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Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

And guess who forgot to take a picture before devouring it?

Me.

Oops.

I can tell you about it though!

I was in Whole Foods at Gateway during my lunch break yesterday and saw the bountiful array of seafood.  Whole Red Snapper plucked from the water and on grand display on ice in wood crates.  Smoked fish.  Fresh fillets.  So many choices!  I settled on half a pound of bay scallops and a pound of mussels.  These were to foundation of my pasta dish.

The thought of fresh made pasta crossed my mind.  I didn’t buy any semolina so it remained an idea for next time.

Once home from work, I fried bacon and an orange pepper.  Took those out of the pan and used the bacon fat to sear the scallops.  Took the scallops out after a couple of minutes and heated marinara sauce.  Cleaned mussels were tossed in the pan and covered, they steamed until popping open.  The bacon, pepper, and scallops joined the cooked mussels.  Of course there was a pot of spaghetti cooking in the background.

Toss some pasta with the sauced seafood and enjoy!

If I make this again I’ll try to snap a photo for you.

 

 

 

 

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Easter Fiesta

Tried some wine, the Moscato was quite sweet and peachy (as expected), the Unoaked chardonnay was crisp and not too dry, and the red was shy on tannin (which I like actually). Who doesn’t love a rooster on your bottle of wine, ha! I bought all of these at Sprouts on sale.

Each paired nicely with dishes I prepared. The Chardonnay with the herb roasted turkey breast. The red with the spiral honey ham. The Moscato with the apple cinnamon crisp (a la mode  ). 

2014-04-20 15.15.00 2014-04-20 16.38.43 2014-04-20 16.39.02 2014-04-20 16.39.12 2014-04-20 16.39.28

My friends were welcome to bring something as a side, they brought mac’n’cheese (David’s recipe, which rocks because he puts Cheezits on top… I still have to try to replicate it!), green bean casserole, and apple pie tarts.  We could have fed an army!

It’s not the same as my family gatherings back home in Alberta, with a dish of every sort and cousins to match.  But Mom was here at least and my best friends, Stephanie and David, were enough to have a great time.  I love sharing my kitchen.

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Warm Greek Salad

warm greek salad

Part of my Greenling Box was this awesome Chicken salad, which included:

organic garlic
organic crushed red pepper
organic kale
organic chicken breast
organic brown rice
organic black olives
Dill Vinaigrette (organic red wine vinegar, organic lemon juice, organic agave nectar, organic canola oil, organic mustard, organic dill)

Get the kit and make this salad!

I left out the tomatoes that came with it, Little Sister got a hold of them and demolished half the container, so she was awarded the remaining tomatoes.   I’m normally not a huge olive fan, but this worked because they provided the salty bite needed to round out the dish.  There was no salt added to the chicken, only black pepper.

Given the list of ingredients, you could expand the portions of this to feed more hungry friends.  You know you could swap out the olives for dried cranberries and apple pieces!  For those of you without allergies, throw in pecans or something.  Have fun and play with your food.

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spicy sweet potato kale

I threw together this dish using a few ingredients I had on hand.  Simple. Spicy. Earthy.

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 baked sweet potato, skin removed and cubed
  • 2 large handfuls of shredded kale, spines removed and washed before shredding
  • chili powder
  • ginger powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sesame seeds

Heat the oil in a skillet.  Add the sweet potato cubes and kale.  Add the spices to your taste, I just put a few dashes of each, enough to dust the surface of the vegetables.  Hold off on the salt until the kale it wilted and crispy.  Add the sesame seeds to an empty corner of the pan to toast lightly before stirring into the kale and potato.  Plate immediately.  I had also fried courgettes in the same pan to eat along with the kale and sweet potatoes.

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2011-10 lemon poppy loaf 2

We were at a friend’s house this weekend to celebrate Mike’s birthday.  Friend of friend Sam made Avgolemono for everyone.  She graciously allowed me to share her recipe for this lemon egg soup, which was amazingly tangy and silky. A flavorful soup is one that takes time, love and affection. Like raising a child, you have to watch it carefully, give enough to keep it going, and know when it’s time to let go. A poignant analogy as many parents I know have let their chicks out of the nest to join the collective (a.k.a. college). My aunt is probably freaking out right about now as my youngest cousin begins his college career. Boy, do I feel old saying that!

Anyways, on to the soup!

Sam described creating the foundation of the soup with a homemade chicken stock. You can find posts here and here which discuss stock. For this soup, a simple mirepoix and a roasted chicken will suffice. Over a period of 8 hours, the stock should be watched, more water added as needed to extract every bit of chicken flavor from the carcass of a lemon-rosemary roasted bird. Keep the breast meat aside, but everything else can be used for stock. If you don’t have all day to make soup, you’re forgiven, go ahead and use the box or cubes instead. You’ll need 10-12 cups of stock. This will make 8-10 servings, depending how hungry y’all are.

Add shredded breast meat to the stock. Simmer while you work on the next step.

Get 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 10 lemons), less if you’re making less soup.

Separate 6 eggs. Set aside the whites (make a lemon meringue pie or something!). Whisk the yolks then add small amounts of stock from the soup to temper the eggs.

Add the lemon juice to the tempered yolks while whisking.

Turn the temperature down to a bare simmer. Slowly incorporate the yolks into the soup. Adjust the salt if needed.

OPTION: For people who can eat gluten, some cooked orzo may be added to this soup. Sam left it separate from the soup so everyone could choose to add some (or not) to their respective bowls. You can cook the pasta in the stock for 10 minutes before adding the chicken meat as well.

Thanks Sam for sharing your soup!

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East meets West salad

east west salad

A mixed baby greens salad with Indian Naan and General Tso’s Chicken, with the veggies who were hanging out in the crisper. Drizzle of Caesar dressing and it’s dinner in under 10 minutes!

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This bowl of smoky salmon goodness was inspired by a post on Taste Food, a fellow Food52 contributor (her blog is beautiful, you should look around).  I saw the flour and the cream she calls for and felt worried my tummy wouldn’t deal with it.  I had the stomach flu a few weeks ago and it took forever to recover from it.  I had a craving for cheese and went a little overboard, then paid for it.  I picked up a bottle of acidophilus probiotic, both the chewable (dormant) and a liquid (live culture) forms.  It will take time for this stuff to work but I’m going to give it a shot – anything to feel better again.

Since I’m avoiding dairy for a couple weeks and saw this recipe on Taste Food’s blog, I knew I had to try a dairy-free version.  If dairy is out, might as well replace the glutenous flour with gluten-free all purpose flour mix.  The potato does help thicken the stew (can’t really call it a chowder without cream, can I?).

It just tastes healthy!

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 of a fennel bulb, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 tsp GF flour
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 large Russet potato, peeled, diced
  • 1/3 pound smoked salmon (not the paper-thin sheets, a hunk of fish!)
  • salt and pepper

Saute the fennel and onion in the oil over medium heat in a small soup pot.  Add the flour and let it cook, stirring the pot.  Add 2 cups of water to start with, you can add more to reach your desired consistency.  Add the potato and simmer for 20 minutes.  Turn the heat to low and crumble the smoked salmon (in bite-sized chunks) in to the pot.  Let the salmon infuse in the stew before adding salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with the fennel fronds.  Serves two.

Easy, eh?

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There’s something to be said about tradition.

For one, I never thought my family recipes would share a common thread with friends in Texas, over 2000 miles away from where I’m from in Canada. Turns out at least one person here knows what Yorkshire Pudding is and how to serve it. That is to say, with a proper roast beef and brown gravy made from pan drippings.

I treated my friends to a Canadian dinner, including Yorkshire, roast beef with carrots and mushrooms, corn on the cob, a fresh cucumber salad, rye caraway bread, and rhubarb crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert! Sadly I didn’t take dish-by-dish photos, my guests were not the food blogger sort and probably would have looked at me funny, plus it kind of detracts from the ambiance of dinner (I can sympathize with some chefs who do not allow photos to be taken in their restaurants).
However, having the kids run around doesn’t affect dinner parties AT ALL. (Insert sarcastic grin here)

I did snag a couple photos, the table setting and dessert.

Rye caraway bread midnitechef.com

rhubarb crisp midnitechef.com

Rhubarb grew like weeds at my childhood home, a small farm outside of Westlock, AB. Tradition to me means meat and veggie dinners, growing enough produce to last several months into the harsh winter, canning tomatoes, baking bread, taking cookies to the wheat fields and flagging down my father for their delivery, stealing sips of his coffee from a thermos, Indian Summers, skating on the frozen dugout, and the absolute quiet of my soul knowing I was in a safe place with my family. It’s amazing what a few traditional recipes can conjure up inside of you. New traditions will be added and some of the old will be amended to fit this fast-paced modern life. But sometimes you have to take the time to do things right and pass along that knowledge and love. I’ve always wanted to cook for people, do I have the heart of a chef? Or a Grandmother who stuffs you to the brim with her traditional dishes and treats, with an extra serving for the road in case you didn’t get your fill (and you never did)?

I wish this dinner was shared with my family, tucked away in a quiet farm-house in the middle of nowhere. Instead, I opened my home and heart to friends who are becoming a part of the family. And I stuffed them to the brim. They were as happy to eat my food as I was to host them. It certainly won’t be the last time.

Rhubarb Crisp

This dessert is one that can be made by sight/feel/smell and doesn’t need much measuring, I’ll give you a guide:

In a baking dish mix the following:

  • 3 stalks fresh rhubarb, trimmed of all leaves, diced
  • 1 Green Apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, recommend freshly ground for Savory Spice Shop
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca starch
  • 1 cup sugar

In a separate bowl combine:

  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons butter cut into cubes, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar

The oats should be distributed well with the other ingredients, it may be a bit clumpy and that’s perfect. It will bake on top like granola chunks.

Sprinkle the oat topping over the rhubarb and apple filling. Do not press flat. Bake at 350 F for at least 45 minutes or until the top is golden and crispy with the filling bubbling around the edge.

The crisp is best served the day you bake it as the oats absorb the juices of the rhubarb quite quickly. I recommend letting it cool to room temperature, maybe 90 degrees, then serving it with vanilla ice cream.

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Huge cheese pile

Cheese Soup

Cheese Soup (adapted from eggton)

  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 Poblano pepper, seeded
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • chicken broth
  • 6 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • chipotle Tabasco sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • crispy bacon

Saute the onion peppers, garlic.  Add the carrot and chicken broth to cover veggies by an inch.

Simmer the veggies until very tender.

Working in small batches, blend the soup until smooth.  I left some chunks in my soup for texture.

Grate the cheese and toss with the flour.  Turn the heat to low.  Add the cheese to the soup, stirring until it melts.

Add a few dashes Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce to taste.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with crispy bacon on top and some warm French bread.

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