Monday, October 6, 2008

The Eating Week Begins on Sunday

If you cook well on Sunday, you can eat well for much of the week. Sunday has a lot of things going for it. It's a day off, for one. There's time to shop. To peruse recipes. Plot. Make a plan.

Sometimes I get ideas during the week, reading food blogs. In particular, Bittman and Orangette. In this case, Orangette made a compelling case for stuffed tomatoes. A very compelling case. And seeing how tomoto season was running out, and I wouldn't get too many chances, this was clearly the mission for Sunday. I had the recipe printed out and ready to go. And the day was to be chilly, meaning that having the oven on for an hour and half in the late afternoon would be welcome.

Grilling season is over. Oven season is in. Bread baking commenced a couple of weeks ago, but I wasn't in the mood for bread baking. But I digress.

This was the second roasted tomato recipe I lifted from Orangette. The first was absolutely spectacular. Who knew such flavor could come from tomatoes? These were plum tomatoes, roasted for 2+ hours, with olive oil and oregano, and a touch of sugar. Yum.

Yesterday's adventure was with large tomatoes, scooped out, sauteed with a little olive oil and onion, some arborio rice (just 1/3 cup), and then stuffed back in and covered with bread crumbs.

This did not start well. First of all...the selection of tomatoes at Wilson Farm was getting pretty meager. But they had their standard large "our own" tomatoes, that looked a few days from being ripe, but what the hey. (Moving to Medford has moved me many miles from Verril Farm, who has the BEST TOMATOES IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD), but it was hard to justify the drive.....I should have justified it. When looking for the link to put here, I see that they're asking people to support them after their devastating fire by buying food from their temporary farm stand.....I could have helped them!)

In any case, cutting the tops off the tomatoes revealed that these were indeed poor substitutes for in-season, Verril Farm, heirloom tomatoes. But, I bought four of the suckers, so I was committed. But I gotta tell you....even mediocre tomatoes in the oven for over an hour, with a little basil and some olive oil can taste pretty terrific.

The huge-o tomotoes with the sliced Yukon Gold potatoes off the the side would have been plenty enough, without any meat. But I thought I'd add a little meat side dish.....chicken legs baked in the same oven, with some Penzy's Northwoods Seasoning (basically, salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, rosemary, garlic and chipotle in a little convenient bottle), plus some pimenton. Bittman blogged about pimenton about a week ago, and I just had to do some cooking with it. (Susan made his pimenton soaked swordfish, which was spectacular!)

I have to say....I haven't done much yet with the idea of meat as side dish. But this was a perfect way to do it. The tomato and rice was filling enough, especially with those potatoes. The little chicken leg on its own was perfect...though it could have used more pimenton. But the idea that I would have a meal with just one little chicken leg would have struck me as absurd just a few months ago.

Since I made four huge tomatoes, but there were only two of us, and I made ten chicken legs, and there were only two of us....I had enough for today's dinner, and then enough to stash some chicken legs in the fridge, and maybe even a few in the freezer. I'd never tried that before...cooked chicken in the freezer, but I don't see why that wouldn't work.

Well...maybe this won't feed me for the week, but if I do have some leftover grain in the fridge, and some cabbage....I can probably make something of that when the inspiration strikes.

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