There's a show on the Food Network where chefs are challenged to make a meal out of what seems to be a totally random basket of ingredients. They open the basket and then have to come up with an appetizer, a main dish, or a dessert. At the end of each course, someone gets "chopped" off the show. I love it. I love to pause the show after the ingredients are revealed and make a quick list of what I would do with those ingredients, then I watch to see if I had any of the same ideas as the chefs. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I think my ideas are even better than theirs.
My husband has now tolerated "this vegan thing" for a couple weeks. His words say he is supportive and happy and doing just fine with it. But I can tell he's not so enthusiastic anymore. We all like the adventure of trying new things, so I told him to grab Eli and sit down with a few cookbooks and see what looks good. Then I sent them to the grocery to store to buy "whatever looks good" to them. They came home with some great stuff.
There were the old standards: tomatoes, peppers, carrots. But there were also a couple surprises: turnips, various mushrooms, snow peas, coconut milk, barley and orzo pasta. They also grabbed a ton of good, fresh fruit. I love it!
So now I'm challenged to use up these ingredients (before they go bad) in some sort of yummy way that is satisfying to my family. (I'm hoping you have some suggestions to get me started. Post any ideas in the comments sections!) Keep reading this week and we'll see if I can make it to Friday without getting "chopped" out of the kitchen!
Monday's menu was Roasted Squash and Brown Rice Risotto (just warmed up out the freezer from last week), Grilled Mushroom Kabobs, and Fresh Fruit (strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, melons). The mushrooms were a big hit--we are all 'shroom lovers here.
2 T. olive oil
2 t. balsamic vinegar (or red wine, or whatever you like)
1 garlic clove, finely minced or grated
1 t. fresh basil, minced
Freshly cracked black pepper
Button mushroom and Baby Portabella Mushrooms (brushed clean, bigger ones cut in half)
Stir together oil, vinegar, garlic and seasonings. Toss mushrooms in marinade to coat evenly and immediately thread onto skewers. Grill on all sides until heated through and golden brown, drizzling any extra marinade on mushrooms as they cook (about 3 minutes per side).
Note: I have an indoor grill. If you don't, just put these under the broiler (on low) in your oven for a few minutes on each side. Be sure to watch it close if you use wooden skewers--don't burn down the kitchen!