Monday, August 2, 2010

What I cooked this week, Episode 8

Look, we actually ate some green foods this week!

Episode 8, July 26-August 1


For our main course this night we had leftover chili, but I whipped up a bowl of guacamole to, you know, mix things up. You can get complicated and add things like fresh tomato, onion, cumin, chili powder... but usually I just like to keep things simple: avocado, garlic, lime, cilantro, salt.

Bacon risotto and balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts
Bacon risotto and balsamic roasted brussels sprouts

Andrew and I love Brussels sprouts, so I was really excited to try this recipe from White on Rice Couple. It was everything I could have wanted it to be, namely, easy and tasty. We paired them with my standard bacon risotto, for which I got to use my most recent batch of chicken stock. Before heating it up and adding some water, the stock had a jelly-like consistency--what might have caused that?

On Saturday, we had a party! And I made lots of food:

Party food!

Chicken satay with red curry peanut sauce
Chicken satay with red curry peanut sauce

One of Andrew's favorites and a standby of mine for when we're going to have company. I just broil the loose chicken pieces on a baking sheet because I don't have access to a grill (well, there is one in our laundry room, but I don't know if it's for general use. Also? It's cold out). Anyway, I can't recommend Nancie McDermott's Quick and Easy Thai Cooking enough.

Green bean and grape tomato salad
Greenbean and grape tomato salad

Were you worried about the lack of Smitten Kitchen recipes? Well, never fear. I loved the look of this one immediately, and it didn't disappoint. I deviated only in a couple places: grape tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes, because that's what I could find, and champagne vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, because I didn't feel like buying red wine vinegar when I already have three or four different kinds of vinegar in the house.

Gougères with Gruyère
Gougeres with gruyere

I had been dying to make gougères again, ever since the first time I did so. Man, I don't think it gets much simpler, considering how impressive they are. They inspired the follow exchange:
Party guest: What are those things?
Me: Cheese puffs.
Party guest: Well, I'm going to eat all of them.
No more excuses--why aren't you making some right now?

Four-plum salad with lime and cilantro
Four Plum salad

Technically it's two-plum-plumcot-aprium salad (apparently the latter two are actually different fruits). Whatever you want to call it, it was inspired by a recent Mark Bittman recipe for plum-scallop ceviche with tarragon. I really wanted to make this ceviche, but didn't want spend the money to buy scallops for 15 people. So, I just cut up a bunch of plums and plum hybrids, drizzled them with some lime juice, and tossed them with some fresh cilantro. It was awesome.

Gluten-free chocolate financiers
Gluten-free chocolate financiers

When it came to dessert, all I knew was that I wanted to make something chocolate. I just done a search for "chocolate" on Smitten Kitchen when my friend Jeters happened to mention that her husband, who would be in attendance, was currently avoid grains. Well, lucky him, two recipes caught my eye: best chocolate pudding, and gluten-free chocolate financiers. Now,I love pudding, but I don't have 15 little serving vessels to serve it in, so that didn't sound like a great option. I didn't know what financiers were, but they sounded complicated. I couldn't have been more wrong. This is a one-bowl recipe for little miniature brownie-like cakes (or cake-like brownies) that uses almond flour instead of regular flour (it's the almond flour that distinguishes them from other baked goods, as far as I can tell). I used regular unsweetened cocoa instead of Dutch process, but they turned out splendidly.

Spaghetti with cheese and black pepper
Spaghetti with pecorino romano and black pepper

Spaghetti and salad

After all that fancy (but easy-to-make!) party food, I wanted to keep things simple on Sunday. Spaghetti with a ton of pecorino Romano and black pepper, plus some butter, olive oil, and pasta water, and a salad on the side fit the bill perfectly. I made another champagne vinegar dressing, but this time added a clove of minced garlic. Yum. Oh, and yeah, it's a Smitten Kitchen recipe.

By the way, I do want to post more recipes and instructions. If you ever see something in one of my posts that you'd like me to do a recipe post on, just leave me a comment!

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