Saturday, July 12

Dinner Tonight!

This is really a funny story, and probably one I have mentioned before, however I relish few challenges in life other than cooking. I am a very imaginative person when it comes to art, sewing, and cooking. In all other aspects of life, IMHO I am very hum-drum, and don't challenge myself in ways that I probably should. This is one of my many downfalls.

So when it comes to cooking, for instance, I love a challenge. Especially because I work with a limited budget for food, and have to be creative with what I've got to work with. With that being said, I can relay to you a secret that I have hidden from my family for years. I cheat! Not in a fundamental sense, but being that I am a virtually non-creative, and visual person, I have to see something in order to copy it. In that sense, I am able to transform things, in my own way, and make it my own. I am not sure why this is, but I can pretty much see something done once, and be able to fix something, sew something, paint something, etc... with much effort, and little thought. I believe I have an organized brain, maybe not so much on the outside, but more so on the inside. I am able to organize thoughts, and put those thoughts in practice, and have the capability to try things that most people would not feel experienced enough to try. The result is not always perfect, but most often functional.

One of my best devises for cooking would be the Food Network Channel. Now, I don't have the time or inkling to sit and watch episode after episode of cooking shows, but do tape shows that I find interesting on the DVR, and watch them when I do have the time. I have been known to not have a clue what will be for dinner at 5 p.m. at night, and watch an episode of Rachael Ray's 30 MM, and have dinner on the table by 6. Last night being one example of that. Occasionally, I will go to the Food Network website, and type in a protein, or veg. we have on hand, and form a complete menu within 10 minutes time. I don't always have all the ingredients listed, but I improvise, and this has never failed me.

So this morning while drinking morning coffee, on this not-so beautiful day, I began watching a Food Network program called Rescue Chef. I have maybe watched it one other time, but I became interested in the fact that they were cooking with salmon. My brain began to start processing the information that was being spewed at me through the electronic box in my LR. I thought to myself; we have salmon in the freezer. Then, as he continued on with the ingredients, I would think to myself, I have that... don't have that...but could use that... etc... This went on through the whole program. After the program, I had dinner planned, went to the freezer, took out the salmon, and then went to the computer to print out the show's recipes. So this is what we are having, including my improvisations:

Citrus Baked Salmon

4 slices fresh lemon
4 slices fresh orange (these will be changed to 1/4 c. lemon juice, and 1/4 c. orange juice)
4 skinless salmon fillets (have)
salt and pepper (have)
2 tbsp. fresh dill (garden)
2 tbsp. sun dried tomato in oil ( this will be changed to 1 can drained diced tomatoes, and 2 tbsp. EVOO, Aldi brand... )
2/3 c. white wine ( changed to 2/3 c. white grape juice)

In a 9x13 pan, pour 1/4 c. lemon juice, and 1/4 c. orange juice. Season each fillet with salt and pepper, and then place in pan. In a small bowl, mix dill, tomatoes, and oil. Divide mixture on top of salmon. Drizzle with white grape juice. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 30 min. Take out 15 min. before baking, so it can come back to room temperature. Bake at 375 for 8-10 min.

Roasted Vegetables and Couscous

1 sm. zucchini
2 red peppers
1 sm. eggplant (don't have any of this, so I am omitting this from my recipe.)

EVOO (have)
Salt and Pepper (have)
1 1/2 c. couscous (have)
2 c. vegetable stock (this is being changed to 2 cups water and 2 chicken bullion cubes.)
1/2 tsp. salt (have)
1/2 tsp. cumin (have)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger (have)
1/2 tsp. paprika (have)
1/4 c. orange juice (have
1 tbsp. fresh parsley (freezer)
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro (freezer)
2 tbsp. evoo (have)
1/2 lemon zest and juice (this will be changed to 1/2 lime zest and juice, which I have on hand.)

In the original recipe, it says to cut up vegetables, and roast at 375 for 10 min, after coating with evoo, and salt and pepper. I am taking this completely out of my recipe, not because I don't like roasted vegetables (I love them), but because I don't have any on hand at this moment in time.

I did realize that I have been making my couscous completely wrong, by following the package directions on the box. Mine always turns out dry, and without much flavor, so I am looking forward to this new method.

Place couscous in heat proof bowl and mix with salt, cumin, ginger, paprika, and orange juice.
Bring stock (chicken bullion) to boil. Pour over couscous. Cover with a plate for 5-10 minutes. Fluff with fork. Stir in parsley, cilantro, and evoo. (Toss with roasted veg., if you're doing it that way.)

Citrus Vinaigrette dressing for salad

The original recipe calls for watercress, which I don't have, but will be using fresh romaine lettuce from my garden.

Whisk together:
1 orange
1 lemon (don't have these, so I am using 1/4 c. lemon juice, and 1/4 c. orange juice
1/4 c. evoo
1 tbsp sesame seeds (don't have, will omit.)

Toss with salad greens.

Fresh Fruit Parfait w/ Yogurt

2 peaches
2 kiwi (don't have, will be using fresh sweetened cherries that a friend gave us a few days ago)
1 c. blueberries (have)
1 lemon, juice and zest (1/4 c. bottled lemon juice, and zest from lime (which is left over from couscous recipe)
1 tbsp sugar (omitting because cherries are already sweetened.)
2 c. plain yogurt (have)
1 tbsp poppy seeds (may have/not sure/don't really like/might omit)
mint (garnish/freezer)

In a medium bowl combine cherries and blueberries, lemon juice. Mix and sit for 10-15 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir 2 c. yogurt and poppy seed (optional). In clear glasses, layer ingredients starting with fruit mixture, yogurt, fruit, and so forth.

So there you have it. Our dinner for tonight. I will take pictures tonight, and post them tomorrow, if I can.

Enjoy!!! Have a great weekend!!!

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