Saturday, August 7, 2010

Restaurant Review

We have a local Irish pub that claims authentic Irish food.  Last night, dh and I met with his co-workers to have a pint and dinner.  I chose Harp's Lager, as they no longer sell Tennet's from Scotland, as it will no longer be sold in the United States. Have we offended the Scots somehow?  Dh chose a pint of Rogue, and we both concluded that it had a bit more taste, fruitier, than the Harp.

Fish and chips are the best on the menu there, and of ten people, I believe at least half ordered that.  Big, moist white fish deep fried it batter is hard to replicate at home.  I'm not so fond of the steak fries, and would prefer crispy thin ones.  I wonder what they truly eat in Ireland?

I do know that fish and chips are sold in England, as I bought some once while there many ages ago in Stratford-upon-Avon.  It was wrapped in newspaper, bought from a small place with no where to sit.   We took it outside to eat, sitting on a stone wall.

Several people ordered Scotch eggs for an appetizer, and while they look very good, the potential for all that fried food to sit on my stomach over night deterred me from trying.  I should not count on a career as a restaurant critic.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ever the Optimist

Last night, Anna prepared the marinade for Tandoori-Style Chicken in Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way, and I fired up the grill.   Luckily, dh arrived home in time to save me from myself.  We had it with buttered noodles sprinkled with my seasoning can, salad, cooked spinach, and corn.  The corn was frozen and from Kroger.  It was particularly bad.  The best frozen commercial corn is from CostMo.

Tonight, we use Tyson's Popcorn Chicken combined with broccoli and over rice to make Applebee's Orange Chicken.  You can Google all sorts of recipes for the sauce.  It would be good to not follow my example and neglect to see if you have all the ingredients.  I didn't have hoisin sauce.  I found many recipes online, however to make a substitute.  It all got eaten, so I guess it was okay.  Served with large salad.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's Dog Food

Not all ground turkey is the same, and neglecting to realize this, last night's dinner was a flaming disaster.  The recipe for Greek Turkey Burgers in Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way called for ground turkey, with no mention of fat content.   I should really know better and recognize that not all turkey is dry and low fat.

Having found Tzatziki Dip at CostMo and knowing dh would also love the tomato/cucumber/feta relish, I mixed the turkey burgers as described, adding a little olive oil, knowing as we all do, that turkey doesn't have much fat and I was going to grill the burgers.  The patties sat on the plate, smelling delicious and promising a gastronomic success.

I congratulated myself by having William and his friend visiting skewer shish kabobs sticks with zucchini, onion and ripe bell peppers, not only something to do, but giving them ownership in healthy eating.

The dinner hour drew near, I fired up the grill.  I have tried for years to avoid grilling, relegating it to my dh's province, claiming no ability there when in fact, it is just difficult to coordinate everything else and also check the grill frequently.  This day, I did have everything prepared ahead, and dh was running late from work.  I could do it.  I put the burgers and veggies on the grill.  It would take a few minutes, so I left the grill to it's own devices to water some porch plants.   Recipe for disaster.

I returned minutes later, opened the grill to find it all on fire.  Grease fire?  dh asked.  The grill wasn't on fire - the actual burgers were.  The shish kabobs now held little charcoal briquettes.  As I walked in holding the plate, dh arrived home.  Is it my fault because I'm home late, dh asked tentatively?  Definitely.  Although likely, it was the fat content, not my grilling skills or lack thereof.

We fried up some store bought hockey puck turkey burgers and made do.  I suppose if I blogged only my successful dinners, you would soon lose interest.  On the other hand perhaps you might not read a blog where the product is this:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Grilled Salmon

Tonight, Monday night, we will have grilled salmon.  Or at least, something that looks like salmon.  CostMo sells something called "fresh farmed steelhead" and I have no idea what that is.  Except, it looks and tastes like salmon.  

To start, shake the seasoning can over both sides of the fillet.  Put the salmon in a shallow dish or plastic storage bag and sprinkle on a bit of soy sauce and olive oil.  (I cook intuitively, a bit of this, a bit of that.  You want exact amounts, buy a cookbook!)  Let this sit for an hour or two.

Grilling, I know, is an art.  How do you know it is done?  When the fish flakes easily from the skin.  

A sauce really adds to the finished product.  Anna prefers a butter and garlic sauce.  To make this, melt a stick of butter in a saucepan.  Add minced garlic to your taste level and a bit of lemon juice.  Cook down the butter a bit.

Dh prefers a spicy sauce.  In Saving Dinner the Low Carb Way, there is a horseradish cream sauce I am going to try:

1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of horseradish sauce

I'll let you know which I preferred tomorrow.  Served with a tossed salad (we have a great salad every night), herbed rice, and green beans.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

A quick dinner was called for last night.  Anna and I didn't get home from the grocery until close to 8 p.m.  Dh wanted chicken salad sandwiches, easy enough.
Here's how we made it for five people:

Cut 2 lbs. of chicken into small, chicken salad size pieces.  Put chicken with about 1/2 cup water in a microwave safe bowl with a lid.  Microwave on high (about 5 minutes in my microwave) until chicken has no pink but is still tender.

While the chicken cooks, dice two stalks of celery and four green onions.  Mix the celery and green onions with the cooked chicken and about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of mayonnaise.  Use salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to your taste.

Anna added Craisins (dried cranberries) and pecans to her salad.

Some of our family chose to eat it on low carb tortillas and some ate it on Pepperidge Farm Deli Flats.

Served with mac-n-cheese and cut broccoli.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Seasoning Mix

My mom gave me a metal spice shaker can and the following mix recipe which I will use in a lot of my own recipes:

1 part ground black pepper
1 part onion powder
1 part garlic powder

Mix thoroughly.

It's Not Dog Food

"Mom, Dad ate dog food for dinner!" I heard one evening as I returned home from a meeting.  There had been plenty of leftovers in the refrigerator, so I'd left nothing cooking except the homemade dog food in the crock pot. Two of our three dogs have celiac disease, so they eat a high fiber mix of ground turkey, rice, lentils, and vegetables.  It is people food - but the dogs eat it.  There is nothing "dog" about it, but it turns the stomach of my kids.  My husband says it is quite tasty, as I season it with herbs and spices.

After watching Julie & Julia, I thought it might be fun to have a blog where I periodically write about what we have for dinner.   If I must say one thing we've done right as a family, we've tried to have family dinners as often as logistically possible.  Adjusting recipes to our own tastes, we don't often enjoy eating out.  At our budget, we cannot get food at a restaurant, generally, that is as good as can be made at home.  Or at least, that is how we feel.

Here I intend to occasionally share what we are having for dinner.  Most recipes are either passed down from my family or my own.  I do use cookbooks, but rarely follow the exact recipe and find a need to make it my own, but I'll give credit where it is due.