Flat 493 was always a fan of home cooking, but with *gestures vaguely*, we have really stepped up our game. In embracing “good” this year and all the good we do in our kitchen, planning/hoping to share more of what we do.
Some our faves thus far in 2021:
• Half Baked Harvest’s White Wine Braised Short Ribs: We love taking advantage of Amazon Prime/Whole Foods protein specials, and every time we do short ribs, it’s my new favorite recipe. This one might really win because of my favorite white wine, gruner veltliner. We did the Instant Pot version [we are recent IP devotees thanks to a big sale this summer] and the bones fell right out! We were halving the recipe which threw off the sauce a bit — and also I fail at perfectly unbroken cream sauces — so we added a ladle of the rib cooking sauce to liquify it more. Hampton added truffle powder and horseradish cheddar to the mash and it matched perfectly.
• Josh Lewis’ Toasted Yeast Dressing: I am in love with this stuff and always look for an excuse to make it. It was the perfect foil to the rich ribs, plus then I had some + leftover kale for lunches this week.
• Half Baked Harvest’s Crispy Cauliflower with Creamy Pesto Pasta: Even Hampton could get behind this meatless meal! We subbed Trader Joe’s Vegan Kale, Cashew, and Basil Pesto instead of making our own, and it was so quick and easy for a weeknight.
• The Pioneer Woman’s White Lasagna Soup: I was sold when I saw Ree make this, because it used some a bunch of stuff we had on hand [half a box of noodles, pesto from the pasta above, the end of the bag of kale from the above salad dressing, way too much homemade stock in the freezer], but my carnivorous husband wasn’t so sure — so we compromised and added a pound of ground turkey cooked with some dried sofrito and paprika… and he is now convinced and thinking we need to keep no-boil lasagna noodles on hand for other clean-the-fridge soups. Even vegetarian ones.
• Molly Yeh’s Breakfast Juicy Lucy: Another recipe I saw during my Saturday morning TV time and I knew I had to try! We subbed the end of a bag of bouquet garni for some of the herbs and havarti because we had it on hand, as well as making “flat”, sandwich-friendly scrambled eggs instead of fried. Next time will add some more red pepper into the mix. So much easier than it sounds!
• Bev Cooks’s Rustic Seafood Soup: I always say I’m not a recipe creator…. but I do love a clean-the-fridge riff. I also always stress out about making seafood soups for two and figuring out how much we need of what fish. But Bev’s recipe and “Willy nilly” advice was super helpful for getting out of my own head. I made tons of edits for our personal pantry and stuff that needed to be used up [looking at you, sad carrots], but her base proportions are perfect. Our edits, for funsies:
- Cooked bacon and then some carrots in bacon fat
- The bag of clams [only thing we had to buy besides crusty bread] cooked way faster than expected.
- Used coconut milk and a splash of half and half instead of cream because we had some leftover coconut milk to use up.
- Subbed tomato paste for tomatoes – and then tossed in some frozen fire roasted corn, Old Bay, Crystal hot sauce, butter, and ACV, because the tomato paste took us that direction.
- We had one leftover frozen fish filet that we tossed in [why pack that rainbow trout in threes, Trader Joe?] and a few frozen shrimp, an ingredient we always keep on hand for quick meals.
- Next time Hampton wants to add a few potatoes for starch and to balance out the sweet carrots and corn.
• Lastly, last night we came darn close to making a recipe I can write down instead of our usual winging it shenanigans, and I need to save it for posterity. We mixed a pound of ground lamb with several healthy shakes of Savory’s California Citrus and Tan-Tan Moroccan blends, plus 1/4 cup of panko, a beaten egg, and some feta and pine nuts – enough of each to look like it balanced. After a quick brown in a non-stick pan, they went into the oven as the end of a head of cauliflower [leftover from the pasta linked above] tossed with EVOO and harissa powder finished roasting. The plates were dressed with Trader Joe’s labneh [a spreadable tangy cheese] and the end of some olive and pickled jalapeno sauce [inspired by Martha Stewart], and we added some of TJ’s amazing new marinated Greek Chickpeas with Parsley & Cumin. Nothing wrong with convenience processed foods (and all their sodium) in moderation.