Weekly Menu: April 29 – May 5, 2012
Sunday: Niece’s First Communion & Reception in Sacramento
Monday: Pan Seared Scallops with Ginger Orange Spinach
Tuesday: Springtime Spaghetti Carbonara
Wednesday: Leftovers: Spaghetti Carbonara
Thursday: Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Asian Pork Shoulder with Brown Rice
Friday: Leftovers: Asian Pork Shoulder
Saturday: Friend’s Cinco de Mayo Baby Shower
Okay, we're ready to get cooking again!  Sorry the last few week's have been so busy and my menus have been so basic, but life has quieted down again for at least the next few weeks so I hope you're back for more with this week's menu.  The first two dishes are new ones for us...but they're from two of my favorite cookbooks: Cooking Light & Almost Meatless.

We LOVE scallops but don't make them very often, so I'm pretty excited about Monday's dinner.  The Carbonara dish looks like a nice slightly lighter version so that will be a bit of a treat mid-week.  The Sweet & Spicy Asian Pork Shoulder is an oldie but a goodie from Martha Stewart's Real Simple magazine.  It's so easy to make and it's seriously addictive.  The first time I made it I honestly made it again one week later when Christian had some friends in town..it's that good.  The bok choy in the dish cook down quite a bit though, so it might not be a bad idea to make another veggie to serve on the side, or maybe a side salad.  Delish! Oh, and if you don't have Chinese Five Spice on hand, no worries.  It's pretty easy to make out of basic spices...just combine the spices below and store in small airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Postcards: Northern California Coast

This, my friends, is why we live in California.  I mean really does it get more serene and beautiful than this?  The day of this photo was an interesting one...near the start of a true life experience.  It was Day Two of the Brita California Climate Ride, a ~350 mile ride from Eureka to San Francisco. Since Brita was the title sponsor and I worked at our headquarters out here in the Bay Area, a co-worker and I came up with the idea of forming a team and doing it.  The twist? Christian and I didn't even own bikes at the time of this brilliant idea.

Weekly Menu: April 22-28, 2012
Sunday: Suz in Baltimore for work: Christian's Posole
Monday: Suz in Baltimore: Grilled Fish, Roasted Rapini & Tomatoes & Barley (DIY)
Tuesday: Suz in Baltimore:: Turkey & Veggie Pasta (DIY)
Wednesday: Leftovers: Posole
Thursday: Leftovers: Turkey & Veggie Pasta
Friday: Friends in town: Dinner Out
Saturday: Friends in town: Forage SF Wild Kitchen with Friends in Town
As promised, my menus aren't going to be super helpful this week and next week due to a hectic schedule between work travel and friends in town.  That being said, Christian is still cooking for himself while I'm out of town so I thought I'd share what he's planning.  As most of us know, cooking for one isn't nearly as much fun as cooking for two or more.  Why?  Well because if you cook for one, odds are your stuck with all of the cleaning too.  Wah, wah.

But Christian's fabulous posole is a one-pot wonder.  I'm jealous he's making it when I'm not around. Honestly better than most I've had in restaurants and super easy.  The rest of the week is DIY and pretty healthy with a Tuesday throw-back to our college days.  Ground turkey, veggies and pasta used to be our go to dish...and we thought it was oh so gourmet back then!
Postcards: Christian Cooking in Chiang Mai

 

The time: 9am.

The place: Siam Rice Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The temperature: a sweaty 90°.

The mood: hungover, hungry and excited for this part of the trip we've been looking forward to but sad it's our last day in Chiang Mai.

Hence Christian getting a bit randy with the cleaver he is handed by our instructor.  There were a lot of emotions swirling around that morning.  We had been out a bit late with some new friends the night before and the Tuk Tuk for class arrived at our hotel bright and early at 7:30am.  Of course we were the first people to be picked up so we had the joy of jostling around the back of the oppressively hot Tuk Tuk for the next 45 minutes while slowly meeting those who would be our fellow classmates for the next 4 hours.

Asian Inspired Pot Roast Dinner

A strange intersection between my corporate life and my passion for food inspired this extremely successful Sunday dinner - and that compliment is coming from Christian who typically hates pot roast!. I don't know if I've ever mentioned it on my site before, but I run the Consumer Affairs department for The Clorox Company.  So how does a bleach company inspire food?  Well, Clorox actually owns 30+ brands...from Brita water filtration to Glad trash and food storage bags to Hidden Valley Dressings and KC Masterpiece BBQ sauces to Burt's Bees.  So there's some food mixed in there...not your typical SavoryGirl type food, but food nonetheless.

What really triggered this dish though, was Clorox's recent acquisition of the Soy Vay company...who just happens to make my absolute favorite store bought teriyaki sauce - Veri Veri Teriyaki.  While I was very familiar with the teriyaki sauce, I was less familiar with their other marinades. So when I was poking around the freezer and saw a beef chuck pot roast in there I decided it was as good of a time as any to try one out....served alongside creamy grits and spicy bok choy and you have yourself a delicious Sunday Dinner!  
Weekly Menu: April 15-21, 2012
Sunday: Asian Inspired Pot Roast with Creamy Grits & Spicy Bok Choy
Monday: Leftovers: Tacos from last week
Tuesday: Leftovers: DIY Pizza from Saturday
Wednesday: Leftovers: Pot Roast
Thursday: Ginger Pear Pumpkin Soup with side salad & bread
Friday: Christian's brother Kyle is in town! Eat Out
Saturday: Leftovers: Soup
This week's menu is very leftovers heavy...not on purpose really more because our meals last week stretched further than we thought they would.  Made our grocery shopping bill very affordable this week!  If you followed along last week, I hope your Tacos and Pizza came out as delicious as ours did.  If yours weren't a home run in your house (it happens to all of us!), just try to get creative and turn your leftovers into something new. The taco meat could turn into a layered enchilada casserole for example.

If you didn't try the DIY pizza night that I recommended in last week's menu I encourage you to do so soon.  We've been trying to make homemade pizza for quite a while and this dough recipe and minimalistic approach to toppings made our most successful DIY pizzas yet!  The dough requires no kneading, is super easy and comes out great even without a pizza stone or fancy tools/ovens. Blistered, crispy crust at home, really! Christian even said these could replace going out to eat fancy artisan pizzas at restaurants for him. High praise from a pizza lover in a city with great artisan pizza everywhere you turn (Tony's, A16, Una Pizza Napoletana, Pizzeria Delfina, Delarosa, just to name a few of our faves!).  I'll be writing a post about our successful pizza night soon...stay tuned.
Postcards: Cemetery at Sunset in Vence, France

Ah, the French Riviera and countryside...in January. Not exactly high tourist season, but Christian's sister and husband were living in Juan-les-Pins, France for 6 months so we took the opportunity to head over while we had a free place to stay and local-like tour guides.  The whole French Riviera was sleepy and quiet, which made for perfect exploration and minimal crowds which was idyllic.  The weather, not so idyllic.  This was 2009...you know, that record breaking winter in Europe where people were actually freezing to death, yeah, it was cold.

The cold, however, didn't slow us down...we wanted to see as much of the French Riviera as we could, and that included a snowy day-hike into the mountains and then lunch in the mountain city of Vence.  Vence is a medieval walled city that dates back to the 3rd century.  It's one of those cities that has you walking around in awe, tripping over ancient upturned cobblestones as you gawk at the beauty and architecture.  It was as we were doing this, right around sunset, that we stumbled upon this incredibly old but magical feeling cemetery right outside of the walled city.

What first attracted me to the cemetery, was actually the image that you see below. Light of the rapidly setting sun casting a shadow of the tombstones on a nearby wall.  It was ethereal and moving, so I worked rapidly to capture a shot.  Then, when I turned around I was surprised to see an equally beautiful view...the one that you see above.  To be clear, I'm not a religious person at all.  So the beauty didn't come from the religious meaning of the moment, but more the haunting and silent beauty surrounding us all.  We were alone in the cemetery with the noise of the nearby town completely blocked by the wall and streams of smoke billowing up from the homes in the valley below...a moment where you don't have to be religious to connect spiritually. That, to me, is my postcard from Vence.

This is the first post in my new SavoryGirl series, Postcards, which is described a bit here.  Let me know what you think?  Good addition to the site?  Interesting?  Hate it?  Feedback encouraged!

Postcards…a new SavoryGirl Segment

Photo from airliner.net

I've been struggling a bit with SavoryGirl these days...the passion and excitement that led me to start it 16 months ago has seemed to dissipate some making updating it feel more like a chore than an engaging form of self-expression.  The menu posts are easy since I do that for our family anyway, but the quantity (and probably quality) of the other posts have decreased some of late.  So I've come up with a new segment that I think will reinvigorate SavoryGirl that I'm excited to share.
Chicken & Biscuit Pot Pie

This is a new, somewhat healthier spin on a classic comfort food that we just made for the first time this week, and it is delicious! It's from one of my favorite cookbooks, Almost Meatless: Recipes that are Better for your Health & the Planet, which is focused on finding ways to have a lower-meat diet.  So while there's certainly chicken in this it's not as much as you would find in your traditional Chicken Pot Pie.  And instead of using a super buttery crust there's a whole wheat biscuit topping that is just fabulous...especially with the scallions mixed in. This dish is almost a hybrid between chicken pot pie and chicken and dumplings, and for a potato-hater like Christian the swap of potatoes for parsnips is perfect.  Classic comfort with a bit less guilt...just how I like it!

The recipe below makes enough for 6-8 servings...I tend to cook it right in the dutch oven that the stew is made in for easier clean-up, but if you were having a dinner party or wanted to portion the meal out for the week the single serving approach is nice as well.  The only changes I make to the recipe is to increase the quantity of vegetables a bit (although a lot of parsnips will make it kind of sweet, which means you'll need more salt to counteract) and ensure that the texture of the sauce is about right before adding the biscuit topping.  Typically this means sprinkling a few extra handfuls of flour into the sauce and letting it thicken and then adding the biscuit topping.  Mushrooms might be a nice addition as well. So no major changes, just a few tweaks.
Weekly Menu: April 8-14, 2012
Sunday: Chicken & Whole Wheat Biscuit Pot Pie
Monday: White Bean & Kale Soup
Tuesday: Leftovers: Chicken Pot Pie
Wednesday: Leftovers: White Bean & Kale Soup
Thursday: Taco Night!
Friday: Eat Out
Saturday: DIY Pizza Night!
Happy Easter everyone!  That's about all you get from me for this holiday...unless your lucky enough to be joining me for a Gospel Brunch at 1300 Fillmore, that is.  Otherwise, Easter is not a big deal in the Henricksen household.  Maybe when we have kids it will be, but until then we typically just treat ourselves to a nice brunch so it feels a bit like a special day.  For the past few years we've been taking a long bike ride on Easter as well.  No Easter ham or fancy lamb dinner...just brunch and a bike.  Sorry to disappoint...but I'd love to hear what you are doing for Easter so when I do start celebrating it a bit more elaborately I have some yummy ideas!