dinner tonight

cedar plank salmon

hope you had a happy weekend! on friday, we made one of our favorites. grilling salmon on a cedar plank gives it a wonderful, rich flavoring.. not to mention the heavenly smells while it cooks.

cedar plank salmon

i marinate the fish in a simple mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and a bit of ground mustard. be sure to soak your plank for at least an hour, but preferably two, so it does not catch fire on the grill.

set plank in the center of the grill, over medium-high heat. cover and cook 20-30 minutes, until it flakes apart and internal temperature reads 135 degrees. serve over fresh greens, or with wild rice and asparagus.

dinner for one

on nights when matt isn't home for dinner, i tend to eat vegetarian... for no other reason than the fact that he more or less requires meat in his dinners, and typically i don't want to prepare it for just myself. sometimes, i have cereal. sometimes it's pb&j on toasted english muffins.

on this particular evening, it was poached eggs* on buttered toast, black beans with a drizzle of fresh lime juice and salsa, and torn butter lettuce with a light dressing. perfection.

poached eggs for one

*this was my first go at poached eggs. i highly recommend following these steps if you're a beginner.

an autumn dinner

pasta e fagioli


last week when it really started to feel like fall, i pulled out my slow cooker and had my eye out for a perfect recipe. after a bit of browsing, i decided to try out this one from a year of slow cooking. i liked that it was healthy and hearty, and employed the dump-and-go method that many slow cooker recipes do. 


served with honey wheat rolls and a green salad, and had enough to freeze for another dinner (and probably a lunch or two). here's to comfort food you can feel good about eating.


pasta e fagioli
adapted faintly from crockpot 365


ingredients
1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes (and juice) 
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups beef broth
1 jar (16.5 oz) pasta sauce
 (i like tomato basil)
2 tsp oregano
dash ground cayenne pepper (add more if you like)
1/2 tsp salt
 
1/4 tsp black pepper

3/4 cup dry pasta, to add at end of cooking time

method
brown the meat on the stovetop, and drain well. let it cool a bit. 

chop up the carrots, onion, and celery, and add to slow cooker
 (six quarts or larger).
drain and rinse the beans, and add pot. add the whole cans of tomatoes, and the pasta sauce. add the beef broth and stir well. add the salt, pepper, oregano, and ta
basco sauce. spoon in ground beef, and stir to combine.
 

cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4. when the vegetables are tender, stir in the uncooked pasta.

cover and cook for another hour on low, or until the pasta is tender. i
t will swell quite a bit. (note: you may want to check your pasta after 30 minutes or so, to be sure it does not overcook. at 45 minutes, mine was more than al dente.)

serve with grated parmesan.

our go-to meatloaf

meatloaf, roasted root veggies

meatloaf is a favorite of matt and mine. i have played around with many recipes and this is the one i keep coming back to. we love it because it's simple and classic, and yields great results every time. i have no doubt i'll keep my eye out for other promising renditions, but for now, this is it.


turkey meatloaf
adapted from the barefoot contessa


ingredients
half yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 T worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp barbecue sauce
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey breast
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten


topping
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 T brown sugar
dash cumin


method
preheat oven to 325 degrees


in a medium saute pan, over medium-low heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme until translucent, but not browned, approximately 15 minutes. Add the worcestershire sauce, applesauce, and barbecue sauce and mix well. allow to cool to room temperature.


combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, and onion mixture in a large bowl. mix well and shape into a rectangular loaf on an ungreased sheet pan. mix together topping and spread evenly on top. bake for 1 1/2 hours until the internal temperature is 160 degrees and the meatloaf is cooked through. serve hot, at room temperature, or cold in a sandwich. 

our produce box

produce box

last week we received a trial organic produce box. not quite a csa, more of an organic produce delivery service. i'm not sure if we will be continuing on a regular basis, or just ordering here and there, but it was a plentiful shipment.

we love that they deliver straight to our door. for $26, we received the smallest box, which included:

: 3 gala apples
: 1 lb fair trade bananas
: 3 nectarines
: 3 oranges
: 3 peaches
: 5 pluots
: 1 head of romaine lettuce
: 1 (giant) stalk of celery
: 1 lb yams

produce box 2

not bad, eh? i'd like to price it out to see what our total would be if we would have bought the same organic produce at, say, whole foods. it is nice to be forced to be creative with food. i found myself planning the menu around what we had in the fridge. i'll keep you posted on our decision. it may be nice to continue through the colder months with root vegetables and the like.

+ in other news, i am cutting out early this week to head off on a camping trip. will have a recipe posted in the morning, you won't want to miss it. enjoy your first autumn weekend!

scenes from the weekend {food edition}

homemade pizza

this weekend we were fortunate to have no real plans, and good friends in town. the heat broke late last week so we were able to dine al fresco without melting. friday night was homemade deep dish pizza... crust and all. we topped it with grilled chicken, tomatoes and home-grown basil.

morning eggs

saturday morning i put together some quick egg sandwiches, and we spent the day running errands, mowing the lawn, and other such chores around the house.

summer sky
sangria
grilled burgers + corn

that night we enjoyed the beautiful summer sky as we sipped sangria on the back deck. we indulged in grilled burgers and corn, and a strawberry spinach salad.

burger & corn
spinach & strawberry salad

bouchons a la molly

bouchons au thon

my latest bookstore indulgence is a homemade life, by molly wizenberg. i realize i'm a little late on this one but it's been on my wishlist for awhile and i couldn't resist picking it up when recently at barnes & noble buying a gift. i'm so glad i did... it's one of those books you wouldn't want to get from the library because being forced to return it might be mildly painful. the comforting recipes and pull-you-in stories are dreamy, and i find myself longing for paris.

i am about halfway through, but i wanted to share a recipe from the book that i made last week. one of the last fridays in lent seemed as good a time as any to experiment with bouchons.


bouchons au thon

bouchons au thon
recipe from a homemade life, molly wizenberg
yield: 8 bouchons, enough for four light eaters


you can use either solid white or chunk light tuna (i always prefer solid white).

ingredients

one 6 oz. can tuna packed in water, drained well
1 cup lightly packed finely shredded gruyere
1/3 cup crème fraîche
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 large eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped italian parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt

directions

01. set an oven rack to the middle position, preheat to 325 degrees
02. grease 8 cups of a standard-sized muffin tin, and set aside
03. put the tuna in a medium bowl, and use a fork, mashing and poking, to break it up into small pieces. there should be no chunks larger than a dime. add the remaining ingredients and stir well with the fork, mashing a bit as you go, until the mixture is thoroughly combined. it will be a soft orange-pink color
04. divide the mixture evenly among the 8 prepared muffin cups. bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the bouchons look set on top and around the edges. transfer the tin to a rack, and let cool for 5 minutes. carefully run a small, thin knife around the edge of each bouchon to make sure it isn't stuck, then carefully remove from the tin. they will collapse a bit as they cool. serve warm or at room temperature.

we served them alongside tossed greens, and matt and i each ate three. not knowing what to expect, i was pleasantly surprised. the flavor from the tomato paste was more prominent than i expected. overall they were well flavored, soft and moist, with a bit of a crunch from the onions. and as a bonus i've got two stashed in the freezer for a rainy day.

grilled salmon with spicy honey-basil sauce

grilled salmon- martha

after indulging so much over the holidays, i am in the mood for light and healthy during these january days. of course i love to tuck into something warm and hearty when the forecast predicts frosty nights, but i am of the persuasion that comfort food can (if you look hard!) be healthy. i'll be saving this one for a dinner in the near future.

ingredients

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup packed fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red chile or 1 medium jalapeno, chopped (include the seeds if you like it spicy)
4 skinless salmon fillets, 4 ounces each
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup watercress leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and ground white pepper, to taste

directions

01. place pine nuts, honey, lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, basil, garlic, and chile in a blender and process until the mixture is pureed. spoon the sauce over the salmon, and turn to coat. cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours, turning twice.
02. place bell peppers and watercress in a bowl. toss with vinegar and 1 tablespoon olive oil. cover and refrigerate while the salmon cooks.
03. oil the grill rack and preheat the grill to medium-high. remove the salmon from the marinade, reserving the marinade. sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides.
04. place the salmon on the grill rack and grill until opaque throughout, 4 to 6 minutes on each side. brush occasionally with reserved marinade. garnish with bell pepper and watercress mixture before serving.

from body + soul, june 2005
image/martha stewart

{ dinner tonight } : almond-crusted sole

in honor of a lenten friday (albeit there is only one more after this), i am featuring a simple & delicious seafood recipe. thanks to sunset magazine (via myrecipes) for this great one!

almond crusted sole

time: 20 minutes.
yield : serves 4

ingredients:
4 pacific sole fillets (6 oz. each)
about 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
about 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
fresh lemon wedges
1/2 cup panko (japanese bread crumbs)
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon zest

preparation:

1. preheat oven to 475° with a rack set at the top level. sprinkle both sides of fillets with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, then set on a baking sheet lined with foil. brush tops of fillets with 2 tsp. olive oil and squeeze a little lemon on top.

2. combine panko, parmesan, nuts, parsley, zest, remaining 1 tsp. olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. evenly cover fillets with almond mixture. bake until fish is opaque in center, 6 to 8 minutes. serve with more lemon.

adeena sussman, sunset, march 2009

{ dinner tonight } : almond-stuffed chicken

this weekend we made a recipe from the march issue of cooking light-- almond-stuffed chicken. it was fantastic. this is such an easy meal to make, and the results are gourmet. no one will believe you prepared it in under an hour... and it's light too! we served it with fresh snap peas and multi-grain bread.

cooking light stuffed chicken

the nutty, cheesy filling spices up chicken breasts and is a snap to make. toast the almonds in a skillet before you cook the chicken and you'll have just one pan to clean. serve with couscous and haricots verts.

yield : 4 servings

ingredients:
1/3 cup light garlic-and-herbs spreadable cheese (such as Boursin light)
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped, and divided
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons butter

1. combine spreadable cheese, 3 tablespoons almonds, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley in a small bowl. set aside.

2. cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each breast half to form a pocket. stuff 1 1/2 tablespoons almond mixture into each pocket; secure each pocket with a wooden pick. sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

3. heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. remove from pan; cover and let stand 2 minutes. top chicken with remaining 1 tablespoon almonds and remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.

photo via my recipes