Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Farmer's Market and a Tomato

My Farmer's Market haul on Saturday.

1 large bag of green and red lettuce
1 large box of ripe, delicious peaches
2 tomatoes (a lady walked up as I was purchasing my tomatoes, ate one of the free samples and said, "Wow! They taste like tomatoes! Hey, Susan, come try these, they taste like tomatoes!")
2 fatty cucumbers (and the peel on these is actually edible. No waxy build up)
1 bundle of spinach
1 bundle of kale

This is my favorite way to eat the tomatoes. Room temperature (because I stored them on the counter), sliced, with a tiny sprinkle of fleur de sel (my fancy salt).

Yeah, I'm the kind of person that would eat good tomatoes like an apple.

Monday, June 27, 2011

White Bean Salad and a Party Menu

Last week I hosted a farewell party for two of my coworkers. I asked people to bring a dish to share, but I knew I better have some food on hand.

I decided on a menu that would be quick and easy, that I could either purchase or make in advance, and that wouldn't be far off my "green" list, but that hopefully wouldn't look too weird either.

The menu:
  • Shrimp -- purchased frozen and served with a bowl of store-bought cocktail sauce.
  • Hummus with crudite and pita chips. The hummus and chips were store-bought, and I just chopped up carrots, celery, and a green pepper into convenient sticks.
  • White bean salad -- recipe to follow.
  • Watermelon -- cubed up by me.
  • Cream puffs -- store-bought from the freezer section.
Others brought meatballs, deviled eggs, and a fruit tray. I always worry, but there was plenty of food, and everyone enjoyed themselves.

White Bean Salad
This recipe is very flexible in size. For the party size, I used 3 cans of beans.

1 can navy beans (or any other white bean of your choice), drained and rinsed.
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
5-6 tablespoons lemon juice (or the juice from one large, juicy lemon)
2 tsp dried oregano (parsley would also work here)
2 tsp salt
sprinkle of pepper

Put the beans, tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk the olive oil and lemon juice until they emulsify and form and dressing. Add the salt, pepper, and oregano to the dressing. Whisk again vigorously.
Pour the dressing over the bean salad, stir, and refrigerate in a covered bowl for at least 2 hours so the flavors can get happy.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

This is also lovely served over a bed of greens.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grilled Veggie Salad

Summertime is a great time for salads. And here in the middle it is finally summer. We spent all of May at 60-65 degrees. June 1st hit 90. Woo hoo!! I love it!

I had some veggies that were looking a little sad. So this beauty is a grilled veggie salad, which cleans out the fridge so beautifully.

Grilled Veggie Salad
Romaine lettuce and spinach
Fresh parsley
Navy beans -- rinsed and drained really well
Grilled green bell pepper
Grilled yellow squash
Grilled carrot

Dressing -- olive oil, lemon juice, and a dash of salt.

Note: I like to fill the bowl with my lettuces and then dress the lettuces. Then I add everything else and pour a little more dressing over the top.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Birthday Dinner

Heather made me a special birthday dinner.

Main dish: Our main dish was veal using this recipe from Epicurious. I don't think our veal would actually be considered chops, because they didn't have bones. But they turned out delicious with the rosemary and garlic marinade/sauce.

Side dish: Fried Rice using this recipe from Epicurious. Yes, we did try to find duck, but the meat guy at the grocery store said they only sell whole duck, which we did not want to deal with. So we just left out the duck.

Salad: Basil and Tomato Salad using this recipe from Epicurious. We liked how this salad sounded the best. We replaced the arugula with romaine lettuce and spinach. Personally, I would change the proportions on the dressing. I like an even oil/lemon juice ratio.

Dessert: Plum, cherries, and blackberries. The cherries were delicious and perfectly ripe. I thought the blackberries were tasty, but Heather thought they were a little tart. The plums weren't ripe enough and were too hard for my liking. I realized the next day that I should have taken them out of the bowl and grilled them really quick. It only would have taken 5 minutes on my George Foreman.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pasta with Pea Pesto

On Sunday, Heather and I tried a new recipe. I found this one through Tastespotting, and followed the recipe almost exactly.

Pasta with Pea Pesto

1 pound linguine **I used Deboles Gluten Free Penne**
1/4 cup walnuts plus more for garnish
1 cup peas **I used frozen peas, that were slightly warmed in the microwave**
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbs fresh basil plus more to garnish
3 tbs fresh parsley
salt and pepper
boil a large pot of generously salted water and cook pasta according to package directions.
in a food processor, finely grind walnuts then add peas. scraping the sides as needed. add the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to blend until smooth. add basil and parsley and blend again, then add salt and pepper to taste. place finished pesto in a large bowl and add drained pasta, toss until blended and top with walnuts and fresh basil.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Restaurant Reviews

Wow. That was a really long total food rut. I made the exact same things over and over, and when I wasn't cooking, I made the same salad over and over.

But my sister came to visit. So first, I planned a menu. Then I looked up a bunch of restaurants.

Let's do restaurant reviews first:

Heather ordered her usual -- California roll and Spider roll, and I ordered my usual, Nigri tuna, nigri shrimp, a tuna roll and a cucumber roll.

It was all good, fairly priced, and the service was super fast. (A little too fast for us, I felt rushed).

2. Ingredient. This restaurant is focused on fresh organic food. They have a gluten-free menu and are able to cater to food allergies, vegetarians, vegans, etc. Perfect for me.

Heather and I both got a salad. I built my own salad, Heather chose the Cobb. They brought the salads out to us in the biggest salad bowls ever! They were awesome!

It was a great fun place to eat.

3. Nara -- a Japanese restaurant. I have to give a plug for Groupon here. If you aren't signed up for Groupon, click here, and get yourself signed up! I got a Groupon for Nara, pay $15 and get $30 worth of food. Totally worth it.

This was a lovely fancy upscale restaurant. It had a very nice ambiance. Heather decided to be adventurous and order their special -- the Corn Dog roll. She said it was delicious. I ordered my usual. Then we finished our first plates, and decided to order seconds. Yup, that's how we roll. I ordered yellowtail tuna, and it was fantastic.