Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dinner tonight: Pear and Prosciutto Pizza

Fridays are take-out-and-a-bottle-of-wine night, but I had a can of thin crust pizza crust in the fridge and a pear on the verge of turning to mush, so we turned in into fake-out night (like that?! totally just made that up) and had pear and prosciutto pizza.

Since I used refrigerated crust instead of pre-baked, I pre-baked according to the directions on the crust can. Can? Is that right word for those aluminum twisty things that Pillsbury uses? To lower the stats (so we could eat more slices and/or cookies!), I used part-skim provolone and omitted the walnuts. The thin crust was also lower in calories that regular crust would be.

Yum!!! This was WAY better than a chain delivery pizza, and almost up to par with some of the fancier joints. It takes about as much time as it would take for a delivery pizza to get to you, and, besides a bit of slicing up front, not too much more effort. Next time you think of picking up the phone for dinner, try this instead!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dinner tonight: Trout with Warm Pine-Nut Dressing and Fennel Puree

On a Tuesday now long past (wedding planning/house buying/school/job have gotten the best of me and I am WAY behind on my blogging--there are seriously a *stack* of recipes sitting on my desk waiting to be reviewed), P and I had trout with warm pine-nut dressing and fennel puree. As a F&W recipe, I realize that this was incredibly ambitious for a weeknight, but I guess I felt like I needed a challenge, or am a masochist (see opening sentence above).

In any event, I'm glad I did, because this was freaking awesome. As usual, I made some changes: flounder in place of the trout (mistake--use trout, or at least something with skin, and use a non-stick pan. I totally massacred the fish trying to get it out of the pan, hence no picture.), slivered almonds in place of pine nuts (which are offensively expensive these days), cut WAY down on the oil, and no mesclun. I think I paired this with a spinach salad, but I honestly don't remember. It could have been green beans too. Both green and nutritious, so whatevs.

Granted, this dish was a pain in the rear to make. There are only 4 steps, but as you will see from the recipe, each of those steps is practically a novella. BUT. It was worth it. In fact, I've been actively trying to think of other things I can do with the fennel puree. And, with the major reduction in the oil you use, this is a downright healthy and low-cal dish, which can be rare for the borderline-gluttonous F&W peeps.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Restaurant Eve Tasting Room

This year we celebrated Pat's birthday at the Restaurant Eve tasting room, and it was a pretty phenomenal way to ring in year 36! We did the 5 course option, which actually ended up being 8 when you count the canapes, amuse buche, AND check-accompanying cookies. (There are also 7 and 9 courses, but I'm pretty sure you'd have to find an extra stomach or spend all day there to be able to eat all of that.) There was an option of the chef surprising you with selections for each course, but we decided to chose our own since his choices would have come from the same menu anyway.

Pretty much everything was fantastically delicious. Favorites were a puffed pastry filled with cipollini onions, oysters, and a cream sauce, topped with a very generous spoonful of osetra caviar (the "OOO"); the antelope, which surprisingly tasted nothing like venison and was absolutely beautifully cooked; and the wine pairings, which were just out of this world. Usually we are very disappointed with wine pairings and kicking ourselves for not having ordered something we knew we'd like. But if there's a place to do the pairings, it is Eve. Todd Thrasher is a genius.

Two complaints for what was otherwise an amazing experience. The reduction on my rabbit dish was a little off, and the service was very mediocre. I think we must have sat at our table for 45 minutes before we were served a lick of food (and mind you, our seating wasn't even until 8:45 pm), there were lip marks on my water glass, and the waitstaff were overall pretty ineffectual. It was really a shame, and in general, poor service really ruins a meal for me. Fortunately, it was a celebration, I was with the man I love, and the food itself was extraordinary good, so our evening still was an incredible one.

PS - Even with the smallest number of courses, we barely touched the bread and had to take the cookies home in a box. And I still didn't eat until lunch the next day! (portions x-posted to

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dinner tonight: Spicy North African Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloins were half off at the Teets a couple weeks ago, so I decided to try a recipe for spicy North African pork tenderloin.

Yum, yum, yum!!! I made this dish nearly exactly as-is, except used roasted bell peppers from the grocery store olive bar rather than from a bottle. This was quite possible one of the most flavorful pork dishes I have either made or had at a restaurant, with super unique flavors to boot.

A few quibbles with the way the recipe is written though:
1. This ends up making way more harissa than you can actually brush onto the pork. I recommend either dividing the recipe in half, or after you make it, setting aside half for another use (before you dip a brush coated with raw piggy juices into it), because its really delicious and would be good on practically anything.
2. It also makes way too much yogurt sauce. The yogurt sauce is great in taming the heat from the pork and gives it some balance, but on its own is pretty blah, and not worth having extra around. Save your Greek yogurt for breakfast and make half or even a third of the called-for amount.
3. Yeah, there is no way in hell your pork will cook through in 11 minutes. Even at 18 min, and after the thermometer registered the correct temperature and the pork sat, the meat was way, way too pink for my comfort level. I ended up nuking the snouts out of it after I sliced.

I served this with some simply roasted cauliflower, seasoned with only s&p. Definitely recommend this dish for a weeknight or entertaining!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dinner tonight: Chopped Kale and Chickpeas with Hot Pepper Vinegar

So, I had this for dinner more like "several weeks ago" than "tonight," but, oh well. I bought some green, leafy kale and moderately spicy peppers (something that started with a p) from the farmers market and decided to make a Richard Blais (of Top Chef and inappropriately-spiky-hair-for-his-age fame) recipe: chopped kale with hot pepper vinegar. Since this was going to be an entree, I added a can of chickpeas to the mix for protein.
Yum, yum, yum! The vinegar is just delicious, and I've used it for a variety of purposes since making this recipe. The whole dish is yummy, and the chickpeas worked out nicely (I added them at the same time as the kale). Toasting them ahead of time would probably make them even better.

The recipe was a nice blend of textures, not too vinegary, and a great guilt-free veggie meal. Definitely try this one!

Also, plug for farmers market shopping:
In addition to buying the kale and peppers, I bought this totally cool multicolored assortment of sweet peppers:
These I sliced up and sauteed with onions, s&p, boca crumbles, and laughing cow light swiss cheese for a cheesesteak-type dish. So much fun with all the colors!