Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 25 - 29

There still isn't a ton of cooking in the plan for this week, but what we're lacking in quantity, we're making up in FUN!

Last night Phil and I attended our most educational dinner party ever, and we learned to make sushi!  I was so very proud of myself, especially since my tendency when making anything requiring rolling or stuffing is to put WAY too much stuff in (think burritos that won't roll, sandwiches you can't bite).  But I showed a little bit of restraint...
Phil's holding our first-ever sushi creations!

This morning was fun too -- our chives are sprouting, and so I clipped some and sprinkled them on my egg.  Since I watch Top Chef, I, too, think I can deconstruct food.  So this morning I made a deconstructed omelet.  Sauteed the veggies, put them on the plate, sprinkled feta cheese over them, and then topped it with a lovely fried egg.  And home-grown chives on top.

And for dinner?  Lots of events and meetings again this week, so the menu's pretty minimalist.  (Side note:  when I typed the word 'minimalist' I accidentally wrote 'minimalish.'  Which might make more sense.)

It's sunny and not cold, so we're grilling.  One of Phil's favorite cookbooks is an oldie from college:  Grill it Right.  We're trying to make Zesty Drumsticks, German potato salad, sauteed cabbage & red onion, and watermelon on the side.

Zesty drumsticks:
Make a sauce with 1/4 c currant jelly, 1/4 c chili sauce, 1 T vinegar, 1 T Worcestershire sauce, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, and hot pepper sauce to taste.  Put it in a saucepan and simmer  until bubbly.  Grill the chicken drumsticks and brush with sauce in the last 10 minutes of grilling.

German potato salad:
Cube about a pound of potatoes, cook in boiling water for about 10 minutes.  Drain and cool.  In a skillet, cook 4 slices of bacon.  Save a teensy bit of the bacon drippings and saute about a 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/2 cup chopped celery in the drippings (supplemented with olive oil if necessary).  Stir in 1 T flour, 1 T sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp celery seed, 1/4 tsp dry mustard, 1/8 tsp pepper.  Add 1/3 c water and 1/4 c cider vinegar.  Cook and stir until thick and bubbly.  Stir crumbled bacon back in.  

On a big piece of heavy tin foil, put potatoes in center.  Pour dressing over top.  Fold foil around & seal with a double fold.  Grill on medium/medium-high for 15 - 20 minutes.

Slice red onion, saute in a bit of olive oil.  Add shredded cabbage, continue to cook.  Season with salt and pepper.

The theme today is use-it-all-up.  So we're making naan pizzas:

Put a piece of naan (we buy 4-packs frozen at Trader Joe's) on the pizza stone.  Top with sauce, whatever veggies are around, some sliced sausage or ham, and cheese.  Mozzarella is good, but so is feta, goat, or parmesan.  Bake at about 425 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown nicely.

Have a lovely week!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I'm Into Smoothies Now (March 18 - 22, 2012)

I know the main focus of this little blog is dinner, but I'm jumping topics today to breakfast...  Not sure if it's the premature sudden spring, or the lack of produce that this past school year has inflicted upon me, or an excuse to buy a new blender, but I've developed a bit of a smoothie obsession lately.  I started making them for breakfast as a way to start my day a little bit healthier, maybe get a few veggies into my life, but now I crave them.  And this past week, when I wasn't able to get to the grocery store to stock up on my fresh ingredients, I felt a bit lost.

So, I've been messing with recipes, and I have my current favorite.  But it changes slightly each time I make it, and so I'm sure it will continue to evolve.  But for breakfast tomorrow, here's what I'll be having:

Cucumber and Blueberry Smoothie
Into the blender, put:
1 peeled and roughly chopped cucumber
1 cup frozen blueberries
mint leaves (a pinch -- maybe 10 - 20 leaves?  Think mojito serving size...)
1 peeled and sliced kiwi
1 handful spinach leaves
lime juice

You can add a bit of water or a shot of orange juice if it's having a hard time getting going.

I also love to add some shredded zucchini (and we still have a TON left over from our monster zucchini plants last summer) or maybe some peaches.  Blueberries and cucumber are my base, and I mess around with the rest of the ingredients.

And yes -- it looks a little gross, especially when you've finished your cup and there's little bits of stuff left behind.  Just hide your dirty dish until you have time to wash it.

Okay, on to dinner...
So, with spring comes that time of year when there are LOTS of extra things (performances!  planning meetings!  annual whatevers!) that keep us out later in the evening.  I broke down and bought a loaf of sandwich bread this week (don't do that very often) because I'm thinking it'll be a sandwich kind of week...

Homemade pizza -- make the crust in the KitchenAid mixer (half white, half whole-wheat flour) and top with:
pizza sauce
blend of mozzarella and goat cheese
roasted red pepper
red onion
Italian chicken sausage
bit of spinach

Bake at 450 for 25 or so minutes (depending on how thick the layers of ingredients are).

lettuce, leftover flank steak (from Saturday night -- it was yummy), blue cheese, roasted red pepper, sunflower seeds, red onion, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper

Sandwiches!  Some possible ingredients:
For Karen:  turkey, hummus, spinach, red pepper, red onion.
For Phil:  ham, swiss cheese, mayo.

Sandwich day can make us both happy!

We're going to attempt to cook a real dinner!

Grill some salmon.  Probably top with some barbecue sauce.  Sauteed green beans, salad, rolls.

Looking forward to the day when I can crack open a cookbook again (and actually cook from it), but I think we're doing okay for now.

Have a great week!

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