Until Fronx suggested “how about soba noodles? or udon” on Friday, this past week was dominated by takeout and fresh ingredients.
Monday: Dish #10: Takeout rotisserie chicken with Toronto-style churrasco chicken sauce
This “dish” gets a number because, although it was essentially takeout, I did dress it up with a pantry item.
A few weeks ago, the Turkish café on our street was replaced by a Lebanese rotisserie chicken joint. Fronx was meeting a friend for dinner, so I seized the chance to: 1) try the chicken place, and 2) crack open the jar of churrasco chicken sauce that I imported from Canada.
Verdict on the €5 chicken dinner from across the street: tender and juicy though boring chicken, dry fries, bizarrely very cold salad, very sour hummus. Next time I would get just the chicken.
Verdict on the churrasco chicken sauce: still good! More vinegary than I remember, but that is not a complaint.
Tuesday: Le takeout
You could classify this meal as “takeout” if you consider ready-to-eat perishable groceries bought from a fancy shop as “takeout”. I did something I have fantasised about but never done: go to Galeries Lafayette on a weeknight, and let my stomach do the shopping.
I picked up a hard and a soft cheese, pâté, a slice of terrine in pastry, buckwheat sourdough bread, semi-salted butter, rosemary jelly, purple grapes, a small yellow pepper, and for dessert, two single-serving lemon cheesecakes. Everything was sublime, but the rosemary jelly was my favourite find.
Wednesday: Dish #11: Chopped Greek salad with hard boiled egg
As a counterpoint to the bread and cheese from the night before, on Wednesday we had a refreshingly crunchy Greek salad for dinner. I wanted it to be bit more substantial, so I boiled up a couple eggs to have with it.
I was putting the final touches on the salad when I remembered not only that I usually add romaine lettuce, but that grilled Greek salad is amazing and I should have made that. Oops. This version was also good.
Thursday: “Pidda” – pizza made on pide bread
This dish doesn’t get a number because all the ingredients were fresh, not from the pantry. I’m sharing it because of the important lesson learned: torn open, Turkish pide makes a great cheater-pizza base.
Ever since enjoying the shockingly delicious simple pizzas on Lebanese-style pita bread that Theresa and Andrew served at their daughter’s birthday party, I’ve been intending on making them at home. However, I wasn’t able to buy the pita bread from a Turkish grocery before they all closed.
When I got home with everything but the pita, I learned that that very day, Fronx had made himself a pizza-like open-faced sandwich with Turkish pide bread (AKA döner bread), which is distinguished from Lebanese-style pita bread by its being puffy and airy, and there was still leftover pide.
I smeared the bread with gobs of Barilla arrabbiata sauce, and piled it up with cut vegetables and pre-grated cheese. By the time the cheese was melted, the bottom was crisp. Convenient and tasty.
Friday: Dishes #12 and #13: Matcha soba and vegetable tempura
Hazzah! I don’t have a whole lot to say about these two dishes, since I feel like they speak for themselves, other than to say that because I have this “use things from your pantry” voice in the back of my head, I was inspired to go beyond making just the soba noodles to make the tempura as well.
As happy as I was with the meal, the bad bit was that we likely would have been sated with just the soba noodles. I need to be careful not to make more food than we need just to fill a desire to make food.
Saturday: Dish #14: Spicy mushroom ratatouille on toasts
I made a ratatouille-like sauce from fresh vegetables we had leftover from other meals this week. I sautéed onions, garlic, and chili flakes in olive oil, then added diced eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes, and sliced mushrooms. I seasoned it further with thyme and crushed dried lime. The lime added a bitter sourness that I really enjoyed.
I served it with slices of buttered day-old bread that I toasted in the oven, and the rest of the raw milk goats cheese I’d bought from Galeries Lafayette.
Items used up: one
Items added: none
Items partly used: nine
Items used from the “Just use already” category: one!