I used my "Get Out of the Kitchen Free" card early this week. I just couldn't convince myself to get started cooking. We went to P.F. Chang's, which is special to us as it was the location of our first date. Ironically, we met one of my "heros" Henri Landwirth, the creator of Give Kids the World where we had our second date.
It's been so long since I posted a menu plan--not because I didn't have one, but because there were other things to talk about. Plus, there were the holidays when you generally just think of leftovers for every meal.
This is the successful quinoa salad recipe I served to 25 people along with a baked potato bar last night.
Recipe for Quinoa Salad
2 cups Quinoa, uncooked
1 lb. grape tomatoes, halved
4 banana peppers, thinly sliced
1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
3/4 can black olives, sliced
1 cup Italian dressing (homemade or store-bought)
Cook quinoa according to package directions and chill. (Can be made a day or two in advance.) Combine quinoa and vegetables in large bowl folding gently with a large spatula. Pour salad dressing over quinoa. Stir gently. Serve immediately. To marinate, chill 1-2 hours after adding dressing.
Recipe for Italian Dressing
3/4 cup Olive oil
1/4 cup Lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion pwder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon parsley
Whisk ingredients together continuously while pouring over salad.
To make a really long story short, we misread our ticket and arrived only 40 minutes before our plane departed for Denver. Naturally, our bags didn't make it and we had to wait for the next plane from Orlando to deliver our clothes for the week and. . .more diapers. Paul did some research and found a vegetarian restaurant in downtown Denver where we could spend our time. Although the GPS took us an odd way through a not-so-nice area of town, we eventually got to Uptown and had no trouble parking near this amazing restaurant.
I should have tried this recipe much sooner, but broccoli and cauliflower were just three weeks ago on sale for a really good price in our little corner of the world. The recipe came from a book called The Vegetarian Bible, a gift from friends, Frank and Emily. Unfortunately, they gave me the book right before I started feeling sick from my pregnancy, and I wasn't interested in cooking for a long while after that. I'm glad I finally got the time, energy, and desire to pull it out.
We're very lucky. Dinner was rushed the night I made this veggie strudel because I had a date with Whole Foods. I thought I had missed the opportunity to photograph my finished product, but my darling husband surprised me just this morning with a photo of the finished product. It may not be perfect, but I'm glad to at least have something considering we were so rushed.
Recipe for Vegetable Strudel
1 Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Sheet
1 carrot, pealed and cut un thirds
1/2 bell pepper
1/2 small onion
1 cup broccoli florets
5 slices Jarlsberg or other mild Cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley
Preheat oven. Wash and peel necessary veggies. Place all ingredients in food processor. Chop thoroughly until veggies are mixed. Open puff pastry onto baking pan. (I line mine with a silicone baking sheet.) Place packed mixture on lengthwise on half puff pastry. Top with slices of cheese. Fold puff pastry over top. Press edges together with tines of a fork to seal. Bake according to package directions. Serves 2.
Last week was a surprising challenge due to the fact that I had a slight relapse and wasn't feeling up to playing around in the kitchen as much as I had desired. Paul had pity on me more than one night by eating bagels with carrot sticks or other veggies a couple nights and taking me out to eat one night. That being said, I have a much fancier menu planned this week just to pay him back for my slacking week and to allow my creativity to be uncanned for a while.
I'm so very sorry to be posting another failed recipe, but I hope it gives everyone encouragement that not all kitchen ventures are successful. Also, a little failure now-and-then does wonders for deflating the ego. But please don't quit reading my blog, I promise there's some good experiences to come.
Peacefood Cafe was recommended to us by Leigh at Marvelous Kiddo. She certainly has good taste! We loved our experience at the restaurant. It was amazing that there was always a line for a table during our entire lunch. Maybe that doesn't mean much in crowded New York City. Still, I've always maintained the belief that people being willing to wait for a table is a good thing.
This is another one of my mother's popular recipes. She makes her own ranch dressing. Because it doesn't have a strange aftertaste that sometimes comes with buttermilk ranch, isn't as salty, and can be made dairy-free, it's quite popular. In fact, I know people who don't like ranch dressing at all who each this dressing. It also works great as a dip. The dip in the photograph was slightly thicker because I didn't add milk due to known food allergies of the guest of honor.
Recipe for Ranch Dressing a la Claire
1 C mayonnaise
1 t onion powder
½ t garlic powder
¼ t celery seed powder
dash red pepper
1 t lemon juice
½ t sugar (optional)[I don't ever add this.]
1 t sweet basil, dried
2 t parsley, dried
1 t chives, dried or fresh
¼ t salt or to taste
¼ C milk or ½ C milk (optional or soy, if preferred)
Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, and dry ingredients. Add ¼ cup milk for dip or ½ cup milk for salad dressing.
For 1,000 Island Dressing: Add ¼ cup dill pickles, finely chopped and 1 tablespoon ketchup.
Although you can get a wheat pasta for cheaper sometimes, I purchased a box for $1 when it was on sale and thought it was a good idea to try it since we do like pasta a lot. Our first use was with a basic spaghetti sauce. I like to always make a basic spaghetti sauce when I am tasting a new pasta product.