Tuesday, June 24, 2008

yummy dinner recipes

Saturday night, Thomas and I had an impromptu dinner party. Preston and Tanisha had the shop well in hand, so Thomas and I quickly scanned the thicker-than-my-thigh folder of 'recipes to try out' also known as the 'good culinary intentions' folder.
We settled on a simple halibut and pasta recipe from Real Simple and we already had loads of fresh produce from our weekly trip to the downtown farmers' market that morning. So we settled our menu: orange-ginger halibut, whole-wheat angel hair pasta, sauteed squash (mixed varieties) with sweet onions, French bread, marinated tomatoes, and blueberry pie.
We had everything we needed except the fish, so we made a quick trip to Wild Oats where we discovered that halibut was a little out of our twenty-something people budget for feeding seven adults. The very helpful grocer suggested the (much) more modestly priced wild cod as an alternative and it was delicious!
I don't know what was more enjoyable for Thomas and me, cooking together in the kitchen with the dogs stretched out on the floor (obviously lounging wherever our feet needed to be) or actually sharing it with friends that we don't see as often (no one ever tells you that you have to schedule 'hanging out' once you're a grown-up!). The whole evening was splendid!
Here are a few recipes (sorry- not giving away the pie recipe! teehee). Please let me know if you try it and your opinions!

Thomas' Cod and Angel Hair (adapted from Real Simple's halibut recipe found here)
4 tangelos (recipe calls for oranges, but he already had tangelos in ice box!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1-inch piece ginger, thinly sliced
6 4oz pieces wild-caught cod
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bunch green onions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
1 pound whole wheat angel hair pasta
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Cut the oranges into segments, removing the surrounding membranes as well as able. Don't sweat over this too much, just know that the membranes and pith will make it more bitter. Squeeze the membranes over a bowl to catch their juices.

Heat a cookie sheet or other pan in oven with a little oil so that pan is hot before adding fish. Add ginger and cook about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the halibut with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, cumin, scallions and oranges and continue cook about 10 minutes, turning mid-way through, until the fish is the same color throughout and flakes easily.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions while the halibut cooks.

Farmers' Market Squash (aka. shameless promotion of buying local produce)
Step 1: Buy a variety of squash. I used one zuchini, two yellow ones (real name?), and a totally cool scallop squash. I'd never cooked a scallop squash but it just looked to interesting to pass up.
Step 2: Buy a sweet onion.
Step 3: Chop them all up (I only used 1/2 of the sweet onion).
Step 4: Saute in olive oil, freshly cracked pepper, and kosher salt until a bit softened up.
Step 5: Add some hot water to the pan and allow to continue cooking until soft, but not mushy.
Step 6: Eat and say "mmmmm"!

Marinated Tomatoes (one of my favorite things in the world)
Ripley tomatoes, sliced into thick rounds
Olive oil
Fresh basil (I used a little of my own new garden supply: a mix of columnar basil and sweet basil)
Mozzerella cheese
Salt and pepper (freshly cracked)

Place tomato slices on paper towel to soak up extra water, then transfer them to a plate.
Place pieces of fresh mozzerella cheese on top, then torn up pieces of basil.
Drizzle with olive oil and then a wee bit of salt, and a more generous amount of pepper.

Blueberry Dessert
We served a blueberry pie (my own recipe) heated up with our guests' choice of a scoop of Hagendaaz vanilla ice cream or Ciao Bella coconut sorbet. The coconut sorbet is a fantastic accompaniment to blueberries, whether plain or cooked into a pie or cobbler. Sadly, Wild Oats doesn't seem to carry the coconut flavor anymore, but Fresh market does. Sublime!

Well, that about wraps up our dinner party! Here are a few of the vendors we used:
Wild oats: cod, ginger, pasta, ice cream
Fresh Market: Ciao Bella coconut sorbet
Memphis Farmers' Market: Bluebird Farm by Van Cheeseman: sweet onions, flowers (he supplies some of our eggs in the shop!) and also Tims Family Farm: tomatoes and I think that's where I got the squash, but not positive

Have a great day!!!

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