Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dinner party!

We hosted our friend Alex for dinner last night, and I adapted this week's Minimalist column for the main course.

Bittman's recipe intends to keep chicken moist while grilling it. I did mine in a skillet on the stove, and they weren't rolled nearly as neatly as Bittman's.

Still, they were tasty and super moist. I used more of a bulgogi (or, I suppose dak-kogi, chicken bulgogi) marinade than following Bittman's recipe. Equal parts sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar, plus a little squirt of sriracha rooster sauce.

I thought the chicken was maybe a bit too salty, but obviously, the boys disagreed. 

A sign of a successful meal:

Farmer's Market dinner

Wednesday I passed a farmers' market on my way home from an interview.

The sweet corn was really calling out to me, I stopped and picked up corn, radishes, bell peppers and new potatoes. Except for the potatoes, it all went toward a nice fresh, minimalist-style dinner.

Together it made a really nice spread, paired with fresh strawberries for dessert.

I made a compound butter with tarragon and basil from my herb plants, then piled the cucumbers from Jake's dad with radish slices on little multigrain rolls. Nice veggie sandwich!

The bell peppers were HUGE and nice thick pieces. They tasted awesome with the end of my homemade hummus.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Recreating Nicola's

This has quickly become one of our favorite dinners to throw together. 

Our new place doesn't have AC so on the really hot days, we'll just put together an anti-pasto/tapas type meal and snack on that for dinner. I used the lunch special from Nicola's (my fave lunch spot at my old DC office) as inspiration on the roasted eggplant and zucchini. You can't see it, but there's also a salad off to the side. 

Aside from that, we slice up some baguette, cheeses and salami and pepperoni. Nicola's usually had lovely swiss and Brie and fresh mozzarella with Serrano ham and prosciutto, but hey -- we didn't win the lottery when we moved here!

Up front, is my homemade hummus and some baba ghanoush (roasted eggplant dip). Is it superfluous to eat roasted egg plant with roasted eggplant dip? Probably.... but it tastes great!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kitchenaid has arrived!

My life is complete. I officially own a stand mixer!! I hadn't expected to be investing in something this large so soon, but I had $40 in Amazon gift cards, it was on sale AND Kitchenaid is currently running a rebate promotion. It seemed too good of a deal to pass up.

Sadly, it's been HOT in St Paul this week, so I haven't gotten to use it yet!

It finally cooled off a little tonight, and I used some tomatoes from Jake's dad to make a great marinara sauce.

I also popped a batch of cheese and herb biscuits into the oven. They weren't a stand mixer project, but they are pretty damn tasty!

Generally, I followed the Amateur Gourmet recipe I've used in the past except for a few steps:
* I found I needed closer to 3 cups of flour. 2 cups gave me more of a thick pancake like batter.
* I added 1/3 c shredded gouda to the dough just before the buttermilk.
* Sprinkled the tops with chopped thyme and oregano from Jake's dad's garden. Also about 1 tsp kosher salt
* After the initial 5 min bake, I took them out, brushed them again with a little butter and sprinkled a little more gouda.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Weekend grilling

This weekend we took out the grill for the first time. It also marked the first weekend for great Minnesota sweet corn.

There were a bunch of posts on grilled corn last week, namely America's Test Kitchen and Mark Bittman's Minimalist column.

It was also just a good excuse for me to play around in the kitchen.

For instance, I made hummus. Tons of homemade hummus, with roasted garlic.

I also made baba ghanouj (top large bowl), also with roasted garlic, then made sriracha chili butter to go with the corn.

The grilled flatbread experiment probably could have gone better, but the parts that didn't char turned out awesome.

We still ate most of this anyway.

Midway through, the handle on the grill broke off, so we put Keith in charge of being the human grill handle.

Beautiful, sweet, smoky charred grilled corn. This was absolutely amazing.

There was also a big bowl of oven roasted egg plant and zucchini (the latter from Jake's dad's garden).

Today (Sunday) we had some friends over and I put together a fantastic spring roll bar, but failed to take any photographs of it.

Needless to say, the big pot of miso soup was beautiful, the glass noodles dressed with lime chili sauce were phenomenal, and the pile of shrimp with the three homemade sauces were all delightful.

In all, a pretty good weekend. Now I'm off to bake some buttermilk biscuits to bring to the bureau tomorrow.