Sunday Night Dinner- April 24, 2011: Stephanie- Lemony Potato-y Spring

For our second Easter dinner of the day we kept it more traditional (the first was at a casino buffet in Boonville, MO – nothing like gambling on a religious holiday!)

I’ve been doing some reading on the solstice’s and eating eggs (no shocker) is a very ancient  way of celebrating the coming of Spring. On the menu: Mazto Eggs (One of our favorites. They involve damp Matzo crackers, eggs, and butter– really they’re good), Lemony Potatoes, Salad with snap peas and strawberries, Crescent rolls, Water and Diet Coke. No wine tonight, not for religious reasons, but more digestive (note casino comment).

I LOVE these Lemony Potatoes and they are so easy to make. Full of garlic, spicy tomato and lemon tart they are perfect with eggs. Mom, Lynley, and Dad have all had this meal. A long time ago, Dad asked for the recipe for the potatoes and now I can finally pass it on…I’m so slow about that.

BEFORE:

AFTER:

Once again dinner was running a little late, so it was sofa city  (Dang PBS doesn’t rerun Upstairs Downstairs or put it on our cable In-demand. Quaint and  just like the old-fashioned TV of my childhood). John and I mostly discussed whether or not this was the last week of Upstairs Downstairs and the dramatic plot development { SPOILER ALERT } involving knitting. Oh, the British, so subtle, just like Matzo eggs.

Here you go, Dad!

Recipe:

Lemony Potatoes

2 1/2 lbs Russet potatoes (medium to small potatoes work best)
1/3 C olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/2 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 C vegetable broth
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp tomato paste
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel the potatoes, slice in half lengthwise, and slice each half into wedges no more then 3/4″ thick.

In a large, deep baking pan or casserole dish (at least 10 17-inches or bigger), combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, vegetable broth, oregano, salt, and tomato paste. Add the peeled, sliced potatoes. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and toss the potatoes to cover with the sauce. Cover the pan tightly with foil (or use lid of casserole dish), place in the oven, and bake for 30-35 minutes until the potatoes are almost done. Several times during the baking process, remove the pan from the oven, uncover, stir the potatoes, place the cover back, and return the pan to the oven.

Uncover the pan one last time, stir the potatoes again, and bake, uncovered, for an additional 15-20 minutes, until most of the sauce has evaporated and some of the potatoes have just started to brown on their edges. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and/or more dried oregano before serving.

springfieldians unite! (easter brunch in knoxville)

i have a theory…..if you grew up in springfield, mo no matter where you end up living later on you eventually find other springfieldians to bond with.  sort of like being in the peace corps, even though there might only be 6 other peace corps volunteers in estonia they’ll all eventually seek each other out for friendship.  a month into living in knoxville fellow springfieldian and childhood friend, erin, tracked me down having just moved down here with her husband.  this easter both being unable to travel home for the holidays we tagged teamed easter brunch.

we kicked off the meal in a spectacular way by popping the cork of the champagne bottle, which bounced off of not just one wall of the kitchen but two! the menu included: stuffed french toast, eggs-in-the-oven, vegetarian sausage, deviled eggs and mimosas.   our meal conversation consisted of basic springfieldian dialoge……”you remember this?”  ” they are so and so’s sister. -oh i know them” and of course “well i think your mom told my mom” to ease our overly stuffed bellies we walked through my neighborhood and fantasy house shopped at open houses.  the last house though cute on the outside and newly painted on the inside we concluded “there was more there than meets the eye” aka a money pit.

STUFFED FRENCH TOAST RECIPE

ingredients

1 baguette

1 small container of ricotta cheese

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup chocolate chips

FRENCH TOAST BATTER

3 eggs beaten

1 1/2 cups milk

2 tsps cinnamon

1.  slice baguette down the middle, but not all the way through, you should be able to open up the bread as if it was hinged.

2. mix together ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and chocolate chips.  spread cheese mixture onto bread, fold top loaf back over, forming a sandwich, slice into 1 1/2 inch slices.

3.mix together eggs, milk and cinnamon to form batter.  heat griddle on medium heat.

4.  dip each slice of stuffed baguette slice into batter coating all sides of bread.  cook on both sides till bread is golden brown and all raw egg is cooked.

5. serve french toast topped with powdered sugar and syrup.

Sunday Night Dinner April 24, 2011–Risotto

Finished Product

I never was a big fan of risotto.  I didn’t understand why it was pasta.  During our 2011 trip to San Francisco and the Napa wine region of California, I developed a better appreciation for the taste and flexibility that Italian rice gives a dinner.  Most folks who want to make their own risotto dishes are concerned about the pep time and wearing out their wrist and arm from the incessant stirring.   So once I decided to try cooking the rice myself, I made reference to Jeff Smith’s recipe for basic risotto in his book The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian.  The recipe was simple and easy to execute.

 The required elements are the Italian style rice (ARBORIO), olive oil, some sort of liquid, which I generally use a broth (vegetable, chicken or beef), white wine and salt.  A half cup of uncooked rice makes a nice size meal for Becky and me. 

The basic ingredients, rice, broth/wine and olive oil


 The olive oil is heated and the rice is sautéd until the color is off-white and some of the kernels may turn light brown.  I burned some of the kernels on my first try and the finished product was still good which demonstrates the saving grace of chicken broth & wine.  The key is to keep stirring the rice as it sautés and begin slowly adding the liquid as the rice begins to change from white to an off white and or light brown.  Keep stirring and adding broth until the rice is tender but firm to the taste.  The preparation of tonight’s risotto required about a half cup of chicken broth and wine and 20 to 30 minutes.

Saute the rice in olive oil, notice the white color of uncooked rice.

Stir the broth and rice till tender but firm to the taste


 The rest of the preparation is like stir frying.  Tonight I used cannellini beans from a can, fresh steamed broccoli, fresh red pepper, pearl onions from a jar, roasted garlic, and the tops from 2 green onions.  The raw veggies were sautéd first in olive oil and butter and the canned and prepared veggies were added through the course of the sautéing.  As I combined the risotto with the veggies, I added salt, dried basil leaves and the chopped green onion.   

Saute the veggies starting with the raw veggies first

Combine the risotto and the veggies


 The risotto is colorful, tasty and generally very consistent in quality.  The real advantage is the variety of meats and vegetables that can be used with different types of broths and liquids. Risotto also is a tasty accompaniment for main courses such as fish and roasted lamb, chicken and pork.

 This Easter night, we had a chopped green salad with cashews and a sweet oil and vinegar salad dressing.  The wine was a Yellow Tail Chardonnay.  All my friends know that I favor economical wines in ample quantities.

Finished risotto


L–“dad i bought a mahi-mahi fillet, what do i do with it?”

dad your suggestion of marinating it with lemons and green onions was excellent!  i added some garlic powder and olive oil too, which made it go really well with the pesto grits i had with it.  i was shocked i liked the mahi-mahi it was much more of a meatier fish than i expected.  and i’m totally am going to invest in one of those grilling basket things.  the foil works but i think it takes away from some of that smoky quality the grill gives off.  do you think those baskets could hold everything? including like veggies and the meat?

Sunday Night Dinner: April 17, 2011: Stephanie- pepita’s, mashers, cumin corn & couch

Tonight we had pepita crusted marinated tofu, spicy jack mashers, cumin roasted corn, celery, snap peas, white wine (of course), water, diet coke!

Check out the pepita’s frying up in the pan…

They’re raw pumpkin seeds and oh my goodness are they good all fried up. Holy-freaking-tofu.

We had a little event on Saturday, so needless to say we were both a little tired this Sunday. After practicing my ukulele and having an ice cream happy hour, we decided to eat dinner late and watch the new Upstairs Downstairs on PBS.

Fascism was discussed, but mostly we watched and nibbled…ah, public television and tofu are pretty darn good together. I think a lot of people already know that.

Recipe for Pepita Crusted Tofu:

You can choose to marinate your tofu if you like. I thaw mine then let it marinate in a 2 cups of vegetable stock, 1 table spoon of nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion power and salt and pepper. Make sure to slice the tofu into slabs (inch thick) before marinating.

Ingredients

  • 1 block of tofu – preferably frozen and thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Directions

Slice the tofu into inch thick slabs. In a shallow dish, combine the flour and the remaining salt and pepper. In a second shallow dish add the eggs. Add the pepitas to a third shallow dish. Roll a tofu fillet in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip just 1 side of the fillet in the beaten eggs, then into the pepitas, pressing gently for even coverage.

Set on a plate, seed side up, and repeat with remaining tofu. Cover loosely and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot add the tofu, pepita side down, and cook until golden, about 1-2 minutes. Flip over, then fry up the other side until golden!

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Sunday Night Dinner: April 17, 2011 – Art and a grilling extravaganza

Sunday Dinner

April 17, 2011

Another grilling extravaganza with dry rub pork ribs from a renowned restaurant in Dexter MO, called the Hickory Log.  The sauce is typical for the South with more vinegar and less sweetness.  Since Becky is not a real pork rib fan, I added grilled chicken legs that have been marinated in a sweet Italian dressing.




The macaroni salad is one of my old recipes that includes chopped veggies of your choice, mayo and graded parm with garlic salt, paprika and white pepper.

We were surprised that the sweet corn was so good for this early in the season, but you take Gods little gifts as you find them.

The fruit salad came from Price Chopper, just up the road.  It was left over from the Blessing Ceremony for our new Springfield House that was conducted on Saturday by our good friend and Episcopal Priest, Carol Sanford.  As always, Grady, her husband was along for logistical support.  The sweetness of the fruit was a nice contrast to the vinegar in the barbeque sauce and the Tennessee Best Old Fashion Pickled Green Tomatoes, which was a birthday gift from Lynley.  These days, Lynley seems to be taken with anything from Tennessee which brings Becky and I new persepctives.


Sunday Night Dinner: April 17, 2011- Lynley, a new born southerner

a southern cultural experience aka lynley’s sunday night dinner

i was looking for happiness in a bowl and the last time i experienced that was eating shrimp and grits, so i decided that was what i was going to make for my sunday night dinner. little did i know i was about to embark on a cultural experience.  first came the purchasing of the shrimp.  i headed to the shrimp dock, a local fishery and seafood shop.  when i declared i needed a pound of shrimp i was asked, kind, size, etc. my blank stare and my thoughts of “there is more than just cocktail shrimp?” was quickly followed by “whatca makin?”  when i said shrimp and grits they automatically pulled my shrimp that range in the 14-15 size.  alas they were not peeled and deveined!!  i’ve never peeled and deveined shrimp before.  peeling not so bad, deveining was like pulling out thread. i’m sure i totally butchered them but i felt i did well.  then i discovered a whole world of grits.  i’m used to the midwest grocery store they have 5 minute grits and slow cooking grits.  in the south the grits section is larger than the oatmeal section.  did you know that you can buy little individual packets of quick grits, like instant oatmeal?  and they come in flavors, including ham and cheese, brown sugar and sausage gravy!  after all these new experiences the end result was contentment in a bowl.

i have conquered the art of frying bacon in a  cast-iron skillet

best part about having cornbread with a meal is getting

to eat the leftovers for breakfast, corn bread milk and honey, nom.

3 Sunday Night Dinners (April 10, 2011): naan, souffle, pork chop

Lynley’s Sunday Night Dinner (April 10, 2011): Curried tofu with naan and mango chutney

to kick off the spring weather i decided curry was in order and what is best with curry….naan

i’ve never made naan but i thought i could handle it to help provide good mojo for this new cooking experience i listened to the darjeeling limited sound track the actual making of the dough was quiet easy

the tricky part came when heating the bread in the oven and then immediately grilling it my little 4 burner stove was put to the test oven going, naan grilling, tofu frying, rice steaming and curry sauce simmering but it was worth it

the mango chutney (bought at work) provided a sweet spicy taste with the creamy richness of the curry and you know there always has to be wine!

 to finish the meal a red velvet cupcake yum

Stephanie’s Sunday Night Dinner (April 10, 2011): Linda McCartney’s Romantic Dinner for Two

Cauliflower Souffle, Potato Rosti, Caesar Salad, White Wine (of course), Diet Coke, Water, and Homemade Bread

This was my first time making a souffle, so although I trust Linda, I studied up on my Julia before I whipped up my egg whites by hand! The souffle did not rise as high as I hoped, but I did cut the recipe in half (per Linda’s “romantic dinner” directions).

Dinner’s ready!

I decided to sprinkle fresh parmesan cheese on top of the souffle. The cheese gave it a nice crisp top which went well with the soft creamy inside. The cauliflower was really good! It had green onion mixed in and a pinch of nutmeg.

This was my first time making potato rosti. They were kind of like hash browns, but I had to work up a lot of trust  not to lift the lid on the pan. I kept imagining my potatoes burning away, but no, they turned out much like the souffle- a good combo of soft and crispy. I love how the made little nests…yeah, that one looks a little burned, but really they were daaaark brown.

We sat with the deck door open and enjoyed the nice spring air. We talked about John’s cold, the weather,  if I would watch Masterpiece Theater (yes), and how the McCartney’s must have enjoyed this romantic meal if they put it in their cookbook. Our nightly pre-meal toast was to Linda.

And yes, it was a romantic egg-y/potato-y Sunday Dinner.

Art’s Sundy Night Dinner (April 10, 2011):


The Springfield Farris’s love outside grilling.  Pork, the other white meat, is one of Becky’s favorite, especially with a sweet barbeque sauce that includes the juice and zest from an orange.  The sweetness for the sauce is provided by maple syrup.  I have always found that  Maul’s regular sauce provides an excellent red base for most basting sauces.

This dinner had a special dish, broccoli casserole.  A recipe provided by my Great Aunt Ilda who was married to my special Great Uncle Walker.  There has long been a family suspicion that Great Uncle Walker was done in by Great Aunt Ilda, but nothing was every proven.

Eating, Cooking and Being a Family – long distance

Our family loves to cook and eat, but it’s hard to gather round the table when you all live in different states.

Art (the dad), Steph (the big sis) and Lynley (the little sis)  are all cooking on-line and sharing recipes as the hearty eaters (inspired by Julia Child’s first cooking school and because we love a heaping  plate of tasty goodness). Other family members might join in – heck ya! Nothing’s better than a crowded kitchen!

We will be sharing our Sunday night dinners, sometimes cooking the same recipes, and experiencing each other’s food through pictures, video and recipes galore!

Pull-up a chair and join us! We know Julia would…