Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wrapping up 2010

In a few days 2010 will be over. We are looking forward to celebrating with friends in DC this year!

The past two weeks have been fun and eventful. I wrapped up my last day of work and then we headed to Wintergreen to go skiing with my MIL for a few days. The trip proved to be quite interesting-but fun. We had a great time. I did, however, spend more time on the ground in the snow than I did up on two skis. It is sufficient to say that I am not a natural-born skier- by any stretch of the imagination. Husband, in contrast to me, was excellent. He was very good at supporting me during my occasional, ok- so more than occasional, break downs over my lack of skiing talent.

After skiing, we came back to our house for Christmas Eve. It was our first Christmas Eve at our home, and our first one (due to snow) alone. It was fun for us. We had an easy dinner- roasted sun-dried tomato tilapia and potatoes, with a soup course of Brunswick stew (nope, they don’t really go together, but we needed to use up the stew). We had a candlelit dinner and used my new Napa Style glasses and antique silverware. I served the fish and potatoes on our Vietri Santa plate that Kenneth’s grandma gave us for Christmas last year, it is very pretty and it was the first time we have gotten to use it. So, in all it was a great Christmas Eve dinner. Afterward, we headed to midnight mass and then came home and waited for Santa to come!

On Christmas day we woke up early and opened presents while enjoying a cup of hot coco. Just thinking of hot coco makes me want some- I’ll probably go make some upon completion of this post! I got a bunch of fun kitchen things that I can’t wait to use. I have a new 2 quart soup pot, and Wusthof knife (it rocks, I used it tonight), a bunch of serving pieces, and more. I also got a new camera to take better pictures of food! We went to my hometown Christmas day and celebrated with my family. Mom cooked most of the time that we were home and it was good to have some good home-cooking! I helped her cook dinner (pork tenderloin, sautéed green beans, roasted potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and corn pudding) the day after Christmas for thirty people. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked for that many people before- timing was everything! Husband cooked the meat and he rocked it out.

The two pictures below are of two meals I still needed to post about. The first is the grilled chicken salad I referenced in the previous post. It was simple, and good. I just grilled up a piece of chicken, cut it up and tossed it on romaine hearts. I drizzled the salad with pomegranate dressing and topped with dried cranberries and shaved parmesan. The second picture is of tonight’s dinner. We went for simple- American classic. Husband is watching NC State play in their bowl game so I did a version of game time food. We had hotdogs, potato salad, roasted scallions, and baked beans. I made French potato salad, an Ina Garten recipe, and it was good. I had never made it before. I halved the recipe because I only had about one pound of red potatoes, and it turned out fine.

Well, that’s enough for now. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Best Meal of the Month...Hands Down.

Last night we had my parents down for dinner. Husband and I cooked grilled mahi mahi, roasted shrimp, roasted scallions, and roasted potatoes. It was really delicious (if I do say so myself).

I started by roasting the potatoes. These potatoes were similar to roasted new potatoes that I have previously blogged about. This time, I used red potatoes which I sliced 1/4 inch thick.I then coated them in extra virgin olive oil. Next, I sprinkled them with paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper. Then, I put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. I then flipped them, and roasted for another 20 minutes.

While the potatoes were roasting I prepared the scallions. That was very simple. I just cut the ends of the scallions off. Then, when I took the potatoes out to flip, I added the scallions to the baking sheet. I coated them in evoo, salt, and pepper and let them roast with the potatoes for 20 minutes. I'd never had them roasted before and I really liked them.

For the mahi mahi, husband tossed the fillets in evoo, salt, pepper, and Old Bay. Then, he grilled them for about 10 minutes. Yum. The shrimp were super simple. I just tossed them in evoo, salt, and pepper and roasted in a 400 degree oven for 4 minutes, perfect.

We all really enjoyed the meal. Every last piece of food was eaten! No leftovers in my lunch today!

Up tonight: grilled chicken salad.

Snow is on it's way tonight...maybe no school tomorrow?!


This post is dedicated to Megan, one of my favorite cooking friends, ever.

Last week and this week I made two types of soup. Last week I made an Ina Garten recipe, Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup. It was good. I'm the only one in my house that likes tomato soup, so I made a big pot and froze some of it.

To make the soup you start with a cup and a half of chopped red onion, two carrots, peeled and chopped. Heat up about 3 tbs of olive oil and saute the onions and carrots until tender. Then, add to that, 3 cloves of garlic, minced. To the onion, carrots, and garlic you will add 4-5 tomatoes, coarsely chopped, 1 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 tbs tomato paste, 3 cups of chicken stock, salt and pepper. Bring that to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. Once that has simmered, you will add the soup to a food processor and add in 3/4 cup of heavy cream. Then, return it all to the pot to reheat. I served mine with some croutons on top, it was good!

The other soup I made was Red and Green Winter soup, a Rachael Ray recipe. This is the first soup that I ever made and I made it with Megan. We made it our senior year of college after browsing through some Rachael Ray mags. I will say that the pot I made this time was not as good as when she and I made it, but it was still good. I feel like I put too much kale in this time. I am linking the recipe here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I think I can...

Thanksgiving was tasty. I enjoyed the feast we had and the time we spent with family. When I went to take a picture of my cranberry compote, my camera battery died. So, no picture. It was pretty good though, I'd make it again. It consisted of 1 12oz bag of fresh cranberries, 1/4 cup bourbon, 1/2 cup apple juice, and 3/4 cup of sugar. I used probably a cup of sugar. I also got some Christmas shopping done over the break. Still, though, I feel behind on shopping and it's only December 1. That's sad.

Work has been crazy. I don't think I've ever spent as much time there as I have recently. I find myself periodically quoting the little engine that could, "I think I can, I think I can..." Two weeks and two days until Christmas break. I think I can...

Last week I made roasted tilapia, couscous, and roasted tomatoes. The tilapia was easy and good. I put two pieces in a small baking dish. I put a shallow layer of white wine in the bottom. I seasoned the fish with evoo, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, sun-dried tomatoes, and butter. I baked it on 350 for about fifteen minutes. The roasted tomatoes were a Bobby Flay recipe. They are almost like candy. You cut up plum tomatoes (or cherry/grape/campari whatever you prefer) and place them in an even layer in a baking dish, cut side up. Drizzle them with evoo. After that you drizzle them with honey. To top them off, sprinkle panko bread crumbs over them. Roast on 350 for twenty minutes. We also had grilled salmon, brussell sprouts, and mashed potatoes. Both good.

It's cold outside. It wasn't this morning, but it turned quickly. I hear rumor of snow on Sunday! Yay! I love the first snow of the year. So, tonight we had hot chicken noodle soup. Wednesday night is date night. So we cooked dinner together and then husband watched basketball for a little bit while I have been blogging. Now we're watching The Santa Clause 3. We've watched a Christmas movie every night for probably five or six nights. They're my favorite.

Well, I'm off to continue our movie and to tackle what seems to be the never ending pile of laundry. Until next time...