Saturday, June 26, 2010

Too Many Tomatoes!

How many tomato plants can you grow on a sailboat? I'm not sure, but I have a lot! A few weeks ago I planted 2 full packages of tomato seeds in containers, one was a jelly bean variety and the other something larger. Well, every single seed grew! I have been busy transplanting them as they have grown, have given 12 plants away, and still I have a bunch. Since space is an issue here, I have always been interested in the upside down tomato planters, but they don't look very pretty to me. So, being a glass artist, I made my own! I cut the bottoms off of a couple of bottles and drilled some holes for the hangers. I very gently wrapped a tomato plant in a coffee filter and fed it through the bottle neck, then filled it with potting soil. So far, they are thriving...I will update as to whether they produce fruit or get too heavy. For now, they sure look pretty hanging on the boat!

We had nothing exciting enough to eat this week to photograph, but we did come in almost $23 under budget (budget is $105 for the week), and this is what we ate:

Sunday: Pork chops with stuffing and broccoli

Monday: Pork fried rice and stir fried vegetables

Tuesday: Tomato soup with loaded baked potatoes

Wednesday: Chicken with mashed potatoes and broccoli

Thursday: BBQ chicken pizza

Friday: Flatbread sandwiches with chicken, bacon, avocado, and tomato

Saturday: Omelettes with bacon and tomato

Thanks for stopping by, have a great week!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dog Food Sandwiches

Don't worry! We are on a budget, but not that much of a budget! Dogfood sandwiches are just one of the many ways we are trying to trick our dog into eating. After some rapid weight loss, she was diagnosed with some liver damage resulting from a bout of tick fever she had years ago. The liver damage causes loss of appetite, so we are doing everything we can to get her to eat.

She is slightly more interested in people food than what's in her dish (won't even eat out of her dish anymore) so she gets lots of people food (raw liver, rice, any kind of leftovers) and lots of pretend people food. Hence the dog food sandwich. I heap some wet dog food in between 2 pieces of bread and pretend to eat it while she watches. After I am "full", I set it on the floor for her and she eats every bite!
I will also heat some canned food in the microwave and give it to husband, who pretends to take a few bites before he is full, and then makes the dog do a trick or two for her "treat".
Putting dog food in an empty take-out container and pretending we just brought it home? Yep- done that!
It's so important that she eats (besides, of course, to gain weight) because she has pills to take for her liver and pancreas, and she gets sick if they are taken on an empty stomach. She is quite good at eating all her food except for those two tiny pills! In this case they are massaged down her throat.

This has been going on for weeks and I hope she doesn't catch on to us! She looks like she may have gained a few pounds back. Oh, in case you are wondering, "give her anything she wants to eat" was recommended by the vet...our dog is almost 12 years old and it's more important that she eats than worrying about spoiling her on table scraps.
This is her when we were cat sitting at a friends house a few weeks ago. She is watching the cats eat. She loves catfood but neither T nor I can stand the smell, so she won't be getting that!

We did ok on the budget this week, came in $7 under, so that goes into Vacation Fund, and this is what we ate:

Sunday: Chicken with rice and red pepper/avocado salsa

Monday: Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

Tuesday: Chili

Wednesday: Some visiting friends took us out to dinner. We went to the Schnitzel Haus and we had schnitzel

Thursday: Taco salad using leftover chili

Friday: Spaghetti and meatballs

Saturday: Pizza

I actually don't have any dinner photos this week, so here is breakfast from a few days ago. When T and I both have the morning off we like to go out for breakfast, but it gets so expensive. We easily spend $30 -not because we eat a lot but because it's expensive-, and if you throw a couple Bloody Mary's in, we easily spend upwards of $50. That's just wrong for breakfast! Anyway, we got bagels from the store and I made an herbed cream cheese with stuff from our garden. We found the perfect avocado and T made fried eggs. Yum!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

From Catching to Cooking

Another great dinner provided by my spearfisher extraordinaire husband- fish tacos! (And he did everything from catching to cooking!) A few days ago he caught a permit, which is a gorgeous, firm fish with a mild taste, and is excellent for any cooking method. He made two nice filets and seasoned them with chili lime powder, cumin, blackening seasoning, and salt and pepper. As he pan- fried them in olive oil, I made my very favorite sauce, Amy's Cilantro Cream Sauce, and chopped some cabbage. Neither of us had thought beyond the fish, cabbage, and sauce, so that's all we had on them!

When the fish was finished, he made the dough for his homemade tortillas..a cup of flour, a tablespoon of lard (yep), a bit of sugar, salt, and corn meal. We still have not replaced our tortilla maker with the broken handle, so he rolled them out (between pieces of waxed paper) and said he actually prefers it this way. The tortillas were excellent, and enough left over for lunch the next day for the both of us!

We ate more beets this week! This time I grated them raw into some cabbage with a little honey and vinegar and made a simple slaw, and served it with portobello mushroom stroganoff. I love portobellos! They are so meaty I could substitute them for beef anytime, but unfortunately they are more expensive than the cuts I would use in something like a stroganoff...$5.99 for two mushrooms!

T had two night dives this week and I was eating alone, so I made a few things he'd probably roll his eyes at. I've had polenta before, but I had never tried cooling it into a shape and then cutting it. I spooned it into a greased loaf pan and chilled for the afternoon. When it was nice and firm I cut it into squares. The first night I just pan fried it and served it with the beet slaw and the other portobello. The second night I gave it an egg wash and rolled it in panko, and then pan fried it. YUM! It made a great crispy side to my turkey burger. He would probably like polenta, but it's one of those things like tofu.

We still haven't had much breeze lately...when it's super hot in the evenings, we like to get in the dinghy with the dog and a couple of cocktails and have a sunset happy hour. A great way to end the day!

We did very well on the budget this week, only spent $83.06 of the allotted $105, the only meals not mentioned yet were Sunday night, which was the last night of our weekend in Ft Lauderdale (mexican restaurant and paid for by Vacation Fund), and a big salad on Monday.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Green Bean Tartine

Isn't it great when suddenly you like a food that you thought you hated? For me- green beans. Yuck. I probably haven't touched them since...well, probably since I was a kid and couldn't leave the table until I finished all my veggies. Oh, I do eat green bean casserole at Thanksgiving, but mostly just the french fried onion top!

Husband has been asking for beans for dinner, so a couple weeks ago I picked up a few and roasted them with red potatoes. Amazingly, they tasted just like asparagus (which I love). This must have been a fluke though because I really hate green beans, right?

It has been about a million degrees with no breeze here on the island, so all I wanted for dinner last night was vegetables, and set out to find whatever was least expensive. I ended up with a bunch of green beans (and beets and a cabbage and mushrooms), so I made a green bean tartine. I made an asparagus and goat cheese tartine a couple weeks ago - it was delicious and easy and no cleanup because it is cooked in a foil packet! So this is what I did:

Start with a piece of foil maybe a foot long. Fold it in half and then unfold it, and make a little box with one half. Lightly oil with olive oil and place whatever bread you have on the bottom. I used leftover wheat for one and rye for the other.

Combine all your vegetables with about a cup of chicken (or vegetable) broth, along with a couple tablespoons balsamic and salt and pepper. I used green beans, cabbage, mushrooms, red onions, and beets. See my last post for how NOT to cook a beet. This time I boiled them.

Pile all the vegetables on top of the bread. Combine a couple eggs with about a quarter cup of your broth, and pour it on top. Sprinkle some panko and lay a sprig of rosemary on top.

Seal the packet and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

Top with goat cheese. Eat every last bite. Throw away the foil. Done!

My budget ($105 for the week) was a little off this week because we popped up to Ft Lauderdale for a long weekend, and I don't do the food budget while we are on vacation. (Whenever I come in under budget for the week I put the extra into Vacation Fund, so I feel ok about spending more while on vacation. So it all works out.)

Before we left we had to finish whatever was in the fridge, and I think the highlight was pulled pork made from a tenderloin, served with coleslaw. The tenderloin went into the slow cooker with a can of root beer and a little balsamic. I made a BBQ sauce with pureed mango, honey, and cayenne...I loved it, T thought it would be better on chicken since it wasn't a "real" BBQ sauce.

The highlight from our weekend away was a portobello bruschetta we had at a brick-oven pizza place. Really tasty and interesting because it wasn't served on bread which I always thought was necessary for bruschetta (am I uninformed?) I do have to say the size of the portions everywhere we ate were ridiculously huge (and our servers told us that yes, most people eat it all)...I guess no wonder so many Americans are overweight!

Ok, I just realized our tartines were ridiculously huge and we ate every bite (but veggies don't count, right?).

Anyway, hope everyone has a great week!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Smokin' Beets

Well, my beets were smoking, and not in a good way! Confession: I have never prepared fresh beets. My impression was that they take forever to cook, are difficult to peel, and the canned ones are just fine!

A restaurant on the island used to serve a veggie burger with beets and goat cheese, but I didn't have a chance to try it before they took it off the menu...but it sounds so good I wanted to try at home, and with fresh beets. I looked at lots of recipes for roasted beets, and yes, they seemed to take forever. One recipe reviewer said she just did them in the microwave for 10 minutes, then ran them under water and the peel just rubs right off!

I had to give that a try. My beets were kind of small, so I put them in the microwave for only 8 minutes. The first couple minutes they smelled great- like beets! The next couple minutes they smelled like potatoes...and soon I was smelling burning popcorn. Hmmm, that's interesting.

Eight minutes up, I open the door and the paper plate I'd set them on was burned (popcorn smell) and my beets were shriveled and literally smoking. Black smoke was pouring out of the little holes I'd made so they wouldn't explode. Well. Luckily I had a few more beets! This time I put them on for less than 3 minutes, just until they smelled good (and on a glass plate this time), took them out and tented them with some foil til they were cool. I wasn't able to rub the skins off, so had to do it with a paring knife, which was a little tricky now that they were soft.

Instead of a veggie burger, I marinated 2 portobello mushrooms in balsamic and garlic, salt and pepper, then pan fried til golden. I had a taste for those little Hawaiian buns, so I made the sandwiches into sliders, stacking the beets, mushrooms, red onions, and goat cheese. WOW. Delicious! I have to say the fresh beets were tastier than canned (of course), and now that I have my method down I will try again!

I served these with what started as sweet potato fries, and ended up as a sweet potato hash brown. They never got crispy in the oven and were sticking and making a big mess, so I smushed them in a fry pan with some oil and cooked til crispy. Tasted great!

Came $1 under budget this week (it's $105 for breakfast and dinner, food and drink) and this is what we ate:

Sunday: Crispy Rosemary Chicken with roasted red potatoes and asparagus

Monday: Portobello Beet Goat Cheese Sliders

Tuesday: Lobster Feast (see last post!)

Wednesday: Soup and Beef Springrolls

Thursday: Leftovers with Basmati Rice

Friday: Date Night (T took us out for pizza)

Saturday: Chicken with roasted green beans and carrots

Thanks for stopping by, hope everyone has a great week!