Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Got My Mojo Workin'

I had thawed out a flank steak for our Monday dinner, planning to do it up Asian-style, when J came down with one of the worst migraines she'd had in a long time. I realized that soy sauce would probably not be her friend, not would a red wine marinade for which I found a recipe. So, I checked the bottle of Goya mojo criollo I keep on hand for MSG. Finding none, I marinated the flank steak in that for several hours. I then drained it, blotted it dry and pan-fried it. Along with the Cuban-style flank steak, I made some Italian-cut green beans and some yuca from the freezer. I boiled the yuca in salted water to cover for about half an hour, then drained it & removed the tough fibrous "vein." Finally, I sauteed it in a little olive oil. Once it had browned nicely, I stirred in a generous splash of mojo and stirred it around for about 5 more minutes. The yuca was easily our favorite part of dinner.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Weekend Treats

On Friday night, we had a simple cheese and fruit dinner. I laid out some Pinot Grigio salami with Comte, smoked Gouda and Belletoile (one of my favorite triple cremes) cheeses on one board, a loaf of Tuscan bread on another and a couple of Pink Lady apples on a third. To this, I added a Tarte d'Alsace from Trader Joe's and some deviled eggs with capers and ham. Voila! Dinner!

Saturday morning, I decided to start our O is for Olfactory date with vanilla coffee, freshly-squeezed tangerine juice ( I love my vintage juicer!) and gorilla bread, Paula Deen's decadent take on monkey bread, all redolent with the cinnamon-y, nutty aroma I knew would carry up to the bedroom. The recipe can be found here http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/gorilla-bread-recipe/index.html. It was a hit, with J telling me it was the best thing she ever ate in her life and saying, "This is a food group all on its own and it is above all other food groups." Thanks, Paula! It was really amazing and we ate far too much of it over the course of the weekend!

In the midst of prowling around town on our date, we stopped for a snack at 87 West 2, a newish wine bar we hadn't yet tried but had passed several times and were intrigued by. It had a lovely interior and, best of all for the sunny, gorgeous day, the windows were opened wide to the world. We settled into a cozy seating nook by one of the open windows and were promptly greeted. The ice water had a slice of cucumber rather than lemon, a touch I especially appreciate. I've only had the pleasure at one other restaurant and think it's particularly refreshing. We opted to share the chorizo and chevre hanky pankys, little tea sandwiches that were quite tasty. I'd been rooting for the fondue, but I thought these were a decent second choice and I will never refuse J when she is actually voluntarily suggesting a chorizo dish. She loved them, so I may make a chorizo gal out of her yet! With my snack, I enjoyed a lovely green glass of Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling, which J described fairly accurately as smelling "like grapes and grape vines, all mixed together." It was refreshing and spring-y, making me want to go morel-hunting in my mom's woods. J, of course, had a beer. After our snack, we popped into Rocky Mountain Chocolate for a couple of chocolate-dipped strawberries. I was poised on the brink of ordering a caramel instead, but I'm glad I chose the strawberry because the ratio of chocolate to berry was perfect and the chocolate stayed put on the berry rather than sliding off and doing its own thing, leaving a naked berry.

The other notable meal over the weekend was the wine-braised roast with onions I served Sunday night with baked potatoes and baby vegetables. The recipe was Nigella's and can be found here http://www.nigella.com/recipe/recipe_detail.aspx?rid=11953. We'd scored the roast at the farmer's market Saturday and it was fantastic! It also made for a very good Monday lunch, on leftover Tuscan bread with mayonnaise.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Poor Cooking"

We've been doing what J terms "poor cooking" this month, since my piddling 2 hours a day tutoring is not much of a contribution to the household finances, which are tight. She originally decreed that she would do all the cooking this month, but relented when I agreed to abide by the rule of cooking only from what's already in the house. I don't consider it poor cooking at all because we are, truth to tell, still eating quite well indeed.

Last night, I baked pork chops we had in the freezer with a little salt and pepper, steamed a head of broccoli and cooked up a package of rosti J found at Aldi's. I won't shop there because I find the atmosphere overwhelmingly depressing, but I have no objection to food from there. She can go there and buy all the food she wants, as long as I don't have to enter the store. However, she thought it was the food itself I objected to and has been feeling all sneaky and pleased with herself at sneaking Aldi's food into my mouth, which just cracks me up! Anyway, the rosti was actually made in Switzerland and was quite tasty. Dessert was praline pecans I brought back from The Savannah Candy Kitchen for J's Easter basket. Mmm-mmm. I like them better than pralines themselves.