Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The healthy dinner challenge

These days I have been on a mission (at least a few times a week anyway) to cook things that are a little better for us. Don't get me wrong- I totally heart butter- but its nice to know that if I need to, I can pull something together relatively quickly that doesn't make my coronary arteries shudder with fear.
Tonight I sifted through this weeks farmers market haul to make a lighter meal. Grilled salmon with soy, ginger, chile glaze. Stir fry of Bok Choi, snap peas and leeks, and cheaters brown rice (from the frozen aisle of trader joe's- 3 minutes in the microwave and surprisingly good)
Recipe for the glaze:
~ 1 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
~ 2 tbs honey
~ 1 tbs sriracha (asian chili sauce)
~ 1 tbs ginger

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and reduce over medium high heat until it coats the back of a spoon. Adjust the glaze to taste. If its a little too hot- add a bit more honey. If you don't like spicy- you can leave out the chili sauce. This would also work with ribs or chicken.

I drizzled the fish with a little oil, threw on a hot grill and glazed after I flipped it. Cooking time was about 5 minutes but I had thin pieces of fish.

The veggies were sauteed with a drizzle of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tbs of ginger, a generous squirt of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. After they were done, I drizzled with a touch of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.

YAY guilt free dinner. All in all this took about 25 minutes from start to finish. Take that Rachel Ray!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Scallops - take II

Dinner party went well, good wine, great company and the food wasn't bad either. A few last minute improvisations were needed, but everything turned out just fine. ( I had intended to do a side of stuffed fried zucchini blossoms but they were past their prime from sitting in the fridge for a few days.) We started off with garlic crostini with ricotta and favas. The recipe was adapted from something I found on epicurious.com - generally I find their 4 fork rated recipes to be excellent. I thought this one was just OK. We followed that with a re-make of the yummy roasted beet, orange and goat cheese salad. For dinner we had some garlicky sauteed haricot vert, Sauvignon Blanc glazed shallots, and pan seared scallops with a tropical fruit sauce. Dessert was a re-run of the berry tiramisu but done in wine glasses. Yum all around. An added bonus- I got to use some of my new goodies from the wedding - note the dishes- silverware, napkin ring, and the wine glasses. YAY new stuff!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Quickie dessert for the baking challenged

This afternoon I was heading to a friends housewarming party. Seeing as I'm baking challenged, had limited time, and it was too hot to turn on the oven- I went with this. It turned out to be a really easy major crowd pleaser.

Ingredients: 1 package crisp lady fingers, a little Framboise, 1 small tub Mascarpone cheese, ~1 cup heavy cream, a little granulated sugar, ~1T vanilla extract, assorted berries, good dark chocolate

Recipe: Whip up mascarpone, Whip up cream, vanilla and sugar to soft peaks, Fold into mascarpone, Layer some ladyfingers in the bottom of a trifle dish or glass bowl, Drizzle with a little booze, layer with berries, layer with cream, lick fingers and admire how delicious cream is, repeat layering, save a few berries to garnish top and shave with a little chocolate if you wish, wait for applause.

Seeking inspiration

I sure do love me a good dinner party. This Friday we are happy to have over a dear friend (and my hubby's new employer) for dinner and I have been going over about a million menu ideas in my head all week. I decided, though, to hold off on choosing a menu until I did my new favorite thing- ransack the Farmers Market.

We are really fortunate here in Northern California to have fantastic local produce and also a whole lot of people obsessed with organic, pesticide free, humanely treated, yada yada yada and the vendors are happy to put outthat kind of product. YAY And although I am not necessarily fixated on organic food- I am very interested in GOOD food so this works for me.
Nothin like making Alice Waters proud.

This weeks Farmers Market Booty:
beets, strawberries, raspberries, some other mystery berry that I can't remember the name of, white nectarines, leeks, fennel, kale, cucumber, zucchini blossoms, herb foccacia, lettuce, thai basil, fresh-soft-mild-goat cheese.
I'm not quite sure how much of this will survive the week but at least I have a starting point for my menu. More to follow.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Mystery veggies

I had a little fun at the italian market today- they have a pretty good odd ball produce section there and I bought a bunch of things that I have never worked with before. In my cart I had, fava beans, colrabi, red and golden beets. I also picked up a few scallops and some other assorted goodies.

Here you see a roasted beet, goat cheese and citrus salad. For dinner, seared scallops with a vanilla sauce (trying to recreate a phenomenal dish I had in moorea) favas with crispy pancetta and colrabi roasted and tossed with a little butter. yum

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Welcome Everyone! I'm a nearly thirty-something newlywed with an unhealthy obsession with food and reality TV (not necessarily in that order) and the good fortune to have a spouse that just loves to do the dishes in exchange for his meals. Welcome to my display of hits and misses as I navigate the world of the culinary arts and entertaining friends.