Category Archives: Dinner

Shakshukish

shakshuka

Shakshuka is a really popular recipe right now, although I had never heard of it until recently.  But the pictures all looked so striking and delicious and eggs poached in tomato sauce sounded like a fabulous idea!  I’ve been including a lot more eggs in my diet lately and also more vegetarian meals.  This has become one of my favorite dishes for lunch.

However, what I make isn’t quite shakshuka.  Let’s call it shakshukish.  I made real shakshuka once and enjoyed it, but I found myself wishing for tomato sauce flavored more like marinara sauce.   So then I made it that way, with parmesan cheese on top instead of feta.  But then I missed the feta.  So now it’s marinara sauce for me…with feta!

Continue reading Shakshukish

Turkish red lentil soup

Turkish red lentil soup

There is a wonderful Turkish restaurant named Istanbul Grill in Rice Village in Houston.  Their meats are always full of flavor and they have a rice pilaf with chickpeas that I could eat forever.  But what always makes me think of going there is their red lentil soup.  A few years ago a friend recommended it to me and I’ve been in love since.  It is the perfect soup for a cold day.

Unfortunately right now in Houston it’s been hitting the 80s in February.  But between bouts of existential dread at global warming we have had a few chilly days and I decided to try making Turkish red lentil soup myself. Continue reading Turkish red lentil soup

First Time Steak a la Elk

elk steakI don’t usually cook a lot of red meat, but one of Mr. R’s (awesome!) associates at work gave him some venison.  Two packages of deer steak, two of elk.  I grew up eating venison (mostly deer, antelope, sometimes elk or bear) so it’s always the kind of steak I prefer and also why I am not fond of beef steak.  However, I don’t hunt and my father lives far away, so I don’t have venison to cook.  But now I do! Continue reading First Time Steak a la Elk

Tomato-Almond “Meat” Sauce

tomato almond meat sauceEspecially when you are the one who does the majority of the cooking, a home-cooked dinner made by someone else can be a truly wonderful thing.  This is Mr. R’s current signature recipe — a delicious vegetarian pasta sauce, so savory it almost makes you think you’re having a meat sauce.

I was really surprised the first time he made this.  It isn’t a very glamorous recipe and doesn’t look very visually striking.  When he told me he was making a pasta sauce out of almonds and sun-dried tomatoes my response was something along the lines of a skeptical, “Really?  Well ok…”  Oh how wrong I was.  This is savory and delicious and something I look forward to having again immediately after eating it.  You should make it!  Experience this strange and mysterious sauce! Continue reading Tomato-Almond “Meat” Sauce

Veggie Lasagna the Great

Vegetable lasagnaYou know how sometimes someone says I made brownies!…but then they have walnuts?  Or they made cookies!…but they’re oatmeal raisin?  I think it’s kind of like that if I say “Tonight’s lasagna…and it’s vegetarian!”

Unless you are a vegetarian, I think it’s hard to get really jazzed about the vegetarian version of something.  Especially something so iconically meat and gooey cheesy as lasagna.

But, friends, let me tell you:  be brave.  Be bold.  This veggie lasagna is amazing.  It’s not good “for a vegetarian recipe.”  It’s just good.  I make this instead of normal lasagna.  I sneak bites of it as I’m packing up the leftovers.  I am fully a convert. Continue reading Veggie Lasagna the Great

Dirty Rice

The meat and vegetables cooked down
The meat and vegetables cooked down

Today’s cooking experiment is Dirty Rice, the naughty equivalent to…wait no!  Rather, the delicious Cajun rice dish.  This recipe was interesting to me because it uses meats that I don’t normally cook with (chicken gizzards and livers) and it highlighted to me the power of food taboos.  These are parts of an animal I usually consider waste material and I don’t use.  I actually had to go to a specialty butcher shop to get them, since my regular grocery store didn’t carry them.  But, really, it’s just meat.  Why are they “gross” to me? Continue reading Dirty Rice

Dal Makhani

Finished daal and rice
I wish I hadn’t eaten dinner and could have had a bigger taste of the final product!

Recently I got a Dutch oven, I think primarily because they are colorful and I’ve seen them referred to quite often in recipes.  Once I had it, I realized I didn’t really know what they were good for.  Clearly my planning for this kitchen tool purchase was at its finest!

After a little research, I discovered that a Dutch oven mostly seems to be in its niche when used as a low tech slow cooker or if you have a recipe that needs to go between stovetop and oven.  My first dish in the Dutch oven was a whole roast chicken, but it didn’t really roast it much differently than my normal method (which is to use a large cast iron frying pan in the oven). Continue reading Dal Makhani

Dad Chili

Chili on a chilly day!
Chili on a chilly day!

I’ve never been a big fan of chili.  I don’t dislike it, but I’ve never woken up one day and been like “Yes!  Today is chili day!”  It’s something my dad would make from time to time when I was young and his was made with venison and lots of beans until it was a thick stew of whatever he decided to toss in. A few years ago he visited and we made chili again and we wrote down the recipe. At least I thought we had. Continue reading Dad Chili

Marinara sauce

spaghetti sauce

Today we have a pretty straightforward entry: spaghetti sauce!

I don’t remember what initially led me to reject jarred spaghetti sauce from the grocery store, but I’ve been making my own exclusively for years and now the store-bought stuff tastes weird to me. Although this could be cooked “Italian grandma style” of simmering it all day (as my own Italian grandma did), I am usually a card carrying member of the “I’m hungry and that takes too long” school of cooking. Continue reading Marinara sauce