Day 31 of Project 365: Cooking for the family.

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2016-01-31

Tonight I cooked dinner for the family. I had help: they subscribe to a service that delivers ingredients and recipes right to the door, all conveniently packed in a refrigerated box. The recipe for sloppy joes was very easy to follow — even though I went off-book with the spices because I believe in cumin and cinnamon and cayenne — and I liked the oven-baked potato wedges. The star of the meal for me was the salad of Tuscan kale, carrots, shallots, white wine vinegar, and mayonnaise.

It was a joy to cook with a nice hob and oven. Our flats in Edinburgh had temperamental kitchen appliances, and it was a challenge to replicate results from meal to meal.

Zen ventured out more today, and had a few run-ins with Jack. Despite hissing and paw-waving, no one was harmed. There was even a brief Zen/Cinnamon meeting, although Zen’s back was turned. Cinnamon looked horrified and will probably hide for the rest of the time we’re here.

Writing from: a drowsy guest-room in Marin. Listening to: frantic wind-chimes in the courtyard.

Day 12 of Project 365: The church of Savour.

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2016-01-12

When I eat, I am present. Thoughts do not intrude in this space, reverent as they are in the church of Savour. Tonight’s service was Highland venison loin, shredded beef cheek, smoked celeriac, and parsnips.

I wonder if someday I’ll have the resolve to try a vegetarian diet. Then I have dishes like this one and put it off for another day.

There are particular foods (sushi) I miss from the States, and I look forward to having some of them (burritos) soon. But I’ve had some stellar meals in Scotland, and this one at 63 Tay Street was high up there. If you are near or passing through Perth, go there. They’ll take care of you. What a joy it is to be handed a menu and told, “Whatever you choose, we’ll adjust it to be gluten-free for you.” The vegetarian in our party did not lack for mouth-watering options, either.

The dining companions, not pictured, are also highly recommended, but probably wouldn’t appreciate me offering their conversational services. Your meal at 63 Tay Street will be BYOFOIE (Bring Your Own Friends Or Intriguing Enemies).

We won’t call this a goodbye meal, either. Thinking is for later, maybe for the plane ride, or even later. Just look at the food. Focus on the food. It was delicious.

Writing from: a cold and mostly-dark lounge in Edinburgh. Listening to: “Awake” by Tycho from Spotify.

Day 2 of Project 365: Chili fail.

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2016-01-02 20.54.11

Sometimes recipes don’t work out. This was a tried-and-true chili recipe that I decided to adulterate when my quest for turkey mince came up short. (I would have settled for chicken mince, but couldn’t find that either.) The cookbook I used has provided me with many excellent meals so I felt confident that I could make a substitution without much loss in fidelity.

Quorn is … interesting. I want to like Quorn because it is a gluten-free meat substitute and I’d like to eat less meat. However, substituting Quorn for meat in this recipe resulted in a bowl of chili that looked right but was texturally weird and pretty bland. If I were a more accomplished cook, I’d be able to determine if this is a Quorn issue or if I could have helped it along somewhat.

Failed recipe aside, I tried to savour the experience of grocery shopping in Scotland today. Perusing different brands of haggis and black pudding in the deli case is something I doubt I’ll be doing back in the States. (Yes, I found vegetarian haggis, but I have yet to find any vegetarian haggis that is also gluten-free.)

Don’t let my failed experiment deter you from Cybele Pascal’s excellent “Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking”. Quite a few of her recipes have made it into our regular rotation, especially the paella. To level up my vegetarian cooking skill, I think I need Anna Jones’ “A Modern Way to Eat” which is filled with gorgeous-sounding vegetarian recipes.

Tell me all about your favourite vegetarian dish.

The puzzle of peeling one’s meal.

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Quail.

Friends had us over for a lovely dinner last night. Our first course consisted of soft-boiled quails’ eggs, mayonnaise, and sea salt. Delicious! There is something quite satisfying about the puzzle of peeling one’s meal.

One-pan Sunday dinner.

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Mini turkey meatloaf and maple green beans

I sure do love the ease of one-pan Sunday dinners. This one is a favourite of FunkyPlaid’s: mini turkey meatloaf and maple green beans. This clever gluten-free recipe from Whole Foods uses grated sweet potato as the meatloaf binder instead of breadcrumbs. Check your barbecue sauce before adding, because some barbecue sauces contain malt vinegar.

What’s your favourite Sunday dinner? Let me know in the comments.

Print Recipe

Mini Turkey Meatloaf and Maple Green Beans Sheet-Pan Dinner

Source: www.wholefoodsmarket.com

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 15 Min

Cook Time: 45 Min

Total Time: 1 Hr

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil plus more for oiling pan
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup sweet potato grated
  • 1/4 cup barbeque sauce divided
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon sea salt divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper freshly ground and divided
  • 1 pound green beans trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200ºC). Lightly oil a large sheet tray. In a bowl, mix turkey, onion, sweet potato, 3 tablespoons barbeque sauce, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Form into four loaves, brush with remaining 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce and bake on sheet tray for 20 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, toss green beans with maple syrup, oil and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Arrange on sheet tray next to meatloaves and roast until tender and meatloaves are cooked through (165°F/74ºC), 20 to 25 minutes more.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 290
Fat: 11g
Cholesterol: 80mg
Sodium: 1120mg
Sugar: 13g
Carbohydrate: 24g
Fiber: 6g
Protein: 25g

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