Friday, September 17, 2010

Food in Review

Food this week was a mix of simplicity and using things up before they go bad.  

Friday:  I really didn’t have “dinner”.  I met a friend for happy hour – Blue Mesa gives you free quesadillas with the purchase of a drink – to kill time till the Pampered Chef party.  So, I had a veggie quesadilla and a Bohemia at the bar.  Then I had the most decadent chunk of brownie at the Pampered Chef party.  Lastly, I ate a fried egg and avocado sandwich before bed on a sandwich thin.  Yeah, none of that is really dinner, huh?  The husband delighted himself with fast food since I wasn’t around.  That’s about the only time he gets any fast food anymore.  Poor hubby!

Satruday: We had a failed attempt at D&D and a tasty but unusually slow lunch at the local pub in Denton: Abbey Inn.  Then we watched The Hangover with a friend at our house.  By the time we went to make dinner it was after 8pm.  We settled on the other casserole I’d gotten from Central Market.  It was a beef enchilada stack and absolutely out of this world delicious.  This stack fed us dinner Saturday, lunch Sunday, and lunch Monday!  Take about getting your money’s worth!

Sunday: I finally stocked the kitchen Sunday morning before the football game.  My hubby requested potato skins.  I love homemade potato skins…..WAY more than anything you can get in any restaurant.  Really….they’re outrageously simple and delicious!  I use Ellie Krieger’s method for skins.  Even if you go with full-fat toppings, I very highly recommend the method for the potatoes.  I nuke small russets wrapped in paper towels till soft.  Cut in half and scoop out as much as you like to make room for your fillings.  The innards get seasoned and handed off to the hubby as “mashed potatoes”.  Coat all sides of the potatoes in olive oil….use a brush because you only need a little, promise.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Add toppings, bake again.  They’ll feel smooshy when you pull them out of the oven – like they didn’t crisp up – but as soon as they will be nice an crispy in just a few minutes when they set a little.  Ours were broccoli with sharp white cheddar and sour cream.  Delicious.  But you’re here for the dinner portion!  

Dinner was beautiful….and good.  I had all of the ingredients for this at the beginning of last week and never made it.  So, this dinner absolutely had to be meal #1 else stuff was going to get tossed.  Not ok!  I made something I’ve never made before: spaghetti squash.  My husband actually had to half the squash for me.  I couldn’t muscle through it!  I brushed the squash with olive oil and added salt and pepper.  Into a 400 degree oven it went for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, I sliced a peeled eggplant into long strips.  These joined the squash.  Everything stayed in the oven and was flipped every 10 minutes until about an hour had passed.  Then….out came my favorite little dishes… individual casseroles!  Each dish had the “spaghetti-ed” squash in the bottom with marinara left over from last week’s meatballs, topped with eggplant planks that had a mixture of goat cheese and spinach in between!  The goat cheese spinach mixture was just that – goat cheese and fresh spinach that I stuck in my mini food processor with some salt and pepper.  It was so creamy but with a great earthy taste!  It sound like an odd combo but it really worked.  And look at the colors!  Yeah, I loved this one.
Monday: I blame Alton Brown.  I watched a tuna episode over the weekend and simply had to make his tuna croquettes.  I’ve made various croquettes before, and these were so simple that I’d have to deem them the quintessential croquette.  I used vacuum packed albacore, something I rarely buy because I like chunk light so much.  It worked far better in this than my beloved chunk light.  So, I wouldn’t recommend substitution here.  I added a very finely sliced mild hatch pepper (need to use them up!).  Also, I used lime juice (since I had limes) and a shallot (since I had shallots).  Why waste, right?  Worked beautifully!  I whipped up an impromptu sauce of plain low-fat organic yogurt and cilantro with lime (in the mini processor) for the croquettes.  I love sauces for fish.  This was an excellent choice.  My hubby and I nearly licked the little bowl with the sauce clean.  I totally forgot to purchase a side, so my freezer contents decided for me…..English peas and onions.  Great combo.  I get these little pearl onions frozen, and I wouldn’t buy them any other way!  They’re already peeled and ready to be added.  They’re sweet, and they burst in your mouth.  And I love that I can sauté them a bit before adding the peas.  

Tuesday: My husband’s boss gave him a baggie of little red Tabasco peppers from her garden last week.  My mind when to two things: pepper sauce and Thai food.  So, most of these babies are in a jar filled with plain vinegar, getting acquainted, as it were.  But four made it into dinner, whole.  I sautéed onions, hatch chilies, bell pepper, and carrot chips while the remainder of a box of whole wheat angel hair cooked away.  Add peanut sauce (a concoction of my own PB, soy, rice wine vinegar, srirasha), ginger, and four chilies to the mix.  What do we have?!  My brother’s favorite dish of mine: peanut noodles!  I also threw in some remaining chicken breast from another meal.  Why not?  Yeah, we went back for seconds and ended up eating the entire pan!  Um…oops?


Wednesday: I think I’ll never cook with an unfamiliar fish again.  I had fresh-caught Swordfish from the farmers market still in the freezer.  I thought this would be the night for it.  I decided to turn it into a Mexican-style salad.  A bed of mixed greens made the base.  Then I added jarred roasted red peppers, fresh roasted hatch chilies, grilled shallot and corn, crumbled goat cheese, and salsa.  Those elements were awesome, and worked very well together.  The fish though…..the fish was REALLY fishy.  We both muscled through half of the grilled fish on our salads and dinked the rest to the outer edges so that we could get to the tasty bits beneath it.  I was sorely disappointed.  I don’t blame the fish person. Some of his other fish have been fantastic.  I blame us not liking that fish.  

Thursday: Hair dresser bridesmaid came over to cut our hair.  We look spiffy now!  :)  Especially the husband.  love the way she did his bangs.  Anyhow, she had the evening free (YAY!) so she stayed for dinner.  We sipped Shiner Oktoberfests that she brought us while I made steak nachos.  I pan-seared a sirloin tip steak and then cut it into bite-sized bits.  The steak, minced onions, and black beans were piled on toasted sesame seed tortilla chips that I discovered at Central Market.  They were very nutty!  The whole whole mess got topped with Cabot sharp white cheddar and set under the broiler for mere minutes.  As a tip, construct the nachos on individual sheets of foil.  That way, you can just transfer the foil to each plate and clean up is non-existent.  My favorite kind!  Salsa and sour cream was laid out serve your self style for the nachos.  they were amazing and oh-so-simple.  Now that's how you feed three adults with a $4 steak!  (Sorry, we were starving, so no photo.......but you've our nachos before!) 

I know Friday is Riley day, generally, but she hogged the whole blog yesterday.  So you'll just have to come back next Friday! 

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