Posts Tagged ‘weekend meal’

1st June
written by Steph

Adobo Pork

Adobo pork with guacamole salad and corn tortillas

Since moving to Nashville, one of the food areas where my cooking has really expanded is without a doubt, Mexican. Before I came down here, my default cooking tended to be more Asian inspired (stir-frys and the like), but with the abundance of Mexican ingredients down here, I’ve definitely shifted toward foods that are South of the border. I’m sure the fact that Nashville really doesn’t have any good Chinese food (seriously!) is a contributing factor (whereas Toronto has a dearth of Mexican food… so weird!). There are plenty of Mexican places where Tony & I can eat out, but I’ve actually found it really rewarding to try my hand at creating Mexican dishes at home.

A couple of weeks ago we attended a celebratory party for a girl in my lab who had successfully defended her dissertation earlier that day. One of her advisors brought this amazing pork, that was both spicy and sweet, smoky and unctuous. Tony fell madly in love, and ever since then I’ve been trying to get my hands on the recipe. I finally got it last week and decided to try it myself. But here’s a fair warning: once you’ve had pork this way, you may never want to eat it any other way ever again… Ingredients
  • 1.5 - 2 lbs pork shoulder
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 3-4 chipotle (canned, in adobo sauce)
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes; charred in the oven for about 30 minutes until skin is easy to remove
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, roasted peel on in a hot pan until blackened in spots, then peeled
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2C raisins
  • 1/2C slivered or chopped almonds; toasted in a pan
  • oil
  • salt
20th May
written by Steph

Mushroom & Pea Risotto with Pan-Seared Halibut

A few weeks ago, Tony and I took our dear friend Trisha out to dinner to celebrate her birthday.  We went to a restaurant called, Marché, that specializes in simple – but delicious – French dishes.  That evening, Trisha ordered the halibut and risotto combo, which really captured my imagination.  I decided I wanted to try to recreate it (with my own twists, naturally) at home.

Ingredients (serves 4, generously) For the Risotto
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups of diced mushrooms
  • ½ onion, finely minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine (we used a Bogle sauvignon blanc that was wonderful)
  • 2 – 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
  • zest from ½ a lemon
  • salt & pepper
For the Halibut
  • 4 4-ounce pieces of halibut (or another firm, white fish)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • juice from ½ lemon
2nd April
written by Steph
Lemon-herb roast chicken, poached asparagus, and gorgonzola squash & apple bake

Lemon-herb roast chicken, poached asparagus, and gorgonzola squash & apple bake

I don’t know about you, but to me, Sunday nights always mean a slightly more elaborate dinner.  Generally I devote the time on Sunday to prepare a meal I wouldn’t necessarily have time to prepare during the week, one that might involve a little more effort and care.  The bonus with these kinds of meals is that they not only taste delicious, but they also tend to lend themselves to plenty of leftovers, which makes preparing lunch on Monday morning just a little less painful. One of the best things to make for Sunday dinner, in my opinion, is a roast (whether it be chicken, lamb, pork, or beef).  These tend not to be all that difficult to prepare (even if they sound daunting, they’re not!); the issue with roasting meats is simply that it tends to take a fair deal of time.  Sometimes we circumvent the cooking process by purchasing a pre-roasted chicken at Sam’s Club, but roasting your own chicken is super simple, not too expensive (you get a lot of meat for about $7), and delicious!  A few Sundays back, I did a roast dinner where I prepared a lemon-herb roast chicken, accompanied by two sides: poached asparagus, and something of my own creation, a gorgonzola squash & apple bake.  The chicken was heavenly, but rather than focusing on that portion of the meal (it was simple: I sprinkled the cavity of my chicken with various dried herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, salt, parsley), and then I stuffed it with many cloves of garlic and a lemon cut in half.  Then I rubbed it with olive oil, seasoned the outside with salt and pepper, and set it to cook at 400°F for about 1.5 hours, when a thermometer in the breast reached 170°F.  Voila!  Perfect, easy, juicy roast chicken!), I’m going to go through the special side I, Tony was absolutely over the moon for.  Without question, it was his favorite part of the meal.  It was savory and sweet, and completely thrown together, so it’s practically fool proof! Ingredients
  • 1 butternut/acorn squash, peeled and cut into medium-sized cubes (maybe 1.5 inch cubes?  Not too small, but not so big they won’t fit in your mouth!); I used an acorn squash BUT I would highly recommend you use a butternut squash, because acorn squashes are all bumpy and grooved and are hell to peel!
  • 1 – 2 apples, cored, and cut into comparable size (maybe slightly smaller?) chunks; we always have Fuji apples on hand, and they worked well enough, but you might prefer something a little tarter like a Granny Smith, and that’s fine too!
  • 3 tbsp of brown sugar
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup of gorgonzola cheese (or thereabouts… I didn’t measure)
3rd February
written by Steph
Fantastic Fish Lasagna... So says Jaime, so say I!

Fantastic Fish Lasagna... So says Jamie, so say I!

For Christmas, my good friend Taryn gave me a copy of Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook Cook With Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook.  It’s a gorgeous book, and each recipe is devoted a full-page picture.  Jamie also covers a bunch of techniques (such as cutting veggies, keeping knives sharp, various popular herbs & their uses, etc.,), and provides recipes for each major course. I first amused myself by flipping through the book, just looking at the pictures to get some ideas for dishes I might make.  One thing I noted was that several of the dishes seemed to be geared to a more European market, because many of the ingredients were not ones you’d find in your average grocery store (whereas I know they’re readily available in standard UK supermarkets).  Also, Jamie has the tendency to use weights for ingredients rather than our traditional measurements of cups, which was also interesting.  Certain recipes in this book I’m sure I’ll never make (sorry, but I doubt I’ll be making my own pasta anytime soon, no matter how good it looks!), but many recipes did catch my eye.  One I couldn’t get out of my mind, so I decided that I would give his Fantastic Fish Lasagna a go.  Some of you might be shocked to read this, because generally I’m not one to go for a fish dish.  Still, it looked mighty good (and called for mild, white fish), so I decided to make this dish in order to break in Taryn’s cookbook.  I think she’d be proud of me (plus, it’s not gnocchi, so she really can’t complain!). Below is my translation of the ingredients used, as well as my own personal method for making this dish.  Elements of Jamie’s method were difficult to follow (e.g., the final dish clearly has shrimp in it, but he never actually mentions when you’re supposed to add anything other than the shrimp heads… which he then throws away.), so I assumed certain things and hoped for the best.  It wound up turning out well, so I think if you follow my notes, you should be fine if you attempt this dish.  I think when Jamie says he will make you a better cook, he is assuming you are already a pretty decent one to begin with!  I will not make such an assumption! 😉 (more…)