Black bean & goat cheese quesadillas

Dinner A Love Story recently updated their What To Cook Tonight list. It’s an incredibly helpful post, it sorts dinner possibilities by how much time you have and what you’re in the mood for.

Tonight we had the incredibly delicious and unbelievably quick Black Bean & Goat Cheese Quesadillas. As usual, I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. Instead of scallions, I added one thinly sliced leek (white and light green parts only), to the oil with the garlic and cumin, and cooked it for a bit longer than called for, until the leek was soft. Still, the recipe was delicious and so quick that it threw off my timing for everything else which I’d assumed I’d have more time for.

For the veg, we had roasted broccoli and a very cilantroey guacamole.

Vietnamese frog leg disaster

We went out for Vietnamese food tonight, and a good time was not had by all.
Mistake #1: Bringing our five year old with us.
Mistake #2: Ordering something involving shrimp in paste form.
Mistake #3: Not ordering summer rolls in an attempt to branch out.
Mistake #4: Bringing our five year old with us, oh, did I already mention that?
Mistake #5: Not vetoing five year old’s decision to order frog legs.

Salad & ooh la la

I don’t know if the best part of tonight’s meal was the delicious carrot and cabbage salad (served with risotto cakes and chicken on sticks) or my two adorable, topless companions. I guess I’d have to say the latter.

The carrot and cabbage salad was loosely based on Smitten Kitchen’s Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint. I used about equal parts grated carrot and shredded cabbage and added the cabbage to the pan with the oil and spice mix to soften it a bit. In lieu of mint, I used fresh cilantro. Feta and harissa, probably would have made the dish even more wonderful.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the chicken on sticks, so here’s a recipe for you. I’m sure it could be improved upon.

• Easy Chicken on Sticks •
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
Olive oil
Sticks (skewers) equal to or less than the width of your grilling pan, so that they can lay flat in the pan. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees and place a grilling pan in the oven. Place chicken pieces in a bowl with honey and soy sauce mixture and let marinate for a while. More time is probably better but I usually only marinate them for 30 minutes or so. Skewer the chicken pieces and drizzle both sides of each skewer with olive oil. Place in grilling pan and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning half way through, until cooked through. If you want, you can pop them into the broiler to brown a bit at the end. Serve on their own or with hummus or yogurt sauce.

 

Tuesday eve

A fellow mom in the neighborhood posted an image on facebook of potatoes topped with smoked salmon, creme fraiche and red caviar, that she’d made for Thanksgiving. I oohed and ahhed and promised to make the salty-topped potatoes for New Year’s Eve. But I couldn’t wait that long. I made them tonight, for, um, Tuesday Eve?

Because Rose doesn’t like potatoes or creme fraiche, I substituted rice pancakes for the potatoes in her portion, and left out the dairy. For veggies we had sauteed cabbage with fresh cilantro, simple and good. And a watermelon radish salad that looked better than it tasted.

• Fingerling Potatoes with Creme Fraiche, Smoked Salmon & Caviar •
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes (you can also use small, new potatoes) into approx. 3/8″ slices, or just halve your potatoes if they’re small. Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and place in one layer, on a baking sheet. Bake potatoes, turning once, until golden, cooked through and no longer sticking to the baking sheet. Top with a piece of smoked salmon, then creme fraiche, then red caviar. Serve on a white platter.

 

Refreshing

I always find it refreshing to go back to normal eating after the holidays. Tonight was exactly what we needed, like a welcome home for our bellies.

We had Lidia Bastianich’s Basic Risotto, from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen cookbook (recipe can be found here). Crispy kale (which I don’t even use a recipe for anymore but if you want a recipe, this one is good). And an orange beet, cilantro and goat cheese salad. I feel like myself again.

• Orange Beet, Cilantro & Goat Cheese Salad •
1 bunch orange beets, approx 8 small beets
olive oil
salt
zest of 1 lemon
2-3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped 
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 oz plain chevre (soft goat cheese) 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and trim beets but do not peel.  Place beets on a sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Close up foil and bake beets until soft. When beets are cool enough to handle, slip them from their skins and cut into quarters, or bite-size pieces. Toss beets with lemon zest, rice wine vinegar cilantro and olive oil. Taste and add more oil and vinegar if needed. Pour into a serving dish and top with small chunks of chevre to serve. 

 

Mishmash of leftovers

The only part of tonight’s meal worth mentioning was Ian’s Special Turkey Sandwich (bottom right), in which he takes a bit of each dish from Thanksgiving dinner and puts them between two pieces of bread.

The day after

It has become a tradition over the past three years for my dad and my husband to make fried meatballs (Polpette Fritte) together, the day after Thanksgiving. The recipe comes from Trattoria Cooking by Biba Caggiano, which is a cookbook we love and use all the time. Go dads.

Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, I feel particularly thankful for my family. Those of us who were with us, those of us who weren’t, and those of us who we miss, oh so terribly, every year.

I could say a lot more, but I won’t. Here’s the lowdown on the food (family tree here):
1. Squash on toast, from the New York Times, made by my sister, Anna.
2. Raw Kale Salad with Anchovy Date Dressing, all prepped and ready to go by my mom, Gail & Kirst (I think).
3. Ben checking out Josh’s outdoor turkey deep-frying setup (wow!)
4. Booze.
5. My mom working on the centerpieces.
6. A bit of humor in one of the centerpieces.
7. Two guys, two turkeys. Josh’s was deep fried, Pete’s was roasted.
8. A gorgeous table.
9. A ready table.
10. Veggieducken by Gail who tested the recipe, found it bland and improved upon it so that it was quite flavorful in the end.
11. Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad (yum!)
12. Mushroom soup.
13. Two kinds of turkey, plus stuffing and gravy.
14. Veggieducken, brown butter brussels sprouts, creamy horseradish cranberry sauce & chestnut stuffing.
15. Chocolate Bourbon Truffles.