Dish-a-Day week in review

Last week, I began a cooking series called Dish A Day. The purpose is currently to post the meals I make on a given day with the hope that this incentive will hopefully get me to use up all the produce I garner from my CSA half-share. Also, I like the idea of cooking for myself and my mom and hope that it’ll help boost my confidence and save us some takeout money in the process. In the future, I imagine this series could evolve to include targeted themes or a slightly different structure, but que sera, until then.

Here are the meals I made over the past week, since that first and lone DishADay post.

Tuesday was breakfast-themed, with potato hash.

Wednesday went savory with spicy ramen noodles.

Convenient, but with a touch of home cooking thanks to the addition of some sauteed baby bok choy. This was a surprise thumbs up for me. Is there anything that freshly cooked greens can’t make better?

Thursday called for a dish that would target my surplus of beefsteak tomatoes. With a chunk of mozzarella purchased from TJ’s expressly for the purpose of creating this salad, I grabbed a knife and got to slicing. One tomato, a few ovals of mozzarella, some washed greens, and a drizzle of TJ’s Tuscan vinaigrette later, I had myself this Caprese Salad.

Yum! I love making this salad now because it is so simple and such a fantastic combo of fresh, creamy, crunchy, sweet, and tart. Plus, not ordering this in restaurants is no longer “resisting” temptation since I can indulge whenever I want (or whenever I can get mozzarella)! The only change I’d make to this recipe would be to let the mozzarella warm up before eating.

Friday ended up being two dishes: a late breakfast (as in 4 p.m.) and a dinner.

On the left, we have an omelette with sauteed red onions and a slice of Muenster cheese, and a side salad. On the right, we have spinach and shiitake mushroom risotto with another side salad using up some mixed greens and tomatoes. I also tossed some frozen fish sticks into the oven for my mom.

Everything was tasty, although the risotto was way too salty. I used Phresh! brand pre-prepared risotto and while not bad ingredients, it was way too salty. I’m venturing away from egg-focused foods since there’s only so much I can take. I think I’m actually feeling a French Toast craving right now, which is surprising since I’m not a big starch-for-breakfast-that-isn’t-potatoes fan.  I’d like to also start getting away from simple foods like this; I feel like I need more spice, preparation, and color in my food life. I suppose novice cooks like myself should stick to the advice of Chef Mark and stay fresh, simple, and patient, but with my limited budget and a city full of tempting offers, I need to learn how to appease my tastebuds, and fast.

Saturday was a family friend’s tropical-themed barbecue, so I didn’t make anything. Instead, I feasted on three bean salad, three bean salad #2, baked ziti, the peppers and onions from a kielbasa dish, and a simple salad. Delish! Just the thing to keep me awake after a night of no sleep and to make me stop sulking about being the only person under-40 there (at least until the teens arrived).

Sunday was a CSA-planned trip (hello and thank yous to Flatbush Farm Share, Greene Harvest and Long Island City CSA!) to visit the farm that supplies us with all our fresh goodies, The Farm at Miller’s Crossing. It was the perfect day to visit the 200-acre family-owned and -run farm nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley.

In preparation for the day’s excursion, I packed myself a picnic lunch: two sliders made with red pepper hummus, tomato, red onion, mozzarella and containers of sliced pear and leftover three bean salad #2 and corn off the cob from Saturday’s barbecue.

I was really rather proud of this meal. Too bad I didn’t get to eat it until the three-hour bus ride back to NYC since the lovely Katie and Chris welcomed us with this amazing feast:

WOW. I mean, really, WOW. Heirloom tomato salad, a huge bowl of roasted beet salad, vegetable shepherd’s pie, chicken pot pie, mango chutney, fruit-greens salad, and a quiche and some other salads and muffins from the CSA organizers. And gorgeous pitchers full of lemonade and mint-spiked apple cider! I was in heaven.

Seriously, the fresh air and lovely hospitality filled and still fills my heart with gratefulness, humility, and happy warm fuzzies.

Stay tuned for a post chronicling the adventure that is a visit to the The Farm at Miller’s Crossing. I can promise hay rides and cows in heat. See you later, dear readers!

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