Weekly Menu: September 29 – October 5, 2013
Sunday: Lentil Dal with Bitter Greens & Curried Butternut Squash
Monday: Eggs in Purgatory with Artichoke Hearts & Capers over Polenta
Tuesday: Leftovers: Lentil Dal
Wednesday: Leftovers: Eggs in Purgatory
Thursday: Pork Chops with Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad
Friday: Eat Out
Saturday: Leftovers: Pork & Kale Salad
This is going to be a yummy week.  The lentil dal dish from my old, worn Cooking Light cookbook is a really nice vegetarian dish.  Filling, nicely flavored and perfect for this time of year.  For the butternut squash just chop it up in cubes and coat with olive oil, curry powder, salt and pepper.  Roast it at 450 for about 25 minutes, or until soft.

You all know I love eggs for dinner, and this recipe is no exception.  The recipe actually calls for potatoes in the dish, but I like to leave them out and serve it over polenta to make it even more filling.  If you want to go with the original recipe, just serve it with some hearty toast.

Lastly, I've had some nice pork chops in the freezer for a while so I thought I'd pair them with that delicious Kale & Brussels Sprout salad that is always  such a hit over Thanksgiving.  I'm  really looking forward to having that again, healthy, easy & delicious!!  
The Great Boston Cannoli Taste-Off!

As most of you know, I'm from Massachusetts and a proud Mass-hole through and through despite having lived on the West coast for over 10 years now. While I didn't grow up in Boston, I did grow up heading into the city pretty often throughout my childhood for museum visits, parades, Red Sox games and of course, cannoli from the North End. So every time I return to Boston I make a bee-line straight for my old stand-by, Mike's Pastry, to get myself a cannoli experience filled with childhood memories, nostalgia and yummy Italian pastry.

But on a recent visit when I was doing a bit of foodie research I kept finding mention of another fan-favorite cannoli spot, Modern Pastry, and I had to wonder...could it stand up to my Mike's? Could these other people possibly know something I didn't when claiming that Modern, not Mike's, had the best cannoli in town? Only one way to find out...enter SavoryGirl's Great Boston Cannoli Taste-Off!

So first things, first....acquiring the cannoli. 10pm after a Red Sox game, my best friend and I along with our husbands headed to Mike's and then Modern to get a plain cannoli and a chocolate dipped cannoli from each spot. The vibe of each bakery was extremely different.

Mike's, just as I remembered, is bustling, disorderly, frenetic and has an air of anticipation within the large open bakery. A ridiculous assortment of cannoli type to choose from...not necessarily traditional, but certainly something for everyone. The women behind the counter are a bit gruff but in a forgiving way...almost as if they're playing the stern but loving Italian grandmother role.

Modern, on the other hand, is quiet and orderly with customers queuing in a straight line outside of their tiny shop. The cannoli selection is much more limited, but definitely more traditional. The women behind this counter are similar to those at Mike's in the sense that they also aren't friendly or warm but instead of being gruff, they are curt and short on patience with their customers.

So now onto the cannoli themselves...we removed ourselves from the potentially biasing atmosphere of either bakery and walked down to the Greenway right outside the North End to do the tasting itself. Jeff, always one to play along, presented the first cannoli to me in grand first-bite tasting style. We of course ensured that I had no idea which box the cannoli came from so that this truly was a blind taste-test (I am a researcher by trade after all). As you can see above, our theatrics were starting to draw a bit of attention...

Weekly Menu: September 15-21, 2013
Sunday: Ginger Pepper Salmon
Monday: Vegetarian Lasagna
Tuesday: Lentil Country Supper
Wednesday: Leftovers: Lasagna
Thursday: Leftovers: Lentil Country Supper
Friday: Eat Out
Saturday: Beef Udon Noodle Soup (DIY)
So, in theory this week is a healthy week...full of vegetarian dishes and seafood. In reality though, there is a bit of butter in the salmon dish and the lasagna is drowning in Alfredo sauce and cheese. Lentil country supper...über healthy though, I swear!

We've made this salmon dish from our SF Chronicles cookbook before and it's really quite good. Some may think it covers up the flavor of the salmon too much, but we eat salmon a lot so we need a change every once in a while. The veggie lasagna is one of our favorites of Christian's moms...so it's soul satisfying food for us. A little piece of home. We started making Lentil Country Supper about 5 years ago...got it from a magazine, but no idea which to be honest. It's one of those dishes that is so stupidly simple but for some reason amazingly good in it's rustic flavors. We were addicted from the very first time we made it.

For the DIY night, I typically dry toast about 1 tsp of chinese five-spice powder in a pot for 30 seconds and then add beef broth and a few slices of ginger and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, shred some carrots and cabbage and then slice up some good mushrooms. Add them to the broth along with 2-3 packages of udon noodles (you can find them in the produce section of your grocer...near the tofu) and cook according to the package. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle on some thinly sliced scallions and there you go...delicious and easy Asian-inspired soup!
Weekly Menu: September 8-14, 2013
Sunday: Barley Pilaf Stuffed Acorn Squash 
Monday: Slow Cooker Many-Bean Soup
Tuesday: Leftovers: Barley Stuffed Squash
Wednesday:   Leftovers: Soup
Thursday: Salmon with Roasted Rapini & Tomatoes
Friday: Suz out of town
Saturday: Suz out of town
I'm heading out of town again at the end of this week, but planning on getting some good fall home-cooked meals in before I take off on Thursday night. Starting with a delicious recipe I found last year, Barley Pilaf Stuffed Acorn Squash. We add a little bit of sweet Italian sausage to the filling to make it even more hearty and will serve it alongside a kale salad with a simple lemon-mustard vinaigrette.

The slow-cooker bean soup I made last weekend (had lots of leftover partially soaked beans from the chili I made!) is actually from my cookbook, "Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever" and a bit different from the one I've linked to above but they're pretty similar. My soup turned out absolutely delicious which is great since I now have lots of it in my freezer.  The main differences between my recipe and the one I linked to above are: I  added canned diced tomatoes, thyme was my only seasoning besides salt & pepper and I put a whole ham hock in the soup and then shred it up and added it back in after cooking. Other than that, very similar. I also used different beans than the ones called for in both recipes based on what I had on hand, so feel free to mix up the choice of beans as well.
Weekly Menu: September 1-7, 2013
Sunday: Labor Day BBQ
Monday: Posole Soup
Tuesday: Leftovers: Orecchiette with Rapini & Sausage
Wednesday: Brown Rice, Veggie and Poached Egg Bowl (DIY)
Thursday: Leftovers: Posole Soup
Friday: Leftovers: Rice Veggie Fried Egg Bowl
Saturday: Birthday Dinner!
I've decided to plan a week of some of my easy favorites leading up to my birthday, which means slightly more decadent than usual in terms of how much meat I'll be eating but still pretty healthy and easy overall.  So of course the week will start off with a good ole' fashioned Labor Day BBQ...brats and beer anyone??  Then I'll make my favorite Mexican soup - Posole, and finish off the Orecchiette with Rapini & Sausage leftovers from last week.  Wednesday I'll be making a super easy, healthy and delicious DIY meal.  Simply brown rice, whatever veggies strike your fancy (I like scallions and a bit of sauteed kale) with a couple of poached eggs on top sprinkled with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes. Yum.  Then leftovers get me through the rest of the week until it's time for a bit of fun with a birthday dinner out!