Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dinner Lately

Back to Seattle and back to making simple dinners for myself. I picked up just a few groceries when I got into town, so I've had the same thing two nights in a row.
Greek Salad is the name of the game, flavor-wise, at least. My lettuce is probably not traditional, nor are the carrots I added to my salad tonight. 
I use large chunks of each veggie that I put in the salad, to get a good bite and flavor from all the components. 

For a big dinner salad:
1 small-mediumish tomato 
About 1/4 cucumber
About 1/8 red onion
A few handfuls of torn butter lettuce

I toss all that and throw in some crumbled feta on top. For a dressing, I whisk together the juice of one quarter of a lemon, about a 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of dijon, a few splashes of red wine vinegar, and a drizzle of EVOO, plus salt and a few grinds of pepper. 

I ate this salad last night with a piece of seedy whole wheat bread that I sliced fresh off the loaf, with a spread of hummus.
Tonight I added carrots and skipped the feta for the salad. I had a side of quinoa in the bowl I used to make my dressing, so it had nice flavor too,  plus I stirred in about 1/2 teaspoon of a fresh tomato, basil, and garlic sheep's cheese I got at the farmer's market yesterday. Delicious. An alternate idea for this would be to toss the quinoa right in, with some toasted pine nuts, even some chick peas or other beans, and finally the feta or flavored sheep's cheese on top.

For dessert, I stuck with the Greek theme, simply by having a mix of berries topped with a few spoonfuls of greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey. 

The Greek salad paired with fruit for dessert is a light and easy supper for summer. For lunch, maybe try the salad in a split pita spread with hummus.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Good new summer recipes

Here are a few things I've been cooking up during a week of vacation at home. Summery, light, mostly grilled, and just plain delicious. 

First, spinach bean dip by Giada De Laurentiis with a sweet balsamic note and garlicky spinach mixed with cannelinni beans. 
Wilt 2 salad bags of spinach with a couple cloves of minced garlic and a little EVOO, let it cool, then food process it with a can of rinsed cannelinni beans, 1.5 T of balsamic, 1.5 T of lemon juice, salt, and pepper until thick and smooth. Eat with pita chips, toast, crudite, on a sandwich, with some roasted potatoes, on a get the idea.

Next, grilled veggies.
I chopped bell pepper in half, zucchini in half lengthwise, then in half crosswise to make quarters, red onion into eighths, baby potatoes into 1/4 inch slices, yellow squash  the same as zucchini, and grape tomatoes left whole.
I tossed all on a sheet pan with some EVOO, a liberal drizzle of balsamic, salt, pepper,and herbes de provence. I heated the grill to medium high, then threw the veggies on the grill. I kept the tomatoes together in one corner of the grill, because they need to come off the grill first. After just about a minute or two, turning over to grill marks all over the tomatoes, I took them off. I turned the other veggies after about two or three minutes, then closed the lid to let them soften a bit for roughly 5 minutes. Get all the veg nice and charred, then take them off the grill. I served these with a green salad topped with white bean salad, similar to the one I posted about earlier this spring. 

Last night I made grilled salmon, rubbed with cumin, coriander, herbes de provence, and salt and pepper. I put that spice mix in a dish, onto which I placed the salmon, skin up, then let it sit for 30 minutes in the fridge. I heated the grill to medium, then oiled it well to prevent sticking, which was mostly successful. I grilled the fish, skin side down first, for about 4 minutes, flipped it with a spatula, then let it grill another 4-5 minutes. I took the skin off, and served this with grilled artichokes. The salmon was still rare in the middle and nice and juicy. I've read that salmon should be cooked 10 minutes per inch of thickness, which is a good reference. The artichokes were quartered, de-choked, and trimmed, then boiled for about 10 minutes prior to grilling. I seasoned those, grilled them for a couple minutes a side, and made a sauce for dipping. The sauce was made of juice of half a lemon, about 3 T chopped parsley, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1/3 c roughly of plain yogurt, and 1 t. EVOO, all combined well.

Tonight, I'm planning an asparagus and sundried-tomato-basil-chevre fritatta, plus a side of fresh tomatoes with basil. All this inspired by ingredients found with my mom at a farmer's market this morning-asparagus, farmstead chevre, tomatoes, and basil. Gotta do it local, Southern Oregon style.  


Good Afternoon!
Since it is summer and the produce is plentiful and ripe, I decided to make a pie to celebrate the season. Surprisingly, I had never actually made a pie before. I decided to do it all from scratch; no food processor, no pre-made crust. I'd been dreaming about the combination of blueberries and peaches, so I started searching for recipes. I looked up my desired combo on the food network website and chose Tyler Florence's recipe. It was relatively basic and simple and didn't take long at all. The filling had plenty of the fruit, lemon juice, sugar, and corn starch. The crust was made of butter, a little sugar, flour, a few table spoons of ice water, and lemon zest. The lemony flavor throughout the pie really added a nice extra touch. I prefer blueberries in this pie to raw ones on their own. I've posted the link, and I definitely recommend trying this combo of fruit out. It's a winner. 

Go make some pie, people!