Apple picking was fun, fun, fun. It was a fine fall day and a nice drive down to the orchard. Riley and I were feeling good–we had both exceeded our job applications for the morning. See? Look, apple picking enjoyment!
For dinner later we were sort of planning on Eggplant Parmesan and Mushroom Risotto. We had leftover eggplants from a party we had for my Mom’s birthday the day after we got here, but unfortunately the gifted plants had gone bad. But, we were hoping to find some replacement eggplant from the small farmers market in the town we’re staying in, St. Croix Falls, WI. Instead we walked away from the market with habaneros and green onions. So, when we got home, we began one of our favorite games…what’s for dinner? Well, whadda we got in the fridge and pantry honey!?
[a little explanation here. when we get to this point in the evening and we are wondering what we have for dinner it usually falls on me, the boyfriend, to come up with ideas. i’m not complaining, i love doing this, but i just want to make sure you all understand this. “whadda we got in the fridge” means, “what are you making for dinner, honey, cause you haven’t said anything about it yet and i’m starving.” oh, and sometimes i even get vetoed.]
THE PROCESS, of whadda we got, in dialogue:
“Well, we were going to make Mushroom Risotto and Eggplant Parmesan. The Eggplant Parmesan had Marinara sauce in it right, so we still have those ingredients, right?”
“Let’s see, what else do we have? Hmmm…” Brats, carrots, tomatoes, green onions, Zucchini, mushrooms (for the risotto, of course), cherry tomatoes, onion, potato, beer, hummus, wine, rice, pasta, soup, cake, oatmeal, eggs, habanero, cheese, feta cheese, romano cheese, yogurt, flat bread, lots and lots and lots of apples, and… “…what do you think of this? Mushroom Risotto, fried brats, mushroom and green onion on top with a little Marinara over that!” [my college roommates would have been cheering at this point.]
*a very quizzical, apprehensive, scared, yet still starving look*
“Hey, risotto’s good. Brats are good. Marinara is good…………risotto with brats and marinara…..not so good?”
*meek, still starving and apprehensive look* “yeah…not so good?” **VETOED**
“–we have pasta don’t we? What about that and marinara? And we have chicken in the freezer don’t we?”
“But I want to use up what we have. And what about the brats and mushrooms?”
“Okay.” [not really an answer, but in this situation it’ll do.]
THE DINNER: Spaghetti Marinara, with veggies and brats.
Of course the land locked (and, obviously, in love) gorgeous gal loved it. She shredded some fresh Romano (a staple in our household) right beforehand and was ready and waiting when it was all served up. [i had to suggest taking the picture before she dug in and thus the discussion about this blog that led me to finally write my first contribution.] The whole thing was readily consumed before we could even really think about how good it actually was. There were some leftovers, and–naturally–we have some purposely spared mushrooms for my [i like to think] famous mushroom risotto…
- one whole chopped onion
- a slightly less than equal amount of chopped carrot
- about two cloves of minced garlic
- approximately 1/4 cup red wine
- one can tomato paste
- four fresh tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- a very healthy amount of dried basil, and then some
- some oregano
- two teaspoons of sugar
- two teaspoons of salt
- ground black pepper to taste
Saute onion, carrot and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes until soft. Add wine, saute for a few more minutes. Add everything else, plus about a quarter cup of water and simmer on low-med for about 20 min. Cool, then puree. Once you have the texture you desire put it back on the low-med heat (here you should taste it and add whatever you think it might need. tonight it was a little more salt and basil.) for about 10 min (just enough time to boil the pasta, if you started the water boiling when you set the sauce to cool.)
Veggies and Brat
- two brats, cooked and chopped
- two green onion, sliced
- one zucchini, chopped
- four mushrooms, chopped
- sugar, salt, ground black pepper
Toss everything together first and let sit for a few minutes. [whenever you fry/saute/whatever fresh veggies, always, ALWAYS, toss them with salt and sugar a few minutes ahead of time to “cut them” and open up the flavor.] Heat a frying pan (not non-stick) with a little olive oil to high heat. Add everything and stir continuously until the mushrooms are done and the brats are lightly browned. Done.