12 April 2014

Weekend Cooking: The Kitchen Journals: A Week in the Life

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

The Kitchen Journal @ www.BethFishReads.comThis week I decided to try something I've never done before and share my week in the kitchen. I made all these dishes from scratch, although I admit that I have an advantage because I work from home. On the other hand, I work long hours, so I'm not sure I really have more time than those of you who work outside the house.

I might, however, have the jump on you in two areas: I don't have kids and my husband is easygoing if dinner is a little late. These two factors take the pressure off me, and make my time in the kitchen a lot of fun. After I come back from my walk, I turn on my audiobook, pour a glass of wine, and get to work. One of my favorite times of the day.

This was a fairly typical week, although I rarely make dessert and I didn't have to bake bread (we had some of my bread in the freezer). Note that we have a tossed salad every night, but I didn't bother to photograph it. So, without further ado, here's my week in food and photos. Click on the links for the recipes; click on the images to enlarge.

Sunday. We have salmon almost every week. One of our favorite methods of cooking it is to use my spice rub and grill the fish. Note that the photo below is not from Sunday. This week, I served the fish with grilled baby bok choy and a tossed salad. (I didn't come up with the idea of documenting the week until after dinner.)

The Kitchen Journal / Weekend Cooking @ www.BethFishReads.com
Although I rarely make dessert, I celebrated finishing our taxes by baking a lemon olive oil cake (pissota con l'oio) from an old Saveur magazine to eat with fresh fruit. We like more lemon than the original recipe, so I add add the zest from a whole lemon instead of the ½ teaspoon called for. We ate this all week.

The Kitchen Journal / Weekend Cooking @ www.BethFishReads.comMonday. The Swiss chard and mushroom galette from the April 2014 issue of Bon Appetit really caught my eye. I made the dough on Sunday, so Monday night's dinner came together pretty quickly. I often make my own ricotta cheese, but this week I decided to buy it instead. The dough is not for the faint of heart, considering the 1½ sticks of butter, but it was delicious. Mr. BFR had the leftovers for lunch the next day. I used chives for the herb, but in the summer I'd use parsley, basil, and/or oregano fresh from the garden.

The Kitchen Journal / Weekend Cooking @ www.BethFishReads.comTuesday. On Tuesday, we had a very simple meal. We grilled lamb chops, which I seasoned lightly with Penzey's Cajun seasoning. I love Penzey's mixes, especially the salt-free blends. (I'd rather add my own salt.) The asparagus is so wonderful right now, I've been buying it weekly. Mr. BFR requested baked potatoes, and I figured why not? This was a yummy all-American spring dinner.

Wednesday and Thursday. You might start to see a bit of pattern here. I tend to alternate meat and fish nights with vegetarian meals. On Wednesday, I made a big pot of black beans with veggies, hot peppers, a little mustard, some molasses, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and so on. The recipe is loosely based on an old Moosewood Restaurant recipe for Cajun skillet beans, which is good just as written. I tend to use whatever vegetables are on hand and whatever herbs and spices I'm in the mood for. I served this over quinoa.

The Kitchen Journal / Weekend Cooking @ www.BethFishReads.com
Whenever I make a dish that will last two nights, I try to perk up the second night with something new. So on Thursday I made maple cornbread from King Arthur Flour. We love this recipe. I baked it in a cast-iron cornbread pan (the extra batter went into a 6-inch cake pan), which makes eight little wedges.

The Kitchen Journal / Weekend Cooking @ www.BethFishReads.comFriday. I'm typing this post up on Friday afternoon. Tonight's dinner will involve the vegetables pictured. My original thought was to make a stir-fry with shrimp (I have some in the freezer), but today has been cool and rainy so now I'm more in the mood for soup. I think this one will have a chicken stock base and maybe some small pasta. And I'm pretty sure I'll stick to vegetarian, though I might pull some cooked chicken or the shrimp out of the freezer. I'm just not sure yet. Spices? I'll probably use that fresh rosemary and then keep it simple, adding pepper and a bit of sea salt.

How did your week in the kitchen turn out? Hope your dinners were both delicious and fun to put together.


Molly 4/12/14, 8:05 AM  

LOVED this peek into your kitchen journals, and wouldn't mind getting peeks on a regular basis :)

I think I fail miserably at cooking varied dinners because I do not plan ahead; I tend to wait until 5:00 to decide what to prepare. I hope to do better this summer, after I retire...

wordlily.com 4/12/14, 9:53 AM  

I love all the ways you balance your meals! I'd love to see your salads, too; I know people who have a tossed salad every day, but I think I'd get really bored with the same thing every day (which is kind of silly, given how we cook, but still). I'm excited to go look at the black beans recipe; I've been looking for a black bean corollary to red beans and rice (but preferably vegetarian), and I'm thinking tex-mex or somesuch, but I haven't found one that's stuck for us yet.

Jackie Mc Guinness 4/12/14, 10:56 AM  

We're back home after 5 months away so I am trying to use what we have in the freezer before we shop. I kinda meal paln and do love to cook.

grammajudyb 4/12/14, 11:05 AM  

You have inspired me. My meals lately have been lacking. I seem to fall back on the same old thing week after week. I'm going to try to do better.

Joy 4/12/14, 11:41 AM  

Great, and so helpful, to see your thought process through a whole week!

Joy's Book Blog

Beth S. 4/12/14, 11:45 AM  

What a fun post! The photos you posted are making me hungry! :)

Heather 4/12/14, 11:57 AM  

I have great food weeks and then I have awful ones, which was last week. Lately it's been a issue of getting to the store to shop. Son has taken my car for the past few months. But it has forced me to stretch and cook with whats in the fridge. Adding more vegan meals really has helped. it has been fun to see into your kitchen this past week.
I'm happy to be back with a post after months of absence. too many tummy issues over the last year has not inspired me to want to read and write about cooking. Thankfully I'm doing better now and am looking forward to more foodie fun.

rhapsodyinbooks 4/12/14, 12:41 PM  

Wow, looks like whoever eats at your house is very lucky!

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 4/12/14, 2:02 PM  

YUM! Your husband is a lucky man! I feel like I used to cook nice meals before we had children, but now it's all about simple!

(Diane) bookchickdi 4/12/14, 5:56 PM  

I so enjoyed getting to see your week in the kitchen. I admire how you work to make such healthy, delicious meals.

Beth Hoffman 4/12/14, 9:27 PM  

What a fun post. I loved the photos and being "invited" into your kitchen. Mr. BFR must be very spoiled by your fab culinary skills!

bermudaonion 4/12/14, 9:37 PM  

I wish I was so creative in the kitchen! I tend to stick to recipes and never know what to do with random ingredients.

Couscous & Consciousness 4/13/14, 5:58 AM  

What a delicious week at your house. I would love every one of those meals.

Laurie C 4/13/14, 9:45 AM  

Your meals look delicious! I've never tried that Cajun Skillet Beans recipe, probably because I didn't know what butter beans are and I like my beans small, not big! It looks good and I'm going to try it. We've been having great asparagus here, too. Last night we had grilled steak, asparagus, and salad, and it was as good as going to a restaurant. (Hubby cooked!) I made a green minestrone last weekend that we had at dinner a couple of times. (I'm trying to use up the pesto I froze in early fall before the new crop of summer basil arrives!)

Meghan 4/13/14, 11:19 AM  

I love the idea behind this post! It's so interesting to see what you've made each day and your thoughts behind the dishes. Really inspiring.

Amy Stenehjem-Kelsch 4/13/14, 1:32 PM  

So fun to see your comment on my website so that I could jump on over to your fun website. Love this type of post- so much fun to see what you have been planning- I almost feel like part of the family! :)

Gilion Dumas 4/13/14, 6:38 PM  

I like reading about your week of cooking! I usually have a similar routine -- work, walk, wine, cook (wit the audiobook). But my last two weeks have been insanely busy because I started my own law firm. It's been catch as catch can in my kitchen!

But I got a gorgeous new cookbook called Honey & Oats that will inspire some healthy baking very soon.

Booksnyc 4/13/14, 8:17 PM  

I loved this peek into your kitchen and dinners and you make it look effortless!

Melissa (Avid Reader) 4/13/14, 11:11 PM  

I finally got up a cooking post!

Anita LeBeau 4/14/14, 2:33 AM  

I didn't post this week, but let me assure you, reading your weekly meals was so very nice!! I don't often just experiment, while I'm a fair cook, I tend to stick with recipes until I have something down fairly well.

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