Friday, February 21, 2014

Blackberry and Goat Cheese Salad

This recipe was part of our Valentine's Day dinner, yet I feel it deserves a post of its own, so here you go!

Blackberry and Goat Cheese Salad with Spiced Nuts

Mixed salad greens
6 ounces blackberries
2 ounces goat cheese
Sliced Vidalia onion, optional
Spiced Nuts (see below)
Blackberry Vinaigrette (see below)

Layer salad greens on plate. Sprinkle blackberries, goat cheese and onions on top. Drizzle with Blackberry Vinaigrette and garnish with Spiced Nuts. Serves 4.

Spiced Nuts:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash ginger
dash cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup pecans or walnuts

Melt the butter in a small frying pan. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until toasted. Cool to room temperature.

Blackberry Vinaigrette:
6 ounces blackberries
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Press the blackberries through a fine mesh sieve. Add the remaining ingredients to the pureƩ and combine well. Chill.

Homemade Graham Crackers

I've tried making graham crackers before, but didn't feel they turned out very successfully, so it didn't become a regular thing. However, the recipe that I tried this time was wonderful and super easy. I even used my food processor. We may just make graham crackers again sometime in the near future!

Graham Crackers

1 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 tablespoon wheat germ, optional
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (one cube) butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse briefly. Add the butter and mix until crumbly. Then add the honey, water and vanilla and blend well. Place dough between wax paper and roll to 1/4" thickness. Cut with desired cookie cutters (or a regular knife). Bake at 350° for about 15 minutes (depending upon size). Cool.

One of the three ingredients for Valentine S'mores!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Authentic Columbian Cuisine

Fay and Adam decided that before they got married they needed to cook some authentic Columbian cuisine for dinner one day. So they did. They were so thoughtful and didn't do anything deep-fried, even though a lot of recipes Fay grew up with do use that method of cooking.
First up was Ceviche, or cooked shrimp in a marinade of ketchup, lime juice, onion and cilantro. Here's a link to a recipe that looks quite similar to what they did.
And then we had Arroz con Pollo. I love the presentation, don't you? Anyway, it's rice cooked in chicken broth with a touch of saffron. Then they stirred in the shredded chicken (from making the broth), onions, green peppers, red peppers, and green peas. Normally there would be fried plantains on the side, but Fay knew I don't care for them, so she didn't fix them. (Although, I would have eaten them, even if it was just to be polite!) If I ever want to try making it myself, here's the recipe I'll use.
It was a yummy dinner. Thank you Fay and Adam!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Valentine's Day Dinner - 2014 Version

Our Valentine's dinner was a great success. I figured I should document it so we can try it again someday.
Blackberry and Goat Cheese Salad
     Click on the link to find the recipe, but basically I "candied" some pecans in butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, made a simple vinaigrette (with blackberry pureĆ© added), and tossed them with lettuce, goat cheese and more blackberries.
Pan-Seared Scallops
     Click the link to find my inspiration recipe, but I didn't follow it exactly. I just cooked the scallops in hot butter in a frying pan, added some sliced green onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and then forgot to add the lemon wedges that I had prepared ahead of time.

Butternut Squash Risotto
     I decided to order a subscription to the new AllRecipes.Com magazine, and this recipe was in the latest issue. It was quite good, and gave a nice "fancy, gourmet" component to the meal. However, I think plain risotto is also fancy and gourmet, and I'll probably stick with that in the future.

Petite Peas
     Publix-brand, frozen petite peas - our favorite! Always tender, sweet and delicious.
Chocolate Mousse
     One of our favorite stand-bys for a special dessert. It never disappoints, (even if the picture isn't very good).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Enchilada Pasta

This was the recipe I chose when I went looking for a macaroni casserole. I thought I had ground beef in the freezer, but I didn't, so I used some chicken breast instead. It was delicious and we'll probably have it again. Then I'll take a picture, but here's one from the original site.

One Pan Enchilada Pasta

Enchilada Pasta

one pound ground beef (or ground turkey, or even cubed chicken breast)
one packet taco seasoning*
one onion, chopped
couple cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
one can (19 oz) red enchilada sauce**
8 ounces rotini pasta
1 1/2 to 2 cups cheese (the original recipe suggested Colby, I used Mexican blend)
sliced green onions and black olives, optional for garnish

Brown the beef with the onion, garlic and taco seasoning. Stir in the chicken broth and enchilada sauce and bring to a boil. Add the dry pasta and cook for 15 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Stir in one cup of cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese, green onions and olives on top and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.

*This is the one I use. I didn't really measure this time around, just sprinkled in these seasonings.
**I don't buy enchilada sauce. Instead I used a 16 ounce can of tomato sauce with a 1/4 cup or so of water and more chili powder, cumin, and oregano (1/2 to 1 teaspoon of each)