Posts tagged ‘main’

07.11.2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Barley Salad & Pear and Cheese Tart

by marilynk

Ok, I’m getting caught up on my October posts still, but I had to throw this one in. This really was last night’s dinner and it is an excellent example of my cooking techniques: kinda inspired and kinda haphazard. I really like both of these recipes and I’ll make both again. One is a super easy, flexible salad that I made up (kinda inspired) and the other is a slightly finicky tart that I wanted to try ’cause I had puff pastry and a pear to use up, but I was missing one of the key ingredients so I substituted and reduced the recipe without a real plan (kinda haphazard).

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11.08.2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Cauliflower Parmesan Cake & Green Beans with Bacon

by marilynk

Last night I had my first dinner party! Well, had a couple of dear friends over for dinner anyway. I’ve been slowly setting up my apartment since moving back in in 2009 and until recently didn’t have chairs on which people could sit for dinner. Now that I have chairs I’m trying to have people over often to use them!

I had a beautiful orange cauliflower from the market that I wanted to use, so I did a little internet searching and found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. I’ve included my slightly modified version below. With the nice yellow cake, I decided green beans would make a good side and was happy I’d pinned* a recipe with bacon since the main ended up being vegetarian (and Mack is decidedly not vegetarian!). The cake was very filling and went nicely with the green bean side dish. Sharon brought a delicious blueberry buckle for dessert which was a lovely summery finish for the meal.

Cauliflower Parmesan Cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen):

  • 1 medium cauliflower (from Riverbend Gardens)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 5 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 8 large eggs
  • Handful basil, chopped (I used lemon basil from Gull Valley Greenhouses)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Butter, for greasing pan
  • 4 Tbs black sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) degrees. Break cauliflower into medium florets. Place floret in a pot with a teaspoon of salt, cover them with water and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until quite soft. Strain and let drip in the colander for a few minutes so they dry and cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the batter. Coarsely chop the onion. Heat all of your olive oil in a saucepan (I followed Smitten Kitchen’s suggestion and used the same pan as I did for the cauliflower) and saute the chopped red onion and rosemary together until soft, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Whisk eggs and olive oil and onion mixture together. Stir in basil. Whisk flour, baking powder, cheese, 1 tsp salt, and many, many grinds of black pepper together in a separate bowl and add to egg mixture, whisking to remove lumps. Stir in cauliflower gently, so most pieces remain intact.

Smitten Kitchen recommends lining the bottom of your springform pan with parchment paper, but I didn’t have any so I used butter and black sesame seeds for the bottom as well as the sides. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round springform pan generously. Put the sesame seeds in the pan and toss them around so that they stick to the sides and bottom. Pour in the cauliflower batter and bake cake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Before you serve the cake, be sure to run a knife around the pan.

Green Beans with Bacon (modified from Savoury Sweet Life)

  • 3 Tbs maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (I used Sundried Tomato Mustard from The Jam Lady)
  • 1/2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed (I used frozen…it’s ok, they’re just as healthy!)
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • salt and pepper

Put maple syrup, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and mustard into a jar and shake it to emulsify, then set aside. Blanch the beans by placing in a microwave-safe container (I prefer to use glass) with a little water and cooking on high for about 3 minutes. Drain the beans immediately and transfer them to your serving dish. Toss the beans in the dressing and top them off with the crumbled bacon. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

*If you’d like an invite to Pinterest, let me know.

27.07.2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Pasta with Mushroom & Peppercorn Infused Alfredo

by marilynk

I promise that not all of my recipes will be pasta, but it is a go-to meal for me finishing things up. This week I had just a few mushrooms left from my market purchases from the weekend before last. They were kinda dry and not very appetizing to eat as themselves, but I thought that they’d provide nice flavour for a sauce. This recipe made enough for me to eat tonight and have two servings-worth of leftovers. And I remembered to take pictures of the finished product!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion
  • handful of dryish mushrooms (from Mo-Na Foods)
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 cups milk (this is a guess…I just used what I had left!)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • whole wheat spaghetti

Boil water for the pasta and cook according to package directions. Meanwhile, peel the onion and cut it in half. Wash the mushrooms*. Put the onion, mushrooms, and peppercorns into a saucepan and cover with the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook on low heat until reduced by half. Strain the flavoured milk back into your measuring cup. After you’ve added the pasta to the water, melt the butter in the saucepan and once melted, add the flour to make a roux (stir with a whisk to avoid lumps). Add the milk back to the saucepan stirring constantly. Add the cheese & stir to combine. Drain the pasta & toss with the sauce. Plate & add fresh ground pepper. I had mine with a simple salad of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers seasoned with salt and pepper.

It turned out pretty tasty!

*Some people think you shouldn’t wash mushrooms and only clean them by brushing. I believe what Alton Brown tells me and will continue to wash mine! 🙂

23.07.2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Pasta with Elk Sausage and Spinach

by marilynk

I like to shop local, so wherever possible I’ll be including locally purchased ingredients and I’ll try to list the seller. I’ll also likely be exploring food triggers, so don’t be surprised if the recipes vary wildly or start eliminating foods completely. So far the only triggers I’ve found have been processed foods, so I’m cooking for myself as much as possible (which also helps with the jobless budgeting).

Ok, now for the recipe (sorry, forgot to take a photo of this one). This is a super simple dinner-for-one that let me use  up some leftover items in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 1 leftover elk bratwurst* (from Amberlane Elk), sliced
  • 1 handful spinach (from Riverbend Gardens), rinsed
  • leftover whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • pepper

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Cook the spinach until bright green and slightly wilted. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add the sliced sausages and cook until heated through. Add the leftover spaghetti noodles and heat through. Plate & add fresh ground pepper & grated parmesan. Enjoy!

*I had pan-fried the sausages earlier in the week, but grilled would be very delicious too. You could use any kind of sausage for this meal.