Enter, Plan B.

A roast ready to get happy

In a perfect world everything would go according to plan.  In the real world we need Plan B.  Sometimes Plans C & D, too.  This past weekend I had the menu planned out for each meal except for 2 meals I knew we’d  be going out for, 1 of which was to get together with some friends.  I’ll just summarize by saying, nothing has gone according to plan for about a week now.

I fixed a roast Monday with the intent to either freeze it or use it as a topping for the huaraches I was planning on making for dinner.  I was fatigued after a day of moving furniture myself and packing boxes for our move.  I also didn’t sleep well.  So by the time I realized I needed food I knew there was no way I could fix dinner.   No energy = no kitchen work.

A happy roast means happy foodies

I decided to go to Jason’s Deli for a sandwich after taking a shower.  Once I was well nourished, I took care of carving up the pot roast.  The huaraches were going to be my lunches for work, too.  So while I carved up the pot roast, I was thinking about how to use the ingredients I bought for the huaraches with the pot roast in a way that I didn’t need to heat up the pot roast.   Lettuce and tomato were my main concern, then carrots and celery which were used for other dishes and I had leftovers.  Ah!  Pot Roast Salad!

Pot Roast Salad

Definitely not something you see on a menu.  Definitely something I’ve never tried before.  My recent adventures have me thinking outside the culinary box these days.  I knew if my experiment was a flop, I could always run out somewhere to pick something up for lunch real quick.   Thankfully, I didn’t have to.  It was oddly surprising.  I chopped up slices of the pot roast so they were roughly the same size as the tomatoes and carrots.  The flavors blended well together and I was able to get a little bit of pot roast in every bite.   I’m looking forward to the next salad.

Plan B isn’t a bad thing.  Neither is thinking outside the culinary box!

Notes: I fixed the pot roast with a fresh sprig of rosemary, half a yellow onion quartered, 2 whole peeled garlic cloves, and salt in a slow cooker.  If you save the juices you can fish out the rosemary, onion, and garlic and add fresh seasonings and vegetables to make a hearty broth.  The dressing I used for the salad is homemade from a recipe I got from Leanne Ely of Saving Dinner.

I Can’t Find The Recipe…

Getting started

Have you ever decided you wanted to make something after seeing a recipe online?  Then when it came time to make it, you couldn’t find it?  Picture me perplexed Saturday afternoon trying to make lunch without being able to find the recipe I thought I found Thursday.  Notice I say “thought.”  I very well could have conceived of the idea in my head on my own during all my blog reading on Thursday.  That can be one of the drawbacks of following so many blogs.  Information overload.

Hoping for the best

I knew I wanted to make pizza with the butternut squash I got from the CSA last week.  I also knew I wanted to use some leftovers up, as well as throw some kind of non-animal protein on there.  I say non-animal because my husband is doing a 3 week vegan diet.  All my cooking over the weekend while he was home was vegan except for my eggs for breakfast.

Mashed Butternut Squash Gluten-Free Pizza

I was quite pleased with how it turned out.  I even got a resounding, “It’s good” from my husband.   It was my first time using Katz Gluten-free Pizza Crusts and I was in love.  It’s just as good as their breads.  While there was no real measuring going, I’ll tell you how I put the pizza together.  It will make four pizzas using Katz’s crusts.

Preheat oven to 350.  Halve, roast, and mash a butternut squash.  Mix in salt and cumin with the squash.  Lay out pizza crusts onto an oiled cookie or jelly roll sheet.   Top and spread mashed squash onto the crusts.  Top with black beans, sliced onions, roasted eggplant, and sliced tomato.  Bake for 10 minutes.

I had one pizza and ate it with my hands.  My husband had two and ate the first one with this hands, then the second with a knife and fork.  He wanted to be able to enjoy the eggplant and tomato with the pizza more since it tended to pull when we bit into it.  You could add some cheese to help keep that from happening.  I have enough to make one more and when I do, I’m going to broil it instead of bake it.  I was wanting a little more of a char on the tomato to bring out the sweetness of it.

Sometimes, not finding the recipe can be a good thing!

Something Old, Something New, Nothing Borrowed or Blue

Guava

I always seems to find something interesting at my husband’s favorite Kroger in Cincinnati.  The first time there, I found some favorites difficult to find in this area – bitter melon and lychee.  Last weekend, I found guava and quince.

I nearly hugged the guava like I did when I found the bitter melon.  It evoked memories of being out with my aunties and uncles, picking guava straight from the tree, and tearing into the skin with my thumbs to reveal the juicy pink flesh.  I often read about others eating vegetables straight from their garden and that there is nothing like it.  There isn’t anything like eating ripe fruit you picked yourself or someone picked for you and brought home.  I have quite a few memories linked to eating fresh fruit straight from the trees, bushes, or vines.  Guava, pineapple, coconut, mango, lychee, berries, and plums are the ones that immediately come to mind.

The entire guava is edible when ripe.  It has 4 times the amount of Vitamin C as an orange.  It is full of the carotenoids and polyphenols (antioxidants).  It also contains lots of dietary fiber, potassium, copper, Vitamin A, folic acid, and manganese.   However, it wasn’t for those reasons that I would drink lots of guava juice and eat the fruit when I could get it.  It just tastes good.  I really have no comparison for it.  The flesh is grainy and sweet, but not overly sweet.  It’s that “just right” sweet.

Quince

Near the basket of guava, was a basket of quince.  I was intrigued.  I’ve heard of it, but never saw one before.  I figured I’d get one to try.  But, how do I pick one?  Ah, that was the question.  They were all pretty firm, but differing colors.  Some were green, some were yellow, and some were that in between yellowish green.  I decided to go with smell and picked one that smelled sweet and ripe like other fruits.   The one I chose happened to be fairly yellow, as well.  When I got home and Googled quince, I found that I chose well.  They are golden yellow when ripe.  However, most weren’t meant to eat raw.  Quince is difficult to cut into.  The core is harder than apples and pears.  I was struggling to halve the one pictured in half.  It didn’t help that I had to cut it on the plate because my husband had just used the cutting board to chop some wheat seitan.  No cross-contamination, please!  The flesh was a bit brown when I finally got it open.  It didn’t stop me from tasting it.  In fact, the browner flesh was sweeter and more palatable than the non-brown spots.  However, my husband was concerned and was Googling.  He disliked the taste so much he actually spit it out, which I’ve never seen him do.  He strongly encouraged me to stop eating the half I was munching on.  So, my partially eaten half and his half went into the garbage can.  He was going off the look of pictures.  I felt fine so I knew there wasn’t anything wrong with it that same day.  I just Googled about brown flesh in quince and found the following from the comments on a blog post about poached quince: “As for the ripe, spotless quinces with brown spots or brownish flesh inside – they’re perfectly all right. The brown spots are often a sign that the weather was too good – the trees bear more fruit than the can nourish, but the fruit is edible nonetheless.”   Good to know for future reference.