Monday, September 6, 2010

Food Stupor. (Or maybe just STUPOR stupor?)

Can’t write... in stupor... over-full... need nap...
I kind of feel like I usually do on Thanksgiving.  You know, like someone drugged the mashed potatoes or slipped you a mickey in your punch.  Yep.  Like that.  I don’t know how much this has to do with the menu tonight, how much this has to do with the AMOUNT of food consumed and how much this has to do with recent surgery and the fact that I need to get more sleep.  
No, no, couldn’t be the menu.  We actually had a fairly “light” dinner.  Last week I was making one of my usual blog stops at The Dinner for Two Project (which is a seriously great cooking resource, you should go) (no, I mean right now, don’t worry.  I’ll wait.) Alright, so while you were over there, you probably noticed her mini tuna quiche recipe.  I read this and knew I had to make it - with the kind of knowledge that comes when you see the perfect shoes AND they are miraculously in your size.  You just KNOW.  I’m currently on the search for things out of the ordinary - or at least out of MY ordinary - and this recipe struck me for a number of reasons: 1. it uses tuna (like from a can) and we all know what happens when we’re on a strict budget.  we buy a lot of tuna from a can. 2. I really like tuna, but mr doesn’t really like tuna casserole.  This leaves me with one tuna recipe that we both love, and I can only make that so often. 3. it’s unique. 4. it kind of sort of reminded me of little crab cakes - and those are like my crack.  I then decided to make a kind of mango salsa, once again, to compliment the fish dish, but make it more tomato based and serve it with crispy bread.  I found this recipe at food.com for creamy tomato mango salsa.  Then, I found this recipe for Asparagus and Mushroom Sauté with Cilantro.  Asparagus also goes well with fish, so I figured why not?  And for dessert, I couldn’t resist this brand new find on Beat Until Fluffy - Lemon Curd Cup Cakes.  Easy and lemony, and I like both.
Considering I could not find two of the main things I was looking for at the store (mangos and crispy bread), things went fairly smoothly - cooking-wise.  Until I got to the anchovies.  The tuna quiche recipe calls for two anchovy fillets, minced.  I was completely prepared to suck it up and try them.  I grabbed the little tin in the grocery store, despite my mom’s funny looks (mom went grocery shopping with me today!  The benefits of having surgery...).  The little tin made it through the checkout, into a bag and from my trunk to my kitchen counter.  I chopped and minced and grated my heart out, and finally, the very last ingredient that needed to be added stared me in the face (literally).  There it lay, that red tin with the lid peeled back ever so carefully - little fish lying prone, one on top of the other.  I stared at it for a full three minutes before I finally forced myself to pick one up.  I gingerly flopped it over onto the cutting board.  I picked up a knife.  I steeled myself.  Took a deep breath... and threw the whole tin plus one lone fish into the garbage.  I just couldn’t do it.  I thought I could, until I looked at them.  Sorry.  I feel like I’ve failed - foodily speaking.  
Well, I whipped up the quiche according to the directions you can find here.  I added just a hair more potatoes.  It tells you to season according to taste... which a year or more ago would have sent me running for cover as I NEVER would have been able to figure out what to put in there... but tonight I didn’t even bat an eyelash.  I went with a touch of salt and pepper, some garlic salt, onion powder, dill weed and celery seed.  I could not have been happier with the results.  I’ll admit to being a bit worried when I poured them into the muffin tins; they looked a little runny.  But I reminded myself that there was raw egg in there... and set the timer for 45 minutes.  Then I decided to broil for a tiny bit - about 3 minutes, to really brown them on top.  When they came out, they were really kind of pretty, you know, for a quiche.  I ran a knife around each one, and used a tiny dessert spatula to get them out.  They stayed in tact well, and better than that was the taste.  


It’s suggested in the recipe that you serve them with sauce, and there’s a quick white sauce recipe you can whip up on The Dinner for Two Project.  I’m fairly good with white sauce now, as I’ve made it a number of times.  So I whipped this up too, and added a touch of lemon zest and cheese.  Here’s the recipe, if you’re interested.

Cheesy Sauce with Hint of Lemon
1 TBLSP Butter
 2 TBLSP flour
About two cups of milk, maybe a touch more
1/2 C. cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 C. mozzarella cheese, grated
a bit (maybe 2 tsp) lemon zest
Melt the butter in a medium skillet.  Add the flour and mix it together well to make a paste.  Cook this for maybe 2 minutes.  Add some milk and whisk well, so that the paste is incorporated into the milk.  Add more milk and continue to whisk, making sure that the sauce is smooth.  If you haven’t yet, add the rest of the milk.  Stir frequently, bring it to a boil, and cook it for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the cheeses and the lemon zest.  Make sure it is mixed together well.
My whole family loved them - and by whole family I mean not only mr and I, and my parents, but my sister and brother IL too.  Yep, we had a full house!  Even bug and K tried them!  mr told me they were delicious and everyone else said they were very good.  I definitely recommend them - although when I was up to my armpits in potato gratings and potato juice was flying all over, squirting me in the eye, I wasn’t so sure.  But it was worth it.  

I was excited for the new asparagus recipe as well - ever since I discovered that I like asparagus (which was about three years ago) I’ve been on the lookout for new asparagus things to try.  I was super disappointed.  The rest of my family really liked it - mr said it was yummy - but I threatened to throw away the “asparagus dish soap” so mom rescued it.

Obviously, since I couldn’t find a mango, you probably think I decided to forgo the mango salsa.  Ha!  That’s absurd.  Me?  Change the menu last minute?  Be flexible?  Set aside my stubbornness? Clearly you don’t know me well enough yet.  Mom said I should just get canned mangos - which I couldn’t find anywhere, so I picked up a four pack of those dole fruit cups, the tropical kind with the mango and pineapple.  I was pretty skeptical, even as I bought it, but I try to be innovative.  I used some of my Sister IL’s homegrown cherry tomatoes, which I cut in half, and I was pleasantly surprised with the results.  No one else was surprised, because they weren’t there for the making of it, but they all really like it.  I think I might add this to my arsenal of salsas now.  It’s sweet, but not too sweet with some kick.  Here’s the recipe (inspired by the one on food.com):

Tropical Salsa
four pack tropical fruit cups
about 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 of an jalapeno, minced, seeds included
1/2 of a red onion, chopped fine
1/2 of a bunch of fresh cilantro
1/4 cup mayo
2 TBLSP lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
In a medium bowl, combine the mayo, lime juice and cumin and mix well.
Using a mesh strainer, strain the fruit cups, rinse with cold water and add them to the bowl.
Add the other ingredients.
Mix well.
Chill.
Since I couldn’t find crispy bread and didn’t want to just use tortilla chips, I got flatbread crackers, which I really liked.  I think it would be good with an avocado cut up as well.
Now, you already know what I liked the most out of this meal.  I know you know.  Because you are all aware of a very serious sweet tooth which will someday be the death of me, I think.  I am fairly certain that the lemon “cup” cakes - which I call lemon lava cakes - are as close to nectar of the God’s as I’ve ever gotten.  I did NOT make these in the little ramekins, as the recipe suggests, because I was making 8 of them, and that would have been seriously inefficient.  But I did follow the recipe as far as quantity of each item.  (or rather, my sister did.  Because she was helping by that point.)  The recipe calls for lemon curd, and I’ve tried two different lemon curd recipes, and the following is what I suggest for lemon curd:

Lemon Curd
1/2 C butter
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C FRESH lemon juice (can supplement with bottled if you are a bit shy)
3 TBLSP lemon zest
1 pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt.  Whisk in the egg yolks and continue whisking until it’s smooth.  Cook this, whisking constantly, until it thickens (don’t worry if it’s not as thick as you think it should be at this point, because it will thicken while it’s chilling) Don’t let it boil.  Immediately poor the mixture through a mesh strainer into a bowl.  Cover and chill.
Lemon curd can keep for a ridiculously long time in the fridge, like a month, so you could make a big batch and use some for these lemon curd mini cakes, and some for shortcake with raspberries, and some for just eating out of the bowl because it is better than pudding.  The Lemon Curd Mini Cakes from Beat Until Fluffy are amazingly good, so you should definitely try them.  I served mine with just a bit of vanilla ice cream, and everyone loved them.  We scarfed them down.  And then wanted more.  

So, anyway, there was nothing too rich or heavy with the meal.  And, actually I didn’t overeat tonight, I was very careful.
No, it must be reason three.  I must just need more sleep.  That, or someone drugged my lemon curd without me seeing.






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2 comments:

even-star said...

oh my goodness kimberly. You sooooo kick my butt in the potato quiche department! The lemon sauce is inspired! Fantastic :-) I am so glad the recipe worked for you and that your family enjoyed them. This is going to go on this week's Sunday Best. Also a fantastic menu full of balanced flavours and textures. You clearly have MUCH to teach us.

Ashley said...

Sounds and look delish. i need to give it a try. thanks for linking up!

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