January 27, 2011

Home Grown Cafe

One positive aspect of living so far away from our immediate family is how much it makes us appreciate time spent with our "local" family- our grandpa lives about an hour away. We love spending time with him so when a family friend recommended a nearby Middle Eastern restaurant, we quickly planned a weekend lunch. Family + food = ♥.

Unfortunately, the eatery of choice doesn't open till 3 PM on Sundays, so we strolled down Main Street (of Newark, Delaware) to a cute and casual place called Home Grown Cafe. With somewhat of a hippie vibe, the bright colors and cheery atmosphere correspond with a menu full of healthy vegetarian and vegan options. Though our grandpa was less than thrilled, it is a place that is right up A & I's alley(s?).

In staying with the original Middle Eastern theme, we ordered the Tapas Platter ($8, or free when you have a super generous grandpa). A beautiful presentation of fluffy pita wedges and a trio of dips/toppings, it was perfect for sharing and great for satisfying any residual cravings from our initial restaurant choice. In our opinion, pita should be warm, thick, and chewy, and Home Grown didn't disappoint. Almost like a thin naan, it had a good powdery texture on the surface. However, the hummus was a little on the plain side- we like ours with lots of tahini (currently on a Tribe kick). The eggplant salad was strangely red and tasted sweet- attributed to a large dose of pureed tomato. A heavy-handed addition of cinnamon accented this sweetness but didn't work as well as I would hope. My favorite of the salads was very simple- halved cherry tomatoes in an herb-y vinaigrette.

I switched cuisines and ordered the Bahn Mi ($8). Not anything like what you might get at QT here in Philly, this sandwich was served in a pita wrap (more delicious pita, yes please). The fillings included strips of chicken, thin pieces of cucumber and pickled radishes, as well as fresh jalapenos and a "spicy sauce." The veggies were a little lost in the pita- the chicken was definitely the most predominant ingredient (which many would see as a plus!). However, the jalapenos pretty much destroyed me. Halfway through I had to hunt through the sandwich and pull the remaining pieces out. Though I enjoyed the sandwich and the fact that Home Grown put their own spin on it, I'd take the real thing in an instant. The side salad of greens with a creamy vinaigrette was good in a fresh and simple kind of way.

A went with something called the "Power House" ($7), a mongo focaccia sandwich piled high with veggies- everything from red peppers to alfalfa sprouts, complemented by honey mustard and two types of creamy cheese. The sauce was the star- more honey, less mustard, and the sweetness was a nice surprise.

Continuing on that idea... our grandpa knows how much we love sweets, so he insisted we at least look at the dessert menu. The Peanut Butter Bomb ($7.50) was a no-brainer, and lived up to our every expectation. A thin chocolate ganache shell hid a layer of chocolate cake and a dense ball of peanut butter mousse. The mousse was reminscent of peanut butter cookie dough- not too sweet but with an intense creamy richness... perfect for sharing. Our quintessential dessert.

We were happy for the opportunity to catch up, grateful for a free (and delicious) lunch, and looking forward to heading back to Newark- we still have a restaurant to check out! Also.. they have a Panera. Their Cinnamon Crunch bagel is probably on my Top 5 list of favorite foods.

Home Grown Cafe
126 East Main Street
Newark, DE

January 25, 2011

Cheap Eats: Philadelphia Chutney Company

Sometimes, we are a bit late jumping on the bandwagon. In the case of Philadelphia Chutney Company, we're about four months late. Opening in late fall of 2010, PCC has received a fair amount of press, particularly from the blog community. Even so, it was never something we were dying to eat. Odd, considering our love for any food that is Indian. Looking for a new-to-us "cheap eats" restaurant as close to our home as possible (this weather has been BRUTAL!), we quickly decided on the Chutney Company.

The restaurant is divided like many fast food places-- menu and ordering on one side, seating on the other. The menu is fairly straightforward, but doesn't offer a lot of English translations, leaving me to guess at some of the items I knew I wanted. We made our selections, grabbed a couple of self-serve waters (from a big jug containing cucumbers and lemons) and found a seat. We only waited a few minutes before our appetizers were ready to go, and we were called by name up to the counter.

One of our favorite Indian dishes is the samosa, so it was a no-brainer selection. An order of two generous pockets of fried dough ($2.50) were stuffed with spiced potatoes and tamarind, and came with a side of (what we think was) tomato chutney.

The dough was thin, crispy, and not too greasy, a perfect edible container for the flavorful potato filling. The chutney was surprisingly sweet, contrasting the savory whipped innards.

Two of the other appetizer options consist of cakes made from lentil flour, available either fried or steamed. Even though we had chosen the fried samosas, we doubled up with the fried lentil cakes, or Medhu Wada ($2.50). Another great "cheap eats" deal- three large donut-like cakes of fluffy lentil flour and bits of vegetables served with our choice of chutney. It's hard to describe these without continuing to draw the donut connection- just without the sugar. We added a bit of that back with the mango chutney, our overall favorite of the evening. Thick, sweet, and jam-like, I wanted to spoon it up.

Regardless of the restaurant's namesake, the main attraction stars the dosas and the uttapas- two variations of a similar item. Both start with a sourdough base produced from rice, with the dough spread thin and resembling a crepe for a dosa, and thicker and chewier (more of a classic pancake) for the uttapa. Toppings for the dosas/uttapas (as well as the entire menu) are all vegetarian, including various vegetables and vegetable-based faux meats (chicken and tuna).

I chose a classic Indian version, the uttapa topped with potato masala, grilled veggie chicken and spinach ($8). The pancake foundation was thick enough to be cut into slices and eaten like a pizza. Doughy, chewy and flexible, with an ever-so-slight sour flavor, it was a great base for the soft, spiced potatoes and "grilled chicken" (which seemed fried, and didn't quite resemble chicken). The sparse spinach was steamed to the point of being plastered to the rice dough and hardly recognizable, but overall I was in Indian food heaven. The flavor profile was similar to the samosas, and with the addition of a thick, spicy curry chutney, it was unbelievably delicious.

J took a different route, trying a simpler roti chutney wrap. Two thin wraps were stuffed with chopped romaine, cucumber, the faux chicken and dressed inside with the mango chutney ($6). Served cold, it seemed more of a simple lunch than a satisfying dinner. However, the outer roti wrapper was buttery, flaky and chewy, a much improved version of a classic tortilla wrap. The mango chutney performed just as well inside the wrap as on our lentil cakes, sweetening each bite.

We left quite content- a very filling, satisfying meal that soothed our never-ending desire for spicy, flavorful Indian eats, all for under $20 total. With only slight food babies and subtle lingering food odors on our clothes, I'd choose this over an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet any day. Bandwagon, we're on.

Philadelphia Chutney Company
1628 Sansom Street

January 22, 2011


Since A & I are known to be "foodies" in our circle of friends, we've received several cookbooks as gifts, which have provided delicious recipes and inspiration for past and future meals. One of our most recent acquisitions is a book titled simply "Tapas." Tapas are a great way to try a wide variety of dishes- good for those who have a hard time making decisions. Additionally, many of the recipes in this book would make great appetizers for a dinner party.

Nicely organized into sections based on the primary component of the dish (ie cheese and egg, fish and seafood, etc), the book is full of gorgeous pictures of almost every dish, as well as some "step-by-step" pictures to guide you from start to finish. Additionally, most of the recipes only have 3 or 4 steps of instructions, breaking the work into manageable sections without looking overwhelming.

We were supposed to have a friend over for tapas mid-week, but the fiasco involving replacing the glass in our enormous front bay window had the glass contractor working in our house three nights this week. Therefore, we decided to spend a Friday night in, making and eating three tapas dishes from the book. The only thing better than enjoying tapas is enjoying tapas in sweatpants and a Carrie Underwood t-shirt. Classy.

The culprit

The first "course" was Mushrooms with broad bean puree. The recipe makes enough for 6, so we cut it down significantly. We used two large portobello caps, adding a bit of butter, crushed garlic, and salt and pepper to the upside down shrooms before baking them in the oven for 12 minutes at 400F. Instead of broad beans, we used frozen edamame, nuking them for a few minutes before adding them to the food processor. A few chopped mint leaves, 2 oz of soft goat cheese, three stalks of green onions (green part only), the juice from 1/2 of a lemon and a pinch of salt also went into the processor, blending until smooth.

When the mushrooms are soft (and smelling delicious with the garlic and butter), blob the mixture onto the cap, add a few chopped green onions and whole beans as well as a grate of lemon zest and return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Simple to make, yet an explosion of complex flavors in every bite- the meaty mushrooms, creamy goat cheese, and a hint of acid from the lemon- every component of the dish played a role in the overall flavor and texture. A great start to the meal, this was also our unanimous favorite.

However, the second dish certainly didn't disappoint- because you can't really go wrong with pizza. Called "coco," this dish required a bit more prep as I had to make dough from scratch. Flour, salt, and a packet of yeast mixed with warm water- I substituted 1/3 whole wheat flour and eyeballed the rest- my favorite way to make bread. After kneading the slightly sticky dough for ten minutes (chatting on the phone with my mom kept me entertained!), I let it rise for about 35 minutes in a greased and covered bowl on the stove top. Ambient heat from other cooking activities shortened the rising time.

While the dough was doing its thing, I made the topping for the pizza. A sauceless version, this consisted of sauteing sliced garlic and mushrooms and a large handful of pine nuts for about 5 minutes, then adding fresh baby spinach until wilted.

I used another new kitchen implement- a Silpat to cook the pizza. I spread out a few tablespoons of cornmeal (we like the crunchy texture it adds to the bottom of the crust) and rolled out the dough- the Silpat was amazing and made it SO easy to form the crust. Spread the mixture out, add dots of goat cheese and a dusting of sweet paprika, and bake for 15 minutes (conveniently also at 400F). The finished version looked about the same as the unbaked- the crust didn't change color or size much, so I had to poke it a few times till I decided it was done.

Though it could have used a bit more spinach (that stuff shrinks down about 99%), the slightly crispy dough was a great base for toasty, crunchy pine nuts and more delicious mushroom/goat cheese. The fact that we could share ingredients between the dishes was helpful- the book is good about repeating ingredients to make grocery shopping a bit more efficient.

Our final dish came from the seafood section- Prawns with garlicky crushed beans. We were actually able to make most of the dish the night before to cut down on our stovetop time. Chopped onion, two cans of white beans and a splash of chicken broth were cooked together for a few minutes, followed by a mashing of the beans- we used our potato masher but a fork would also do the job.

We reheated these in the microwave for simplicity while A made the shrimp part of the dish. A half pound of peeled, deveined shrimp were quickly cooked in a frying pan, and then joined by a bit of tomato paste, a pinch of oregano and paprika, honey, and some water to thin out the paste.

Top the beans with the shrimp and enjoy. The creamy beans had a sweet flavor from the white onions we used, accented by the sweet paprika and the earthy oregano. Shrimp is one of my favorite proteins, so I gladly accepted a giant one from A when she decided she was too full. Next time I would tone down the oregano- it was definitely the strongest flavor and could have shared the spotlight a bit more with the more mild shrimp and beans.

Surprisingly, these three dishes- enjoyed slowly and one at a time- had us super stuffed. They were all pretty tasty, and between the two of us, we teamed up well to assemble each of them in a pretty short period of time. Most of the dishes could be at least partially completed ahead of time to minimize cooking time for a dinner party. Additionally, many of the ingredients are "flexible"- edamame instead of broad beans, green onions instead of chives, shrimp instead of prawns, etc. Overall, we were very pleased with our foray into tapas making, and will definitely be using this cookbook in the future.

Pros: Good instructions, step-by-step pictures, primarily simple dishes with shorter ingredient lists

Cons: The book was printed in England, so ingredients are measured in grams and mls, so some rather rough conversions are necessary

January 18, 2011


It's that time of year again in Philly- Restaurant Week! RW has its fans and it has its haters, and J and I tend to wobble in between. We haven't taken part in the citywide $35-for-a-3-course-dinner in a couple of years (I explain why in this admittedly long-winded post), but we are still intrigued by the lunch special that is now offered ($20 for 3 courses, but only at some of the RW restaurants). Spotting Zahav as a lunch option for this year, I knew I had to go. Saturday's are annoyingly excluded, and I work on the opposite side of the city during the week, so a Sunday lunch it was.

My friend and I arrived right on time, and were met by a very full house. The dining room is open and spacious, lending itself to a fairly large capacity, but we still had to wait about ten minutes for a table to clear. This set the stage for the speed of service the rest of the meal-- even though it quieted down after a bit, our lunch still took two hours total. I love a long lunch and leisurely eating, but it was a bit too long.


Any meal at Zahav should start the way the RW menu begins: with house-baked laffa (like a thin, airy pita or naan) and hummus, and salatim, or a selection of cold salads. The laffa was served as a single piece, which my friend and I shared by ripping off a bite or two and dunking it into the bowl of hummus. The bread is fresh and light, and is a great way to get that delicious hummus into your face. Best hummus I've ever had, I might add. My friend said he would have preferred more flavor- it is a simply done dip, with chickpeas, tahini, good quality olive oil and little else- so if you're looking for a garlic kick or a bit of spice, you won't find it here.

Natural light really works wonders!

The salatim for lunch gives you four portions of salad (for dinner it is six or eight), elegantly served in small bowls placed in a two-tiered rack. We loved two of the options: a crunchy, spicy cabbage salad with tomato compote and dill, as well as a fresh and creamy fennel salad.

The other two options were also good, but with slightly less flavor. The soft pickled carrots with parsley could pass as baby food (not necessarily a complaint), and the chopped squash with sesame had a sort of odd texture and flavor that I couldn't quite confirm was pleasant. Regardless, as an almost "complimentary" starter (there were four total courses), the laffa, hummus and salads get you started on the path of delicious Israeli eats.

The second course consists of one "mezze" or plate, similar to an appetizer in both size and construction (RW dinner diners choose two). This course provides the most option, making it quite difficult for me to decide. Grilled haloumi?? Their famous fried cauliflower?? They all sounded great, but I opted for the House Smoked Salmon. It was served as a salmon salad, with chopped smoked fish mixed with labenah, a thick Middle Eastern yogurt. It was served atop a base of sweet roasted yellow beets and apples, and sprinkled with a generous, but not overwhelming amount of chopped dill.

I also sampled my friend's choice of the potato latke, a super thick, dense pancake made almost completely from shredded potatoes and perfectly fried- evenly cooked through, and crispy on the outside. Smoked, chopped liver is pureed and generously portioned over the latke, finished with a few skinny pickled baby carrots. The liver was very salty and... well, I can't say I love liver (unless it's from a fattened duck), but it represents a classic Israeli/Jewish dish.

The third course is titled "al-ha'esh," and consists of several meat (and two vegetarian) options, all of which are cooked over coals (I believe on skewers), and then sliced and served with various accoutrements. I chose a second fish dish, the crispy branzino. As soon as it was placed before me, I could smell the strong smokiness of the coals, still lingering on the two small pieces of skin-on fish. Beneath this lay tiny slices of local gold potatoes and softened peppers, coated in olive oil and poppy seeds. I don't typically pair fish and potatoes together, but the lightness of the thin slices worked well. The fish was soft and flavorful, with a great crispy crunch from the skin (definitely eat this part!), but the overall dish didn't scream "Israel" to me.

The small portions and long stretch between each course left me with plenty of room for dessert. With only three options to choose from, I had no problem picking the Hazelnut and Date Rugelach (which I learned is pronounced "rug-uh-luh"). Two dainty twisted pastries with a croissant-like texture were filled with chopped hazelnuts and dates, and were soft and warm as if straight from the oven. On the side was served a tiny glass of a pink liquid topped with foam. I had no idea what this was but dug in anyways. Delicious! Known as sachlab, this authentic Middle Eastern drink is concocted from milk, sugar, orange flower water, blended nuts and coconut, and served warm. A perfect ending to the meal, cutting out my lingering desire for a warm cup of coffee.

If you find yourself unsure of where to eat during RW and are a semi-adventurous eater, head directly to Zahav. Both lunch and dinner options are worth far more than you will pay, you'll be out of the grasp of crazed Garces and Starr fans, and you just might learn something about a new-to-you food. You'll even walk away with a $10 gift card good for any of Chef Michael Solomonov's local restaurants.

237 St. James Place (just off Walnut St between 2nd and 3rd St)

January 15, 2011

The Dandelion

It's hard to talk about Philadelphia fine dining without mentioning Steven Starr. However, looking back at our past year of eats, I'm pretty sure the only Steven Starr-owned eating was done at Barclay Prime. I can't decide whether J and I have recovered from our initial hypnosis by restaurants such as Buddakan, Pod, and the Continental, or whether we've branched out to a degree where Starr restaurants are just part of the unending pool of possible eats. Probably some combination of the two-- not that his restaurants don't have appeal, but they tend to be more of an experience, and come with quite a hefty price.

The Starr Restaurant Dynasty Organization has recently added another restaurant to their vast collection. Although J and I passed on trying his last endeavor (El Rey), The Dandelion seemed more up my alley. With J still out of town, I once again recruited my second favorite dining partner to accompany me to this new, ever-so-conveniently-close restaurant for an end of the week dinner.

Photo by Yelp

I really have no idea how Starr combined what used to be a shoe/clothing store with an adjacent restaurant space, but the transformation is quite shocking. The Dandelion attempts to recreate a classic British pub, and while I have zero experience with the authentic version, simply approaching the front door took me to a dark European alley, where I was making my way into an out of the way, quiet local pub. Upon entering, those images completely faded as we were met with an extremely loud, busy atmosphere with no obvious employees to be seen. Finally, an unlabeled hostess found us looking lost and led us to a hostess stand in an adjacent room. Tables, bars, and people were scattered everywhere, with twisting hallways and staircases bringing us deeper into the innards of the restaurant. I was almost relieved when we were finally seated in a relatively quieter corner upstairs- but sadly, with no glimpse of the notorious fireplace or dog-themed room.

Our waitress offered us the option of flat or (complimentary) "fizzy" water- is this a typical British description? I was a bit confused at first, but when my boyfriend said flat and I said fizzy, she happily complied with both. On a service note, however, she was a bit inconsistent- either disappearing for great lengths of time or hovering a bit later in the meal. I'll chalk it up to a relatively new service team, but I can't help but think the maze of rooms can't help the speed of service.

Fizzy and Flat

The menu at the Dandelion offers an array of classic British eats. I don't think England is known for haute cuisine, but the items available here all seemed appealing. I persuaded the boyfriend to share an appetizer of my choosing (for once!), the Smoked Salmon and Trout Pate ($8). Served with three slices of thick, buttery brioche, a very generous hunk of chopped smoked fish was mixed with chive, dill, and lemon which helped keep the flavors light.

The thick toast served as the perfect base for piles of the pillowy pate-- easily the highlight of my meal.

I was a little peeved when the bread service arrived after the pate was mostly consumed- the bread/bread clash was a little awkward and ill-timed. However, I did appreciate a half slice of the sweet, earthy dark stout option with my second course. Side note: the bread is served with a pat of butter on a poorly chosen piece of slate (don't touch the knife to the slate, whatever you do!), as well as a tiny Mason jar of salt. I hope other customers notice the spoon before reaching in to grab a pinch as I mistakenly did...

For an entree, I selected the Winter Root Vegetable Soup, accompanied by local cheddar and buttermilk croutons ($8). I was expecting a stew-type soup full of soft chunks of roasted vegetables, but instead was met with what looked like a classic butternut squash bisque. The flavor was a bit more developed than it appeared, with a strong hint of celery, and made good on the promise of British food by containing more than its fair share of cream and butter (even the salads here look heavy!).

I also went for a side of Cheesy Cauliflower ($5), imagining it would make a nice complement to my roasted vegetables. The cheese sauce of the cauliflower was similarly soupy, thick enough to coat the chunks of cauliflower but thin enough to spoon up once those were gone. A breadcrumb/cheese topping gave it the appearance of mac n' cheese, and enough flavor and fat to fool any veggie-hater.

Just as one of my friends has a buffalo wing mission, I think my boyfriend has a burger mission. The burger at the Dandelion ($14) comes with melted smoked cheddar, thin slices of pickles, and a strangely sweet onion-pepper relish located beneath the patty. Served on fluffy whole wheat brioche (a stab of health consciousness??), it seemed fairly run of the mill to me (at least without the addition of the onion relish, which I would recommend leaving out).

Served with the burger was a more interesting side- triple cooked "chips," fat, squarely cut potato wedges triple fried in beef fat. Again, I can't tout any previous experience with real food from the other side of the pond, but these definitely held a flavor and texture that you don't often find in your typical French fry here in the States.

Apparently the Dandelion makes several great renditions of British desserts, including a Sticky Toffee Pudding which sounds superb. However, after two courses of heavy eats, neither of us were prepared for a sugary stomach bomb. I would think about returning in the future for that smoked salmon (or one of their other two pate options) and a go at the dessert, but the thought of fighting the crowds and noise are enough to make me reconsider.

Once again, Starr delivers on providing an unusual, and certainly unique-to-Philadelphia dining experience, transforming a relatively quiet corner into a booming business. While the prices are certainly higher than face value, I can imagine many would take the price in stride in order to be transported to another country, if only for a meal. I for one, am not sure I want to make that trip again.

The Dandelion
18th and Sansom Streets

January 13, 2011

A Week in Review

It might sound a little weird, but I find it interesting to see how people eat day-to-day. I'm "that girl" who will peer into your grocery cart, ask you about your lunch, and of course, read a number of blogs whose authors describe each of her meals and snacks. Do you have a take-out habit? Do you cook once or twice a week and eat leftovers the rest of the days? Do you have a scheduled "pasta night" or "pizza night"? Do you stick to the same handful of recipes, or do you never repeat a meal? For some reason, I feel as if this information gives me insight into one's overall life.

Obviously, J and I don't blog about every meal we eat, but I often find myself wishing retrospectively that I had documented a meal after preparing and consuming it. Just in case you too find strange pleasure in food voyeurism (isn't that the definition of a food blog?) I'd like to offer you a glimpse into our normal eating habits. I simply recorded our dinners from five consecutive days-- enjoy!

Day One: Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Chickpeas
Inspired by this recipe, found on TasteSpotting
While J was off learning the art of making challah, I was at home tending to the very arduous process of baking a spaghetti squash for that night's dinner. After fully cooked, I simply combined it with wilted kale, garlic, chickpeas, crushed red pepper, and for good measure, 2 cups of one of the best store bought tomato sauces I've ever had.

The Silver Palate's Fra Diavolo

Topped with some shaved Parmesan, it was a delicious, spicy, healthy start to the new week (makes four very hefty servings).

Squash, Kale, and Chickpeas

Day Two: Smoked Salmon, Roasted Pepper, and Portobello Sandwiches
Another straight-from-TasteSpotting recipe, found here
We (and our slightly sick kitty) had a trip to the vet scheduled after work, so wanted a super quick dinner option. J prepared the sandwiches by sauteing big portobello slices and whipping up a sweet wasabi mayo (mayo, wasabi paste, soy sauce and honey), then combining these with smoked salmon and (bottled) roasted red peppers on toasted bread. It might sound like a strange combination, but it was to die for. Two sides of sauteed spinach with garlic and roasted broccoli rounded out the meal.

Smoked Salmon Sandwiches

Sandwich Innards

Day Three: Balsamic Dijon Crusted Pork Chops with Confetti Couscous
I typically buy pork chops in a four-pack and either freeze two of them or plan two pork-filled meals. This week, I chose the latter option. I simply coated two chops with salt, pepper, and dijon mustard, and cooked them stovetop. After flipping, I gave them each a topping of aged balsamic, which partially boiled off to create a crust with the mustard. Additionally, I used this recipe as a base to create a similar dish made with Hodgson Mill's Whole Wheat Couscous (we should practically be Hodgson Mill's ambassadors). Couscous cooks up in about ten minutes (including water-boiling-time), making it a good choice for quick weeknight meals. Mixed with various chopped, cooked vegetables and a drizzle of that aged balsamic, it made a perfect healthy match for the juicy chop.

Pork Chops and Confetti Couscous

Day Four: Pork and Shrimp Fried Rice
After preparing Day Three's meal, I used the couscous pot to cook a cup of brown rice in preparation for Day Four's dinner. Brown rice takes about forty-five minutes to fully cook, so when I'm in a rush, it's simply not an option. Prepare it ahead of time, and you're good to go! J was off to California for a conference (perhaps I didn't pick the most typical week to document our meals!), so my boyfriend came over for dinner instead. A notoriously picky eater, I snuck a good serving or two of mixed vegetables into his body by rolling them into a great, healthy fried rice. The remaining pork chops were cooked with a quarter pound of shrimp, bok choy, carrots, broccoli and edamame, all of which was then combined with the rice, two eggs, and a soy sauce and sesame oil based sauce.

Fried Rice (my serving, atop a pile of fresh spinach)

Day Five: Vegetable Calzone
On my own for Day Five, I basically examined the contents of my fridge and freezer to see what I could throw together. Using leftover whole wheat pizza dough (previously frozen; then thawed overnight in the fridge), I stuffed it with sauteed vegetables, whipped cottage cheese (an excellent substitute for ricotta), and leftover pasta sauce. Baked for 15 minutes at 375F; in the meantime, I pan-fried an egg over-easy and slipped it on top of the calzone for its last few minutes in the oven. Half of the calzone, the egg (piercing the yolk to allow drippage over the crust), and a simple side salad gave me a solid dinner in less than thirty minutes, while using up lots of random fridge and freezer items.

Vegetable Calzone

And there you have it-- a "week" of dinners, straight from our kitchen. They are all very typical of our day-to-day dinners- quick, easy, heavy on the vegetables and whole grains, and light on the meat. Almost all of our meals also produce great leftovers, perfect for lunches the next day (no need to eat a simple sandwich or spend $10 at Au Bon Pain...). We rely heavily on TasteSpotting for inspiration and recipes, but hopefully by sharing here, we're joining the movement in our own way to promote healthy, easy, home-cooked meals.