Sunday: Boyfriend birthday again!
The actual birthday dinner made, of course, at home. Yes, I’m kinda domestic sometimes. And yes, that’s how I became an incredible cook.
Special dinner includes seasoned roasted potatoes and bell peppers topped with halibut filets. And by filets, I mean steaks. And by steaks, I mean cut from a halibut caught by my friend’s mom in ALASKA. Thanks, Dr. Franklin! Not pictured, also consumed: Birthday white russians.
Notes: What’s that you said? Birthdays are usually accompanied by some kind of dessert? I had no idea! Fortunately, I just happened to make these out of the blue:
The recipe I used was based on this one, which makes it seem like way too big of a hullabaloo. First of all, you get more cookies than they suggest, so buy more ice cream. Maybe three quarts. Then you can make different flavors! Also, only cook them for maybe 13 minutes. Also, you don’t need to use flour to roll out the dough, just a glass or smooth plastic cutting board.
Monday: Lamb and Beef Enchiladas
Enchiladas are another dish that I feel not-that-bad about commandeering in name and basic idea but definitely not ingredients. Hence, this pan of “enchiladas” was made with seasoned ground lamb and beef, cream cheese, and diced bell peppers and topped with green enchilada sauce (yes, from a can, I’m so lazy) and shredded cheddar. But not onions, because somehow I ran out. Who knew one could run out of onions? Not me. Not pictured, also consumed: nothing. The bottle of water and tablespoon of hot sauce accompanying my dinner are clearly pictured.
Notes: “enchiladas” are super easy to make. Just make sure you cook the meat beforehand, and if you’re using corn tortillas, beware that they don’t want to roll up nicely. Rather, they want to tear and be difficult. So be ready.
Tuesday: Back to terrible pictures
Tonight was FINALLY 100% leftovers. Potatoes left from Sunday night, and ground lamb/beef from Monday on tortilla chips. Not pictured, also consumed: mmmmm maybe an ice cream bar. I made full-sized and half-sized ones, and the half-sized ones can be hard to resist. What? They’re minty!
Notes: I know what you’re thinking: “What about the leftover halibut?!” Don’t worry. It’s coming.
Wednesday: Can’t stop the farfalle
This is the freezer meal from Bertolli that I mentioned last week. It’s honestly not that bad, although it definitely doesn’t come with green beans, which I added. Fortunately, it’s a great conduit for frozen peas, lima beans, green beans, MORE spinach… what have you. So while it’s probably not that good for you, it’s easy to add vitamins that improve its quality and taste. Not pictured: One enormous bottle of water. And one small bottle of sadness because my shoulder is still injured. Boo.
Thursday: Ann Arbor Restaurant Week
Twice a year, Ann Arbor plays host to a frenzy of going out to eat yclept “Restaurant Week.” During this entire week, a large number of the restaurants in town have an abbreviated menu encouraging new patrons to try them out at a lower-than-usual price—either $28 per diner for the fancier places, or 2 for $28 for the lower key places.
I try to make it out once to check out a place I’ve never been before, especially if it’s a hot new place like Isalita is, following in the footsteps of its sister (and next-door-neighbor) restaurant, Mani.
Overall, I’d say the food was extremely solid. My mind wasn’t blown, but my stomach and taste buds were very satisfied. Shown in the above picture is my entree, seafood enchiladas. It was *ahem* romantically lit in there, so the picture quality isn’t great, but my dish is topped with radish shreds. Mmmmmmm. I also had a shrimp cocktail with fried plantain strips and some kind of salsa/mint-chutney combo, which was light and reminded me of Indian lunch buffet mint chutney. Also not shown is their tres leches dessert—a “three-milk” white cake topped with fresh mango and kiwi and doused in some creamy happy sauce. I would give the cake a “very good.”
On the downside, even though it was restaurant week, we felt pretty rushed for getting there at 5:30pm (and having a reservation). The waitress told us before we ordered that everything would be coming out of the kitchen as soon as it was ready, so one of us might get our food before the other. Which would have been fine, except our appetizers came out approximately two minutes after our chips and guac, and only about six minutes before our entrees, and our two-person table was NOT big enough to hold all the special presentations they prepared.
In the WIN category, though, is micheladas. This is probably my favorite alcoholic beverage. It looks and sounds gross—a mexican lager (Tecate or Corona usually) poured over ice and a large helping of hot sauce, lime juice, and clamato, rounded off by a salt rim—I know, you don’t even want to try it now, right? Well I am here to change your mind. They are GREAT. And so was the one I ordered at Isalita.
All things considered, I think I would try it again. Maybe during lunch, when I could get a not-overwhelming amount of food for a not-overwhelming amount of money. Like I said, the food was definitely well prepared and tasty. But come on, people. That’s what tacos cost in New York City, not Ann Arbor.
Friday: Return of the Halibut!
I told you it’d be back. This was a very straightforward dinner in terms of prep, but tasted fantastic. Until I was about 20 years old, I thought fish tacos must be gross. I seriously would not even consider eating a taco that didn’t have chicken or red meat on it. Well, I was wrong. These guys have spring greens, hand-shredded queso fresco, diced onions, and leftover halibut seared in a tiny bit of olive oil and a lot of chili powder. Spicy and happy. Not pictured: For dessert I had an Atwater Vanilla Java Porter. And, as usual, it was lightly sweet and wonderfully smooth.
Saturday: Stuffed Squash!
I love stuffed acorn squash in the winter for several reasons: 1) it’s cheap. The squash itself is half of the calories and chewing, and two people can split one for about $1.50; 2) You can use various combos of fillings, sweet or savory, to accommodate the needs of any vegetarian/gluten-intolerant/vegan/sugar-free guests you may have; 3) Minimal prep, ESPECIALLY if you are planning on using meat that’s already cooked, like I am.
Tonight’s squash are stuffed with leftover ground lamb/beef, carmelized onions, and spring greens, topped with a sprinkling of shredded queso fresco, not because they needed cheese but because I love cheese crunch. Not pictured: All the waters. Why is it so snowy outside and so dry everywhere else?!
Notes: I know I always say this, but seriously. Stuffed squash are easy, nutritious, and filling. Oh yeah, and really, really, really CHEAP! If you want a couple different recipe ideas, you’re in luck: I’ve already put a few online RIGHT HERE!
I’ve made it through one month… only 11 to go! Bonus from the first month: My iPhone photography is definitely (maybe) improving!