Sunday, February 20, 2011
I can't believe this is my third Valentine's Day post. If you've followed my blog you know it's a special day for my family.
I departed from tradition temporarily last year since my husband was traveling. Instead of our usual dinner I thew a luncheon for my mom's birthday and the day was lovely.
We were back to our tradition this year of an evening dinner, hearts, candles, gifts and lots of love to go around. The guest list...
My parents (and yes, it was also a birthday dinner for my mom)
our friend Kristine
and our little family.
I served my sausage and granny smith apple penne (and turned a complete blind eye to the fat content!), balsamic glazed mixed vegetables (frozen section TJ's), fresh berries and greek yogurt whipped with cream and honey and topped with granola, and my mom brought a carrot cake.
There were small gifts for all, treats, and lots of sweetness to go around. I love that my kids have started to ask when Valentines day is because they love our "love" dinner. That's how I like to spend my Valentine's Day.
So I've started up with a CSA program again. Sadly, not with Farmer Chad (his pickup window was just too short and inconvenient for me), but with Local Food Stop, picking up at the new Natural Foods Warehouse right by me. I'm so excited about all this!
This CSA allows you to pick from a menu of what you get in your bag and there's no seasonal commitment. This week I got rainbow carrots, watercress, strawberries, apples, kiwi and broccoli. Watercress was a bit of a wild card for me since I don't recall ever using it for anything, but I figured I'd find something creative to do with it. After reading a bit online about the cancer fighting properties of watercress and running across a few recipes I decided to try a watercress soup. You'll need your immersion blender for this one, otherwise you'll have to transfer to a blender in batches, and that's a pain. I can't say enough about how great an immersion blender is. This soup is light and a great starter or a lunchtime accompaniment. OK, after a few tweaks, here's what I got:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 small yukon gold potatoes- peeled and cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 or 3 small carrots, peeled and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
salt, pepper, and seasonings
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 1/2 cups milk
2 nice bunches of watercress, rinsed and large stems removed
Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the potato , carrot, garlic and onion, stirring to coat with the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium and saute until tender and fragrant. If you have a bit (1/4 cup) while wine, pour it in to deglaze the pan.
Pour in the chicken stock and the milk, bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Stir in the watercress and simmer, uncovered, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until watercress is just cooked. Turn off heat and let cool for a few minutes. Using an immersion blender puree until smooth. Season to your desired taste. I threw a little dill in mine. Top each serving with fresh cracked pepper and shaved cheese if desired.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
For dinner tonight I revisited a recipe I posted some time ago. Sole with sides was it's name, but I prepared it a little differently tonight. Turns out, sole can be a little hard to find, so I substituted talipia tonight. I pretty much made it the same way, but served it a top pasta tossed with garlic, olive oil, spinach, salt and pepper. I also threw in some steamed broccoli and topped it all off with shaved parmesan, salt and pepper. I'm telling you, it was restaurant quality. SO yummy, fresh, and healthy. Amazing what garlic, butter, and fresh lemon juice can do.
Here's the recipe how I did it tonight:
3/4 box of angel hair pasta (whole wheat, quinoa, or another healthier version)
A couple handfuls of fresh raw spinach, to toss in pasta
2-3 garlic cloves
2 TBS butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp. paprika
juice of half a lemon
3 or 4 filets of white fish (talipia or sole work well)
flour, for coating the fish
1 TBS butter
1 TBS olive oil
seasonings (salt, pepper, lemon pepper, seasoned salt...whatever you have like that)
juice of half a lemon
Get the water for the pasta started and cook according to package directions. Just before draining, toss in the raw spinach, let cook for 30 seconds or so, then drain. While the pasta is cooking, get started on the sauce.
In a small saucepan or saute pan, cook the butter and garlic over medium heat until it sizzles. Wish in the paprika, season with salt and sizzle a bit more. Once it turns golden, add the lemon juice and cook for another minute. Keep warm while you get to the fish.
Heat the butter and oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan. Lightly coat fish filets in flour, seasoned with seasonings, and sauté until golden, salting and peppering each side as you turn. Once both sides are golden and crispy, you're through. Squeeze the lemon juice over just before turning off the heat.
Toss the hot pasta with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, Dish out into serving bowls. Top with a fish filet and drizzle with some the the sauce. Top the whole thing with fresh ground pepper, dried or fresh chopped parsley, and perhaps some shaved parmesan.