough oil. Do not follow my lead. Also, I think fresh basil would be lovely in this recipe.

Sides: Arugula with vinaigrette


Wednesday

Pork Tenderloin with Date and Cliantro Relish (recipe from Dawn Perry @ Bon Appetit)

Creamy Parmesan Polenta (recipe from Ina Garten @ Food Network)

Make this dinner. Make it now. Make it for breakfast. This was the best meal we ate all week! The tenderloin is porky, herby, and sweet. The polenta is creamy and garlicky. Delicious! A couple of notes. Regular dates work just fine in place of the medjool dates in the tenderloin recipe. Also, sour cream is an excellent replacement for creme fraiche in the polenta recipe.

Sides: Steamed broccoli


Thursday

Perhaps the prettiest plate this week, but my least favorite meal.

Roasted Bone-in Chicken Breast (recipe from Blake Royer @ Serious Eats)

This recipe was such a dud. I mixed chopped rosemary and a generous heap of salt into softened butter and spread it under the skin as directed. In the oven, the skin crisped up beautifully and the house smelled great. I was psyched. Yet when we ate it, all of the flavor remained concentrated in the skin. The meat itself was tasteless and dry. I’m not sure why I ever deviate from dark meat…

Wheatberry Salad (recipe from Ina Garten @ Food Network

I had high hopes for this wheat berry salad but it didn’t excite me. The wheat berries were too toothsome for my liking. If I try this receipt again I will replace the wheat berries with farro.

Sides: Braised kale with salt


Friday

Out. Whoo-hoo, a night off!


Saturday

Homemade Pizza Crust (recipe from Dinner a Love Story)

Sheet pan thin crust pizza on a Saturday. Great! We topped ours with fresh tomato sauce (guidelines below), browned sausage, thinly sliced kale (sautéed in the sausage drippings with 1/2 cup water), shredded mozzarella, and sliced fresh mozzarella.

Guidelines for fresh pizza sauce: Mix together a jar of strained diced tomatoes , 2-3 minced garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Doctor to your liking.

Sides: Arugula with vinaigrette


(Sept 17th, 2017 – Sept 23th, 2017)

The Start

Hello there! It’s taken me over a year, from the time my husband suggested I start this blog until now, to get this thing up and running. Life with a two-year-old is wonderfully busy. Add in a part-time job, selling and buying homes, and life just moves. Yet, I can’t think of a better time to start a new project. Fall is refreshing. A season of renewal and new beginnings after the languid days of summer. I’ve been out of the classroom for over ten years now but I still long for those first few weeks of school when the notebook pages are crisp and life eases in to a new routine.

My daughter had her first day of early childhood classes this week and I couldn’t be happier tagging along with her. Books! Art! Learning! Story time! Count me in. She proudly packed Marcel (her stuffed puppy), a lego, and a water bottle in her tiny backpack and posed long enough for me to take a photo of her on the front step. It was precious.

In addition to the whole back to school thing, I’m excited for a new season in the kitchen. I’m ready to trade in supple berries and sturdy lettuces for sweet squashes and tenderly braised meats.

The Menu


Sunday

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

A galette of great proportion with caramelized onions, roasted squash, and a touch of sage (or rosemary if you fancy). This is one of my all time favorite recipes and a very fitting one at that for a blog aptly named The Weekly Galette. This is dinner party material, but also something I like to whip up on a lazy Sunday. Please don’t skip the egg wash around the edges. It produces a shattering croissant-like crumb.

Sides: Tomato slices with salt and pepper + A bowl of cucumber, red pepper, and apple wedges


Monday

One-Pot Recipe: Braised Chicken Thighs with Bell Peppers and Onions (recipe from Nealey Dozier @ The Kitchn)

Braising is one of my favorite cooking methods. It’s so easy and it produces such great flavor. I liked this recipe. It was very fine Monday night fare. The Dijon mustard shines through and the fat from the chicken sweetly caramelizes the peppers and onions.

Sides: Basmati rice + Steamed broccoli

Joel’s Footnotes: When your rice is complete and has been served, immediately transfer any leftovers into a container and fill the pot with water.  No one likes to deal with dried rice residue on the side of a pot.


Tuesday

Cheddar BBQ Meatloaf Muffins (recipe from Food Network Kitchen)

These meatloaf muffins were incredibly easy to throw together. I thought two pounds of ground beef sounded a little excessive for a weekday night so I cut the recipe in half. To my delight, a pound of meat perfectly filled a standard 12 cup muffin pan. It was a bonus that the bbq sauce made my house smell like bacon while they were cooking.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes (recipe from Martha Stewart)

An old favorite. I’ve been making these mashed sweet potatoes for years.

Garlic Sauteed Spinach (recipe from Ina Garten @ Food Network)

I love this recipe for spinach. It’s a proper way to eat your greens and the garlic and lemon make it irresistible.  This recipe does require an obscene amount of spinach, which is a nuisance to clean and spin dry, but it really is a cinch to throw together on the stove and it only takes a few minutes to cook.

 


Wednesday

Weeknight Skillet Lasagna (recipe from Christine Gallary @ The Kitchn)

Yum! This recipe was great. My only qualm is that I did not think a skillet was big enough to cook the pasta evenly. Perhaps I added too much pasta? I would use a bigger pot the next time around. Also, I would highly recommend throwing in a handful of chopped fresh basil, if you have it, and adding an additional 1/2- 3/4 cup chicken broth .

Sides: Steamed asparagus & summer squash + Greens


Thursday

I’m going to call this a leftover night. I had planned to devour this recipe:

Hummus Heaped with Tomatoes and Cucumbers (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

Unfortunately, it did not turn out well for me. I made Deb’s ethereally smooth hummus with canned chickpeas, but the tahini flavor was far too obtrusive for my liking. Please do try this recipe though if you like tahini. I simply disliked it based on personal hummus preferences. In addition, I wasn’t able to get a picture of the end result. Dinner. Failure.

So, instead, may I offer you an article on the 20 things you may not know about the honeycrisp apple?

20 things you didn’t know about Minnesota’s famous Honeycrisp apples


Friday

Grilled Salmon Sandwiches (recipe from Ina Garten @ Food Network)

These sandwiches are on heavy rotation around here. Normally I would serve the salmon on a crisp mini baguette, but I still had naan leftover from the night before. A couple of notes on this recipe. I do not own a grill so I slick my salmon with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and slide it in to a 400 degree oven (skin side down) for about 15 minutes. I’m cooking for a two-year-old so, for the time being, I cook our salmon well-done.

Furthermore, I never include the mayonnaise in the sauce and I usually add additional white wine vinegar to taste.

Sides: Pan sautéed cabbage with salt, butter, and white wine vinegar + Sliced cucumbers

Brown Butter Peaches & Chantilly Cream (recipe from Nealey Dozier @ The Kitchn)

This was the perfect end of summer dessert and it only took a few minutes to whip up. Best of all, however, may have been the leftover vanilla spiked chantilly cream that Joel and I spooned into our coffee Saturday morning.


Saturday

Maple-Walnut Chicken Thighs and Cheddar-Apple Rice (recipe from Rachael Ray)

I make this recipe every September and it always feels festive to me. Maple syrup, red wine vinegar, cheddar cheese, fresh herbs, apples. What’s not to love? Sometimes I make this recipe as directed with bone-in thighs. Other times, like tonight, I chop up a pound of bonelss chick thighs. Both methods are great, although the chopped chicken doesn’t take a very good glamour shot. If you prefer boneless thighs or breasts, simply add the chopped chicken to the hot pan of oil and cook through. Remove to a plate and carry on with the recipe.

Sides: Steamed green beans + Carrot sticks coated in olive oil, salt, & pepper and roasted at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.


(Sept 10th, 2017 – Sept 16th, 2017)