Monday, September 14, 2009

Road food detox? Not so much...

Wow, it feels like ages since I have been here. Not home, we got home from our road trip out west over a week ago now, but here, at This Week's Menu. The trip was really smooth sailing, the car ran great (except for a little trouble with the steep elevation gain out of Denver, but it acclimated pretty quickly), we got great gas mileage for a 17 year old car with nearly 230,000 miles (we averaged ~32 mpg) and the driving was pretty easy. I think my favorite part of the whole drive was going through Western Iowa. We drove through the biggest wind farm I have ever seen and it was gorgeous. On the way out it was foggy and the enormous blades of the turbines spun in and out of view. It was really awe inspiring. Besides the driving (of which we did a TON) we got to catch up with a lot of old friends (some I hadn't seen for over 5 years!) and spend some time with family.

The other goal of the trip, to load up the car with some of our favorite food stuffs that we cannot get east of the Mississippi (or east of the very farm stand where we bought some of those items according to the woman running the stand) was a success! We brought home two bushels of roasted green chiles and three cases of New Belgium beer. I was nervous that the chiles may not survive the long trip but we cleaned and packaged them before we left and kept them on ice the whole trip and they fared just fine. I have already made one batch of chili, which I will not be posting this week because I have not yet gotten a single decent photo of it. But do not fear, it will be a staple at our house this winter and you all will probably get sick of it long before my freezer is empty!

On the last day of the ride home I was thinking the menu for the first week back needed to be a road food detox menu. Well, as you will see below, that didn't really happen. It was actually more of a comfort food/cooler fall weather menu. What can you do?


The first thing I felt like doing when we got home was baking. Jer suggested brownies or chocolate chip cookies but I wanted something a little more seasonal and something I could eat for breakfast. Not that I have anything against brownies OR chocolate chip cookies for breakfast but my "sensible" side won out this time. (The quotes are necessary here because I still snuck in some chocolate chips in place of the more traditional breakfast choice of nuts.)

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
modified from Use Real Butter
makes 24 muffins

3 eggs
2 c grated zucchini
2 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
1 T vanilla
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 c chocolate chips (I used the darkest one I could find)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl beat the eggs until foamy. Beat in the sugar and vanilla. Mix in the zucchini and oil. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into lined muffin tins and bake until golden and muffins spring back to a light touch. About 15 minutes.


This soup was pretty simple to make and is a great Summer/Fall transitional dish. The flavors of summer but the warm and creamy texture I crave in the fall.

Summer Corn Soup with Crisp Prosciutto
from Fine Cooking
makes 4 servings

3 very thin slices prosciutto
4 large ears of corn
4 T unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
kosher salt
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
black pepper
2 t coarsely chopped fresh basil

Position oven rack about 4 inches below the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Arrange the prosciutto in a single layer on a baking sheet and broil until it begins to curl, 1-2 minutes. Flip the prosciutto and broil until appears crisp and has curled a bit more, about 1 minute. Let cool, then chop and set aside.

Slice the kernels off the corn cobs (you want ~3 cups of corn total). Reserve the cobs.

In a medium Dutch oven (or heavy pot) over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until softened and slightly golden, 5-7 minutes. Season with a generous pinch of salt.

Add four cups of water, the broth, potatoes, half of the corn, the cobs and 2 t salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the cobs.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender and transfer each batch to a bowl. Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and add the remaining corn. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the corn kernels are tender, 3-5 minutes. (I like mine to still have a little crispness to them so I stayed on the short end of the cooking time.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish each serving with the prosciutto and basil.

Jer requested tortellini this week and his favorite sauce with tortellini is Alfredo. I don't love it so I have never made it myself but I decided to give it a try. It turned out a little grainy, but I think it was because the cheese I used was pre-grated. Not good for melting. Other than that it was pretty darn good.

Tortellini Alfredo with Prosciutto and Peas
makes 4 servings

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, grated
generous pinch nutmeg
1 cup grated Parmegiano-Reggiano
kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
8-10 thin slices prosciutto, chopped
1 lb fresh or frozen tortellini

Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Add the peas during the last few minutes of cooking time.

Meanwhile, combine the cream, butter, garlic and nutmeg in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes, or until thickened and saucy. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and prosciutto. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


When we got home from our trip my sweet in-laws had stocked our fridge with a few essentials; milk, eggs... and biscuits and gravy. Well, maybe that isn't an essential but it was sure was tasty the next morning when we got up. The gravy was in the dish above and I had it all cleaned and ready to return to them when I decided it would be perfect for the tuna noodle casserole. Something about the retro flowers and the retro food. I was also pleased with the color combination when I looked back at the photos.

Ah, the things I never thought about about before becoming a food blogger...

Tuna Noodle Casserole
makes 4 servings

3 cups wide egg noodles
1/2 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup peas
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can tuna, drained
1/4 lb cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook the noodles according to package directions.

Meanwhile, mix together all of the remaining ingredients (except the cheese). Stir in the drained noodles and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn on the broiler and place the the dish on the top oven rack until the cheese starts to brown, 2-3 minutes.


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Anonymous said...

I can't wait for green chili recipes!...oh, wait, I don't have any green chilies....grrr
(Also, I'm embarrassed how many times I've checked to see if this week's menu was up yet :) )

Anonymous said...

Made the soup last night...yum! Could probably use bacon instead of prosciutto too (tasty and cheaper). Looking forward to leftovers tonight.

Jannell Says said...

Just bought the ingredients for the Tuna Noodle Casserole. Looks like a wonderfully simple recipe! I love your blog and the recipes you include. And the pics are great too!

Andrea said...

Hey Jannell,
Thanks so much. I hope you like the casserole. Let me know how it turns out!