Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Dinner: Pesto Pasta

Tonight's vegetarian dinner was low-key and healthy.  We had a very busy day full of errands and other activities so an easy-to-prepare meal was needed.  I made a fresh batch of pesto, tossed it with whole-wheat spaghetti and some fresh tomatoes, and grated fresh parmesan on each bowl of pasta.  We lit up our new tiki torches for the first time (!) and ate this meal out on the patio with the sounds of crickets surrounding us.  A nice relaxing end to a busy day!

To make this pesto, I used fresh basil and thyme from our little "garden", pecans, walnuts, parmesan, garlic, lemon juice, and extra-virgin olive oil.

Finished product. Delicious!
What did you eat this Sunday?


Friday, September 17, 2010

Dining Out: Sushi Sumo

Tonight Paul and I went out for my early birthday dinner.  I chose my number one favorite food ... sushi.  I've only had sushi once since we moved out of Philadelphia and I've been going crazy.  If I had to name one thing I miss about Philly, it'd be the food.  Specifically some of our favorite sushi bars...Mizu, Shinju, Misso (now out of business...such a shame), Wasabi House, Vic...  I was worried we'd be lacking good sushi here in Delaware but I was wrong!  I discovered that Mizu actually opened a location right here in Newark.  We originally planned to go there, but I decided I wanted to try something new and did a little research and found Sushi Sumo to have pretty good reviews on Yelp.  We were not the least bit disappointed.

We had:
  • Manhattan Roll: red and white tuna, cucumber, avocado, and spicy sauce inside; fresh mango, tobigo, and golden leaf on top.   
  • Paradise Roll: spicy crunchy white tuna inside; tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and avocado on top. (My favorite)
  • Salmon Sashimi: OUT OF THIS WORLD!
  • Yellowtail Roll
  • Philly Roll: cream cheese, scallion, and smoked salmon (Paul's favorite)
  • Tempura Green Tea Ice Cream
Prepare to drool!

Happy Birthday to me!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Dinner: "LGH" Tilapia, Green Bean Salad, & Roasted Potatoes

Here's a rundown of tonight's tasty (and pretty healthy!) dinner... pictures included, of course!

Paul's mom's green beans.
Paul's mom gave us a batch of green beans straight from her garden and I wanted to do something a little different.  A little different meaning, not in a stir-fry or steamed and eaten plain, which is the only thing I have ever done with green beans.  This is based on a fantastically simple recipe by Biana at TastyGalaxy.

Green Bean Salad thanks to TastyGalaxy (with a couple of my own little tweaks, of course)
  • about 1 pound green beans
  • a big handful of chopped pecans (her recipe calls for almonds, which I don't have on hand, so I substituted)
  • about 1/2 of a small red onion, cut into slivers
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, which I forgot... oops!
  1. Clean and wash the beans.  Blanch for 3 minutes.  Drain and immediately rinse in cold water or dunk in ice bath.
  2. Combine lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. In a bowl, combine the beans, onions, and nuts.  Toss with the lemon mixture.
Nutty goodness.
The finished product.
I made the salad a few hours before dinnertime and let it marinate in the fridge until then.  The lemon infused the green beans and really enhanced their flavor, which is fantastic already.  I really love this salad.  It is crisp, refreshing, and so healthy.  Definitely a great way to showcase some quality green beans.

I can't wait 'til I can have my own real garden someday.  The quality of fruits and veggies from a well-tended garden is unlike anything you can get in the store.  Moving on to the main dish...

Lemon-Garlic-Herb (LGH) Tilapia
  • 3 or 4 tilapia fillets, depending on size... should be about 1 pound altogether
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley (or 1 tsp fresh)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the fillets in cool water, pat dry, and place in greased baking dish.
  3. Pour the lemon juice over the fish.
  4. Sauté the garlic in the butter until very fragrant.  Remove from heat and mix in the herbs.
  5. Pour the butter mixture over the fish.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Fish should flake easily when pierced with a fork.
Before baking.

This turned out pretty fantastic as well.  The fish was soft, tender, with a delicate lemon flavor and little hints of garlic and herbs here and there.  This was my first time baking, as opposed to pan-frying, tilapia and I think it's a great way to prepare this fish (not to mention healthier).  Be careful not to over-bake because the fillets are so thin.  I'm also glad I sautéed the garlic and butter beforehand; I think it added a nice toasty flavor to the whole dish.  Side note: I actually used 3 tbsp butter, but I changed it in the recipe to 2 tbsp. I left some in the sauté pan, otherwise the fish would have been swimming in it (ha! see what I did there?)...and I was trying to go healthier.  Now for the second side dish...

No recipe here, but I had a couple extra potatoes to use up, and I already had the oven at 400, so why not roast them?  And dip them in spicy mayo, of course.  ;)

These always come out perfectly tossed in extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkled liberally with kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, and baked at 400 for about 10 minutes.  Just make sure they are spread on a single layer on your baking sheet.

What did you eat this Sunday?


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dijon-Basil Potato Salad

I went the whole summer without making potato salad.  Of course I jump on the bandwagon the day after Labor Day.  I have to admit, I'm not going to attempt writing a recipe for this because:
  1. I lost track of how much of each ingredient was put into the dressing... I added & tasted as I went along.
  2. I'm lazy.
But, I can say this:  I used 3 russet potatoes (boil, peel, then cube), chopped 2 stalks of celery, and used about 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil.  The dressing is a mixture of roughly-equal parts Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, and honey. I added kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to my liking, and just a bit of mayonnaise for creaminess.  Mix everything together until it tastes right to you, then drizzle extra-virgin olive oil into that mixture while whisking VERY fast.  I just add the oil until it looks like I have enough dressing. How scientific, right?

I don't usually gloat or brag about my food... but this is soooooo delicious.  The basil and dijon flavors work really well together.

Taters, celery, dressing, basil.
Can't wait to bring this with my lunch to work tomorrow...


Saturday, September 4, 2010

First Baking Post!: Lemon Sunshine Cookies

The view from my back patio today.
 The weather could not be more perfect today.  Low humidity, mid-70s, plenty of sunshine, and just enough wind.  I have nearly all the windows open and there is a wonderful [sneeze-inducing] breeze drifting through the house.  On a day like this, I can't NOT bake something.  Plus, I can't believe I haven't done a baking post, since I am such an avid baker.  So, it just fits!

This recipe was described on Allrecipes as "THE cookie for the lemon lover."  I love all things lemony.  I think I take after my mom in that regard.  Lemons just remind me of sunshine, and on such a sunshiney day, a lemon cookie sounded perfect.

Lemon Sunshine Cookies (I renamed -- and tweaked just a little -- Juanita's Lucious Lemon Snaps. Thank you for the great recipe!)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together first 5 ingredients.  Form a well in the center.  Pour the last 3 ingredients into the well.
  3. Stir together to form a dough.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 7 minutes.  Edges will be slightly golden brown.  Makes 24 cookies.

I love the little bits of lemon zest in the dough.

Fresh out of the oven.
Just amusing myself.  Thanks Angela for the cute plate set ;)
These are seriously really good.  I would describe them as a lemony sugar cookie.  They have just enough lemon flavor, a delicate crunch, and a slightly soft middle.  They would be SO perfect with a cup of tea.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Five Senses Friday

A round-up of the past week.

Seeing: Smiling, bright-eyed people. My own desk at work (it's shared, but it's still sorta "mine"!).
Tasting: Hot tea, hot soup, both of which burned my tongue horribly.
Hearing: Cheerful voices. Constantly running air-conditioner.
Smelling: Not much, thanks to a lovely cold.
Feeling: Accomplished. Proud of myself and others. Anxious. Optimistic. Now, relaxed.