Plated Weeks 40-43

Week 40
Butternut Squash and Poblano Enfrijoladas with Queso Fresco
I don’t remember this one. At. All. And I’m the one who cooked it. But shmoo does and he says he remembers liking it.

Seared Steak with Ginger-Roasted Tomatoes, Butternut Squash, and Cardamom-Lime Yogurt
I also don’t really remember this one. I vaguely remember the ginger tomato saucy bit but mostly, not really. Which I guess means it didn’t suck.

Week 41
Cashew Chicken with Bok Choy and Garlic Rice
This was ok but nothing spectacular. Sort of a typical vaguely asian-esque dish. I would have liked it to be more specific and maybe have more flavor. The garlic rice was decent though.

Beef Moussaka-Stuffed Delicata Squash with Greek Yogurt Sauce
This was different and pretty good! We’d eat it again, and I’d maybe consider

Week 42
Spicy Chicken Arrabbiata with Parmesian-Roasted Cauliflower
This was good but….. the instructions had you skillet fry the chicken skin down to get a crispy skin, but then it has you cook it in the sauce in the oven which makes the crispy skin you made that special effort for all soggy.

Chana Masala with Shallot Pakoras and Basmati Rice
Shmoo really liked this one. The shallots were battered in a chick pea flour that I thought could use a bit more seasoning but shmoo just loved. It was like fancy onion rings with an extra crispy crust. I’d consider doing this one again if he asked for it.

Week 43
Chicken Paprikash and Bell Pepper and Egg Noodles
This was good but had the same chicken skin fry and then cook in sauce so it’s not as crispy thing going on. But otherwise, quite tasty.

Butternut Squash Empanadas with Mozzarella, Salsa Roja, and Spinach Salad
This was good and we’d totally do it again. We both really enjoyed the squash as a filling and how well it went with the “salsa roja” which, I’ve mentioned last time we had empanandas with salsa roja from plated… isn’t saucey enough to be called salsa anything. It’s just cooked tomatoes to pile on top mostly. But still, tasty!

Bullet Journaling – part 1, a few thoughts and some reference links

I started Bullet Journaling in March for my personal life, and starting using the same format each day for work in late July. It seems to be a the cool thing to do now according to the internets, but I actually find it useful I wouldn’t have kept doing it, so I thought I’d do a few posts on it in case it’s helpful for someone else.

What attracted me to bullet journaling:
You don’t need anything other than a notebook that you like, spiral, bound, stapled paper, whatever is going to work for you that you have on hand or easily afford. The system is not meant to be a huge time, money, or energy sink, and you can pick up and start using it whenever, and if you stop for a few weeks, just go to the next blank page and go again. No sweat. Because it’s not a preprinted planner, you aren’t wasting pages by time passing. It’s fairly simple and straight forward if you stick with the basics. It can be as elaborate or as minimalist as you want.

Why I use it:
I’m not a diary writer or journaler about life events. I don’t need to know what my thoughts and feelings are on a subject in writing. I don’t care. What I need is a way to keep track of all the shit in my head that I keep forgetting. This does that for me. I spend a few minutes each day getting the things out of my brain that I used try and keep a handle on mentally. This works for me because it’s freeing up brain space so I can move on to other thoughts and tasks without worrying I’ll forget what I just thought about, because I wrote it down and know I’ll get to it when it’s appropriate. As I get older, and more and more distracted and forgetful about the billions of tiny little details that make up my life, I find it harder to stay on top of everything I need to remember, and this is a solution to that problem for me.

The next post on this will be about how it’s working out for me, and the post after that will be about the notebook I am starting at the New Year and the minor changes I’ve made that will suit me better. (No, you don’t have to do this, but the spine on my current journal is breaking, the paper allows more bleedthrough than I like, and I want to swith from graph paper to dotted paper.) For now, here’s a set of links and notes for someone interested in possibly starting bullet journaling.

website and video by guy (Ryder Carroll) who started it

the journal/notebook I bought to try out the system:
https://smile.amazon.com/Piccadilly-Essential-Notebook-Medium-Black/dp/1571338187

the one I am “upgrading” to for next year (it’s a buck more, but heavier paper dot grid paper, and hopefully a better spine):
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/1441323716

the journal/notebook most folks get because it has index pages and page numbers for you already, and has a lot of options for colors:
https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B002TSIMW4

and here’s the ruler I use for quick straight lines and as a bookmark: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015ZY25I

Some people I follow on youtube who make videos about their journaling to give you an idea of what can be done with it and how people are using it etc etc, and you can see from the titles I’ve listed below, they obviously do this every month pretty much, and some of them put out other content like migrating from one journal to another once they’ve filled one and such, but this should give you an idea of the nutso elaborate things people are doing as well as give you some ideas of the things you can keep track of and how to track them pretty easily if you are interested in doing so. Watching these made a difference for me in that I realized I could implement some of these things in my journal and get more out of it, but it was also a bit overwhelming because a lot of it is WAAAAAAAY to arty and time consuming for me.

Sunshine and Stationary:
Plan With Me Oct 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phmRD7sJWwU

Steph B Sanity:
Plan With Me Oct 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKr77EDs3dc

Jenny Journals:
Plan With Me Oct 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSf-cwg_tic

AmandaRachLee:
Plan With Me Oct 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj7vnpnQzWo

There’s are two different reddits for Bullet Journaling. r/bulletjournal is more artsy, and r/bujo is more bare bones getting shit done

https://www.reddit.com/r/bulletjournal/
https://www.reddit.com/r/bujo/

And finally, after you’ve seen all this crap and are overwhelmed as hell….

How to Start Bullet Journal without Feeling Overwhelmed

It’s easy to make all this harder than it really is, and ultimately it’s about getting things done, not making your life harder or stressing out because you don’t have a pretty notebook.

17 today.

So, I didn’t post about it last year when it happened, because I knew I would not be able to handle all any comments, despite how warm and heartfelt they would have been, but Daisy died on December 6th of last year. Her kidneys gave out on her and she let me know it was time during the night before, so that morning we took her in and I held her until the end.

I still miss her, but today she would have been 17, so I feel like today is a good day to talk about her and the daisy tattoo I got this past July.

My girl was sassy, beautiful, and full of personality. Even as a little old lady she’d give you a bit of attitude now and then. She was the best cuddler, and most of her last year was spent laying on me or being held by me in some form or fashion. I knew it was bonus time, and I tried to be thankful for it and appreciate that she was still around.

The tattoo was done by John Garancheski III at Tattoed Heart Studios in Hanover, Maryland. The end result was a combination of my ideas, the best placement for healing, and his design work. I am super pleased with the result. The footprint of her right paw (slightly evened out for symmetry) and a daisy in the tattoo were my requirements, and I chose John because he specializes in floral/mandala tattoos in black, and I liked his body of work. The entire experience was a positive one, and I love the end result. It’s beautiful and unique.

Up Close:

Further out:

Plated Weeks 36-39

Week 36
Curried Lamb Tacos with Cabbage Slaw and Cilantro-Lime Yogurt
Good but as far as tacos go, we’ve had better. I did like that the lamb was seasoned with vindaloo seasonings but I didn’t like the tortillas they sent or the “slaw”. Yes, those are ironic quotation marks. If the slaw had been more tangy and the yogurt sauce less runny, it probably would have been a great dish.

Grilled Summer Vegetable Panzanella with Ricotta Salata

Fair to middling on this one. All the veggies in it were grilled and that was a nice break for me since it means shmoo had to do the cooking part, but I don’t remember it as amazing either.

Week 37
Lamb Gözleme with Roasted Carrots and Herbed Yogurt Sauce
The carrot side for this dish was just stupid. They’d have been better cut up and baked in the gözleme, which is basically just an empanada using two pieces of dough. Otherwise tasty, would make again if I had the ingredients on hand, but since it’s lamb, I probably won’t.

Japanese Cabbage Salad with Shichimi Togarashi Chickepeas and Miso Vinaigrette
We ate it, it was ok. I like miso paste, and the seasoned chickpeas were alright. I have it rated as a straight middle of the road recipe. Nothing wrong with it, but we didn’t LIKE it.

Week 38
Kale and Red Rice Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese, and Candied Walnuts
I did not love this one but I seem to remember that shmoo did for some reason. Not that it was bad at all, it just wasn’t particularly up my alley either, though we did leave out the mushrooms because they had gone bad. I felt like this dish used too many dishes. There was baking and boiling and sauce making and candied walnut making…. ALL THE THINGS! I get to do the clean-up also for these so I was not enamored. This dish used too many dishes not to be AMAZING. And it wasn’t, so pbbbbbbt.

Spicy Sambal Pork Stir-Fry with Bok Choy and Cashews
Tasty! Probably not something we will seek to make again, but if we did, we’d probably not tweak it a bunch, as it was fine as is.

Week 39
Chop Steak with Crispy Brussels Sprout Home Fries and Herb Compound Butter
This was a damn tragedy. The ingredients were so good and could have been amazing all together if done properly, but alas, they were not. I had high expectations on this one and with each step of the recipe I kept telling myself, “okayyyyy, trust them, they are the professionals” but no. I should not have trusted. The recipe has you put the garlic in the compound butter, and a tablespoon of shallots as well. The herbs used were flat parsley and tarragon. I think the garlic and half the shallots would have been far better served being put into the chop steak, and then maybe add some thyme into the herb mix for the butter, with a tiny bit of salt. (Then maybe when all the butter melted on the steak you wouldn’t be left with chucks of raw minced garlic all over the top of the meat. I like garlic, even when raw, but this was just too much.) Having sugar at all for the hash was just out of place, if they really wanted that mustard on it, it should have been more than what was supplied, and honestly the seedy mustard, while tasty, didn’t really go with the compound butter, so why they had you use both together on the hash at the end is something I can’t even guess. Usually plated is so good about things I think are iffy and don’t want to follow instructions on, but this dish was not. Shmoo and I were both disappointed and did not finish.

Italian Sausage Soup with Caramelized Fennel and Ditalini
We both liked this. It was a good soup, and it happened to be a cooler rainy day when I cooked it, and it was perfect for the evening. I am a sucker for good soups and I could see doing this again with my own spin on it, but even if I don’t, I’ll certainly use fennel again in other soups at some point.

Annual Jeep Post 2017

So here’s the annual Jeep post. I realize this really isn’t interesting to anyone but other Wrangler owners, but it’s useful to me for tracking changes I’ve made.

This year, the doors and top came off in early May. May 7th to be specific, as May 8th she had a date with a man in Dundalk for a few days to get spray on bedliner. I chose to get the RhinoLiner TuffGrip, and Four Sons Automotive in Dundalk is the only place in the state that does it. If I had wanted some of the other liners Rhino offers I could have gone to Frederick or Bowie, but if you want TuffGrip, you gotta go to Dundalk. It was very windy and breezy driving across Key Bridge at 8:00 AM on a Monday morning in early May in a stripped down Jeep. And it was both windy and full on raining during the trip back home a few days later. It was worth it.

The one thing I’d say is notable about switching over to liner instead of carpet is that the carpet is very heat and noise insulating, so your road noise level is going to go up a bit, and if you are taking longer trips, the floorboard is going to get pretty warm on you. Road noise never really bothers me, but the floor heat on an already hot day when you have the doors on can be a little toasty.

I’d been wanting to strip out the carpet and get spray on the bedliner for a few years now, because nothing smells worse than wet carpet in a car and I don’t want to deal with that. We’ve had the liner for almost 6 months now, and shmoo and I are both pleased with how it looks, wears, and the overall change.

Other changes I made this year were to not use a bed cover for the summer as I had previously and put the rear seat back in and then use a strap cage underneath the Safari top I use in the summer. This created a “safe” area to throw my stuff for going to and from work and allowed me to have an additional passenger it if was needed. I guess technically it would be 2 additional passengers but I never needed to cart 3 other people around at any point this summer. Overall, the strap/top combo gave a shaded cosy area that someone could sit in and wear a seat belt, so it wasn’t the worst place to sit, but if you are tall you would not have liked it. Having the backseat in also cut into available cargo room, but generally just folding/flipping it up would give us enough to get by with.

The foot pegs were used again this year as well. And I have to say, for such a small easy change to make, they are more than worth it. My left foot is noticably a few shades darker than the right one I used it so much.

We put the doors on for good this year on Saturday, and I gotta say, May 7-Sept 30 is a pretty good run for no doors. There is one exception to this where I had them on for about a week during that time, but as soon as I could, I took them right back off. The top goes back on this weekend, because it’s certainly time. It’s cooled off quite a bit and all the wind that feels great in the 80s and 90s is a little biting and chill in the 50s and 60s. I’ve held off as long as is reasonable, but I have to admit defeat to the change of season now.

I am pretty happy with the way things are now, and really enjoyed driving the Jeep all summer. Next year’s currently planned changes are to have some body work repairs done where the hood has been dented from a branch falling on it and some scratches on the sides above the rear wheels that go through the clear coat and down into the paint. I’ve hit the point where I’m very satisfied with what I’ve got, even though shmoo keeps demanding we get a snorkel,(You know, for reasons!) so now I want to focus on maintaining what I have and keeping it good shape.

In the meantime, I’m working on knitting up a steering wheel cover out of this because I think it will match quite well once it’s done!

Pseudopod Reading: Granite Requires

My latest voice work for Escape Artists has been published.

PseudoPod 559: Granite Requires by T.J. Berry.

This is the 9th time I’ve read for Escape Artists, and the 5th time for PseudoPod specifically.
Early feedback on this has been very enthusiastic so I am guessing I did a good job. I recorded it at the same time I did “Bring The Moon To Me” which was released back in April, but then did the edit/clean up later on. (Turns out our computer room has a different sound to it with the different seasons, so that made drop in edits interesting.) This story was easily the longest one I’ve recorded but I could hear her speak so clearly in my head when I read it that I knew it’d be a pretty good fit.

Plated Weeks 31-35

Week 31

Crispy Tilapia with Gazpacho Sauce and Summer Salad
I don’t like fish but as far as fish go, I’d eat this one again. Possibly even up to once a month. I wouldn’t LOVE it, but I’d eat it. The Gazpacho sauce I ended up doctoring a bit with some garlic and red wine vinegar and green hot sauce because it was so bland, but over all a decent dish.

Farfalle with Brocoli and Italian Sausage
This was good but very similar to the Orrechette dish we’ve made several times since we first had it. I liked the change up of broccoli for the peas, and the different noodle shape, but very similar dish. So good, but we figured that it was going in.

Week 32

Pork Meatball Bahn Mi with Shallow Jam and Sriracha Mayo
This was good but not AMAZING like I was hoping it would be. We came away thinking it was a good sandwich but that’s about it. I didn’t feel like I had learned how to make a proper Bahn Mi from this and I already knew how to make a meatball sandwich.

Grilled Vegetable Gyros with Yogurt Feta Sauce
We picked this because it was all grilled Veg, and while it was not suck, it’s not really something we’d seek to make again. Yogurt Feta sauce is no substitute for an actual tzatkiki. I’d have preferred a yogurt sauce with herbs and have the feta crumbled on the veggies at the end. Also, mushrooms, so that was a stike against it for me anyway. I keep trying, but I keep not liking them.

Week 33

Jerk Chicken with Coconut Rice and Summer Vegetables
We liked this. They had you cook the rice in coconut milk and that helped give it some flavor and added creaminess. I still don’t care for whatever rice it is they use, as it always cooks up oddly but the coconut milk trick is something I could see using next time I do us up a green curry. The Jerk seasoning was a premade mix, so no thoughts on it really other than it tasted like Jerk seasoning.

Chicken Shawarma Salad with Lemon-Honey Dressing and Creamy Tahini
OK so, not shawrma in my opinion. at. all. But! The Tahini sauce was nice. Basically this was a Middle Eastern flavored salad, and it was good, but not amazing, that tahini though…

Week 34

Hoisin Pork Tacos with Miso Corn and Cabbage Cilantro Slaw
This was good. I think the flavors could have been a little stronger in the meat and corn but over all tasty. Shmoo’s coworkers really REALLY liked this one and made it a day or two before us, so our expectations were pretty high. We were not as impressed, but it was good.

Gnocchi Pomodoro with Summer Squash, Basil, and Fresh Mozzarella
Shmoo really liked this but I figured he would because he likes gnocchi quite a bit. This had flavor and was good. It’s not going to be a go to recipe for us, but I could see making it again once squash is back in season next year because shmoo loved it.

Week 35

Pork Egg Rolls with Crunch Slaw and Sweet and Sour Duck Sauce
This was pretty good. We were shorted one egg roll wrapper so there was extra filling and I didn’t bother to report that so I can’t tell you how customer service would have handled it. I liked this recipe because I learned to make duck sauce, and they were pretty good egg rolls. I would have liked to maybe have seen the cabbage slaw in the egg roll as well and not on the side though.

Lamb Shakshuka with Parsley Rice and Pistachios
This is our second Shakshuka from plated, but different than the first because of the lamb and pistachios. Also the starch for this one was the rice and not pita breads. Otherwise it was basically the same. Plated did their normal deal with lamb so what you get is a mix of ground beef and lamb that you cook up loosely, but it added a different flavor to the dish and the pistachios were an interesting texture in the rice. Personally, I’ve been doing a variation on this with stew beef instead of ground, but I like the idea of adding some nuts to the rice for flavor and texture.

Plated week 30

Chicken Samosas with Cucumber Raita Salad

This was tasty. Well, the Samosas were tasty. But I also kinda of cheated on them. The Tikka Masala curry paste did not turn the ground chicken as red as it appeared in the example photo on the recipe card, and it tasted a bit bland, so I threw in a rough tablespoon’s worth of Tandoori seasoning to help that out. The recipe used empanada dough for the samosas, then they were fried up on the stove top. As for the raita salad, eh, we weren’t fans. It wasn’t seasoned well and the consistancy was weird. The yogurt they sent was low fat so when that bit of dairy was combined with the lemon juice, it just didn’t blend up well enough in my opinion. The yogurt was already super runny and since citrus curdles dairy, just eh. Also, it just didn’t taste as good as a cucumber relish/sauce I’ve been making for a while now for us anyway, so we were comparing it to that when we ate, and it came up lacking. Shmoo doesn’t care for cucumbers generally, he eats them, but doesn’t seek them out. He recently read (on reddit maybe?) what he feels is the reason he doesn’t like them: The best part of the cucumber tastes like the worst part of a watermelon (the rind). He agrees with that statement whole heartedly. We’d probably do the samosas again with strong seasoning, like vindaloo, and do the cucumber salad the way I normally do it when we are having tacos.

Lamb Meatballs with Israeli Salad and Toasted Pita

This was pretty good, however it wasn’t as good as the Lamb Kabab dish a few weeks ago, so it’s not something we’d make, we’d just have that dish instead, because it’s very similar. The green tahini sauce wasn’t as good as the mint sauce in the other dish, but I could see using it. This was the best version of an Israeli Salad they’ve sent instructions for, and I liked it, though I think I should have put a tidge more salt in the dressing, or maybe some kalamata olives in the salad. The dressing had sumac in it, which added a tiny bit of texture and flavor that was different, so I’ll probably use that again in a future vinagrette whip up on my own since I have a little jar in the cabinet and we never really use it. The instructions for this dish also had you tear up the pita for serving, no idea why, it just made it a pain in the ass to eat. Oh and the instructions had you bake the meatballs, but I didn’t, I just stuck them in a pan and cooked them til done through and a little crusted on each side, because it’s too damn hot to be heating up the whole house with the oven when I just use the stop top more quickly instead and everything cools off faster.

Plated week 29

Spanakopita Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Greek Salad
We liked this one, mostly. The grilled cheese was good but shmoo didn’t really care for the “salad” which I found yummy. This one wasn’t as good at fig preserve one, but I definitely see fancy grilled cheeses in our future for dinner.

Vietnamese Pork Bún with Peanut Hoisin Sauce
This was a lot like the vietnamese shaking beef from a few weeks back, glass noodles (aka bean thread noodles) and all. But it was with pork instead of beef, and instead of having you mix everything up before serving it as a noodle salad, it’s all done seperately so you had to work a little harder to get a complete bite. The highlight of the dish was the peanutbutter hoisin sauce. I think I’ll make some of that next time we do the shaking beef, and then we’ll pass on doing this one ourselves.

Plated Catchup 2, Weeks 18-28

Between this post and the last one, we are now all caught up and hopefully the weekly posts will pick up again on a more regular basis.

Week 18

Cuban Beef Bowls with Mojo Sauce and Avocado Pineapple Salsa
Not a bad dish. We would have used a different rice. The Avocado Pineapple salsa was VERY DIFFERENT. Not bad per se, just, VERY DIFFERENT.

Tandoori Chicken with Yogurt-Roasted Cauliflower and Cilantro Mint Chutney

This was a bit of a disappointment because the tandoori was the spices not the cooking style, and I had chosen this to maybe learn more about Indian cooking styles. Throwing chicken in a pan with some sauce is something I can already do. The yogurt mix on the cauliflower was messy to do, and the cauliflower ended up being oddly textured. Flavor wise it was just lacking.

Week 19

Fish Tacos with Avocado Sauce and Crunchy Slaw

Shmoo really liked these, in fact he finished mine for me. I didn’t dislike this dish, I just don’t like fish. But the tilapia was not offensive in general as far as fish goes, and I ate more of these than I did the Teriyaki Salmons a few weeks back.

Balsamic Steak Sandwiches with Creamy Horseradish
This was ok. We weren’t impressed, but it wasn’t bad. The balsamic didn’t really stand out as a flavor and the horseradish was weak.

Week 20

Savory Gruyere Bread Pudding with Spring Vegetables
This was a miss for both of us. It’s just not our flavors I guess and the texture needed some help also. I really wanted to come out of this with a decent understanding of savory bread puddings, but mostly I just think no, it’s not a thing now.

Cuban Beef Piccadillo with Spinach Rice
We liked this. We’ve made it twice since. Mostly because it’s easy and the basic ingredients were things we had on hand. It’s like Italian style sloppy joe on rice. Easy, filling, done.

Week 21

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers with Avocado Arugula Salad
The salad was better than the peppers. Shmoo loves stuffed peppers and he was disappointed with this. I tolerate them and found it lacking over all. The salad was decent, but we aren’t huge quinoa fans, and the flavor was just lacking.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Pizza with Shaved Parmesan
This was really good, but it was SO MESSY. We got it because it was a grilled dough and we’d never done that before. But it was a lot of work for a pizza. I spent a lot of kitchen despite him being the one “cooking” the chicken and pizza dough. We came nowhere close to finishing this meal. There was just too much food.

Week 22

Vietnamese Shaking Beef over Glass Noodles

We both really liked this. It was a pain in the ass to eat because the noodles were so long, and things just didn’t incorporate very well but the flavors were awesome. I just remade it with different noodles (Thai vermicelli) and we decided the glass noodles were a better choice after all so we won’t be subbing those going forward.

Falafel Spiced Chickpeas with Eggplant, Naan, and Israeli Salad
It was messy because of all the toppings on the pita, and we have determined we don’t really like eggplant; we should probably stop trying. The toasted chick peas were awesome. Tasty and crunchy.

Week 23

Coconut Curry-Crusted Cod with Jasmine Rice
It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t really great either. I was disappointed in what they called a “crust”, because the whole fished is not crusted, it’s just some stuff on the top. The rice had carrots, peas, and spinach in it and still managed to be bland.

Fontina and Brie Grilled Cheese with Fig Compote and Frisée Salad
This was great. We both loved it. Well, not the frisée salad, that was a waste of an ingredient. But the grilled cheese itself, super tasty. The fig compote was both in the sandwich and on the side, and while I personally think a longer cooking time for that would have made it better and more compote/preserve like in the more traditional sense, it was still super tasty. We are planning to do this again but it’s going to take finding the right bread to do it on. One thing I learned from this one however, was using mayonnaise on the outside of the bread instead of butter for better browning. It wasn’t bad, but I’m a butter girl, so when we do this for ourselves it will likely be with butter.

Week 24

Greek Horiatiki with Marinated Feta, Za’atar Naan, and Toasted Chickpeas
I liked the salad that came out of this, but mostly it was like the Falafel dish from week 23 but without the eggplant. So we liked it, but it was not AMAZING.

Homemade Breakfast Sausage with Asparagus Hash and Sunny-Side Up Eggs
We liked this. I learned that breakfast sausage is just ground pork with breakfast sausage herbs in it. I know that sounds obvious, but I mean, really, that’s it. I feel like could easily make my own now in the future and will no longer seek out a special kind of sausage for a recipe, instead I will just get plain ground pork and season accordingly .

Week 25

Provençal Zucchini and Potato Gratin and Butter Lettuce Salad

This was… not that great. I really wanted to like it, but it needed more seasoning or stronger flavors over all. Aaaaaand the butter lettuce. It was so gritty. I mean, GRITTY. I had soaked it for 20 minutes head of time, then swished it and rinsed it thoroughly and then put it in the salad spinner and it was still gritty as hell.

Lamb Kebabs with Papas Bravas and Mint Chimichurri
So damn good. The lamb was mixed with beef to keep it from being too overwhelmingly lamby, and the Chimichurri was perfect amount of mint. One change we had to make was not putting the almonds in the kebabs, but there was extra red onion so I put those in for that little bit of texture instead. We recently remade this dish , exactly the same way, I just added a few more things to the salad. We’ll definitely do this again.

Week 26

Coconut-Poached Chicken with Jasmine Rice and Crispy Shallots
The shallot was bad. I ended up replacing it with some dried shallots I had in the cabinet, so not as good as it could have been because they had to be rehydrated and then fried, so that was odd. Plated did give us a credit for the bad shallot though, so there’s that. This was ok, but it could have used some heat. Curry or a pepper or something. The Thai chili that was in it was not very present. This dish was OK, but it’s not one I’m looking to remake.

Grilled Steak with Potato Salad and Charred Zucchini
Who doesn’t like grilled steak? Same with the zucchini. The potato salad was done differently than I’d ever done it before, so I learned a new method from it but it’s not my preferred way to do potato salad. (The instructions had you mix all the wet in a bowl and then put your potatoes in it and coat them, so it had a lot more sauce than my family based recipe). I’ve done the potato salad again this one once since, because this method really lends itself to smaller one meal amounts of potato salad where as my traditional family recipe does not.

Week 27

Peruvian-Style Grilled Chicken with Avocado Salad and Ají Verde
The grilled avocado was surprisingly good. The aji sauce was very fresh tasting, and it was a pretty good salad over all.

Buffalo Chicken Meatball Sliders with Carrot Fries and Greek Yogurt Ranch
Thanks to a co-worker of shmoo’s also doing plated, we knew the buffalo sliders were going to need some help in the spicy department. We provided that help. I used double the sriracha in the ground chicken mixture, and then added our own buffalo sauce from the fridge. Carrot fries are weird. We didn’t hate them, but I am not going to make them again.

Week 28

Korean Steak Tacos with Kimchi

We liked this. It was very flavorful. I did not cut the meat against the grain like I should have because of the way the filets were sent to us, and that made it a little chewy to eat, but otherwise, all good. The butter lettuce in this one was not gritty and there was so much of it, we had a huge salad a few days later.

Chicken Bruschetta with Balsamic and Shaved Parmesan
This was good though nothing like we expected. I wanted to try this because I wanted to see how someone else made bruschetta. It involved way more cooking than I would have thought was necessary. Cooking the tomatoes and onions made them a lot sweeter than what I would consider a traditional bruschetta flavor to be. The balsamic glaze was pre-made and you just squeezed it over everything. It was flavorful, but again a bit sweeter than I would have expected. We’ll continue to make bruschetta in the future, but probably not this way.