Couscous and kale croquettes

Couscous kale and potato croquettes

Couscous kale and potato croquettes

Hey, kids! It’s Saturday storytelling time! As I’m sure you recall, this means that along with your daily recipe and song, you’ll get a story, too! Each week, everybody in our small salon of auteurs (well, generally me and one or two other people) writes a story based on a found or vernacular photograph. This week’s photo is a doozy. What is she dreaming about? If you’d like to write a story about it, and I hope you do, send me a copy and I’ll post it here, or send me a link if you have somewhere of your own to post it.

THE PHOTO
546786_10151345376679589_1870895765_n

My story, which you can find after the jump, turned out inexplicably sad. It’s a sort of loose retelling of a myth, painted over with grim economic reality.

Kale & couscous croquettes

Kale & couscous croquettes

I made these croquettes out of leftover pearled couscous and leftover kale and potatoes, but I’ve given you directions to make it from scratch. You could make it with leftover mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach or chard as well. They were quite tasty – delicate and crispy outside and soft within. Even the boys liked them.

Here’s Tom Waits with Come On Up To the House, because I borrowed a line from it for my story.

Continue reading

Butternut squash steaks with port wine/portobella/sage sauce and Hash browns with pistachios

Butternut steaks

Butternut steaks

Malcolm is home sick from school, and I’m not feeling 100% myself. We’re having such a nice day! We had a lot of big plans, but we’re not doing any of them. Mostly, we’re sitting on the couch, glad to be together, and reminiscing about the time Clio sneezed 6 times in a row.

I thought this was such a nice meal. It started as a mistake, almost, so it’s an example of taking a culinary wrong turn and finding yourself on an even better road! I had the idea of roasting “steaks” of butternut squash. I thought I’d try marinating them. I know they wouldn’t absorb as much marinade as, say, eggplant or mushrooms, but I thought they might absorb some. So I cut them about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Then I made a marinade of rosemary, sage, garlic, port wine, balsamic and olive oil. I let them sit for more than an hour, turning them once. They did take on some of the color and flavor! Then I had the bright idea of trying to dip them in egg and bread them, in the manner that I make eggplant. This didn’t work at all! I think if I’d steamed them first, they would have absorbed more of the marinade, and been better able to hold onto their crust. As it was, the crust turned crispy and delicious, and then came right off the steaks. Did I panic? I did not. I scraped the crust (made from bread crumbs and pistachio kernels) right off of the steaks, and I mixed it in with my mashed potatoes! I’d been planning to make hash browns with some leftover mashed potatoes, because Malcolm likes them. I didn’t know he did, but he told me at the reader’s breakfast at school he ate all of his hash browns, and Isaac’s and some other friends, too!! It’s funny when you learn something new about someone you know so well! They’re a bit like croquettes, I guess with the crumbs and nuts added in. I suppose if you put some cheese in, you’d have a meal! Anyway…the butternut steaks roasted up nicely without the breading – they were soft on the inside, and just browned and a little crispy and caramelized on the outside. And I used the marinade sauce, combined with some roasted mushrooms, to make a sort of gravy for the steaks. Everything was very nice together – a real meat and potatoes meal!

Leftovers tacos

Leftovers tacos

The next day, after work, I combined leftover hash browns, leftover mushroom sauce, and diced leftover roasted squash with black beans to make a filling for tacos. We ate it with warm tortillas, crisp romaine lettuce, basmati rice and some grated extra sharp cheddar. Also very delicious!! It was so good it would be worth making from scratch! It would make a good filling for a savory pie!

Here’s The Joe Morello Quintet ft. Art Pepper with Pepper Steak
Continue reading

Artichoke, walnut and feta croquettes

Artichoke croquettes

We don’t have cable in our house (conscious choice, cable companies! Don’t come calling.) But sometimes at work I can persuade my fellow restaurant patrons to watch the cooking channel. My favorite is Chopped. I can imagine a version at my house. Instead of gleaming counters and well-coiffed judges, you’d have tables full of school work and drawings and old bills, walls coated with little hand prints and globs of paint, and an elderly dog clattering through, bumping into everyone. And the challenge would be to look in my fridge, pick 2 leftovers packed away in plastic boxes, and make something special out of it. I’d win this round!! I had some leftover mashed potatoes, a half-used can of artichoke hearts, and a bit of extra sandwich bread on hand. What did I make? Lovely croquettes – crispy, flavorful and delicious. Croquettes can be a little stodgy, what with the bread and potatoes, so I wanted them to have bright flavor – something that would go well with feta and artichoke hearts. Hence the fennel and lemon. They turned out really nice! We ate them with a smooth roasted red pepper sauce (open jar of roasted peppers!), which the kids later happily ate on pasta for lunch.

Here’s Vaios Malliaras with Aginara (artichoke) Greek folk clarinet music from 1933. Odd and really lovely!
Continue reading