Yes…it’s the solution to my weekly pleadings with my family to name something other than pizza (Jake) or meatloaf (Dave) when I ask what to cook for dinner. Stir Friday.
I love it for so many reasons: 1) it still allows room for creativity, because “stir-fry” is a huge, broad category…but it does give me somewhere to start with the meal planning; 2) it makes a beautiful peace treaty for the taste bud cold war Dave and I are waging…no more can he tell me that I never eat Asian food with him!; 3) it has an awesome name—always a bonus; and 4) it’s so easy to make large amounts of stir-fry, so easy to accommodate different dietary needs, that Stir Friday is the perfect way to kick off one of our major family goals: becoming better hosts.
So, friends who live in the greater DC area, consider this your open invitation.
I can’t believe my beautiful girl is 4 weeks old! But it was a long road in getting there (and I’m not just talking about sleepless nights)…did you know she was a week overdue?
I spent a lot of time during the last few weeks of my pregnancy doing one “last” adventure with Jake, one “last” trip to the store, one “last” load of laundry/other heinous cleaning chore… I sure was ready to meet my girl and stop being pregnant! But she was pretty cozy and reluctant to make her entrance. Finally, I decided to try smoking her out.
This meal was one of many versions of what I called “Get-Out-Of-Me-Baby” food: simple, spicy dishes that I hoped would somehow convince Caitlin that the outside world would be a welcome change.
(In case you wondered…the spicy foods didn’t faze her. But this was still a delicious meal!)
One of the pitfalls of being a food blogger is that there aren’t really many family favorite meals in our house. I don’t mean to say we don’t have favorite meals—just that I don’t make repeats very often. Our “favorite” meals tend to roll around once every three years rather than once every three weeks.
There is much less room for food ruts when the chef is constantly looking for new dishes to blog about.
But this shakshuka is seriously going to grace our table several times every summer from now until Kingdom come, because wow is it delicious and it is so easy to make! I love laid back meals, don’t you?
Shakshuka is a North African dish typically comprised of eggs poached in a rich tomato sauce. This version is a little different because it adds brightly colored bell peppers for a little more heartiness and texture. It will make your house smell amazing. It will make your mouth water. It will basically be the best use of summer bell peppers you will ever find, and you will mourn when your farmer’s market shuts down in the fall!
On Sunday morning, it was so warm I didn’t even need a coat when I went outside.
By midnight, the roads were icy and buckets of snow were on their way.
Late winter is so confusing! I don’t know what to wear, I don’t know what to make for dinner… (Right? On blustery days all I can think about are steaming, hearty bowls full of warm spices, which is not exactly appealing when it’s 60 degrees outside.)
In these final days of freezing winter, I truly just want to make the most of earthy, spicy foods before I have to give them up for spring salads. So I made saag paneer.
Have you ever had that? It’s basically a phenomenally spiced spinach and cheese dish, which you can eat with a fork or by swirling a piece of garlicky naan bread through it. Classic wintery goodness.
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a recipe for spring veggie potstickers that immediately peaked my interest. So last week when I opened up my CSA box and found a bounty of late-spring produce, I immediately figured out how to adapt the recipe to the veggies in my box.
What I received for week 2 of my CSA share was: a huge bundle of kale, almost a pound of asparagus, several spring onions, a few large radishes, and a pint of cherries.
You can adapt this recipe to whatever veggies you have on hand! I thought that the radishes, kale, and asparagus went perfectly with a small handful of chopped mushrooms that I happened to have languishing in my fridge. The mushrooms upped the umami factor of the potstickers, which was a definite plus for my husband (who didn’t even complain that they were vegetarian!). This meal actually turned out so great that I made it twice!
These potstickers aren’t hard to make, unless you have an unhappy baby who doesn’t understand why you are spending 15 minutes pinching wonton wrapper seams together. In that event, you might want to give yourself some extra time and patience. I’m just saying.
I regularly find myself standing in front of the fridge trying to figure out what to do with all the little leftover odds and ends in my crisper. Halves of bell peppers, lonely carrots, three baby bellas that didn’t make it into a salad earlier in the week…
Inspiration finally struck as I was struggling to find a way to use up two cups of leftover jasmine rice pilaf. I am not really a rice person; I am not even the kind of person who thinks every meal should include a starch. So that Tupperware container of rice had been staring at me for almost two weeks.
And finally, as I was trying to plan a meal to make with my mom, who can’t have wheat or dairy, a light bulb clicked on over my head. Fried rice!
You can use any kind of cooked rice and any vegetables you want when you are making fried rice. So why not jasmine rice baked in veggie broth with a few shallots already tossed in? And all those veggies hiding in my refrigerator drawers were a perfect match.
This one-pot meal came out so delicious that my husband ate about four servings of it. I won’t stress about how much white rice he consumed in one sitting…I will just use brown rice next time and rejoice that I’ve finally found a simple Asian dish I can make at home for him!