December 2009 Christmas

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In late December I went home to visit my parents. Here's what we ate:

Middle Eastern Table Spread

My mother loves tabbouleh, so I was asked to make this more than once on my week-long trip! She says she could eat it happily everyday for lunch. It's so juicy and refreshing, I can't help but agree.

I needed a few things to go along with it, so the table spread included:
20 Minute Tabbouleh
Wicked Quick Hummus
Quick Chickpea Salad
Crumbled feta cheese
Tortilla chips (for the wheat sensitive, surprisingly tasty compliment)

Sadly, I didn't have a food processor, and making the hummus in a blender is no easy task. I had to do even the modest amount I made in batches, and the result was ill-blended and grainy. What was life like before food processors?? Next time, I'm going to make a tub of it here and then bring the whole thing over.

Besides the hummus and tabbouleh, I felt I needed something a little more. I improvised this chickpea salad based on the ingredients I had on hand. This was terribly easy and my mother loved it more than I could have anticipated. I mean, I thought it was a'ight. I ended up making a 3rd batch of it the day I left to keep her in supply. She'll eat it for lunch this week.

Mario Batali's Green Maltagliati

Amanda very kindly lent me her Mario Batali book Molto Italiano and I brought it home as important reading material. I made his dish Green Maltagliati with Oven-Dried Tomatoes, Basil, and Black Pepper Mascarpone after being inspired by its scandalous picture. Drying out the tomatoes took awhile, but it was pleasant since one could enjoy the feeling of having something cooking in the oven while doing practically no labor. The dish is meant for what appears to be (from the photo) insanely delicious fresh flat and wide pasta, but making pasta from scratch was not happening. So I bought some 'fresh' linguine from the supermarket. Whatevs! My mother thought the dish was divine.

Other than the long (easy) drying process, making this dish was a snap. I served it with:
Roasted Asparagus
Warm Beet Salad
My parents loved both of these very much, and I think it's fair to say that my mother is officially a Warm Beet Salad fanatic.

Israeli Couscous

I served Israeli Couscous with Roasted Mixed Veggies and Chevre with a simple side salad. I thought it was as delicious as always, and making it in a real oven was a pleasure. I could simply spread all the veggies on an actual cookie sheet and roast them all in one go. Sadly, I don't think the rents liked it as much. Maybe they'll warm up to it next timeā€¦

Italian Chickpea Tomato Stew

Served over rice with a simple side salad. The stew was a lot like my minestrone, but with a dose of canned tomatoes to heighten the flavor of sad winter tomatoes, chickpeas (cooked from dry to make the broth), and diced potatoes. A carb wonder. Hearty! Don't forget to add an AMPLE amount of pecorino romano cheese.

Eggplant Parm with Polenta

The old standard, can't argue with perfection!
Grandma's Eggplant Parmesan
Parmesan Polenta
Simple side salad of plain old iceberg lettuce salad with dressing. When you're eating a dish this rich, it's a nice break.


Provided you are not making the pasta and ricotta from scratch, lasagna is a cinch to make and appears impressive. No wonder mothers everywhere have loved the great casserole! I mixed the cheese ala Barilla (i.e., the recipe on the pasta box). The (mushroom) sauce I had made a few days before. I then mixed the chopped frozen spinach into the cheese blend. Built, baked, and served!

Rice and Beans

So easy, so fast, so nutritious.
Stacy's Black Beans and Rice
Shredded cheese
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Hot Habanero salsa from Rick Bayless's Frontera brand

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