- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.eVyALSMd.dpuf born and raised: January 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Give Me A Beet

Perhaps it's a result of years and years of not eating meat, but when I make dinner the vegetable still seems to be the main course.
For dinner we invited our dear friend John and his visiting guest.  I broke rule number one for having dinner guests and I made something I had never made before.
I roasted whole beets encrusted in salt. Preparing beets this way brings out a truly delicious beet flavor and a velvety texture (supposedly).

I heated the oven to 375 ish and buried large beets in sea salt, though I probably should have used a coarser salt.
I slow roasted the beets for about two hours.

When they were tender (I just stuck a skewer in to test), I pulled them out and cracked the salt open cut into these precious beets.  Thank goodness for my sweet guests they were, as reported, delicious! The texture was superb.
As side dish (or back-up) I roasted a chicken.
Nick and I make a really simple chicken. We pat dry the bird, sprinkle with salt and roast at 450 for an hour.  That's it.  It's amazing.
I also made a cheesy polenta with chard.
Prepare polenta on the stove top (1 part polenta to 3 parts water)
I usually saute some diced onion and garlic before adding the water, then bring the water to a boil and stir in the polenta.  Stir.  When the polenta is thick and creamy I will add cheese, chard, and any other spice to taste.  Pop it in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so, until the cheese starts to brown.
Dinner came together beautifully, roasted beets, with a side of chicken and polenta.
When our guests arrived I was sadly informed that John hated beets.  He agreed to taste a little, then he ate an entire beet.

I'd say that's a successful dinner.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons...

The lemon tree on our front porch is still too tiny to be fruitful.  Luckily for us, I found a Meyer lemon tree around the corner from our house that was heavy with ripe, fragrant lemons.  Our neighborhood is rich with citrus, so during the winter I feel like a jewel thief.  I ride around on my bicycle and when those bright orange or yellow orbs call out to be plucked from their perches,  I do.   I always ask first if the fruit tree is in someone's yard- more often than not I've asked for a few lemons and ended up with bags full of fruit from a neighbor's backyard. 

In this fashion, I often end up with surplus foraged lemons.  As the old adage goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemon meringue pie. 

Lemon meringue pie was one of the first pies I successfully made over and over again. It was one of my mom's favorites, and one of her father's favorites too.  It is a classic dessert, simple enough for a home cook, and a mile-high meringue is sure to impress the guests.  

You can find a lemon meringue recipe in just about any decent cookbook.  For this pie, we made an Italian meringue, which uses boiled sugar-water rather than granulated sugar.  This creates a meringue that doesn't deflate as quickly and will not sweat.

The lemons gleaned from our neighbor's tree were delicious in pie-filling form.  The lemon pie was so good, it could've been served all by itself.  It was tart and lively, a lovely yellow hue.

Our lemon meringue pie was not long for this world.  I ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Something so light isn't meant to last.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

So Cold We Eat Our Salads Warm

It has been so cold that all I seem to think is warm warm warm, especially when it's time to prepare dinner.
It is easy to neglect our leafy greens and vegetables when you think like that.  So I made leafy greens and vegetables dinner, only warm.

Peel and chop some carrots and beets (and garlic), drizzle with olive oil and roast until tender, 30 minutes or so.

When they're ready and still hot, toss them with arugula- so the leaves wilt just a little- and fresh goat cheese. I drizzled the whole mess with a little balsamic and served it warm (alongside a sausage, of course).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy Circling The Sun

It is important to start the year off right.  On January first our guests and ourselves slipped out of bed for breakfast.  I boiled and baked some bagels, roasted some root vegetables left over from dinner the night before (Chelsea had made us a delicious beef stew), John cleaned up the kitchen, Ashley and Judah poured us all mimosas, and Derrek brewed us cups of coffee in his Chemex pot in the living room (as now the kitchen was overflowing).  Along with bagels and roasted veggies, we had eggs, bacon, and potatoes left over from the night before (Ashley had made potatoes au gratin).  Lastly, and perhaps most important for the new year, everyone was made to eat black eyed peas.  Black eyed peas are to be consumed on new years day for luck and prosperity, and we could all use a bit of both.
It is my hope that all of our meals in the new year are as abundant and auspicious.

As luck would have it, my dad offered Nick and I some crab.  As if we would ever turn down crab.  I wasn't sure how we would eat the crab, seeing as Mondays usually leave me feeling less than inspired and it is so very hard for me to resist eating the crab right out of the shell. We did manage to fill a bowl with crab meat, and we decided to make crab cakes.

There are dozens of crab cake recipes out there, ours went like this:
Roughly a pound of crab meat
A few slices of green onion (I used the ends of the onions)

Salt & pepper to taste
A splash of white wine vinegar
A heaping spoonful of mayonnaise
Several tablespoons of panko breadcrumbs
One egg
I mixed all the ingredients together.

I then made small patties of crab on a baking sheet and popped them in the 500 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  I decided to also fry a few cakes in bacon fat. both ways of cooking the crab cakes were effective and delicious.  I mixed up a little spicy sour cream sauce for the cakes, though they didnt need anything, and we simply devoured them.

These crab cakes would make outstanding crab cake tacos, and I would highly recommend eating them that way if you can make it to a tortilla with enough crab to put in it.
Happy New Year!
Eat well!