Monday, January 25, 2010

Container Gardening

One of the great things about living in the tropics is that you can garden all year round! Since we live on a boat, we have to container garden in a small space. Right now we are growing tomatoes, basil, and cilantro. The tomato seeds were from our neighbors, who call this type "50 day tomatoes". Supposedly they go from seed to fruit in 50 days. Here is our plant at about 40 days.

I think our plant is the runt of the litter...the neighbors is 5 times as big with 20 or so blooms, and will probably be bearing fruit very soon! These tomatoes are supposed to be great in a container as they are small and cascading.

I love to grow basil...fresh basil is so good on everything! We gave ours a haircut yesterday in order to make pesto sauce. I used about a half cup of almonds instead of pine nuts (too expensive!) that I blanched and peeled first, 4 cloves of garlic, half cup of parmesan, about 3 cups of basil. Enough olive oil to blend up it was good on our grilled chicken sandwiches on homemade bread!

We did great on the budget this week, spent only $79 so we put $26 into vacation fund, and this is what we ate:

Sunday: Fried Egg Tostadas with rice

Monday: Fish Tacos from a Mahi husband caught

Tuesday: Tourtiere (this is a French meat pie that is SO good...several different recipes on AR)

Wednesday: Taco Salad

Thursday: BLT sandwiches with tomato soup

Friday: Maple Bacon Pancake (from AR...GREAT!) with hashbrowns

Saturday: Tapas...we bought a nice bottle of Spanish wine and had 2 kinds of olives, fresh baked bread, tomato basil salad, French cheese (on sale), pate (on sale), sausages, and toasted almonds. Yum!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lamb Stew...or Goat Water?

We started off our menu week on Sunday having leftover lamb stew that I made on Saturday. I really liked it the first day, but by the following day it had become much more...flavorful. Normally when I eat lamb, it's just a little chop, a little bit of flavor, but this stew was slow cooked with a bunch of vegetables, and infused with lambiness. Husband T mentioned that it was probably because I bought goat meat in disguise.

Now, goat is a very popular dish here in the Virgin Islands. A lot of people raise them and if you eat at a cafeteria or from the hot line at the grocery, you will find Goat Water. Not a great name, but basically goat stew. Curiously, I have never found anyone making fresh goat cheese here. Anyway, the thought of goat stew kind of turned my taste buds off. But what is the difference between a goat and a lamb? Husband insists that they are the same, but I can tell you after a little internet research, they are different, and many say goat meat tastes a little more beefy. Well, I may be waiting a while before making another lamb dish.

We had quiche twice this week, what a great way to use up the random stuff in the fridge! We don't always keep eggs because they take up so much room in the tiny fridge that we have on the boat, but it's a really affordable main dish. Eggs here are about $2.99/dozen. For one of the meals I made "quichelettes" (is that a word?) in these little dishes that are single serving size, great if you are having a big salad to go with!

I baked more bread this loving my new loaf pans! Almost embarassed to say, but I just discovered bread flour (it was on sale!). What a difference! The bread was amazing. We had it one night with salad, and the next to make pizza breads.

T tried his hand at pizza dough one night, turned out great with the bread flour. We made a deep dish Chicago style pizza, which we love with a layer of italian sausage. We had our veggie neighbors for dinner, so T made "sausage tofu" instead. He drained it forever, shredded it, mixed with spices like sage and fennel, then pan fried it. Really good. I am thinking about trying to make tofu meatballs this week.

Another highlight of the menu this week was Fire and Ice Pasta from AR...will definitely be making this one again! We spent $101.71 this week, just slightly under budget. We didn't spend too much on food, but did buy a couple of nice wines this week.

Hope everyone has a great week! (And is staying warm!!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Noodles of Meat

This week I tried out a few new recipes from a cookbook called "Tapas" that I got for Christmas. Husband and I have been to Barcelona twice and we LOVE the way they eat, especially the small plates. Tapas can be made entree sized too, intended to serve many people. I tried a Pork in Almond Sauce and Fried Garlic Mushrooms. The sauce for the pork was kind of labor intensive...blanch the almonds, fry them, puree them along with bread cubes, tomatoes, and onions, and garlic that have all been pan-fried. The sauce went into the crockpot (ok this was not in the recipe but I had stuff to do!) along with the pork tenderloin and I left it for about 8 hours. Perfect. Falling off the bone tender (if there was a bone!) Husband set to "shredding" it and remarked, "Now this is how I love my meat. Like ribbons. Like noodles. Noodles of meat." Well, that doesn't sound too appealing to me, but it was true. It didn't shred like pork normally does, it really looked like noodles of meat. Anyway, we served it on a bed of wilted spinach with the fried garlic mushrooms on the side. (Super easy...pan fry the mushrooms, then simmer them with a bunch of garlic in white wine.) Can't wait to try more recipes from this book!

We came in about $10 under budget for the week- we try to do $105 for the week, breakfast and lunch, food and drink- and this is what we ate:

Sunday was meatball and ricotta pizza

Monday was curried lentil soup with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches

Tuesday was the Almond Pork

Wednesday we snacked on olives and toasted almonds and had soup and sandwiches again

Thursday we had Chinese take out, our New Years Eve tradition

Friday we had dinner at a friends, they made smoked ribs and asian slaw, and we brought shrimp cocktail

Saturday I made a lamb stew and fresh bread. I got a couple bread pans for Christmas (I have always just made flat bread) so it was very exciting to make a loaf of bread. It was beautiful and delicious and quite photogenic! Unfortunately my laptop with photos is on the this is my first post ever without photos!

Hope everyone has a great week!