Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recipe: Mediterranean Stew

Last January, my brother introduced me to the MediterrAsian website. I tried a few things, liked them, and then promptly forgot about it. A couple of months ago, I went back and started trying a few dishes.

Thai fish curry - This recipe surprised me. It was very light, a little sweet, and really good. There's no curry powder in it, though, and my brain was still expecting that type of flavor because of the name. I thought there was quite a bit of liquid for the quantity of solids, so you could easily increase the fish and veggies if you were serving more people. Or break up the fish pieces, stir the rice in, and serve as a soup.

Salmon risotto - not a dish I particularly recommend. I had a 14 oz can of salmon, so I doubled the recipe. According to their idea, that should have been 4 servings. We ended up with 6 ample portions, and were really wishing it was only the original two.
Side note: That was the first time I'd used canned salmon. Did you know it still has the fish bones in it? I was expecting bone-free like canned tuna.

Dhal with carrots and cauliflower - I couldn't find the red lentils at the regular grocery store, but the health food store had them. The coconut milk in it gives it a slightly sweet flavor. I'm not a big fan of cauliflower, so I found this an easy way to work it into my diet without having to suffer through the normal taste of it. In fact, I really didn't even notice the cauliflower at all. I found the Indian bread at the grocery store, and I did like it, but it was a little pricey to be using in one meal. Next time, we'll probably just use a baguette. Or skip the bread altogether. As with the salmon risotto, I found their 4 servings to expand to about 6 at my house. Except for the bread, this is a reasonably inexpensive dish.

Mediterranean Stew - This recipe is the reason for this post. This stuff is fantastic. Alex doesn't like olives, so I leave them out, and it is still an excellent recipe. They offer a number of variations on it, and we've tried all but the Italian one. It amazes me how the overall flavor really changes based on the protein and seasonings you add. My hands-down favorite is the Moroccan version. I've tried it with both fish and chickpeas, and I prefer the chickpeas. That's convenient, since it's cheaper as well!

When I make it, I double the ingredients for the basic stew, then divide that up into 3 portions. I then add the variant's protein and seasonings into one of the portions. Either refrigerate or freeze the other two until you need another quick meal.

I really have issues with the portion sizes they suggest. They must eat a lot more than we do. I still have 4 servings per portion, and we don't feel the servings are all that small. Sometimes I serve a salad with it, and then we are really full.

Summary: Unless you are really big eaters, their serving portions are going to be more generous than you probably need. The recipes themselves, however, are pretty good. If you don't try anything else except the stew, you should at least give that one a try. I think I'm probably going to make another batch soon because I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Right on time

I accepted a job today. I applied for it back in December, and it just took them this long to call. It's a full-time but temporary job, only lasting about 4 months. I'll be working with the US Census Bureau, doing crew training and quality assurance. I liked doing training at PATLive, but I'll admit that our hiring standards were probably slightly higher than the level of the average census worker. I could be wrong... I rather hope I'm wrong. We'll have to see. Hopefully when this is over, the economy will be picking up again and people will start hiring for decent permanent jobs and wages.

I'll know a little more after I start training. When is that, you ask? March 13. Which just so happens to be the same day that I receive my last payment from PATLive. How's that for timing?