Homemade Citrus-based Dressing

Can I just say that I really love La Croix?  It’s super refreshing and I honestly can’t figure out why so many people hate it. Except for the mixed berry or whatever; that one just tastes odd.

Also I haven’t quite decided which kind of beans I like better, black beans or cannellini beans. Both are so delicious and versatile. Black beans usually mean tacos, but white beans are so good in almost anything else. Like a cold salad. With mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a citrus-based dressing. That may or may not have wine in it. I mean, I made tuna steaks tonight, and some pretty groovy red potatoes (sorry, I may have watched Austin Powers earlier), but the bean salad was the star of the show. It just was. Mostly because of the dressing. But also the beans. I dunno, it was just perfectly summery and I loved it.

*************************************

Homemade Citrus-based Dressing

(adapted from the March 2018 issue of Shape Magazine)

Ingredients:

Juice of 1 medium grapefruit

1 small shallot

Olive oil

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Squeeze of fresh orange juice

White wine

Pink Himalayan salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions: Blend all ingredients together, adjusting the ratios as you see fit. Will keep in the fridge for a few days. (I got a little less than 1/2 cup juice from my grapefruit and used about two tablespoons olive oil and maybe just over a tablespoon of wine. I don’t measure. It’s a bit of a problem.)

*********************************************

Okay so this is a suuuuuper loose recipe. The one in Shape suggests pomelo or tangelo in place of the grapefruit even. And white wine vinegar, not just white wine, but I somehow do not have any (just red wine vinegar and I didn’t think that would work too well) so I splashed a little wine in instead, which makes it not really a vinaigrette but eh who cares. Also it suggested lemon zest, but I just skipped that step tonight. Also, I toyed with the idea of adding a bit of jalapeno and avocado, which I might try next time. Homemade dressings are so fun.

*************************************************

See, the salad really was the star of the show. I probably overcooked the tuna. That tends to happen. But it was tasty and the leftovers are being crumbled up and added to the salad for my lunch at work tomorrow and served with a side of my actually rather delicious fiber crackers (more on those another time). Because I can.

One Pan Dinner: Whitefish, Asparagus, Potatoes

Happy Friday and hooray for a bonus post! The other night for dinner, I wanted something light and fresh. Summer fare for me should be light and fresh. Would you agree? I never follow my own rules, but anyway. Hah!

Fish and veggies are a good light meal. Normally I would even suggest grilling the fish *and* the veggies, but our grill is in sad shape and anyway the gas was empty.

So, sheet pan dinner it was. I hate heating up the oven when it’s hot, but it wasn’t like I was going to be cooking for hours, so it wasn’t that bad. Not counting the fish thawing time, this meal came together in under 30 minutes. I cooked everything on a cooking sheet with foil for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. The best part about it was probably the glaze that I made. What’s not to love about butter and olive oil and lemon juice?

***********************************************

Ingredients:

2 whitefish fillets

Asparagus stalks

Baby white potatoes, chopped in half

 

Glaze Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter, melted

2 tbsp olive oil

juice of half a lemon

Pink Himalayan salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Handful of fresh basil, finely chopped

Whisk all ingredients together and pour/brush over fish and vegetables arranged on foil covered cooking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.

UPS broke my taco shells

I really never know how to begin blog posts. It’s not a letter or an email, but it feels like it needs an introduction of sorts. Yeah yeah, I’ve got an English degree, I probably should know these things. But I don’t. It’s just weird. I don’t want to be too informal, but I don’t want to say “hello and welcome” every single time either.

I’ll figure it out. Eventually.

Meanwhile, I haven’t been cooking all that much recently either (as I believe I said in my last post) but today I went major (and I do mean MAJOR) grocery shopping so here’s to some awesome experimenting in the kitchen in the next month!

Anyway, taco shells. I put in a large order of pantry items from Amazon Pantry a few weeks ago, and it arrived in two shipments over two days, and BOTH boxes were banged up really badly, despite reading FRAGILE all over them. One box had a bunch of packages of pasta, as well as the aforementioned taco shells. Fast-forward to yesterday when I was making turkey tacos with black beans and cheese, and I open the first box of shells to find mostly broken pieces. Stupid. I like saving the money with Amazon, but I’m not sure I’ll order hard taco shells again…so a word of advice to anyone else who thinks to do this. It’s one thing when chips are broken…shells, not so much. They worked as chips for a taco salad, but I still wasn’t happy. My Taco Tuesday experience was slightly dampened. #firstworldproblems

But hey, I made The World’s Best Black Beans yesterday. They were so good I almost ate all of them in one meal. Well not quite. But they were really that good. Also here’s my concise review for White Claw Hard Seltzer: It’s low calorie, low carb, and tastes like Skittles. I love all the flavors. Give it a try if you’re into that sort of thing; it’s a great refreshing beverage for the summer, especially if you’re not into beer!

************************************

The World’s Best Black Beans (serves up to 4, probably)

Ingredients:

1 can black beans

1 tbsp freshly minced garlic (chopped is okay too if you want bigger pieces)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Dash pink Himalayan salt

Dash freshly ground black pepper

Juice of half a lime

1 tsp lime zest

Dash of cumin (optional)

Pour beans into a small pot on the stove and heat over medium heat, stirring to ensure even heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and add lime juice, lime zest, and cumin if using. Serve immediately, preferably in tacos, but would also be delicious over rice and topped with chopped cilantro.

 

 

Summer is for Grilled Salmon

It’s summer!! Time for swimming, baseball, fireworks, gardening, and all that jazz! Admittedly, not my favorite season, because I’m not a fan of hot weather, but I really really love the whole concept of al fresco eating, or eating outdoors. It’s fun to grill everything, and I do mean everything. A friend recently suggested I try grilling romaine, which I can’t wait to do. It’s on my list. I’ll probably blog about it.

Anyway, one of my favorite foods in all the world is wild caught salmon. This is something that even just a few years ago, I really never thought I would say. If I’m being really honest, I hated almost all seafood for most of my life, with the exception of canned tuna and some sushi. And salmon just topped the list of fish I thought I hated. It’s weird. But now it’s kind of my favorite and I could eat it every day.

So. Grilled salmon. I haven’t actually made it yet this summer, so this is more of a wishful thinking post, but once I go grocery shopping again, I’ll be grilling some salmon, romaine, and probably peaches with cinnamon because that’s another thing that rocks my socks. And we’ll eat al fresco while listening to the Brewers lose games they should easily have won, like Sunday against the Cards or yesterday against the Royals. <– That one really made me mad. Throwing one over on my man Hader isn’t nice.

What’s your favorite grilled summer food? Tell me in the comments here or on Facebook and if you include a recipe, I might even give it a try!

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

My sister visited me last week and we spent most of our time eating popcorn at the movie theater because we went three times (twice to the same movie but who’s counting) so I didn’t cook much. We ate a lot of pizza too. So I do not have a new recipe for you this week, but I had another idea! I’m going to occasionally do cookbook reviews, starting with some older ones that I love and use often. Of course, because I’m a nerd, one of my favorite cookbooks is The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.

Amazon

This cookbook is eight years old already but it’s also probably my most used of the myriad that I own. This has everything to do with it being Harry Potter related, obviously. There is no recipe for Butterbeer in here, but there are so many other delicious recipes, along with random fun facts and even instructions on how to brew a proper British cuppa. My go-to recipe in here is the Creamy Onion Soup, which is a Weasley house recipe. It’s simple and honestly amazing on a cold day with some crusty bread. But this book also has go-to worthy recipes for roast chicken, pork chops, and even an apple pie recipe.

It is listed as juvenile nonfiction, but don’t let that stop you. Some of these recipes are complicated and a fun challenge. There’s even a recipe for haggis, but it’s not exactly recommended that you make it!

I’ve loved every single recipe that I have made from this book, and I have only covered about half of what’s in it. It’s a wonderful addition to my collection, and if you are a Harry Potter fan and a cooking enthusiast, it would be a wonderful addition to yours, as well. Typically I don’t care about star ratings, but this one definitely gets five.

Pork Ribs and an Abundance of Chives

Because I’m just one of those people who can’t follow tradition most of the time, I refuse to use barbecue sauce on my pork ribs. Actually, I love tradition in most areas of my life, but I also just don’t love barbecue sauce. There, I said it. The stuff just isn’t me. I’ll eat it, but I generally refuse to cook with it. (And well, I prefer to make my own.) Anyway. One of these days I’ll probably make a fantastic recipe with barbecue and then I’ll prove myself wrong. But I digress.

Plus, it’s spring and therefore I felt like using some fresh spring greens. Of course, chives aren’t only a spring green, but mine are growing SO FAST so they need to be used. I mean, the original plant looks like Cthulhu and there’s some baby tentacles popping up elsewhere. It’s getting out of hand. So I figured I would grab a handful from Cthulhu and mix up a marinade for the country style pork ribs I had pulled out of the freezer. What I did end up with was magical.

Dijon and Chive Marinade (for about 2 pounds of meat)

Ingredients

-1/2 cup olive oil

-juice of a whole lemon

country ribs 3

-1 generous tablespoon Dijon mustard

-1/4 cup chopped chives

Whisk dijon mustard into olive oil until smooth. Add fresh lemon juice and whisk well. Stir in chives. Place meat into a plastic bag and pour marinade over it. Seal bag, letting out all the air. Shake bag to fully cover all pieces of meat. Let sit in refrigerator for at least 45 minutes, but up to 4 hours is ideal.

You can cook the meat any number of ways; it’s really up to you. I chose to brown the pork ribs in a dutch oven and then bake for 40 minutes at 375. (Your timing will definitely vary; I am pretty sure my oven doesn’t heat accurately, but

country ribs 1

haven’t tested it yet. Be sure to use a meat thermometer to test for doneness!) This recipe would be great on the grill or pan fried as well.

************************************

Along with the ribs, I made a mix of sauteed dandelion greens, spinach, onions, and garlic. It was delicious, and I had intended to share that recipe as well, but it needs a fair bit of tweaking, so I will wait! We also had brown rice.

country ribs 2

A Match Made in Foodie Heaven

Though I have tried a lot of ingredients and whole dishes that are not familiar to the standard American palate, there are many that I have enjoyed the taste of and not yet cooked with. Miso paste is one of those things. I love a good miso soup, but for some reason the idea of buying and actually working with the fermented soybean paste from Japan kind of intimidated me. Well, no longer! I ordered some white miso and red miso from Amazon last week and researched some recipes. Last night I concocted this incredible glaze and used it to coat chickpeas and toast them, as well as coat chicken breasts and bake them. This recipe can be doubled, tripled, whatever. I was slightly obsessing over this, hence the post title. It really IS that good.

Miso-Butter Glaze 

2 tablespoons butter

1 heaping tablespoon white miso paste

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Add miso and butter to small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until butter begins to melt. Use a wire whisk to combine, adding in the rice vinegar as the miso is mostly incorporated. Whisk till creamy. Pour over beans, chicken, sauteed greens, etc.

*****************************************

Last night’s dinner ended up being a really amazing summer salad with the miso-butter chickpeas lending crunch in the midst of greens and strawberries, and miso-butter glazed chicken baked in the oven with small potatoes in my beloved cast iron skillet. The salad needs some tweaking texture-wise, so I am not sharing it here just yet, but hopefully it will be featured in the future!