Friday, February 26, 2010

Eating My Way Through Thursday

Well, Thursday was a great food day in my house. Thanks Rachael for some great meals this week. I was able to eat some of Wednesday nights leftover salad and I enjoyed it immensely for lunch. The flavors blended well and it was absolutely delicious.

That being said, dinner on Thursday night was amazing. I even had a good friend of mine over who agreed that Rachael's vegetable stew kicked some butt!! It was so good! I enjoyed it as well. Shane and Althea both enjoyed it. Andrew (the pickiest eater in my household) was not a big fan but I made him a piece of tillapia so he ate that and part of a potato and cheese pancake.

Vegetable Stew with Potato and Cheese Pancakes


2 Tbs EVOO
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 lb crimini mushroooms (about 16-20) halved (I used 8 oz crimini and 8 oz white mushroomos and I cheated and bought them presliced...I did this because the sliced mushrooms were on sale at my grocery store and I always enjoying saving some money.)
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1" pieces
1 medium onion chopped (I used half of a large red onion...again working with what I had on hand and what was on sale at the grocery store.)
salt and pepper
1 can chickpeas (15 oz), drained (I chose not to use chickpeas as I am not a big fan. I did add in a couple of handfuls of fresh greenbeans that I trimmed the ends from and cut into bite sized pieces.)
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 can diced tomatoes in puree (28 oz) (There were no diced tomatoes in puree at my grocery store. I chose to get the regular can of diced tomatoes and drained only about 1/2 of the liquid.)
2 Tbs fresh rosemary leaves, fresh chopped

Potato and Cheese Pancakes

EVOO or vegetable oil, for frying (I chose to use canola oil for mine.)
2 lbs all purpose potatoes, such as Russet variety (about 3 large potatoes) peeled and shredded
1 small onion, grated (I chose to use one leek and grated the white part and part of the light green part.)
3 Tbs all purpose flour
8 oz smoked Gouda cheese (1 1/4 cups), shredded (My grocery store only had one option for smoked gouda and it was very pricey and less than 8 oz. In order to save money and to only have to buy one block of cheese, I chose some delicious smoked provolone to substitute this one out for.)


In a medium pot over moderate heat, saute garlic and mushrooms in EVOO for 2-3 minutes. Add zuccini and onion to the pot and season vegetables with salt and pepper. (I also added the green beans at this stage since I was using fresh green beans.) Saute another 5 minutes. Add chickpeas, cumin, tomato, and rosemary. Bring stew to a bubble, reduce heat and simmer on low for 10 minutes.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a thin layer of EVOO or vegetable oil to the pan, just enough to coat the bottom. Combine potaotes with oninons and flour. Mix in shredded cheese. Spoon piles of potato and cheese mixture into the pan, making 3 inch rounds, one inch apart. Cook cakes until golden and crispy, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove cakes and repeat process.

Arrange cakes, three per person, on dinner plates and top with mushroom and zuccini stew. (I am kind of weird about foods touching so I chose to serve mine along side the stew with the stew in a bowl and the pancakes on a small saucer plate.)

So cooking is going well. I am really enjoying myself far more than I would have thought and I have such a feeling of plessure and pride about the fact that I am actually sticking to something and doing such a great job at it. My family is enjoying this venture as well, because who would not love a home cooked meal each day. I am learning more about my family through our dinner time that is eaten at the dinner table as well.

I do have one question for your foodies or cooks out there. Is there anything that you can do with your shredded potatoes to keep them from changing color? Now, my potatoes did not do too bad but they were starting to get dark near the end of my cooking and frankly I did not make them all so the leftovers of course changed colors. I would love a good tip on how to keep the potatoes from changing colors so that I could actually make the leftovers the next time I prepare something like this. Let me know please. Thanks.

Also if anyone out there is reading this let me know what you think. Let me know if there is a recipe or meal that you would like for me to try as I am willing to try out different things. Please keep in mind that I am a vegetarian so meals with meat will not be the best choice or the best option.

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