Easter

We had a beautiful Easter here in Maryland.  The weather was just perfect.  And after the winter we’ve had (and much of the East Coast has had the same), it’s nice to be finally turning the corner on Spring.

My family has never been that into Easter as either a religious holiday or as a traditional ham dinner holiday, but we do like to get together and hang out.  A few years ago we started doing a non-traditional Easter dinner and now it’s our tradition.  The first year was a Curry Cookoff, last year we made a variety of pizzas and this year I decided we were going to have a taco night.  It went very smoothly but I was so busy, I forgot to really take any pictures of the meal.  So you’ll have to settle for what few pictures I did take.

How cute is my nephew dyeing eggs and giving them to Dingo?  I think both Dingo and Hudson ate a few too many hardboiled eggs.

Donnie & Dingo photo 2 (1) Hudson even puked in the middle of the night but I don’t know if it was the eggs or the enormous bone that he got in his Easter basket.  Aren’t the doggie Easter baskets cute?  Neither one was sure why they were being given a basket of toys and treats,but once they figured out they could have it all, they tore into it. doggie easter basketsI actually had a lot of fun picking things out for their baskets.  Dingo of course got the ninja bucket because she uses her ninja-like powers to sneak onto the bed in the middle of the night.

Have you ever had Salsa Verde?  It was just one of the 4 kinds of salsa that I made for our Taco Night, but it might be my favorite. salsa verde

Salsa Verde

 

  • ½# Tomatillos, husks removed
  • Jalapeno or Serrano pepper, to taste
  • 2 Shallots
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Lime, halved
  • ¼ C Cilantro, roughly chopped
  1. Cut tomatillos and peppers into a large dice.  Halve the shallots, keeping root end intact to hold together.
  2. Combine all ingredients except cilantro in a small bowl.  Lightly coat with oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast under the broiler or over a grill until everything is soft and tomatillos are slightly charred, approximately 8 minutes.
  4. Let cool slightly.
  5. Pulse all ingredients, including cilantro in food processor or blender, adding up to ¼ C water, as needed.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

Salsa VerdeI just recently started roasting/grilling limes and lemons for my salsas and it adds such an interesting complexity.  You should totally do this!

Ok here’s the last picture.  It really has nothing to do with Easter but it was an amazing dinner I made for myself the other day completely out of leftovers.  It looks so yummy, I want another one now.  I love bread.  My love of bread has basically been my paleo downfall.  I keep thinking I can stick with paleo and then a baguette comes and smacks me in the face and makes me it’s b!tch.  Alas…

sandwich

 

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Cooking Frenzy Weekend

Last week my work schedule changed and it’s really throwing me off.  I barely managed to make dinner 2 nights the whole week!  I felt terrible about it and was kind of kicking myself for being so lazy, so this week I am determined to do a better job.  On Saturday, I menu planned the crud out of the week.  It looked something like this:

  • Sunday: Risotto with Braised Squid
  • Monday: Grilled Chicken Thighs with misc. Grilled Vegetables
  • Tuesday: Gluten Free Pizza
  • Wednesday: Grilled Flank Steak with Roasted Tomatoes
  • Thursday: Coconut Shrimp with Mango Red Pepper Chutney and Grilled Pineapple
  • Friday: Birthday Party
  • Saturday: Savage Mill Crossfit Outing

And like the best plans, it is already off.  I couldn’t get the squid ink that I wanted and it ended up delaying the risotto until last night.  I also chickened out on buying $20 worth of ingredients needed to make the gluten free pizza recipe, so we’ll probably scrap that. By tomorrow night, I should be back on track.  And yes, I realize that that means I will only do two days of my plan.  That’s ok with me, as long as I’m not going out to eat a whole bunch.

Sunday evening I did a ton of prep work for the week.  Most of it was boring stuff like chopping vegetables but I did make a few things that I really got excited about.

This is savory granola.  It was inspired by a recipe that I saw in Bon Appetit but then I completely reworked it because I didn’t want the oats in it and I wanted to only use things in my pantry.  Luckily, my pantry is always chock full of a variety of nuts.  Savory Granola

Savory Granola

  • 3 1/2 Cups Assorted Raw or Blanched Nuts (I used sliced almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds pumpkin seeds and pistachios)
  • 2 T Fennel Seeds
  • 1/4 C Sesame Seeds (especially pretty with black and white mixed)
  • 1-2 t Chipotle Powder (could sub cayenne, but reduce it a bit)
  • 1 t Kosher Salt
  • 1 Egg White, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
  2. Mix nuts, seeds, chipotle and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together egg white and oil.  Pour over nut mixture and stir until all nuts and seeds are covered.
  4. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden, approx. 40 minutes.  Stir halfway through.

I cannot stop eating this stuff!!!  I was really making it to go on salads in place of croutons or something else crunchy, but now it is sitting on my counter and I take a handful of it every time I pass by.

I also braised the squid for the risotto that we ended up eating last night.  It sounds so fancy, but honestly, it couldn’t have been easier.  And it was spectacular.  I could have eaten just the squid, no risotto and been perfectly happy.

Braised Squid

  • 1.25 lb Squid, tubes cut into 1/2″ rings, tentacles cut in half
  • 1/4 C Butter
  • 1/4 C Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 C Dry White Wine
  • 1 T Parsley, chopped
  1. Melt butter and heat with the oil in a medium sauce pan (not like me – I started with a small one before realizing it was going to quickly overflow) over medium heat.
  2. Sweat the onions until they are translucent but not at all browned.
  3. Add the squid and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and parsley and then simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.
  5. Season… I’d tell you how much salt to add but I really have no idea.  I avoided seasoning the squid at this stage because I was planning on adding it to the risotto.  Seriously, it was that good without salt.  Next time I’m just making the squid.  Squid Risotto and Salad

During all this I also made some Romesco Sauce .  I love that stuff!  We will be eating it on roasted cauliflower for dinner tonight.  On Sunday I ate it on a piece of dark rye with a sliced hard boiled egg.  What a snack! romesco and toast

Food Pen Pal March 2014

Ahh here we are on the last day of March and it is truly the first nice day we’ve had in awhile.  If there is any truth to the old “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb” then she sure took her sweet time getting to the lamb stage.  It literally snowed yesterday.

Luckily, right in the middle of the month, I received my Foodie Pen Pal package from Traci over at I’m Hungry.  Just as a reminder, this was what the weather looked like on the day my box arrived: photo 3

I was so happy to see a box of treats on my doorstep after I shoveled our sidewalks.  And Traci did not disappoint!

I had told her I eat about 80% paleo and she did a really awesome job of finding some paleo/some non-paleo treats to try.  And so much of it was local Ohio food, which I think is the best thing about the Foodie Pen Pal gig – I love trying other people’s local goodies.  Foodie Pen Pal March 2014

Yes the beg of granola is open because I started eating it before remembering that I needed to take a picture.  Oops.  But it was so good, so I don’t even feel bad.  Nomnomnom.  And paleo!!  I wouldn’t have known if Traci hadn’t told me.  It has been making an appearance in my #1 go-to breakfast.  breakfast - berries, granola and yogurt

She also sent these delicious potato chips that had all my favorite buzzwords on them – no gmo, organic, locally sourced, gluten free, etc.  They were a thick chip, which may not be for everyone, but I loved it.  We had them with dinner one night when we made burgers but luckily I saved a few… you’ll see why in a second.

There was this chocolate covered maple egg.  I looked at it a little puzzled for a few days before chomping down.  My first reaction was it was a little too sweet for my taste, but then *lightbulb*  I still had some chips leftover, so I used those hearty salty snacks to scoop out the filling and viola!  Delicious!!  I probably could have eaten 5 more that way, so I’m super glad I was out of the chips and out of maple chocolate eggs. chocolate maple egg and potato chip

I haven’t tried the coffee, but let’s be honest, how could it be bad?  It’s buckeye blend flavor, which Traci tells me is mix of peanut butter and chocolate.  I see absolutely no room for this being anything less than divine.  I’m saving it for one of those Sunday mornings where we sit around and lazily drink coffee all morning.

So, Foodie Pen Pals is once again a resounding success.  Thanks Traci!

If you want to find out more about the Foodie Pen Pal program, click here.

The Lean Green Bean