Sunday, March 30, 2008

Easy Spring Dinner

Balsamic Flank Steak --we use this marinade all summer long for grilling; we've done pork, chicken, beef, eggplant. All delicious, at least once a week.

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t crushed dried rosemary --I put in 2-3 fresh sprigs because rosemary grows like crazy out here
salt and pepper
1 1/2 lb flank steak

In a resealable plastic bag or shallow dish, combine vinegar, sugar, garlic, rosemary, 1 t coarse salt, and 1/2 t ground pepper. Pierce meat all over with fork; add marinade, and turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature at least 15 minutes, or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.

Heat grill to high; oil grates. Remove steaks from marinade, allowing excess to drip off. Grill steaks 2 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest 5 minutes.

Baked potatoes (pricked with a fork, 5 min high in microwave) with the fixin's
Grilled asparagus (wash and snap of bottoms of asparagus, drizzle and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, leave on the grill with the steak for 5-10 min)
Fruit of your choice

This menu has been used for Luke's birthday dinner and 2 Sunday dinners. Looks fancy, but takes so little time. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Roasted Beet Salad

Made this for dinner last night (another keeper from my Gourmet cookbook) to go with steak. I wasn't very well-prepared, though. So, I used a bartlett pear instead of an Asian one, and a tablespoon of minced red onion instead of a shallot.

I wasn't sure I would like the end result; the pairings seemed a little strange. But, the sweetness of the beets and pears goes really well with the acidity of the lemon juice. The salty almonds was another nice layer.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Favorite Meal Planning Website

I was telling Emily about today and just wanted to link it from this really awesome recipe site!
After you register, you can use the meal planner, and also search for recipes, put them in your meal planner, then it will transfer everything to your shopping list. You can also upload your favorite recipes to share and store in your cookbook. I usually print my meal plan and put it on my fridge so I don't have to stare blankly in my cupboards at 5 PM and think, "What am I making for dinner?"

The recipes on here look great, I'm excited to try some and add a few of my own favorites!

Thanks for inviting me, Emily!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Asher's birthday lunch

We had a party for Asher's friends and their families this weekend. Here's the menu we did:

Hamburgers and hot dogs
Black Bean Salad
Fruit tray
Vegetable tray
Buttermilk cake with lemon cream cheese frosting I used the recipe in the Gourmet cookbook, which is reduced by about 1/4 of this recipe. The cake came out fine, but it took A LOT longer to bake.

6 advocados
3 finely minced garlic cloves (further mushed into a paste with a little garlic)
2 1/2 limes juiced
salt to taste

Dice and mash advocadoes, add everything else.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Pistachio Pasta with Turkey

We had a small family birthday party for Asher. I knew his favorite dish was the Ragu pasta I make once a week, but I wanted this pasta dish I got from Kate H, complete with her handy notes (thanks, Kate!).

Pistachio Pasta with Turkey
from Colorado Cache

3/4 c basil pesto, at room temperature
1 c shelled pistachio nuts (I like to toast them for a few minutes at 350 degrees)
1/2 c coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/2 lb smoked turkey breast
12 oz pasta (they recommend fettucine), cooked al dente and drained

In large bowl, combine pesto, pistachios, basil, and turkey. Add hot pasta and toss to coat.

Basic Basil Pesto:
1 c pine nuts (or half pine nuts and half pecans or almonds or walnuts)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tb minced garlic
3 c loosely packed, fresh basil leaves
4 oz Asiago cheese, grated
2 oz parmesan cheese, grated
1 c olive oil

In food processor, combine nuts, salt, pepper, garlic, and basil. Pulse until finely chopped. Add cheeses and pulse until smooth. With processor running, add olive oil in a slow steady stream. Process until well-blended. Store in refrigerator up to one week, or freeze up to three months.
This is THE only pesto I'll be making from now on.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Lemon Blueberry Bread

I found this recipe after picking too many blueberries one summer and needing to find a way to get rid of a few. It's from the first cookbook I ever got.

The lemon zest makes it the blueberry bread "with more goodness" as my brother, Thomas, would say.

Lemon Blueberry Bread
The New Basics Cookbook, 1989

½ cup sugar
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 T unsalted butter at room temp
1 t grated lemon zest
½ t ground cinnamon

¾ c sugar
½ c milk
4 T unsalted butter at room temp
1 egg
2 c flour
2 t baking powder
¼ t salt
2 c fresh blueberries
1 T grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375. Oil a 9x5 inch loaf pan. My bread always got too big for the pan as it baked. I found that it makes two lovely regular sized loaves just fine (see picture) if you divide the batter in half.

Stir the topping ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, stir the sugar, milk, butter, and egg together until smooth.

In another bowl, toss flour with baking powder and salt. Stir this into the wet ingredients, and then fold in the blueberries and lemon zest.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with the topping. Bake until the topping is deep golden and has formed a thick crust, 50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer bread to a wire rack and continue cooling.