Monday, March 8, 2010

Accidentally Antisocial

Ooooh yeah, read on

A few weeks ago I had cause to commute to my company's new building that is very far away from where I live. I'm on the program that runs out of that new building, but it's been a recent thing and I never permanently relocated down there, which was fine by me because I currently live about 5 minutes from where I work and I love it! The idea of commuting 30 miles everyday is not as unsavory as being jobless, but it's definitely not high on my list of likes. But I had a training class at that location a few weeks ago, and was obliged to spend a couple of weeks at the new office with my somewhat new co-workers. A couple of them, being welcoming and friendly (what a concept!), asked me to go out to lunch with them, touting the plethora of delicious eateries in the area. It was probably wrong to do so, seeing as how it was an opportunity to build relationships with the people I've been working with, blah blah blah, but I turned them down.

You see, I was really looking forward to eating my lunch, and the prospect of going out to some local sandwich place or taco shop instead was just unacceptable! If given a choice between that and Moroccan meatball stew over curried lentils and sweet potatoes with a miso carrot slaw on the side, which would you have chosen? My lunch, right? Right. Let me tell you all about it.

Heavenly Moroccan meatball stew
  • Moroccan meatball stew, courtesy of The Noshery. This was one of those recipes that I saw and immediately had to make. It sounded amazing, and really, did not in any way disappoint! The broth was the perfect mix of sweet and savory with the cinnamon, turmeric, and saffron. The meatballs were flavorful delicious, I especially loved the fresh cilantro in them. And the carrots and spinach gave a nice contrast. I am definitely making this dish again and again. That much flavor can't be denied! And also, it's easy to make. Sure, there are steps, meatballs are always a pain to roll out, but definitely doable.
Ugly picture, but delicious curried lentils and sweet potatoes
  • I served the stew over curried lentils and sweet potatoes, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. There wasn't as much rhyme or reason I usually give to my side dishes. I knew I wanted to use something more nutrient dense than brown rice, and I had some beautiful French lentils from the farmer's market, and Trader Joe's sells those dang handy 2lb bags of sweet potatoes. I saw this recipe and thought the flavors would go well with the stew, and they did! If anything, they blended too well together and I couldn't really tell where one dish ended and the other began. But that's ok. As long as what I was eating was delicious, I was happy. There's really nothing to dislike about this dish. I absolutely love lentils, I love sweet potatoes, I would die for kale (which I seem to remember using instead of chard because we've just been getting some amazing local kale at my hippie food store), and I could eat curry flavored anything all day. So yeah, make-again-able for sure.
  • As the vegetable accompaniment, I made a miso carrot slaw, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen (all the way at the bottom of the post). I've made this slaw before, and it's delicious. I just finely chopped some red cabbage and tossed it with the miso carrot dressing. There's something so satisfying about topping a vegetable with a vegetable. The flavors weren't Moroccan per se, but they were light and sweet, and I thought they went well together, especially the carrot.
  • I sopped it all up with some Tibetan flatbread, courtesy of La Fuji Mama. This stuff was seriously easy to make, and it was pretty tasty, though it was a bit dense. If it were just the stew and this flatbread, that would have be best, but with the lentils and was just too much food. I only had one quarter of the piece of bread, and even that much totally stuffed me. I ended up not making more when I ran out later in the week just because it wasn't really needed. Another time (with less food), I would definitely make this again.
Do you see what I mean about blowing off my co-workers? Who would turn down that amount of yummage? And believe me, it was yummage indeed.

  • For dinner I made a fennel and lemon slaw, courtesy of The Kitchn that I thought was just ok. Fennel and radicchio are both big flavors, and the dressing was a bit too light to go with it, and it was far too tart with the lemon juice and vinegar. I would consider trying this again with just some cabbage and using just a little dressing a bit heavier on the oil, but I would probably just try another recipe.
Ooey gooey Mexican macaroni and cheese
  • The real dinner star was my Mexican macaroni and cheese, which I adapted from The Chef and Photographer. I loved this recipe because it's so adaptable, and it replaces a lot of the cheese and cream with low-fat alternatives, but it still tasted amazingly creamy. Like, it tasted completely sinful. It's definitely not sin-free, but it didn't taste like I was eating mac and cheese with lowfat cottage cheese and sour cream. I know some people don't like the taste of either, but really it took on the flavor of the cheese, and the cottage cheese and sour cream just added creaminess from a texture standpoint. I made it Mexican by using pepper jack cheese and adding chorizo, jalapeno, and bell peppers (and mushrooms and spinach for some extra veg). I also used whole wheat pasta and whole wheat panko bread crumbs. Seriously, they are the best thing ever. Taste just like the regular stuff! This mac and cheese was fantastic. Spicy, peppery, creamy...what's not to like? With a few dabs of hot sauce on top Husband and I were in heaven! I doubled the recipe (used a full pound of pasta), and it filled both my casserole dishes (one 9x13, and one size smaller, I have no idea the dimensions, but it fits right inside the bigger pan). Oops! Next time I'll definitely go with her recipe. I'm guessing that would fill a 9x13 pan, which is plenty for dinner for the week! The best part is I can use this recipe again and make a completely different mac and cheese just by adding different ingredients! I would highly recommend this recipe to people looking to lighten up their mac and cheese.

I'm still several weeks behind in sharing my cooking adventures. How does that always happen? Well there are a few more of my own recipes on the horizon. I've been Ms. creative extraordinaire in the kitchen lately. I can't wait to share it all with you! And unfortunately, it looks like I'll have nothing but time in the near future. That program I was telling you about? That one where I was dreading commuting not quite as much as being jobless? Well we didn't get the contract, so now I can go ahead and start dreading being jobless, since that's probably going to be happening some time next week. *sigh* Let's just say, there's a recipe for something I call "Booze Cake" heading your way.


Rachael said...

Glad you liked the flatbread! I love how easy it is.

JuLo said...

Thanks for the recipe! I did like it, and it was super easy! I wish I had had room in my stomach to eat more of it. Hehe.

Anonymous said...

pic's are very nice
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