Monday, May 4, 2009

spring may have sprung *

monday, april 20th: steak roulade with peppers and parmesan, grilled sweet potatoes, artichokes with balsamic vinegar, and grilled endive, also with balsamic. the steak were on sale at the outpost, already stuffed with red and yellow bell peppers and parmesan cheese, and rolled. the draw of being able to simply toss these on the grill (and them looking so yummy) won out over my normal rule of not buying prepared foods (besides, they were handmade with all natural / organic meat, veg, and cheese, so i wasn't breaking the rule too bad).

tuesday, april 21st: soy glazed flank steak, rice, and broccolini with sesame oil. i wanted to do something a little different with flank steak, since we normally go the tacos/fajitas route for a quick dinner. this worked.

wednesday, april 22nd: chipotle shrimp tacos with avocado. i had been thinking about shrimp, and i'm always looking for an excuse to eat avocados, and i'm not one to turn down tacos... so i loved this. the recipe calls for tomatillos, but we didn't find any, so we just skipped that part. another slightly different, delicious meal. we used bryan's homemade chipotles en adobo.

friday, april 24th: cheeseburgers and cold pasta salad with a sparkling rose wine. martha had been telling bryan how wonderful roses are, so he decided we should try them. the sparkling wine was rather refreshing with the burger, though it was still a little too far on the white end of the spectrum for me. the pasta salad is something my mother used to make often during the summer - pasta, tuna, mayo, peas, onions. i've adapted it to add dijon mustard, lemon juice, and italian parsley. it will forever remind me of summer.

sunday, april 26th: for lunch, i made myself a cuban and a salad with garlic vinaigrette. bryan had gone to chicago with his friend dirk to see throbbing gristle. when they left on saturday, i made them cubans (and toasted almond chocolate chip cookies, holla!) to take on the road. i had mine sunday for lunch, and can i just say, go me?! they were the good stuff. bryan was home that night in time for dinner, and i made a new england style fish casserole, based on some recipes in the cookbook recipes from a very small island. i poached some orange roughy, and mixed that with potatoes, carrots, broccoli, green beans, and cauliflower in a cream sauce with tomatoes, worcestershire, horseradish, and sherry, topped with breadcrumbs and parmesan, and baked. it was the perfect one dish meal for a rainy sunday evening.

monday, april 27th: hot dogs with mango chutney and red onion relish, fries, and our old standby, peas. we had some mango chutney leftover from our curried beef potpie, and this was a nice way to use it in a different way. a delicious way. a very delicious way. as you can see, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. i did not make it through that second hot dog.

tuesday, april 28th: japanese chicken-scallion rice bowls with zucchini. oliver, as usual, ate mostly rice.

wednesday, april 29th: whole wheat pasta with italian sausage, spinach, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella cheese. this was a request from bryan. he really likes the whole wheat pasta, and easy weeknight meals (fair, since he does all the cooking during the week). i think oliver ate more of this than i did.
saturday, may 2nd: having eaten far too much crap in the prior 48 hours, i was determined to eat nothing but vegetables for dinner saturday. alas, the outpost conspired against me, having some lovely little eberly game hens available. i couldn't resist picking them up, but i'm so glad i did. these hens were the best tasting poultry i have ever had. so flavorful, without even a hint of gaminess. i simply seasoned them with salt and pepper, and grilled. while i'm sure they're wonderful in a sauce, they don't need any. i served them atop a salad of spinach with grilled tomato and roasted garlic vinaigrette, alongside grilled radicchio with balsamic, and grilled rustico french bread. i started feeling better before the meal was even over. bryan could not stop talking about how good the meal was. i totally won the good wife award.

sunday, may 3rd: roast chicken with mustard cream and chives, arugula with roasted garlic vinaigrette, and roasted potatoes and asparagus with parmesan. i didn't think i could outdo the meal from the night before, but i think i did with this one. i made a compound butter with cracked black pepper, thyme, marjarom, lemon zest, garlic, and white wine, and stuffed it under the skin of the chicken. want to know the secret to keeping your roast chicken moist? stuff a stick of butter under the skin. (and don't even talk to me about fat until you've read omnivore's dilemma or in defense of food or real food or... well, you get the idea.) i also put quite a bit of chicken stock and white wine in the roasting pan. the mustard cream, since i did not cook the chicken in the same pan as the cream, i did slightly different - i sauteed chopped shallot in butter, then added the stock, cream, and mustard. i also finished the sauce with a healthy portion of chives from our garden, since they were ready to be snipped. i think the asparagus could have been better; the recipe has you roast them for the same amount of time as the potatoes. the cook in my head said, wait, asparagues roasts far quicker than potatoes, but the other part of me head said, well, that's what the recipe says, so we'll do it. guess who i should have listened to? oh well, no complaints. the arugula was perfect with the roasted garlic vinaigrette, and even better when slightly wilted under the warm mustard cream. for dessert, i made a strawberry rhubarb (from our garden) crumble. mom and dad joined us for dinner. there is no chicken left, that's all i can say.

WFD tonight: crockpot chicken makhani (indian butter chicken) with rice and broccoli. this time, i'm using boneless, skinless chicken (which the recipe calls for, but for which i only had normal chicken legs last time). which should be much nicer - no fishing bones and skin out prior to eating.

not a lot of other news from us...

oliver turned 18 months, and now officially weighs 28 lbs (like a 2 year old) and is 34" tall (like a 3 year old). that kid is sturdy. i think he's getting one of his eye teeth - it so very much looks like it wants to pop through, but just isn't quite there yet. he's been suffering from some cold (no, not H1N1!), but is taking it in stride, since he's such a great kid (i say that now, right?).

last week, oliver busted his face pretty good at day care. he was climbing on a chair (a kids size chair - she has a table and chairs set for the kids in the kitchen) and managed to flip over the back. he face never really bruised, just had these red and purple streaks. he recovered in no time (emotionally). i just keep telling myself - it's only going to get worse. the older he gets, the higher he's going to climb. danger boy.

the weather here has FINALLY gotten nice, so we try to spend as much time outside as possible. this past weekend, if ollie wasn't napping and we weren't eating, we were outside! it was so nice being in warm weather. bryan got cracking on his raised beds for the garden, and oliver did his best to help. mostly he ran all over the yard, up and down the deck, dragging the rake, hose, or his bike with him, and generally tiring himself out (ahh, perfection).

a look back and the past few weeks:

monday, april 20th: taking a ride and makin' some calls

monday, april 20th: trying to figure out why this balloon was on the ceiling yesterday, but on the floor today

friday, april 24th: blue skies (and oliver sliding off the deck)

friday, april 24th: playing in the bushes (or: a harbinger of things to come)

friday, april 24th: oh, you found me, mom!

saturday, april 25th: helping dad with the shovel in the yard... and DIRT

... and ROCKS!

sunday, april 26th: playing let's steal things i shouldn't have and hide in my tent

tuesday, april 28th: feeding myself with my hands...

...and my bowl...

...and my spoon!

saturday, may 2nd: one shoe on and the other shoe off

goofing around with mom before breakfast

sunday, may 3rd: playing on the deck

ahh, the joy of being outside

sunday, may 3rd: a boy and his phone

our tulip bed, with herbs planted (basil, thyme, oregano, cilantro, and parsley)

bryan working on the raised vegetable beds

my new strawberry plant (and our chives)

and of course, there are far more pictures (and cute video) in the april and new may galleries.

* and i would just like to point out for all you non-wisconsinites, that while spring may have indeed sprung, we still have no leaves on our trees, and the last average frost happens around may 10th. so we're not exactly in the clear yet.