Thursday, July 30, 2009

August Dinner Plans

Here are the dinners I plan to make in August. J and I have the month split right down the middle, 15 nights each to cook, with one dinner out. Perhaps I'll actually get to cook this month!

-Bacon basil pasta, salad, good bread, amaretto peaches
-Confetti turkey burgers, cumin chips, corn on the cob
-Taco bake, chips & salsa, corn
-Fried chicken salad w/buttermilk dressing, cheddar cornbread, fruit
-Limeade chicken, rice, green beans, peach sorbet
-Fried eggs, sausages w/milk gravy, biscuits, fruit
- Bistec Palomilla, moros y cristos, maduros, salad w/avocado
-Russian sandwiches, corn on the cob, fruit
-Lamb kebabs, fattoush, caramelized pineapple w/chocolate sauce
-Cheeseburger & fries casserole, parmesan corn on the cob, salad
-Veggie melts, pita chips & spinach-garbanzo dip, fruit
-Baked eggs w/artichokes & parmesan, bacon, fruit, toast, Mary Pickfords
-Asparagus-prosciutto bundles, fingerling salad w/sugar snaps, cheese muffins, gingersnap pear salad
-Rosemary omelets, potato fritters, artichokes w/sour cream filling, cherry pie
-Chino-Cubano wings, black bean mini-"pizzas", salad w/avocado cream cheese dressing

Also, at some point, strawberry ice cream!

The Big Night Out

My dad sent me money earmarked for a special birthday dinner. Since we didn't have time on my actual birthday for anything fancy, we went out last night instead. I considered restaurants like Henry's at the Barn, Nemo Grille and Lola, but ended up choosing The Melting Pot because we haven't yet been disappointed there. I'd love to try the others and I'm all about choosing local independents over national chains. But, if I'm going to blow $100 bucks on dinner, I'd like to have tried the place for lunch or apps first. So, on the agenda for when I am actually making some money is going out for small plates at all kinds of cool local places.

As we always do when we go to The Melting Pot, we chose to have the Big Night Out. I chose to do the traditional Swiss fondue, which was very good but not enough for all of our bread & apples. Salad was a caprese salad drizzled with balsamic---nice, but not as good as mine & it needed more basil. Then, we had mojo cooking liquid with a variety of meats, adding a lobster tail for my seafood-loving baby. I think my favorite was the chicken dipped in the mild curry sauce followed closely by the filet dipped in the blue cheese sauce. Our dessert fondue was dark chocolate with Chambord. I am a huge fan of the combo of dark chocolate with raspberry.

The food was great, we had the same fantastic waiter (Dan) as we did last year in the other Cleveland location (this was our first visit to the Westside location) but the best thing of all was the company. We had a delightful time visiting with one another and I am so in love with J. Oh, the drinks were terrific, too. I had a Hang 10 (10 Cane rum with muddled fresh basil, mango Monin syrup and pineapple juice) and J had a (really fabulous) Love Martini (Malibu, cranberry juice, peach schnapps and strawberry slices that looked like lush little hearts).

Thanks, Dad, for a great dinner out!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Keepin' It Simple

When I arrived home from the Wisconsin mission trip, J informed me that she'd gotten a great deal on a whole chicken and it was up to me to roast it. I am ever so glad she picked it up because it was delicious, filled the house with a wonderful aroma and will make some damn fine chicken salad for lunches! All I did was preheat the oven to 350 degrees, drizzle olive oil all over the chicken, dust it with house seasoning (which is included with Paula Deen's fried chicken recipe at, add a couple substantial pinches of herbes de Provence and rub it all in. Then, I baked it about an hour and 45 minutes, throwing in a couple potatoes to bake as well. We ate it with salads and leftover tomatillo/cuke salsa from Sunday night. Mmm, mmm!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back to the Stove

After about a month of being out of town and letting J cook, I finally got to cook Sunday night! I did a nice summer-y steak dish with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes on the side.

Peppered Filet on Garlic Toast with Tomatillo/Cherry Tomato/Cucumber Salsa
6 cloves of garlic, not peeled
3 c. water
10 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tomatillos, cut in small wedges
1 cucumber, peeled & diced
1/2 red onion, fine-chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
3 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. filet mignon
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
4 slices Italian bread, toasted
Bring garlic & water to a boil. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Drain & cool. Peel & mash. Spread on toast. Spray broiler pan with cooking spray. Preheat broiler. Mix next 8 ingredients. Rub steak with oregano and pepper. Broil until cooked to medium-rare. Let stand 10-15 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain on an angle. Put on toast and top with salsa. Serves 4.