Bread Salad

Bread Salad, page 147

 <----  from this to this  ------>

make it crunchy

add in halved grape tomatoes, sliced orange and yellow peppers, shredded spinach

sprinkle with some of this and a little of that...
...and call it a bread salad.

Kitchen Action

Lacking in Pantry: nothing
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: I used a whole grain bread and classic french bread, tore it instead of slicing into cubes. {I most always break or tear bread, instead of using a knife.} I tried to caramelize onions, but I cooked them just a little too long and they turned out to be a sticky mess. I scrapped it. I totally forgot the grated Parmesan until about 30 seconds ago when I reread the recipe as I wrote.
What I'll try next time: Remember the cheese.
How it Scored:
Jonathan: "It sure has lots of bread." "It's suppose to, silly. It's a 'bread' salad." "Oh, I see." 4
Elliott: 3
Chas: 4 for the bread. Only the pieces without balsamic and no veggies. The challenge continues friends!
Tim: I didn't get a number score, but he ate it (being polite or enjoying it...not sure.)
'becca: absolutely a FG* dish. I imagined it to be a 5, because if I could have, I'd have eaten the whole bowl.



Steak and Eggplant Salad

Steak and Eggplant Salad, page 194 
or Steak and Rice Noodles, page Chas

Dinner was served promptly at 8 pm when we are usually cleaning our teeth and making our way to settle in for the night. (8:30 bed for kids, 9 or a little after for mom & dad.) It was the first day of school and my house was a disaster. See -->
Soccer began last week, we are wrapping up the triathlon season, Chas has been in school since 1 August, Elliott began middle school yesterday, Jonathan is traveling east, our cabinets are being painted...the list goes on...I've been making easy dinners more often than trying new recipes.

This took longer to prepare than expected, but was worth it. I knew that if I tried to serve a salad for dinner after a long day at the office and soccer practice I'd have unhappy boys, so I tweaked this a bit and added the "salad" to the mix and served it over rice noodles. Oh and I took quite a few pictures. Maybe another reason it took longer to prepare? 
 Very, very thin sliced steak with a brown sugar, salt, pepper, cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg rub.
 Eggplant sliced. Eggplant always reminds me of Jonathan's ma and Liberian cooking. She's a fab cook and after dinner was finished, Jonathan paid me the most delightful complement, "'bec, you prepared the meat like an African." Having never been able to prepare food for him that tasted like home, this was the highest of complements. Thanks J!
 Oh hi there Francis. You all have not met him. He's one of my favorite kitchen pals. Come over and I'll introduce you. He's swell, especially on a cold afternoon or when you are really sleepy.
 Some nights I'm so thankful for the conveniences the grocery offers, like chopped garlic. I prefer to peel and chop myself, but always keep this on hand. You know, when I'm making dinner at 7:15 and there is school the next day.
 I added the tomatoes, garlic and some of the seasoning to the pan to saute after the eggplant, but before the meat.
 Pushing the tomato mix to the side, I cooked the meat in the center. It was so thin it cooked very quickly.
 Steak, chopped eggplant, tomato mix...
...topped with 4 large handfuls of spinach. I placed a lid on the pan, allowing it to cook down a bit before stirring. I used tongs to toss it, cooking the spinach until it was wilted and mixed in well with the meat and veggies.

I don't have a picture of the noodles, but I used rice noodles, making this dish gluten free. I like the kind used in making Pad Thai. It was DELICIOUS!

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: Nothing
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: (see above)
What I'll try next time: I'd like to make it as a salad, but also I will make it again this way. When made as a dish over noodles, I'll toss the noodles with the meat & veg mix, giving a bit more flavor to the noodles.
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 4.5 (toss the noodles and it will be a 5)
'becca: 5 (I imagined the noodles were tossed)
Elliott: 5 & then asked to have the left overs in his lunch, his middle school lunch. (I'm still not over the fact that my first born is in middle school.)
Chas: 4 But not really for the entire meal. Remember the picture above, he added salt to his plain, mostly flavorless noodles, loved the steak & ate it all.


Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Pasta Salas with Walnuts and Blue Cheese, page 154

I was flipping through photos on my computer and ran across this one and realized I didn't write about it. Oops. I believe I fixed it right before we left town for Chicago. I remember wrinkling my nose a little because it included blue cheese and when it comes to blue cheese, I'm a Chas. If given the option, I don't try the dish or ask for it to be omitted from my plate if dining out.

But this one, this recipe, I'd make it and I'd try it. {Chas, would not.}

I recall that it was quite simple to prepare. I followed the TIP at the bottom of the page and toasted the walnuts. As I do when pasta is on the menu, I made 2 different pastas, GF & FG. It was quick and filling, but light on a triple digit night in the Ozarks.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: Had it all.
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: None.
What I'll try next time: I'll leave the blue cheese out of my dish. Sorry folks, just not a fan.
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 3.5
Elliott: I don't remember
'becca: 2.5, Not bad, but would be better with feta.
Chas: Didn't try it.

GF = Gluten Free
FG = Fulla Gluten


Lemon and Herb Salmon

Lemon and Herb Salmon, page 233

Well hello there. Sorry for the long absence. How's your summer been? The only excuse I have for being away so long is this: long days lead to late nights, packed with as many day trips, weekend trips, week long trips as possible, resulting in time away from the kitchen. We recently enjoyed time in Chicago, where I picked up a darling new butter dish and Himalayan sea salt. Wanna see?
We returned home refreshed, not exhausted, ready for the school year to begin, triathlon to wrap up and the soccer season just around the corner. Starting 15 August, soccer will consume 4 evenings and 1 morning of our week. I have a feeling the recipe I'm going to share will become a regular this fall. It's easy and protein packed and all but 1, guess who, loved it. 

 I used mint and lemon, brought to a boil, then let is cool a bit. I was waiting on rice to finish cooking and didn't want the fish to be cold when served. I had a skinless fillet, but cooked it the same as I would have with skin. (No peeling required, which is totally fine with me.)

Using the same spoon I use when poaching eggs, I pulled it from the water and placed it on a cotton towel to drain.
It didn't require much salt and pepper and each of us could taste the lemon and mint. I'm not sure if that is because I boiled it first, letting it sit for about 45 minutes. Thoughts? I served it with a spinach & tomato salad, corn on the cob & rice, then for dessert, blueberries with cream.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: Nothing.
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: I used fresh mint, instead of the herbs listed
What I'll try next time: Try different combinations of herbs and maybe even try the poaching method with other types of fish.
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 4
Elliott: 4
'becca: 4, much better than I thought. I wasn't too sure about the poaching method, but am convinced it's the way to go on a night when a quick fish fix is needed.
Chas: "I don't like salmon."