Sunday, October 17, 2010

Date Night Any/Every Night

Recipes from Peace Meals

Tonight Scott and I conducted our weekly Peace Meals recipe test with a few tests. 1. We finally used our new grill that my dad gave us for our anniversary back in May; and 2. We had dinner on the patio.

You are probably wondering why it took us ~5 months to use our grill for the first time, but really it’s a simple answer, it was just too HOT outside, plus we have a grill pan which is well suited for cooking for two and indoors.

And then there is the concept of dinner on the patio. Now that Fall has arrived, we have been trying to eat dinner on the patio regularly. Everyone loves dining al fresco whether on the patio of your favorite restaurant (Grappino’s, Teala’s, La Vista, etc.) or in your own backyard.

So tonight we made our usual Sunday dinner routine into an unexpected and perfect date night with dinner on the patio. We turned the television to the classical music channel, opened the patio doors, and were celebrating the Christening of our new grill. I usually try to limit my adult beverage consumption to Thursday, Friday, Saturday, but the ambiance made it hard to resist. Scott really wanted a glass of wine all we currently have in inventory is “the good stuff”. Speaking of “the good stuff”, our wine du jour was from our 4th anniversary trip to Napa back in May-- we enjoyed the Elyse “C’est si bon,” which is French for “It’s so good!”. I don’t think we need to explain that further because the name says it all.

And onto our meal…the Grilled Pork Loin Adobado and Honey Roasted Root Vegetables. I was expecting the pork to be spicy but it wasn’t at all. I roasted some Poblano peppers which are milder chiles, the pork had a good flavor, plus I have plenty of leftovers for lunch the next few days and for Scott’s dinner on Wednesday night while I’m at book club. The honey roasted root veggies were delicious and easy to make. I roasted butternut squash, carrots, turnips, fingerling potatoes, garlic, and shallots mixed with honey, olive oil, champagne vinegar, salt, and pepper for 45 minutes at 400. If I had it to do over again I would have turned the veggies along the way for even carmelization, or actually just left the garlic cloves whole instead of slicing. It was definitely a great fall/winter side dish and good compliment to the pork.

Stay tuned for a mushroom quiche which I’m hoping will turn out fabulous since I have very high expectations.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Butternut Squash Bisque

Butternut Squash Bisque
Peace Meals by the Junior League of Houston

To celebrate the beautiful fall weather I decided to make Butternut Squash Bisque for dinner. This is a delicious and easy to make recipe. It took a little over an hour including prep but there was quite a bit of inactive cooking time so it was nice to not have to slave in the kitchen non-stop. Best of all is the surprise ingredient… a jalapeno! The jalapeno added some “heat” in the background in addition to some depth to the bisque. The carrots, celery, leeks, jalapeno, butternut squash, and chicken broth needed to be pureed after they had simmered awhile. The recipe says to puree using a food processor or blender, which translates to more dishes to wash. Luckily I had my secret weapon the immersion blender (and yes I do have the green one). My sister-in-law, Jill, gave me the immersion blender for Christmas last year and it’s a Godsend. This nifty tool makes pureeing soups and sauces a breeze since you can leave everything in the pot. I rounded off the dish with a chopped pecan garnish. I skipped the fried sage because it just wasn’t a step I felt was needed for a Monday night dinner. However I did think about frying up some bacon, but decided to forgo for the same reason.

The recipe claims to be 4 servings. I think a proper portion should be 1 cup; however Scott prefers 2 cups, so the recipe really yields seven 1 cup servings or ~three 2 cup servings. I have some leftover which I have frozen in individual his and hers servings to enjoy in the future.