Monday Menu and Recipe Review

We hung the bicycles back on the garage ceiling (except for Miss Eight’s–as long as it isn’t snowing, she’s riding her bike), mowed the lawn for maybe the last time, stowed the patio furniture in the shed, and put soup on the menu three times in one week.

In many countries, a soup course is an everyday part of dinner, but here in middle America, it’s a little weird. Not that fear of a little weirdness ever got in the way of dinner at our house, but I am cold and the mere thought of soup warms me up. Soup is ideal for making ahead and reheating later, and can be incredibly frugal. That bread and garlic soup on this week’s menu? Didn’t have to buy a thing. The ingredients are bread, garlic, olive oil, paprika and chicken stock. I made chicken stock (in the crock pot) from a frozen chicken carcass. There are always bags of slightly stale good bread in our freezer, and garlic and olive oil in the pantry. Making something delicious out of scraps always gives me a little thrill. That’s probably weird, too.

This week

Last week

  • Black Bean and Chicken Quesadillas. I like using the giant burrito size flour tortillas to make a couple large quesadillas that I can slice and serve to everyone at once.)
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs (from the freezer), Wilted Escarole Salad. This might be the first time I’ve bought escarole. It’s perfect for a hot dressing because the sturdy leaves don’t wilt too quickly.
  • Lentil SaladRoasted Eggplant and Olive Spread, pita, green salad (swap with Jen). I also dug a small container of falafel out of the freezer. I didn’t follow the recipe above, but just made Baba Ganouj from the Moosewood Cookbook. 
  • Stromboli, kale salad. A giant pizza roll, according to Mr. Ten. I used this pizza dough with a little bit of whole wheat flour. It worked great, but would have been easier to work with if I’d chilled the dough before rolling up the stromboli. I baked it at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. A fun twist on pizza night!

What are you eating this week?


Barley in duck broth and sour cream scones

There is nothing that makes me feel thriftier than making soup from scratch, homemade broth and all. Sometimes my no-recipe soups have tasted a little flat, but I think I’m finally learning.

I saved and froze the carcasses from the two ducks we roasted for Christmas dinner. They had been stuffed with sage, garlic and oranges. The morning of the day I planned to have soup for dinner, I plunked the frozen duck bones into the slow cooker, tossed in a couple carrots, and covered the whole thing with water. I cooked it on high for four hours, and on low for another four. I strained the stock into a big bowl (it came to about two quarts), and then proceeded to make this soup. When the soup was about ready, I decided we needed a little something to round out the meal, so I mixed up these cheesy scones from what I had on hand. The sour cream makes them very tender and light, and a chunk of white sharp cheddar made a nice accompaniment to the soup. A very happy experiment that I’m looking forward to repeating.

Barley in Duck Broth

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, sliced thinly

4 ounces white mushrooms, chopped (very finely, so they were unrecognizable to my picky eaters, but you can leave them bigger)

2 quarts duck stock (really, any rich homemade stock–chicken or beef would be fine)

1 cup barley, cooked and drained

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1-2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onions in olive oil over medium heat until softened. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add sliced carrots, mushrooms, and stock. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat and simmer until carrots are tender. Add thyme and barley and heat through. Taste broth, and adjust seasoning (sherry vinegar, salt and pepper).


Sour Cream Scones with Cheese

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup grated cheese (sharp cheddar works nicely)

2 Tbsp. cold butter

3/4 cup sour cream

1 beaten egg

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Either grate cold butter into bowl, or rub it in with your fingers until there are no big lumps of butter left. Stir in grated cheese. Whisk together sour cream and egg, and then stir the mixture into the dry ingredients until moistened. Dump the mixture out onto a floured counter and gently knead and press it all together into a ball. Form into a disk about 1/2-inch thick, and cut into 8 wedges. Bake the scones for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.