Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dinners week of sometime in January

I sort of lost track of where we were with meals and postings, but we've had some good ones in the last couple of weeks that are worth posting. Atticus is still growing like a mad man and one of my favorite things to do with him is cook with him strapped in, listening to the recipe unfold both in word and in spatter. Sometimes he gets little pieces of food in his hair but that's a hazard of the job!

Here's a photo of him looking quite quizzical or maybe just confused about what is in front of him... 
 and another of him (this is thankfully a much more common expression) of some sort of mix of curiosity and wonder while also thinking about food...

Yellow tail sushi with miso soup
- we got the yellow tail from Fresh Direct; not cheap at all but the first tuna they've had in a long time that's been well rated in terms of being ocean-friendly. Anyway, the rice I think is key to this along with the spicy sauce. Aside from that, making sushi is just a matter of careful prep making sure you slice everything thin enough to be both pretty and easy to eat. I flash cooked the tuna for 15-30 seconds a side since it smelled just a bit of fish and wasn't quite sashimi quality, but the inside was still raw and wonderful.
For sushi rice: 
Make either with sushi rice or arborio rice (want a short rice that's stickier than jasmine etc) and make about 4 cups for 4 people worth of sushi (or Erin and Alex hungry). Make the rice just like you would normally.
- while the rice is cooking, add 4 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons salt and 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar to a small pan and cook until salt and sugar dissolve but not boiling. Add this mixture to the rice after it is cooked and cooled in a bowl for a bit...
We assembled everything together and in the end had:
Philadelphia rolls 
Spicy Tuna rolls
Tuna Sushi and Sashimi
Vegetable Roll with Carrot, Cucumber and Basil

  • 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
  • Lemon garlic fish skewers with couscous and green beans with fried sage
    I haven't done much with fish kabobs in the past, but I will from now on - I grilled the mixed fish (salmon, blue fish, swordfish and snapper) with peppers and onions on the grill first and then finished in the broiler... oh man that was good (good marinade of garlic, cilantro and lemon before hand too). 

    Sausage onion and pepper pizza with red leaf walnut salad
    - had a good friend over who had made pizza for us at her house so I had to compete. I won. The crust was not quite as thin as I would have liked, but the pizza stone was hot enough to crisp it perfectly in any case. Ah the sweet taste of pizza and victory at the same time!

    Fresh pesto penne
    - Erin made a fabulous pesto out of some left-over fresh basil we had: used the original recipe from the Silver Spoon plus a bit of garlic... I could eat it by itself by the forkful! 

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    balmy January

    With all of our holiday visitors returned to their homes, it was time this week to get back into a rhythm of cooking again. Back to some sort of normalcy, although this time with a new person in the household.

    It's been an unusually warm winter this year- after the freak snowstorm over Halloween weekend- so the usual comfort foods aren't quite as delicious as usual. I was looking for some changes from the usual, so I used different sources for the recipes this week. The recipes were chosen with an eye toward swift preparation, since William Atticus has been fussy at night, Alex has returned to work, and I am sleep-deprived.

    -Hamburgers, using the spicy olive oil mix from Mexico that Lily gave us, with baked sweet potato fries from the Barefoot Contessa's Back to Basics cookbook and a salad. The hamburgers were on challah buns, which are my favorites for absorbing the juices.

    -Corn and chipotle soup, with a recipe from the Blue Corn Cafe in Santa Fe.
    Hands down, one of my favorite fall/winter soups, although the spice level was a bit hot this time- I cut the recipe in half but still added 2 full chipotle peppers, which was a little bit too much.

    -Grilled salmon (Alex marinaded in butter and fresh lime juice- delicious!) with a grilled fennel salad from the new CIA grilling cookbook that Graham gave us for Xmas. Since we don't have an actual grill, we had to revise the recipe a bit. We baked the fennel after marinading it, then put it on the grill, and then combined it with orange slices, red onions and oil-cured olives. I loved the combination of new flavors and the crunch of the fennel. A surprise hit and definitely one to cook again.

    We are nostalgic for our big, empty weekends before WA arrived, ready to fill with whatever plans we wanted to make. But the "little devil" or "little monster" or "little angel" or "little piggy" (we are trying to not pigeonhole him :) is pretty cute most of the time. Wonder what he thinks of our varied menu?