Dinner tonight was an easy one. The Husband bought some skirt/hanger steaks (our new favorite cut next to the Delmonico Double Cut) from Costco this weekend and he grilled them up. I added some Pommes Anna and a side dish of Bhel Puri. I know you’re wondering how the heck the Bhel Puri fits in … well, if you remember my post from Friday, I had planned to make Indian food for dinner Sunday night. The best laid plans, of course, get quickly waylaid and it never came to fruition. I still wanted a taste of Indian food, and had everything on hand for Bhel Puri, so there you have it.
The first layer of Bhel Puri is crunchy little noodle things, then layered with cooked potatoes, diced tomatoes, onions, dollops of plain yogurt and a bit of Indian spices. One of my favorite appetizers to order when we get Indian take-out, it’s quick and easy to make and pretty healthy to boot. The Husband never has any when I order it, but had two helpings tonight … first time I had to share, but there was certainly plenty for everyone.
Nearing the end of the month, I’m running out of days to eek out new recipes. I had three overly ripe bananas that HAD to be used up tonight, so I searched for a new recipe that would use ingredients I already had on hand. I found a recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins online and made a batch right after dinner. Although the recipe calls for 2 bananas, I used 3. The more, the better, right? The recipe was quick to put together and in the oven in less than 10 minutes. Although it says it yields 12 muffins, I got 17. Haven’t tried them yet (bringing them into the office tomorrow), but they certainly look yummy.
The Husband’s birthday is Saturday and he’s trying to decide whether he wants to go out to dinner or pick something for me to make. He loves oxtail and thinks this might be a good opportunity to have me make it, knowing full well I’m not going to eat it. Yes, I’m sure it tastes very good, it’s just on a short list of things I don’t eat, right up there with venison, lamb, veal, etc. Hey, I gotta draw the line somewhere! Anyway, Nicholas overhead the birthday conversation and I told him that “Daddy’s birthday is this Saturday,” and in typical “this is definitely MY son” fashion, his response was “It’s still my birthday too, right, Mama?” Geesh, and The Husband thinks I’M bad about dragging out MY birthday?!
Paula Deen has her very own magazine coming out this Fall, premiering in November. You can get more information here. The “subscribe today” (yes, I was trying to!) link doesn’t appear to be working right now, but in the meantime, you can see the highlights of the first issue. Between her new magazine and Rachael Ray’s, I’m going to have to do some serious catch-up on the magazine backlog I already have!
OK, onto MaryJane (yes, one word) Butters. Honestly, I’d never heard of her until just recently, but apparently, she’s pretty well known. Country Home Magazine did a feature article on her in their September 2005 issue that you may want to check out. Quite the one-woman show, she has her own organic farm, a bed and breakfast, a magazine, a new book that you can check out here and much more. The heart of MaryJane is all about slowing life down, way down and relishing in the fruits of your labor. Although I’m not going to start growing organic vegetables in my backyard anytime soon, given my new penchant for trying to slow down my own life, I think we can all take a page or two from MaryJane’s philosophy.
She has a catalog of organic quick-prep foods and mixes you can buy (visit her site for more info), and spends her days collecting eggs from her free-range chickens, drying garlic from the 45 varieties (!) she grows, harvesting cucumbers, photographing recipes for her magazine and book, and preparing food in her outdoor kitchen. Her recipe for Shirred Eggs (see below) looks delicious and is on the menu for this weekend. Although at complete opposites of the spectrum, she reminds me a bit of Martha Stewart … a success at whatever she touches. With a long stint as a forest ranger, MaryJane calls her lifestyle a “condition of the heart” and has a strong belief in the community, giving in ways you never thought possible. Quite the inspiration.
This prose is on MaryJane’s website and truly encompasses her “waste not want not” way of life.
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes
almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves,
an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo,
with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and muck
to move things forward,
as to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people
who submerge in the task,
who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass
the bags along, who are not
parlor generals and field deserters but
move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in
or the fire be put out.
The work of the world
is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands,
crumbles to dust.
But the thing
worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies,
clean and evident.
From “Circles on the Water” by Marge Piercy
Copyright 1982, Marge Piercy
OK folks, enough for tonight. Tomorrow, The Husband cooks, so tune in find out what he produces. Until then…
Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)
1 large egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line twelve 1/3-cup muffin cups with foil muffin liners. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Mix mashed bananas, egg, melted butter and milk in medium bowl. Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients just until blended (do not overmix). Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake muffins until tops are pale golden and tester inserted into center comes out with some melted chocolate attached but no crumbs, about 32 minutes. Transfer muffins to rack; cool. Makes 12.
Shirred Eggs Florentine
MaryJane bakes and serves these breakfast eggs in wide-mouth, half-pint canning jars. Look for the jars where canning supplies are sold, or use custard cups.
4 tsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 cups fresh spinach, large stems removed
4 large eggs
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
Add 1 teaspoon melted butter to the bottom of each of 4 wide-mouth half-pint canning jars or custard cups. Add ½ cup spinach to each jar, pressing down lightly. Make an indentation in spinach; add 1 egg to each jar. Pour 1 tablespoon cream over each egg. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon cheese plus salt and pepper. Place all 4 jars in a 2-quart square baking dish. Pour 1 cup hot tap water into baking dish, surrounding jars. Place baking dish on middle rack in a 325° oven; bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until eggs are set. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.