Tag Archives: Dinner

Greek Yogurt Extravaganza

17 Apr

 

This week I gave in to my deep love for greek yogurt.  If you haven’t used it in recipes, you’re missing out.  Besides the obvious parfait and breakfast uses, it’s a great, healthy substitute in many recipes that use mayo or sour cream.  I decided to search for a recipe that involved both salmon and greek yogurt.  My main gal, Martha Stewart, came through for me with a recipe for Roasted Salmon and Herbed Yogurt.  With that recipe in mind, I thought asparagus would be a good side dish, and heck why not use greek yogurt with the asparagus as well.  A quick google search, and I decided to go with an asparagus soup.  I modified a recipe from whole foods for Creamy Spring Asparagus Soup substituting greek yogurt for sour cream.

The two dishes were relatively simple, but for timing I enlisted my favorite sous-chef.

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Chris as given the task of snipping parsley and dill from our potted patio herbs, and then chopping them into tiny bits.IMG_0933

He then mixed the herbs in with our greek yogurt of choice, Fage.

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Meanwhile, I chopped the light green and white parts of our gigantic leek, and then browned the pieces in a bit of butter.

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While the leek browned, I peeled and chopped a yukon gold potato into one inch strips.

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After about ten minutes, I added the potatoes and chicken broth to the leeks, and brought the liquid to a boil.

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I then reduced the heat, added the chopped asparagus, and let the mixture simmer until everything was nice and tender.

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While the soup simmered, Chris mixed together the herbs, greek yogurt, dijon, salt and pepper.

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Everything for the salmon was ready long before the soup, so Chris stuck the yogurt mixture in the fridge and relaxed while I prepped the blender.  I had some time to spare, so I improvised and chopped a bit of garlic for the salmon.

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With approximately 10-15 minutes to go on the soup, Chris placed the salmon in a baking pan, covered in the herbed yogurt sauce, and topped it off with chopped garlic.  He couldn’t resist giving our three cats a taste of raw salmon.  They are definitely sushi lovers like their mama and papa.

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Once the potatoes and asparagus were tender, I poured the mixture into a big blender and set it to purée.  Chris finished off the purée and then complained about how tightly I put on the top to the cat rubbing up against his legs looking for more delicious, raw fish.

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Once pureed to our satisfaction, I poured the soup back into the pot and brought it to a boil.  The timer sounded for the salmon just as I finished the soup.  Could we have actually timed everything perfectly tonight?  Unfortunately, no.  Chris cut into the salmon and found it still a bit raw in the center after 15 minutes at 450.  We had to stick the salmon back in the oven for another 10 minutes, and that was even a bit too much.  It amazes me how quickly fish goes from undercooked to overcooked.

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Before realizing the salmon needed more time, I had spooned the soup into bowls, and topped it with croutons, parmesan, and freshly ground black peppercorn.  Not wanting our soup to get cold, we finished it off while the salmon baked.  It was absolutely delicious!  I loved the flavor and texture, and the topping I improvised was perfect.  It tasted like spring in my mouth.

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When the salmon finished, we cut a small portion for us each, added a bit of lemon, and sat down to finish the latest Game of Thrones episode.  The salmon was delicious.  I always worry about salmon tasting fishy, but it didn’t at all.  The garlic roasted perfectly on top, and was a great addition.  The herbed yogurt was fresh and moist.  Overall a fantastic dish, and I’m sure it would have gone great with the asparagus soup.

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My Very First Thanksgiving Dinner

20 Jan

This past year Chris and I offered to give my mom a break and make Thanksgiving dinner for the family.  Thanksgiving with my family is usually small (just the immediate family).  We spend the day snacking on appetizers and playing games.  My mom pops in and out of the game while cooking dinner.  Mom’s dinner varied slightly over the years, but it was always delicious.  The staples of the dinner were turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole, and pie.  This year I kept the spread the same, but changed the recipes to add my own twist on the evening.
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My sister, Heather, and my boyfriend, Chris, were the perfect helpers for the day.  Heather chopped like a pro and Chris took charge of the turkey and dessert.  They both chipped in and helped out when needed, and delegation was super easy with my 5 page plan right in front of me.  The plan included guidelines for timing, ingredients, materials, and step by step instructions.

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As you can see, the type A side of my personality was in full force.

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The menu consisted of a herb butter turkey and gravy, creamy cheesy potatoes, crispy shallot and green bean casserole, herb bread vegetarian stuffing, and pumpkin pie.  It was hard work, but the day went flawlessly and everyone really enjoyed the meal.  Here’s to many more years of good food and good times with family!  Scott and James – We missed you this year.  Hopefully you’ll be chipping in and enjoying the dinner with us again soon!

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Thanksgiving Bread Take Two: Pumpkin & Rosemary Soft Rolls

10 Dec

As I mentioned in Thanksgiving Bread Take 1, I was on a mission to make some delicious bread for a Thanksgiving dinner with friends.  Given the big bet I was making on savory muffins, I thought I might try something a little more traditional.  Since I used squash in the first one, I wanted to use pumpkin in this one.  A little more searching on Food52 and I found this recipe.

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I had to make the dough the night before put it in the fridge overnight.  Unfortunately, my yeast was rather old.  I mixed the yeast with some warm water and sugar to test it, but alas there was no froth.  It was too late to run to the store, so we skipped the refrigerator step and grabbed the yeast in the morning.

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I unfortunately missed taking pictures of the dough-making process.  This involved making and herb butter with fresh dill from our patio garden, mixing it with rosemary, parsley, pumpkin purée, egg, sugar, salt, and yogurt.  Egad!  When mixing these ingredients I accidentally added an extra egg.  I ended up doubling the recipe to fix it and only later realizing that I made 40 rolls!!!  Well in went double the yeast, and then double the flour.  Mixing in the flour took forever.  I did this by hand, kneading the dough for what seemed like forever.  My arms felt like they were going to fall off.  Chris came to the rescue and helped me roll the dough into 40 small balls.  We set them on the counter to rise for 2 hours and relaxed on the couch while we waited.

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The last step involved brushing the rolls with egg and then covering them in coarse sea salt.  They baked in the oven for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  They smelled delicious as they baked.

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Sure enough, these rolls turned out light, fluffy, salty, and herby.  Pure deliciousness.  The pumpkin added a nice color to the rolls, but the herb flavor came through more than anything.  I ate mine with some delicious butter someone brought for the cornbread.  I’d highly recommend these rolls if you want to bring something unique to a potluck dinner and you’re up for some serious kneading.

Un Mélange: Making It Work On The Weekends

22 Oct

The Fruits of My Labor

(Chris was sick today, so I was on my own in the kitchen)

I always find that no matter how much I plan, something gets in the way of at least one or more meal for the week, leaving a mix of food that will spoil if not used.  My solutions this weekend – firing up the oven, and diving into my Flat Belly Diet Cookbook.  The result was an odd, but delicious mixture of food.  Above you’ll find (clockwise starting at your bottom left) spicy peanut sauce, broiled curry chicken satay, cucumber relish, and roasted potatoes with tomatoes.

Peanut Sauce: Peanut butter (surprise, surprise), coconut milk, cayenne, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and chicken broth.  It’s mixed together and then cooked for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.  It came out smooth and delicious, with just the right amount of kick.

Chicken Satay: Thin cut boneless, skinless chicken breast marinated in curry powder, lime juice and oil, cut into strips, and then broiled for 8-10 minutes on each side.

Cucumber Relish: Peeled cucumber chopped with red onion and marinated in vinegar and sugar.  Topped with peanuts and cilantro.

Roasted Potatoes: Chopped potatoes roasted in olive oil, pepper, and salt.  Topped with Gorgonzola cheese and pecans.

Roasted Tomatoes: Chopped tomatoes roasted in olive oil, garlic, basil, pepper, and salt.

Drink: Muddled mint, lime juice, and tonic in a mason jar.

Breakfast For Tomorrow

(Our leftover fruit baked in an oat crumble)

From Food52: Chopped pears and apples mixed with flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Drizzled with maple syrup, ginger, orange and lemon juice, and orange and lemon zest.  Covered in a mixture of oats, flour, brown sugar, butter and pecans.  Okay, okay, so this one isn’t part of the diet.  There is a plus side: No rotting fruit from last week, and it’ll be better than just skipping breakfast.
I’ll let you know how it goes.  Until then – sweet dreams!

 

Sounded Like Ceviche, Ended Up Like Deconstructed Thai Clam Chowder

22 Jan

Colleen had to travel up to LA this morning to check in with her thesis advisor. So I promised that I would sift through the interwebs and find a delicious meal to prepare when she returned (or that I could have ready for her upon her return should she arrive late). I went straight to Epicurious. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend it if you like one thing: flavor. Epicurious started as a website, but they have excellent iPad and iPhone apps that are actually free. If you want to sync your curated lists between devices you can – you just have to donate $1.99 to their culinary cause.

I found a great recipe there that was exactly what I was looking for: Lime Spiked Seafood Stew with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I love seafood. I love spices. Colleen eats seafood. It was the perfect match. I swung by the store, nabbed all the ingredients including: a Serrano Pepper, Cilantro, Heavy Cream and Red Onions. But to start were the sweet potatoes.

**Edit/Disclaimer** I’m attempting to write this blog using only my iPhone to take and edit images with Camera+ and to write the posts using WordPress’ app on my iPad. Still getting “the ropes”, so the first publish was a mistake… carrying on now….

Colleen played sous-chef this evening and peeled the sweet potatoes. Then I sliced them down to about 1/2″ pieces. The ease of the peeling process due to the size of the sweet potato amazed her. She usually struggles to hold on to their smaller, brown cousins.  During this time a baking tray had heated in the oven. When the temperature hit 400 degrees, I spread all the slices out on the tray and popped it into the oven. The recipe didn’t specify that you should coat the pan with oil, or toss the potatoes in oil – but I can tell you (spoiler) do it! Otherwise they stick horribly when you actually try to remove them…you know…to eat them. I set the timer for 25 minutes and then went about prepping the rest of the ingredients.

With the onions sliced, celery diced (not too finely), and limes juiced, I turned to the fish. I took the Salmon and Scallops out of the fridge and slices them into 3/4″ pieces. I tossed the seafood with black pepper and some of the lime juice and started to saute the rest of the ingredients.

Things started to speed up now. By this time there was about 7 minutes left on the Sweet Potatoes (which were starting to smell delicious). I added the cream to the pan, and cranked up the heat until it was boiling. I folded the seafood into the mixture and then watched the timer for 5 minutes. When the timer rang, I poured the last of the lime juice into the stew and removed the potatoes from the oven.

Colleen plated the sweet potatoes into a grid of 6 slices each. I served up a steaming mound of stew on the potatoes and added extra sauce (because in reality, food is just an excuse for sauces anyhow, right?). I finished the dish by adding a sprinkling of fresh cilantro to the plates. Next time we’ll add the cilantro into the stew and let it mix up a bit (it was a bit too fresh, and the texture stuck out too much from the rest of the dish). The end result was delicious. The sweetness of the potatoes combined almost perfectly with the spiciness of the Serrano peppers, and the cilantro was reminiscent of Thai curries I’ve had in the past. Next time we may try adding coconut to the mix.

Oh! No meal is complete without adding a complimentary beverage of some sort. Based on some of the comments on Epicurious I bought a Prosecco called Lunetta from the store. It was a tart, effervescent white wine that exploded in your mouth when you drank it. It was the perfect companion to this meal. You’d take a sip and then take a bite of the stew. The tartness of the Prosecco (which was almost painful at first) led right into the spiciness of the stew, but then mellowed to include the sweetness of the underlying potatoes.

Final note to self: Serve this in a bowl in the future and grab a spoon. The broth is delicious, but doesn’t thicken. You have two choices: overcook the seafood or thicken the broth. I’ll stick with a soup-like sauce and not overcooked fish (which were cooked to perfection).

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