Monday, June 23, 2008

It's been too long!

Holy cow! It has been a LOOONG time since my last post! These past few months have flown by with the blink of an eye, and unfortunately, without any additions to the blog. To be truthful, there hasn’t been a whole lot of cooking going on around these parts. But, now that I am out of school (I think I am more excited than my students for summer vaca!), I can focus on producing some yummy creations in the kitchen. Things will most likely be put on hold again in a few weeks when we move, but soon after, I am sure I will be back in action.

I can’t really remember all of the details about some of the meals I have photographed over the past few months, so I will do my best to recap in the posts below…bear with me!

Grilled Veggie Salad with Chicken and Goat Cheese

I really wish I could remember this dish in more detail, because it was FANTASTIC! I took a bed of romaine (dressed in a simple vinaigrette), and on it I placed avocado and roasted red peppers and the following grilled veggies, which I had marinated in balsamic vinegar and a touch of olive oil: asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes. I topped with grilled chicken and some crumbled goat cheese. It was DELICIOUS!!!!

Pesto Turkey Burgers

In the spring and summer, I am obsessed with the grill. I will cook anything on the grill. Burgers, a easy favorite for the grill, are no exception. This time, though, I wanted to change it up. I was using ground turkey, for one…but also wanted a different taste. I had some basil, and had gotten some fresh mozzarella, so I decided to work with that.

I mixed the ground turkey with balsamic vinegar, a touch of extra virgin olive oil, pesto I had previously frozen (one ice-cubed size portion), garlic, and salt and pepper. I formed into patties and grilled them up. I served the burgers in whole wheat pitas with a combination of asiago and parm. regianno cheeses and some fresh basil leaves.

As a side, I served a tomato and mozzarella salad. I sliced grape tomatoes in half and combined them with fresh mozzarella balls (also sliced in half), fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and dried thyme

More Pizza on the Grill

This is one of my all-time grill favorites. I use Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough, and try to come up with as many different topping options as I can. This time, I used marinated tomato slices (marinated in extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mined garlic, thyme, salt and pepper), freshly shredded mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and ricotta cheese (to which I added some garlic powder and Italian seasonings).

Mother's Day Brunch

For Mother’s Day, since I am not one, I hosted a wonderful brunch for many of the moms in my life, my mom, my mother in law, and my two sisters in law. The menu included:

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast
Homefries with Onions and Rosemary
Egg Casserole with Sausage, Peppers, and Onions
Fruit Salad
Apple and Blueberry Muffins
Steak (brought by the in laws)
Banana Bread
Bloody Marys
Coffee and Tea

Alice Springs Chicken

Matt and I go to The Outback occasionally (I know, GASP – a chain)…and he loves this dish. Not sure why he even ordered it, since he is quite the meat and potatoes kind of guy, but he did, and he fell in love.

I have to admit that the idea to recreate this did not come 100% from me. I knew I wanted to make him a special meal as a surprise, something he would enjoy, and not think I was doing for purely selfish reasons (to try a new recipe or ingredient, or to create my own version of a dish, etc. – which is my usual motive)…but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make, until I came across Lani’s blog, Pleasure Cooker, and saw her post for Alice Springs Chicken. I used this as inspiration, but sort of did my own thing, mainly to cut fat and calories. I cut out some of the oil, used fat free olive oil spray to sauté the onions and mushrooms and the chicken, used turkey bacon (Matt never noticed!), and used low fat cheese.

Matt was quite surprised, and very pleased. We both enjoyed this meal, but I mostly enjoyed the fact that he loved it so much!

Poetry Café

At the beginning of May, to close our poetry unit, I held a Poetry Café in my classroom, where my students could share their poems with family and friends. We invited parents, guardians, and friends, and everyone enjoyed some truly amazing works of art as well as some delicious treats, created by me!

I served:
Raspberry Bars
Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies (some homemade, some purchased)
Mini lemon poppy seed muffins (store bought – I needed to get some sleep!!)

Matt Makes Chili

This was a meal we on the last chilly, rainy Sunday of the spring. Matt makes chili frequently, and he is so good at it. I’ve never made it – his is so good, why bother? I won’t list his “secret” recipe here (he doesn’t really use a recipe, just throws together whatever hits him at the moment), but I did want to share pictures. He took care of the cooking, I took care of the presentation and serving. What a team!