Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Foil Packet Cauliflower

One night Trevor and I decided to just grill everything. Trevor was lucky enough to get an early birthday present and a new infrared grill is now sitting on our back deck (thank you!) We are trying to eat a bit healthier than usual so we did a veggie medley and salmon. We had all sorts of fun as presented in the photos below! 

I made a foil packet for the cauliflower. I included pads of butter, salt and garlic powder. We put it on the grill at medium/high for maybe 10-15 minutes. It turned out great! You can do so much with foil packets on the grill. Anyone have a favorite?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mashed Cauliflower

This next one didn't turn out as planned. You can find beautiful photos if you Google "Mashed Cauliflower" in the images section. These photos look just like mashed potatoes and look delicious. However, mine did not. I wish I could blame it on some recipe, but I just read a bunch of different ones and compiled them in my head. Despite the fact that they didn't look like mashed potatoes (more like hot white coleslaw) they tasted great. Definitely plan to do these again, but with some tweaks trying to get that beautiful fluffy quality! If you have any suggestions... please let me know!

Finished product! I served with a pork tenderloin.

Boil Cauliflower (I think I should have boiled longer)

Mash with garlic and butter. I didn't add any liquid and
next time I need to figure out a way to make it even drier.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks

First up in the Cauliflower Adventure was a rather unique twist to the vegetable. In my search for cauliflower recipes, I came across the blog Eighty Twenty and specifically, this post.

I was intrigued and decided to try this vegetarian alternative to steaks. Now don't get me wrong... I am the furthest thing from a vegetarian (as evidenced by the whole reason for this blog!) But who knows?! Maybe this could be a nice compliment to a great steak.

Finished product!

Simple ingredients

Slice head of cauliflower into "steaks"
and coat with ingredients above

Put directly on medium heat grill
and cook on both sides for 5-7 minutes
As you can see I made a couple of changes as I completely forgot about the Parmesan cheese. Oops! Another thing I'd do differently is to not skimp on the ingredients. I didn't want to have all the oil and balsamic vinegar drip everywhere, but in hindsight, I should have just let it drip! We needed to pour more ingredients on after as it was pretty bland. I think if I had been more generous it would have been better. But this was pretty easy and I'd like to try it again!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July is Cauliflower Month!

Sometimes I feel like Cauliflower is a poor cousin to Broccoli... but not this month! Cauliflower will be first and finally get the credit it deserves! We'll grill it, roast it and mash it. And hopefully learn to love it!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cream Peas

On the last night of June, we had our friends Andy and Heather over for a BBQ. We had wonderful Hanger Steaks which if you haven't yet found the joy that is a Hanger Steak, I suggest you seek them out. It's the meat under the jaw of a cow and there is only one Hanger Steak per cow. Trevor's brother, Bryan, first introduced them to us and we've had them several times since. A little hard to find, but well worth the effort. We served the Hanger Steaks with some grilled potato packets, salad and Cream Peas. The peas were an after thought and we weren't sure if Andy and Heather liked peas... hence the salad just in case. However, the peas turned out great! I'm sure the healthiness of the peas is washed out by the butter and cream, but at least it's a "wash" instead of a loss right?!

You can find the recipe I used here. They were very easy. I think next time I might try using milk instead of cream to make them a tiny bit healthier. 

Finished product read to serve!
They do seem to get cold rather fast, so it's not a make ahead dish.

Letting the peas come to a boil in water and salt.

Added in the butter, and cream/flour/sugar mixture.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Garden Pea Salad

I know I say that every recipe is easy... but this one might be the easiest so far. Canned peas? Check. Pre Hard Boiled Eggs? Check. Bacon Bits? Check. Could not be any easier. 

The last Pea post was just ok in regards to the peas, they were a bit sweet for me in that dish. Whoa... never thought I'd ever say something was too sweet. But this salad was delicious. Trevor and I had my parents over for dinner and we paired the salad with steak and potatoes. 

Since this was so easy, I don't have a lot of photos of the process. You can find the recipe here: Paula Deen's Garden Pea Salad. I did doctor it up with some bacon bits... how could I not?! I'm surprised Paula hadn't already put them in!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pasta with Peas, Shrimp, Mushrooms and Bacon

Yum! That's all I need to say about this meal. I started with this basic recipe for Angel Hair Pasta with Bacon and Peas from Martha Stewart. But of course... I doctored it up! I do need to give some credit to Trevor for his ideas to add stuff... if it was just me it would have been very plain. 

Apparently most of the vegetables I've been choosing go great with bacon... or maybe it's that bacon goes great with everything!

Finished product... of course sprinkled with bacon!

How can you go wrong with these ingredients?!

Finely slice the shallots... hmmm is that fine enough?!

Saute the shallots and mushrooms in the bacon grease

Add in the shrimp, beautiful shrimp from Zupan's here in Portland.

Add in cream and peas, again both from Oregon!

Finally toss in cooked noodles and some extra pasta water.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

June is Pea Month!

As any reader can note, I slacked off took a break all last month. I had good intentions, but they went out with the window with the insanely busy schedule that is Trevor and Leah.

In the span of six weeks, Trevor and I have been to:

Austin, TX (Leah)
Dallas, TX (Trevor)
Olathe, KS (Trevor... twice)
San Diego, CA (Trevor)
Lincoln City, OR (Leah)
Seattle (Leah)
Bend (Leah... once, Trevor... twice)
Kissimmee, FL (Leah)

Needless to say, we've been too busy globe trotting to cook vegetables. We'll continue to be busy, but a month off has provided the necessary motivation to continue. Everyone needs a break and since this is "my" blog, I should be able to give myself a break. 

So that brings me back to June. This month so far in Portland has been aptly renamed to June-uary and has been a rainy cold mess. The forecast calls for wonderful weather for the next several weeks, so fingers crossed! As a result of our mixed month, I'm going to choose Peas for June. This vegetable can be served in warm dishes such as pastas, casseroles and soups. But it can also be served cold in salads and... um... other cold things, making it versatile to our weather needs.

With three weeks left in the month and one of them being spent in Seattle, I'll do my best. Here's to cooking and blogging!

Friday, May 11, 2012

May is Salad Month!

Well I'm starting a little late this month. Let me explain why. Trevor got a job! After being laid off for four months, this is very good news indeed. A huge shout out to my wonderful boyfriend and the career journey he is embarking on!

In the span of about six weeks, the two of us will be in places such as Texas (both Austin and Dallas), Kansas City, Bend, Seattle, Lincoln City, Florida and possibly San Diego. We're about in the middle of this hectic time so the blog has been put on the back burner unfortunately. I had mixed emotions about my dedication to the blog, but sometimes you have to forgive certain things in your life. After all, a blog is not mandatory and not something that should create stress.

With that in mind, I've decided to do a leafy green month. So far the blog has been very successful at stretching my boundaries in the vegetable world and we are frequently incorporating vegetables in to our meals. I don't shy away from restaurant menus that have too many vegetables on them. However the one thing I'm still really iffy on is salad. So far no matter how much fat you put on it, it's still like eating grass. So this month my goal is to learn to love salads! 

While we have a hectic rest of the month, I will try and make at least a few salads by May 31st. However, I'm also going to be actively ordering salads at restaurants as well. Wish me luck!

A preview of months to come: Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Squash, Peas, Herbs and probably a "remix" month in which I try recipes I didn't get to in other months. If anyone has suggestions, just let me know!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baked Asparagus with Balsamic Butter Sauce

This next one is my second favorite Asparagus recipe yet! 

This was ridiculously simple and you can find the original recipe here. It's called Baked Asparagus with Balsamic Butter Sauce. It's buttery, salty and slightly tangy. I think this would go with a lot of things, but especially fish and steaks! Trevor made us a nice meal of pan fried tenderloins. I'm so lucky to be with a man who cooks!

Final Product!
Trevor made tenderloins with a gorgonzola cream sauce, yum!

Wash and trim asparagus.
Coat with cooking spray and salt and pepper.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.

Melt 2 T of butter and add in 1 T of Soy Sauce and 1t of Balsamic Vinegar.
Pour over asparagus and serve!

This will probably be my last Asparagus post. I wish I had more time, but I'm headed to Austin, Texas for a work conference for the rest of April. I still have Cabbage dishes to make too! Maybe I'll have to do a "catch up" month. Look for the next vegetable announcement in May! I have a few in mind, but I would welcome suggestions.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Crispy Parmesan Asparagus Sticks

Alrighty, you have to post the times when the recipe doesn't work out so well... right?! 

Well here it is! They seemed like such a good idea and I have no doubt this is chef error. The basic idea was to put the asparagus through an egg wash and then in flour, panko and parmesan cheese before throwing them in the oven. I guess I must have done it wrong because it was just a floury goop that wouldn't stick to the asparagus. After battling with six of them, I gave up. They turned out alright, but not great and pretty tasteless. I liked most of the other asparagus recipes significantly better.

Trevor made a fantastic shrimp and mushroom dish and that definitely stole the dinner show. That recipe went in the recycling and I'm movin' on to different recipes!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gnocchi with Asparagus and Prosciutto (Semi Homemade)

Semi Homemade... Sandra Lee style! 

This post might be sort of cheating. I had leftover prosciutto and asparagus from my last post and thought they would be great additions to my first gnocchi taste. I bought these pre-made gnocchi and an Artichoke Pesto from World Market (Cost Plus... whatever you want to call it). My mom raves about gnocchi so I thought I'd give it a go. 

This was VERY easy and I have a hard time calling it "cooking". I guess I did boil water. I loved the gnocchi and plan to experiment some more with it. The Artichoke Pesto wasn't my favorite though. It tasted like marinated artichoke hearts which I'm just not a fan of all the citrus in those. So in the style of Sandra Lee on the Food Network... I present you Gnocchi with Asparagus and Prosciutto Semi Homemade!

Finished Product

Gnocchi, sauce, cut one inch pieces of asparagus
and chopped prosciutto

Add Gnocchi and asparagus to boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Drain and stir in sauce and prosciutto... done!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

I've been "iffy" about Asparagus so far. It's been ok, but frankly has tasted the same and it's very vegetable-y flavored. Anyone else feel like things taste "vegetable-y"? I know it's obvious, but I think non-vegetable lovers can relate. Well this recipe changed Asparagus for me. Our friend Erica showed me this recipe from allrecipes.com. It was super easy and delicious! Oh was it good. I only made three "packets" and Trevor ended up eating two before I even had a chance to say "we're splitting the third!" Mental note: make more next time!

Finished product... yummy!

Starting ingredients, asparagus washed and trimmed

Spread one piece of prosciutto with cream cheese.
I used whipped so it would be easier to spread.
I think a flavored one would be fun to try.
I sprinkled a little garlic powder on too... garlic never hurts!

Roll up and place on greased pan.
A reviewer had suggested spraying the tops of the
spears too so they wouldn't burn.
Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Leah's Asparagus and Bacon and Orzo, Oh My!

I made this recipe up. (Pause for dramatic ohh-ing and ahh-ing... or not, that's ok!).  I basically combined the little knowledge I have of all three and a little bit of a white sauce knowledge and bam, it's pasta time! You can describe it by my two favorite words, easy and customizable. It turned out pretty good, but you can see that there is a lot of room for changes. I would consider adding mushrooms and/or parmesan cheese next time. If you have ideas, please let me know!

Leah's Asparagus and Bacon and Orzo, Oh My!

1/2 bunch of asparagus
4 slices of bacon
3/4 cup dry orzo pasta
1 T butter
1 T flour
1/2 cup of fat free milk
1/2 t each of garlic powder, onion powder and salt

Fry up bacon

Chop bacon and asparagus in one-two inch pieces

A roux is a traditional thickening ingredient for a lot of sauces,
especially french sauces. I learned this simple white sauce as the base
for my Mom's delicious Mac and Cheese.

Melt butter in small sauce pan over medium heat.
Stir in the flour.

Add the milk and stir constantly over medium heat,
you'll be able to watch it thicken.

Bring water to a boil and stir in orzo.
When the orzo has about two minutes left,
drop in the asparagus.

Stir everything together and add seasonings.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April is Asparagus Month!

As promised, April is Asparagus month!

I must admit, I'm only partially excited for this one. So far the other vegetables have seemed so versatile that there have been so many things to try. In fact, I have at least two more cabbage dishes I want to make. But Asparagus I'm having a hard time coming up with different ways to prepare it. I'm hoping that family, friends and readers send recipes to help! 

When I've been telling people that April is Asparagus month the overwhelming response has been... "good luck with your pee!" The boyfriend even calls them "Stinky Pee Sticks". How appetizing. Since I haven't eaten asparagus, I am not familiar with this smell, so I did some research. A quick Wikipedia search pulled up some interesting research on the topic, check it out here (scroll down to "Urine Effects".) Turns out that while Asparagus causes all human's pee to turn "odorous" not all humans have the ability to smell it. Please, oh please let me not have the ability to smell it! 

Fingers crossed!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Curried Cabbage

This next recipe was given to me by my friend Carol (via EatingWell), so I thought I'd give it a go. It's unlike any other recipe so far in Cabbage month and unlike any recipe I've tried. I'll be honest, it wasn't my favorite dish. However, Trevor LOVED it. This might be the best dinner I've made for him so far... at least according to his reaction.  Apparently I need to incorporate more curry in to our lives!

Curried Cabbage
Thanks Carol!

1 T canola Oil
1.5 t curry powder
1 med onion, thinly sliced
4 C shredded cabbage about 3/4 pound
1.5 t lemon juice
2 T plain yogurt

Heat oil in skillet over med heat. Add curry powder and cook until fragrant, stir in onion and cook until translucent about 3 min. Add cabbage and cook about 5 minutes. Remove from heat add yogurt and lemon.

I served it with pan fried pork chops and oven baked potato slices

Cabbage, Onion and Yogurt concoction ready to go!

Warm oil and curry powder in pain until fragrant

Add in onions and cook until translucent

Add in cabbage and cook for about five minutes

Remove from heat and mix in yogurt concoction

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