To new experiences

Crawfish

Admittedly it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted anything new on here, but don’t give up on me yet.  In fact, I was on vacation down in the great city of New Orleans, taking in some good friends, good music and, well… damn good food.

This trip was my first to the south (other than Florida, which I don’t think counts), and my first time experiencing real southern cooking.  The day I arrived in New Orleans we went out to a small restaurant out on Magazine St. called Coquette where I tried my first Pork Muffuletta.

Immediately I was astounded by the amount of sheer flavor that this sandwich managed to pull off.  Granted that a lot of it was due to the diced olives, but the pork itself packed quite a wallop as well.  For the next week I was continually amazed at the quality and richness of the food in this great city.

But now I’m back, and ready get cooking up the 5 lbs of ground meat we still have hanging (not literally) around in our freezer.  Look forward to hearing about my own recipe for Boy Scout Stir-Fry, which we just tried last night… nom nom nom.

Published in: on May 2, 2010 at 8:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Intuitive Eating

One thing that’s been interesting to me has been the way my body has reacted to incorporating meat into my diet.  I have spent the last fifteen years of my life in various permutations of vegetarian and pescetarian.  For a while I ate fish, and when I lived in Venezuela I had a very loose definition of meatless – basically, if I didn’t see the meat then it didn’t count.  I spent a large portion of the first five months with terrible stomach pains as a result.

For a long time, this was the major reason I stayed vegetarian – I wasn’t interested in putting my stomach through the process of regrowing the right kind of bacteria to successfully process meat.  Which led me to be vegetarian kind of as a default, rather than as a conscious choice and keeping in-line with how I wanted to live.

At some point, Erin started eating meat again, and that was working just fine.  I had gone back to eating fish, and we were even learning how to cook fish at home.  Then two things happened: we moved to California and I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Animal Vegetable Miracle.  And while there are problematic parts of both books, they did serve the function of making me think more clearly about my diet choices.

And there is so much good meat in CA!  So we started getting a couple of cuts of meat from local farmers (specifically Niman Ranch and Marin Sun Farms).  And it was working.  We were cooking it, and I was careful to eat small portions of it and keep it to once a week or so.  And my body hasn’t rejected it yet.  Now I’m slowly incorporating a little more into my diet (last week, I think I ate three meaty meals).

I have been noticing, though, that there is only a certain amount of meat that my body wants.  There are days when it sounds absolutely amazing, and then for the next 4-5 days it doesn’t hold much appeal.  It’s been really interesting for me to see my body wanting very different kinds of food at different times, and to be conscious of honoring those wants.  I think I’m healthier as a result, even if my body sometimes tells me that it wants a piece of toast and some chocolate for lunch.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this refines itself through the coming months and years.

Published in: on April 17, 2010 at 7:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Yummy Lasagna and the Cheesy Mash of Goodness

The final product coming out of the oven

Admittedly this blog was not my idea.  I’ve done blogging before but never about food, or anything remotely related to food for that matter.  However, I have found myself cooking at home more and more over the past couple of month (the amount of time that we’ve been cooking meat at home) and thought it was a fantastic idea to chronicle my/our wanderings through this new world of meaty goodness.  Mmmmm meaty-goodness /drool.

The last box of meat we got contained 4 lbs of ground meat (2 lbs of ground beef and 2 lbs of ground goat).  This is in addition to the 2 lbs of ground beef that we weren’t able to finish off last month.

I’ve never really cooked with ground meat, and it’s been a challenge to find things other than meat balls and meat loaf to cook with it.  With this challenge in mind I set out to find something fun to make with one of the three pounds of ground beef we had in our freezer before that ends up being all we have in there.

As I set out on my mission I did what any new cook would do… I found a recipe.  I’ve recently found www.allrecipes.com to be incredibly helpful, especially their ingredient search where you can input the ingredients you want/don’t want to use and search for recipes based on that.  While browsing I came across the a recipe for “Yummy Lasagna“… and who can pass that up?

The recipe is and ingredients are simple enough:

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2/3 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 2 pounds ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup dried basil
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 (8 ounce) package sliced pepperoni sausage
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  3. In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook beef until brown; drain. In small saucepan, heat spaghetti sauce.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta, Romano, egg, basil and garlic.
  5. Coat the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce. Place 3 or 4 noodles, overlapping edges, over sauce. Spread half of ricotta mixture over noodles. Cover ricotta with half of browned beef, half of pepperoni slices, and 1/4 of mozzarella cheese. Repeat sauce, noodle, ricotta, meat and cheese layers. Layer sauce and noodles again, and pour remaining sauce over all, being sure to cover the edges. Top with remaining mozzarella.
  6. Cover pan with foil and pierce foil 3 or 4 times with fork to ventilate. Bake 45 minutes, remove foil, and bake 15 minutes more to brown the top. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
And this is where I run into trouble with blogging about food… what now?

Cheesy Mash of Goodness

I found the recipe easy enough to make.  I used pre-boiled noodles to save time, and used shredded Parmesan Cheese instead of Romano, but other than that I stuck pretty close to the original recipe.

My favorite part, of course, was mixing the Ricotta, Parmesan, Egg and Basil until they became a cheesy mash of goodness, but who wouldn’t like that?  Once all the meat was cooked, sauce was prepped and the cheesy mash of goodness was ready to go I began layering everything together in my 9×13 glass dish, taking special care to make sure it looked as pretty as I could.  I ran out of sauce about halfway thought, so if anyone is thinking of trying this recipe I’d recommend doubling the amount of sauce.  Besides that though, everything was exceptionally easy to do.

Pepperoni Patterns

After a tortuously delicious smelling 45 minute stint in the oven, we were ready dig in and eat.  We had a half bottle of The Little Penguin Shiraz, which wasn’t anything to write home about on its own, but which sweetness really complimented the Lasagna well.  The beef was a little bland, but the pepperoni helped to make up for that.  If I were to make it again I might have added something more to the beef while it was cooking to add a bit more flavor.

Overall I found this to be a delicious use of the ground beef, even if there were a couple of small things that I would have changed about the recipe.  I can’t wait to see how the leftovers turned out!
~Erin
Published in: on April 12, 2010 at 10:37 pm  Comments (1)  
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Better Late than Never

Admittedly, we are getting a late start on the blog, seeing as we got our second meat box last week.  Since it’s been such a fun process to figure out what on earth we should be doing with all of this meat, and sharing it with our friends, we decided to share it with the world.

So far, we’ve made Swedish meatballs, regular meatballs, tacos, barbecued ribs (twice!), and burgers.  Some have been really successful (ribs!) and some a little less so (Swedish meatballs…).

We’ll be uploading recipes, photos, and reviews.  If you have any ideas of what we should try, please let us know!

~Morgan and Erin

Published in: on April 11, 2010 at 11:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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