Hope you all have eaten before reading this post as (sadly) there's no sampling provided.
It's been just over 2 months since I did a home cooking post. (The last time was in early March and previously in August 2020 and late May.) Not only are restaurants open in Nashua, NH, but outside dining is now in full swing. As in May 2020, concrete barriers were placed on Main Street for expanded outdoor dining, and, unlike last year, indoor dining is now permitted with social distancing plus other restrictions.
Last year when restaurants were closed, take-out became a habit for many folks we know. Our take-outs were very minimal, but we'll be supporting local eateries and dining outside again this season.
But, as you can see here, Grenville and myself enjoy cooking and eating too. In the coming months, we'll be cooking more seasonal meals with the availability of local produce in local markets. As with my previous food posts, there's no recipes or links included below. There's
so too many in favorite cookbooks and many more online; some of ours are improvised with what's in the fridge or pantry.
Bread baking has continued (but not weekly) and no-knead artisan bread baked in a cast iron Dutch oven remains a big favorite. There's nothing like the smell of fresh bread baking, says Grenville.
|Homemade rye bead baked in loaf pan|
Focaccia was another first in bread baking for me. A 10-inch Lodge cast iron skillet was the perfect starter size. This bread is so easy, it will be a repeat baking. Leftovers reheated in a 375 degree oven were great with breakfast eggs. (The chopped fresh rosemary on this bread is just as annoying as those caraway seeds on rye bread.)
Many times, when dining at a Mexican restaurant, we've ordered and shared a loaded nachos plate (and nothing else), so we decided to try making our own at home. Chicken from a store-bought rotisserie chicken was cooked in homemade BBQ sauce (brown sugar and catsup are homemade BBQ sauce basics).
Other toppings included black olives, chopped plum tomatoes, shredded cheddar, black beans (healthier then refried) and no jalapeños for us. After baking, the final creation was topped with sour cream and mashed avocado when serving.
Homemade pizza is a shoo-in for an no fuss, easy clean-up weekend treat. We've used store-bought pizza dough and homemade depending on time. Translated this means if we thought to make the dough ahead of time or just had the thought of pizza in the grocery store. Sure, we could've bought a frozen one while shopping, but seldom do. A traditional homemade pizza lets us add our own toppings.
Detroit Pizza is a variation that we tried for the first time this year when dining out. At home, we watched an episode of Cook's Country and decided to give it a try and found it was easy. The base is like a focaccia bread, toppings were pepperoni and a mix mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. The chunky tomato sauce topping was added, as shown, in 3 lines. It was baked in a 13x9 pan. Yes, there were leftovers, which we enjoyed the next couple of days. First-time meals are just us without guests. Next time, we're inviting friends over to play dominoes and will make another Detroit pizza.
|Chicken marsala with brown rice and asparagus|
|Pork casserole with leftover pork roast, vegetables, pasta|
|Pasta Primavera with bowtie pasta and roasted vegetables|
|Shrimp with zucchini noodles and other veggies|
Here's some information on the differences between a quiche, frittata and strata as I was a bit uncertain myself. Frittatas are a go-to for us when the plan is to use veggies quickly.
Frittata: a round omelet and unlike a regular omelet that's folded to make a semi-circle shape with the fillings in the centre, it isn't folded, but keeps the round shape of the skillet. Fillings are mixed into the beaten eggs. To cook the egg's surface, the (oven-proof) skillet can be covered and cooked on a stove-top, then usually goes into the oven to finish cooking the eggs.
Quiche: an unsweetened custard pie with savory fillings; if you make one without the crust, it's a “crustless quiche.” It traditionally includes milk or cream and eggs as the base, and you can add cheese, vegetables, cooked meats, or your choices. As a custard, it's more delicate in consistency than a frittata.
Strata: a sweet or savory egg-bread casserole baked in the oven that can be include a variety of fillings such as meats, cheese, and vegetables. Usually the bread and fillings, including cheese, are layered in a casserole dish with the egg mixture poured over all. This dish can be prepared the night before to allow time for the bread to soak up some of the egg mixture.
How about you — have you done much (any?) home cooking — do you improvise as well ?