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Posts Tagged ‘Dinner’

To my dismay, I woke up this morning to a torrential down pour. My dad and I were going to go on a bike ride but had to cancel our plans due to the massive puddles that had accumulated. Instead, we decided to go to the local high school track and run. Before we left I had a pre-run banana.

When we returned, “Dad’s Breakfast Kitchen” was in full swing for another amazing Sunday brunch! This lovely omelet was made with 3 egg whites and 1/2 a run away yolk, stuffed with spinach and goat cheese, and topped with fresh tomato, basil and more goat cheese. On the side I had a piece of whole wheat toast with fresh strawberries, honey and cinnamon. Needless to say, I was in breakfast heaven.

While waiting for the rain to pass, I took another stab at baking Super Charge Me Cookies in my parent’s functional oven and they came out MUCH better than my little  disaster last time.

What an oven should look like.

Cookies that aren't burnt!

I used peanut butter and loaded them with dark chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, dried cherries and dried cranberries. I had one for a snack before heading out on a stroll with my parents. I think it gave me a fair boost of energy because I found myself dancing to non-existent music as we walked around the neighborhoods. It is a good thing that my parent’s love is unconditional because my dance moves are borderline embarrassing.

I had planned on returning to my apartment later in the afternoon but was running behind schedule so I stayed at home for dinner. Besides, birthday cake was involved and I am not one to turn down good company and dessert. For dinner “Cafe Mom” was open and we had leftover steak with horseradish sauce, oven roasted sweet potatoes, a mixed green and tomato salad and boiled carrots and broccoli.Today was my mom’s actual birthday so we celebrated with a small cake for dessert.I had a slice complete with MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP (!!!!I have been dreaming of mint chocolate chip and my parents bought some on their grocery store trip. I love them.) ice cream.This concludes another segment of “my wonderful weekend at home”. Gotta love family.

Another Week,

Nora

What is your favorite food?

**(I feel like this is the hardest question in the world to answer, but it is something people frequently ask me. I like so many things and have yet to find a food that I truly dislike, therefore; I had a very long internal debate about what was my all-time favorite food. My conclusion: Ice cream. Go figure.)


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Bon Appetit

Bonsoir! (good evening) After a night of French dining, I’m starting to channel my inner Julia Child. The restaurant we went to for my mom’s birthday this evening was a small and quaint venue operated by a team from France. HOW HAVE I NEVER BEEN HERE?!?!?? There are no words for my first French dining experience. It was one of the most delicious meals of my life.

It all started with a piece of fresh rosemary and olive bread with a glass of pinot blanc.Followed by a few appetizers.


Cheese flight:Escargot!!!

My main course:

With a Bordeaux:

And finally, three examples of heaven desserts:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!

One Happy Girl,

Nora

What is your favorite cuisine?

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My reason for coming home on the weekends= free beer.

JUST KIDDING! But coming home to a sinfully delicious and hoppy Middle Ages Wailing Wench beer adds incentive. My real reason for coming home a second weekend in a row is to celebrate my best friend’s birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!

My mom will be another year wiser this Sunday, but because my brother and I have work/school on Monday morning we will be celebrating by going out to dinner on Saturday evening. We are going to a French restaurant that she picked out and I am BEYOND excited! I’ve never been to a French restaurant and I cannot wait to engage in a new cultural experience (complete with a nice Bordeaux wine of course 🙂 ).

I drove directly home after work today and sipped on a much appreciated beer with my dad as my mom prepared dinner. For dinner we had grilled steak with oven roasted potato wedges and an iceberg wedge salad with goat cheese and tomatoes in a red wine vinaigrette. Dinner was also served with a touch more beer. IT’S SO GOOD, I SWEAR!

I’m not a huge steak person, however; from time to time I CRAVE it and nothing else will do. I haven’t had red meat in a while and lately my meals have been fairly vegetarian, so I was long over due. I topped my steak with a bit of A1 Steak Sauce and had an abundance of ketchup on the side for my potato wedges. Home cookin’ at its finest! Thanks mom!

After dinner I proceeded to clean the kitchen. Fun Fact: I’m a freak about cleaning the kitchen. It doesn’t even have to be my own. I have been known to  obsessively do the dishes at dinner parties.

When I finished, I desperately searched the freezer for my favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream but there was none to be found.  I debated baking brownies but it was nearly 9pm. What is a girl with a sweet-tooth to do? IMPROVISE. I mixed ~1/3 cup Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt with 1 heaping tsp of Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder and then added a mound of chopped strawberries and cinnamon to the bowl. Not quite ice cream but still delicious!

I’ve been awake since 5 AM and I’m exhausted. I think a ritual Farmer’s Market Saturday trip is in store for tomorrow (weather permitting), so hopefully I’ll be meeting you at the market!

Happy Weekend!

Nora


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GROATS! What a funny name. Kasha (aka buckwheat groats) is a cereal commonly consumed in Eastern European countries. Although it is classified as a “cereal”, it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. After some research, I found that one popular way to prepare kasha is a dish called Kasha Varnishkas, which is composed of  sautéed onions, brown gravy and bow tie pasta.

I have been wanting to cook with kasha for a while now and after mulling over the savory idea of Kasha Varnishkas, I created kasha and smoked tofu lettuce wraps. I’m not sure where I came up with this dish but I am so glad that I did!

I’m going to add this to my recipe section (sorry I haven’t been updating this!) but just to give an overview:

I toasted the kasha in a skillet and added it to a pot of simmering chicken stock (use vegetable stock to make this a truly vegetarian dish) for about ten minutes until the liquid was absorbed. I sautéed onions, red bell pepper, button mushrooms, broccoli and zucchini in olive oil and finished the vegetable mixture with lemon juice and cracked black pepper. I wanted to keep the flavors of this dish clean to really highlight the nuttiness of the kasha. I added 1/4 of a block of Soy-Boy smoked tofu at the very end and filled a few sturdy romaine leaves with a bed of shredded carrot and the kasha and smoked tofu mixture.

Essentially this dish was a fun new take on stir-fry, not to mention it was fun to eat and extremely satisfying. I loved nutty flavor of the kasha combined with the sweet onion and vegetable mix. The tofu was awesome! It reminded me a lot of smoked mozzarella cheese. When I come home at the end of a long day the last thing I want to do is turn my hot oven on or fuss with a frozen protein. I’m not a vegetarian, however; I love tofu and tempeh and these are great easy sources of protein to have on hand!

Experimental Kitchen,

Nora

What unusual ingredients do you cook with or want to try?

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Dinner tonight was something that I had been dreaming about all day: Grilled Brown Sugar Barbecue Salmon, Grilled Corn on the Cob and Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Feta Cheese. Before I get into the details, let me just say that this meal was heaven on my palate.

During the Summer I have uncontrollable cravings for barbecue sauce. When the weather breaks the 80 degree mark I simply cannot get enough barbecue sauce in my life. I went to the grocery store last night to do a quick “in-and-out” trip to pick up a few staples for the week (is it even possible to do a quick grocery store trip?). Per-usual, I ended up doing a few laps around the store to browse all of the wonderful products that I did not need to buy. My eye caught a new Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce and temptation struck. I did not need the sauce but my mind started going wild with thoughts of beautiful grilled dishes that it would be PERFECT for. I couldn’t resist, I was sold.

I think that salmon is a fish that is enhanced by just a touch of sweetness. One of my favorite ways to prepare salmon is with a mixture of whole-grain Dijon mustard and honey. I thought that a brown sugar barbecue sauce would have a similar flare and decided that the first way I wanted to use my new sauce was paired with this succulent fish.

I pre-heated my grill pan (and coated with non-stick cooking spray) to a medium heat and brushed one side of my fish with a light coating of an herb-infused olive oil. I placed the fish in my grill pan olive oil coated side down and waited about 3 minutes until the color slightly changed and it had a light, crispy coating. I brushed the top side with the oil before flipping and continued to cook the fish until it reached the internal temperature of 130 degrees (I use an electronic meat thermometer. I find when you cook your protein to the proper temperature that it has the perfect flavor and consistency.) When the fish was done cooking I brushed the top side with an even coat of the barbecue sauce.

My fish was moist on the inside with a good crunch on the outside. The barbecue sauce was a nice compliment to the fish and it was love at first bite–brown sugar barbecue sauce + salmon= match made in heaven.

For my corn I simply coated each side in a light layer of my herb infused oil and grilled it for about 10 minutes (start the corn before the fish!), turning every few minutes.

My cucumber-tomato salad was simple yet elegant. I used about 1/2 of a cucumber sliced into 1/4 inch pieces and quartered, and a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes. I drizzled the mixture with in olive oil, white wine vinegar and cracked black pepper and tossed to coat. I finished this salad with feta cheese. It was cool, crisp and sweet; an easy and refreshing summer salad combination.

I paired my meal with my new favorite summertime wine: Kendall-Jackson 2008 Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay. I have found that this wine works nicely with grilled foods, especially ones incorporating a garlic based barbecue sauce 🙂 .

YUM.

Lately the  the recipe section of my brain has been going wild.  I have a few new things I want to try in the next few days so stay tuned!

Inspired,

Nora

What is your favorite sauce?

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Yesterday was absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining, the temperature was in the upper 70’s and there was a consistent mild breeze. My parents and I thoroughly enjoyed the weather along with some amazing food.

After a little bit of this…Two pieces of this Calamata Focaccia and Wake Robbin Cheese.We were ready to sit down for dinner: grilled rosemary pork tenderloin, mixed green salad with a blend of cherry tomatoes, blue cheese and cucumber and steamed broccoli paired with  Diseno 2007 Malbec.Along with fresh herbs pressed on the pork, my dad also puts fresh rosemary right on the charcoal so that it infuses into the meat…delicious!

We were pretty full after dinner and decided to fill our glasses with a splash more of the Malbec and go for a walk around the backyard.After our “garden tour”, we each had a small piece of the brownies I made the previous evening and called it a night.

This morning we woke up at 7am to attend church and came home for our Sunday morning ritual: breakfast, biscotti, cappuccinos and the newspaper. My dad made an omelet for my mom and himself but the strawberries in our refrigerator were calling my name. I compiled a bowl of Plain Chobani Greek Yogurt, sliced banana, strawberries, cinnamon and had half of a chocolate-macadamia biscotti on the side (the other half was used for dunking into my cappuccino…aka the proper way to enjoy biscotti!) This biscotti was so rich! Initially I thought it was chocolate-almond but it ended up being packed full of macadamia nuts! It had a hint of orange zest in it, which made for a nice contrast to the espresso.

With a happy belly I’m off for a day that includes a nice country run, reading and a family BBQ for my cousin’s birthday.

Have a Relaxing Sunday,

Nora

Do you have special weekend traditions?

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After work today I came home for Memorial Day weekend to spend time with my family. I was so thankful for this break because between graduation and the start of my internship I haven’t had time to relax and unwind. It will be a weekend filled with good food and even better company; my favorite way to spend down time.

Since I was going away for the weekend, I needed to clean out my produce closet. I hate letting food go to waste and had an ample supply of produce in my refrigerator, therefore; lunch today was a simple salad with a tuna topper, Dr. Krackers and strawberries. My salad was composed of 1 romaine heart, 1/4 red bell pepper, 1-2 inches of cucumber, alfalfa sprouts and a handful of grape tomatoes. I prepared a package of tuna with balsamic, Dijon mustard, 1 stalk of celery and chopped kalamata olives. On the side I had a serving of Dr. Krackers and the remainder of my fresh strawberries.

After a long day of work, I made a 1.5 hour drive home and was greeted with a Middle Ages IPA beer. I love this beer, it has an incredible “hoppy” flavor and rich mouth-feel. For dinner my parents prepared grilled chicken, corn on the cob and a mixed green salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and blue cheese paired with  Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc. This meal was the epitome of summer: simple, crisp and fresh. Some of my favorite childhood Summer memories revolve around grilled foods and soft serve ice cream.

Dessert is ALWAYS necessary, so as a ‘thank you’ for the thoughtful dinner my parents prepared, I teamed up with my good friend Betty Crocker and baked a batch of brownies. My mom added peanut butter cup sundae ice cream, chocolate syrup, whipped cream and a cherry for brownies a la mode. Did I mention that I LOVE coming home? I had such a nice evening catching up with my parents.

Family Gal,

Nora

What are your favorite family memories?

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