Sunday, April 19, 2009

I realize I'm not much of a food blogger...

...because I never post recipes. I cook from other people's (copyrighted) recipes so much, it's not right to share them, right? Hmm. Maybe later this month I'll find something I invented (or tweaked enough to make it my own) and throw it on the ole blog. Tonight I'm too wiped out from the kitchenstravaganza of this afternoon and evening.

First up: Coconut Cream Tart. A quick shortbread crust, a coconut custard filling, toasted coconut layered between and sweetened whipped cream on top. It's chilling now, I'll report back after the first slice.

The tart left me with three egg whites so I also tossed together a batch of chocolate chip meringues. Easy enough. I had all the other ingredients on hand (including mini-semisweet chips, oddly enough). My coworkers can expect the bounty to be shared tomorrow.

Dinner was a new recipe I pulled out of the "Good for You" page of a recent Cooking Pleasures magazine (which is the same place we found the Sicilian Pasta recipe, so I was optimistic): Orange Chicken with Quinoa and Carrots (or something like that). Chicken thighs browned in olive oil, then onion, garlic, quinoa, shredded carrots, raisins, orange zest, paprika, s&p, all stirred in until they start to get soft. Covered with broth and orange juice, brought to a boil, then shoved in the oven for 45 minutes until the quinoa soaks up all the liquid. After it was out of the oven, we stirred in flat-leaf parsley and chopped green olives. Served in big bowls with more of those awesome honey-roasted carrots.

Austin was concerned about the dish not having enough flavor, so he made a sauce of sriracha, sesame oil, rice vinegar and honey. I drizzled a bit on mine (he probably used more) and it was a very wise choice. I'm guessing this was something of a northern-African inspired dish? Definitely our first attempt at quinoa, and I liked it very much. I like the snap and texture. I think the meal would have been much, much better sans chicken. I don't care for thigh meat (and couldn't find boneless thighs meat, so spent a lot of time cleaning and de-boning those suckers) and the chicken didn't absorb much of the seasonings. But all put together, with the sweet and spicy carrots and sauce, it was a pretty satisfying meal. I'll keep trying different things with quinoa (maybe try to recreate the amazing quinoa tacos from Teresa the Taco Lady!).

Other than the cooking efforts (which really only started at like 5:30) it was a lovely and lazy day. We had leftovers for lunch and watched the third Bourne movie, which was fine if rather exhausting. So many chase sequences, so many fight scenes, it runs together. It's super rainy in Nashville today, so the dogs all hung out inside most of the time and we had some good family time.

Oh, and last night's undetermined dinner destination turned out to be Eastland Cafe, and apparently J.Burr's celebrity status is such that we got an entire patio all to ourselves for the whole meal. Delightful. We got an awesome appetizer (goat cheese brulee with local honey, roasted tomatoes and peppers and grilled flatbread) and I had a couple of absolutely swoon-worthy cocktails. The first was called the Three Rs, basically a rhubarb lemonade with rosemary syrup and rum. YUM. It was a tiny bit strong at first but as the ice melted became completely delicious. Then after the meal I ordered a Spicy and Sweet, which was muddled strawberries and a jalapeno slice in cava. So good. I just got a goat cheese salad (what, more goat cheese? who, me?) and mashed potatoes and fried green tomatoes for dinner, and Austin got a really delicious pork tenderloin. Jon had ricotta pasta, which was very good, and Ali also had side dishes: macaroni and cheese, roasted brussels sprouts and an iceberg wedge with blue cheese and Benton's (!) bacon. We couldn't NOT order blueberry beignets for dessert. Really a treat of a meal. Then we came back to the house and played another entirely lopsided game of Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture. Note to self: in the future, we're not playing Boys against Girls when one of the categories is Sports. Boo.

Kenzie has spent all day hanging out on my dressing table, which has to be an improvement over hiding under the bed. She stands up when we come into the room, and purrs when she's petted. All good signs. She's also taken three drama-free doses of antibiotic, and we head back to the vet at 8 am tomorrow to get those tubes removed and get her on the road to recovery. Whew!

Austin has just left the television on Spike TV: Zombie Strippers. I think I'd better recruit him for kitchen cleanup and some coconut tart before bed.

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