The menus have started…

The menus have started coming in, and rather than wait to put them up, I'm going to go ahead and just keep editing this entry, adding them as I get them. So refresh the page!

  • Marissa K. Gritter - Potato Casserole

    • Classic dish, of course. Good for a cold winter night...

  • Peg Duthie - Devilled Eggs, Stuffed Mushrooms, Stir-fried Beans and Bamboo Shoots, Roasted Stuffed Poblanos

    • Mmmm...sounds all very yummy, Peg, though I think I prefer roasted poblanos stuffed with cheese -- though I haven't tried them with rice, so no guarantees. I did wonder about one aspect -- you mentioned cooked rice in the fridge or freezer. In my experience, cooked rice dries out very fast in the fridge, and I've never even tried to freeze it -- do you have any tips on dealing with this?

  • Wendy Shaffer - Stir Fry, Mackerel Nicoise, or Veggie Tacos

    • Kudos for taking a stab at the mackerel, Wendy -- I'm not sure, but I think that would actually work pretty well. I use canned mackerel for only one particular dish; I never have any idea what else to do with it. I should've offered bonus points for using the mackerel too. :-)

  • Naomi Black - Quiche and Haricots Verts

    • Ooh, Naomi, I want to try that poblano quiche! Maybe I'll make it for Kevin on Sunday...I was trying to decide what to do with my leftover poblanos.

  • Meriko Borogove, 1 - A Warm and Cool Salad Plate (Sauteed Potatoes and Artichokes with Mackerel, Ridiculous Mushrooms, Haricots Verts Salad)

  • Meriko Borogove, 2 - A Picnic! (Mackerel Brandade, Stuffed Mushrooms, Haricots Verts Salad)

    • I knew you would come up with something fabulous, Meriko. I'm going to try your ridiculous mushrooms someday (not today, because I already cooked mine) -- I'm having a hard time imagining dark red mushrooms...

Thanks for playing, everyone! My menu below:

A (Mostly) Sri Lankan Feast

  • Lemon-Masala Mushrooms
  • Spicy Thai Coconut-Maple Green Beans
  • Mackerel Curry
  • Scallion Broken Omelette
  • Tumeric Potatoes, Tomatoes and Peas
  • Mango Chutney
  • Yogurt or Raita
  • Rice or Uppuma
  • Fresh Sliced Tropical Fruit over Vanilla Ice Cream
Only the first three dishes are really drawn from the challenge, and would be plenty to serve four people for lunch, over rice; the others are based on staples I usually have around my kitchen, and would let you expand the party to eight for dinner. For a classic Sri Lankan feast, you'd make as many dishes as you could, so people end up just having a taste of each. I have a bad habit of planning six dishes, and then ending up adding 2-3 more as I cook, just because I have time and ingredients lying around...

Lemon-Masala Mushrooms

  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped coarsely
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 T butter
  • 1-2 T lemon juice
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. garam masala spice mix
  1. Saute scallions and mushrooms in butter on high until well-cooked, stirring constantly (ideally, you want the mushrooms to get a little brown -- keep the heat as high as you can manage, so the mushrooms don't get soggy as they give off liquid)
  2. In the last five minutes or so, when they're close to ready, add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir well.
  3. When cooked, remove from heat and stir in garam masala until well-blended.

Spicy Thai Coconut-Maple Green Beans

  • two small onions, sliced thin
  • four cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. green beans, bite-size pieces
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 T Thai green curry paste (pre-made)
  • 1/2 c. dessicated coconut (not sweetened)
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 3 T maple syrup
  1. Saute the onions and garlic in oil over medium heat until golden, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the green beans and salt and cook, continuing to stir frequently, until the beans look withered and most of their moisture is gone.
  3. Add Thai green curry paste, and mix well.
  4. Add 1/2 c. dessicated coconut and stir in, plus water (to rehydrate the coconut). Cook five minutes, stirring.
  5. When well blended, add maple syrup and cook one minute longer. Serve hot.

Mackerel Curry

  • 3 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • two pinches black mustard seed
  • two pinches cumin seed
  • 1 t. methi (fenugreek) seed
  • 1 T red Indian chili powder
  • 1 heaping T Ceylon curry powder
  • 3 T ketchup
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 can mackerel, drained and the juices reserved separately
  • 1 flat T tamarind paste (buy in jar in Indian grocery store)
  1. Fry first five ingredients on medium high till onions are golden-translucent.
  2. Turn heat to high, add red curry powder and cook till you start to cough, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add curry powder, ketchup, salt, and the juice from the mackerel can (if you prefer a less strongly fish-flavored dish, use an equivalent amount of water instead, and mix well. When well blended, add tamarind and stir to dissolve.
  4. Turn heat down and simmer five minutes. Add mackerel and simmer five minutes more.
  5. (Optional: add four boiled eggs, sliced in half, at the end, before serving -- very yummy, but I wouldn't do it if I were serving another egg dish.)

Scallion Broken Omelette

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped fine
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 t. salt
  • fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  1. Saute scallions in oil on medium heat
  2. While cooking scallions, crack eggs into a bowl and beat well, adding salt and pepper.
  3. Pour eggs into pan and cook, turn over periodically and allowing the omelette to break up into pieces. Brown more than you would a classic omelette. Serve hot, as a traditional accompaniment.
  4. (Optional - saute chopped green chili with the scallions.)

Tumeric Potatoes, Tomatoes and Peas

  • 3 medium onions, sliced thin
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 3 large baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thick
  • 1 flat t. tumeric
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 can Muir Glen tomatoes
  • 8 oz. frozen peas, thawed
  1. Saute onions in oil on medium-high heat until golden-translucent.
  2. Add potatoes, turmeric, and salt; cook until potatoes are mostly cooked through, stirring frequently.
  3. Add tomatoes and cook a few more minutes, until well blended.
  4. Add peas and cook a few minutes, until the moisture has mostly left the peas and the entire dish is well-blended.


  • 1 c. chopped onions
  • 2-5 chopped green chilies
  • 1 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1 tsp. black mustard seed
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 c. water
  • 2 c. farina
  1. In a large frying pan, saute onions in butter with chilies, cumin seed, and mustard seed until golden.
  2. Add water and salt to pan, bring to a boil.
  3. Turn heat down to low and add farina, pouring in a circular stream into the pan. Stir for a minute until all the water is absorbed. Turn off heat.
  4. Let sit 3-5 minutes. Eat with curries.
Serve with pre-made hot mango or ginger chutney, yogurt (or raita if you feel ambitious), and fresh fruit sliced over vanilla ice cream for dessert. (Be sure to ask your guests if they'd prefer just the fruit -- they're usually pretty full at that point. :-)

8 thoughts on “The menus have started…”

  1. These all look fabulous!! Could you pretty please fix my egregious french error and change haricot vert to haricots verts so that we can share more than one bean? 😉

    (Miss Black so kindly corrected me over on gastronome. *grin*)

  2. Mmm… Now I’m hungry! I’ve had Mary Anne’s mushrooms and they’re the reason I now have garam masala on my list of things-to-get-next-time-i-am-spice-shopping.

    Mary Anne, I’ve never actually cooked with poblanos and was going on the grounds that they were “slightly hot” peppers. The vegetable amounts are not specific in the quiche recipe, as long as you leave enough room for the eggs and milk in the pie shell. The sharper the cheese, the better. 🙂 (If you use parmesan along with the other cheese, parmesan is best mixed in with the eggs and milk)

  3. Re fridged or frozen rice – yes, it does get hard and clumpy pretty fast. I basically break it back up with a spoon and/or my fingers, microwave it, and then use it for fillings or pilafs or soups where I’m messing with the texture anyway. I’m heating up some right now, in fact, which I’m going to combine with half an avocado, some garlic, some ground black pepper, and probably some bacon (Random Stuff With Rice is one of my basic lunches).

    The steamed rice on the menu would be made fresh, as would any rice used for sushi (which would actually be a compatible way to use the mackerel, now that I think about it).

    I would move the poblanos to the appetizer course if stuffing them with cheese, so that they don’t clash with the stir-fry. It’s interesting – I just don’t tend to think of cheese as a staple, other than parmesan.

  4. For the novice cooks among us, what is dessicated coconut? And pre-made green thai chili – can you buy that or is that something you have to whip up youself? (how?)

  5. Dessicated coconut is just dried coconut, and can be bought in any Indian grocery store. Be wary of the ones they sell in regular grocery store as they’re usually meant for cake topping and heavily sweetened.

    Thai green chili paste I just buy in the Asian section of any good grocery — I recommend Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste.

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