Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snausage - My Go-To For Quick Weeknight Meals

With busy work schedules, finalizing wedding plans and getting ready to leave town in less than 3 weeks for our destination wedding and honeymoon, Max and I are swamped. As of late, I am all about quick meals that don't require planning, preparation or much work.  I have found that sausages are definitely one of my go-tos for a quick weeknight meal.  You just throw them in a pan or on a grill over medium heat for 12 - 14 minutes and turn occasionally to make sure they cook evenly.  
That means I can do dishes, pack my lunch for the next day, fold laundry, pay bills (what have you) while dinner cooks.  Awesome! Serve with a little dijon for dipping and your favorite veggie side dish.  I served mine with garlic green beans.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Garlic Green Beans

Max and I have been loving garlic green beans. They are pretty low maintenance and very yummy.   I like using the thinner and more delicate French green beans (haricot verts). I've been working on my technique for a while - I hope you enjoy it!
First, I chop the green beans roughly into thirds.
Then, heat a pan to medium (too high and they will burn before they get tender) and coat the bottom with extra virgin olive oil.  Add the green beans and cook, stirring occasionally,  for about 10 minutes until they are just tender and beginning to brown. If you are using larger green beans, it may take longer.

Add sliced garlic and a little salt to the pan.  Cook, stirring more frequently, until the garlic is golden.  About another five minutes.  Don't burn your garlic - it gets bitter.
There really is no recipe for this.  You should use amounts to your liking.  I used the whole bag of TJ's haricot verts, but you could use less or more depending on how hungry you are or how many people you're feeding.  I like my green beans a bit oily - it makes me think its a treat like french fries.  But you don't have to add much oil if you prefer.  You can omit the garlic all together or go crazy with it.  Same goes for the salt - add as much or as little as you'd like.  You might like to try adding a little soy sauce and/or toasted sesame oil at the end for a bit of an asian flare. Whatever your variation, I think you are going to like having this veggie side dish in your arsenal.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Play With Your Food

Notice the Chook Shed Shiraz in the background.  My girlfriend the thrifty crafter introduced me to this wine and it is my new favorite under $10 bottle.  You'll find it at your local Trader Joe's.
Okay, so I’m not actually advocating that you surprise your roommate or significant other with a handful of roasted broccoli to the face.  I’m merely suggesting that being a little playful and experimenting with food can be a good thing.  With a little creativity and sense of adventure, you can take one recipe or cooking technique and come up with a number of variations to spice up your repertoire and keep it interesting in the dining room.
Recently, I’ve been experimenting with my soup recipes.  We had some leftover cilantro in the frige after Max made that delicious steak taco salad.  I thought that cilantro might work in my sugar snap pea soup recipe in place of basil.  I also omitted the edamame (I’m trying to stay away from soy) and was too lazy to put together the onion, pepper and bacon saute.  It was an altogether different flavor. 
On another evening, I was in the mood for cauliflower soup, but didn’t want to take the time to roast it for my roasted cauliflower soup recipe.  So, I decided I’d make the soup with the same technique as my broccoli soup recipe.  It was much quicker and quite delicious.  I've made it every week since.  I preferred the color of the soup this way as well.  Using chicken or vegetable stock lends a yellowish color as opposed to the cream/tan color of the roasted cauliflower soup.

I've been using the Cuisinart Smart Stick hand blender that my lovely mother gave me for Christmas to puree my soups.  The hand blender does not do as good of a job of creating a super smooth soup as a regular blender.  Max seems to like the chunky consistency better, so it works out well.  And, its nice to be able to skip the transferring step and puree the soup in the pot. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner - Why Not?

Sometimes traditional breakfast food is perfect for dinner.  Tonight, I met Max out after work to run some pre-wedding errands.  I didn't want to have to eat out, so I brought a broccolini frittata along and we ate it together in the car.  Frittatas can be cut and eaten like a slice of pizza. Totally yummy and easily transported.
Check out my breakfast recipes and try one for dinner:
Curried Zucchini Frittata
Smoked Salmon Frittata with Goat Cheese, Capers and Red Onion
Spinach and Artichoke Frittata
Spinach and Pepper Scramble with "Chorizo"