Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pan Seared Rainbow Trout

It's funny, I think this week is the "your ingredients won't work out so you get to use your brain muscles to come up with a new menu" week. Yes, I know. That's a long ass name. But back story. I was prepared to cook duck. A colleague of Brett's had given him a frozen duck. And it was in a couple plastic bags, so I didn't look at it until I had dethawed it and discovered....wild ducks are enormously different than domesticated ducks. For one, this had no fat on it. None. And it kept bleeding EVERYWHERE. I'm talkin blood blood Carrie-esque blood scene. I only after discovered that wild ducks should be brined in order to get rid of the blood.

Oh and did I mention we were having a guest for dinner?


So off to Whole Foods! And I decided that with the clock running down I needed something that would be quick. Also it is about 1 million degrees outside so I didn't want to play too much with fire.

I looked over the coolers filled with fish. Salmon? No. I do it all the time. Crab? Holy crap $45/container!?! No. $6 for softshell crabs? NO. But wedged in between are some awesome lookin rainbow trout fillets. Why not? Reminds me of my youth, catching rainbow trout near my grandparents' cabin with a creek running right near by.

But what to do with it? Well. Simple preparation is the best. And maybe a dill yogurt-ish sauce? Sure. Let's go! I paired it with the honeydew and fig salad and a crisp arugula salad and a lemon vinaigrette. And it was awesome. I actually think that this is the best prepared fish I have ever done. And the best part? SO EASY! So I hope you can do this and enjoy.

Honeydew and Fig Salad

Mellooooonnn everywhere! I stood at a display at Whole Foods, nearly overwhelmed by the options of melons. Most of which I had never even heard of. But I found myself drawn to the honeydew. Oh honeydew. When I was a kid (aka 5 minutes ago), I used to covet the fruitcups that had honeydew in them. So superior to the mealy cantaloupe (sorry cantaloupe lovers), honeydew always had my heart. It's simple sweetness, it's refreshing flavor...honeydew is, pardon me, the shit.

So I decided to scoop up the honeydew and make a salad of it. I perused the aisles of produce and came upon figs. Mmm figs. Okay. Throw in the basket. Now what else should it go with? I knew I still had some purple basil and chocolate mint (awesome, right) in my fridge, so that would give it some zing. And since I think cheese is the nectar of the gods, I decided to go stroll through the cheeses and see what came to me. Feta? Eh, overdone. Goat cheese? Meh it'll melt in everything. Halloumi? Actually. That was a glorious idea! I decided I would slightly caramelize the figs and grill up the halloumi.

The result was glorious. The saltiness of the halloumi cheese paired with the earthiness of the basil and the sweetness of the figs and the creaminess of avocado....mmmmm. I promise, it'll be delicious. It could be a main dish, or a side dish (I served it with a rainbow trout and arugula salad, which will be coming after this post). Enjoy the tastes of summer!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mediterranean Chicken and Creamy Couscous

So. Funny story tonight. I had this whole plan that I was going to make curry. I was really amped up about it because I bought all of these awesome curries while in Zanzibar. All I could think of was spicy creamy curry. 

And I went and bought all of these ingredients and I'm heading into the kitchen thinking YES CURRIES! I even bought a vinho verde to pair with the spicy. And right as I start to prep the ingredients.....

I realize that I forgot coconut milk. Kind of one of those critical ingredients. And it is about a million degrees outside. There was absolutely no way that I would venture back into the crushing humidity just to get coconut milk. 

So it was back to the immediate drawing board. I looked over what I had in the kitchen. Well okay, got some unpitted olives, some fire roasted tomatoes, basil, some goat cheese and some Israeli couscous. 

And thus came the new game plan. I'd go with a Mediterranean flavor profile of tomatoes, olives, and fresh herbs. And combine it with Israeli couscous made creamy with goat cheese, it becomes a complete meal.

And you know what? This ended out being a perfect summer meal. Light and had some good briny and earthy flavors. The combination of the kalamata olives and fresh basil made the dish shine. And event though my original plan had to be scrapped, I'm kind of glad it did.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bison Burger with Caramelized Onions

There are times that I reeeaaallly wish I had a grill. Or an outdoor space for that matter. But alas, while I love our place, no outdoor space is available. But that doesn't stop me from "grilling." I think I've actually gotten pretty good at doing indoor burgers. Because these puppies turned out AWESOME.

Now, I know I've posted a bison burger already. But this one is slightly different. And with totally different ingredients. I used different flavors. Curry. Harissa sauce. Honey. Goat cheese. Tomatoes. Are you intrigued yet?

Honestly I can't go wrong with burgers. Also it's Brett and my dating anniversary today. And Brett loves his burgers. Like a lot. And he especially likes bison burgers. I also like them, and I like the fact that bison is so darn lean that I can eat a big ol burger and not feel AS bad. Or as full. I think I also just really like bison.

I can wax on about my love of burgers, but I think I'll just get down to the recipe. Also I served this tonight with the tomato basil cucumber salad. Mmmm. Summer deliciousness. 

Tomato Basil Cucumber Salad

Sooo it's been a while, right? Sorry about that. I've spent the last six or so months organizing and developing a great event, the National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. It is a national competition for students to develop clean energy startups. If you're a university graduate or undergraduate student interested in clean energy check it out!

But back to food, because obviously that is why you came here, right?? One of the things that I love about summer is just how much fresh produce that you can find. In D.C. all of the farmers' markets are just teeming with beautiful fresh produce. And though summer means crushingly awful humidity and heat, it means so many options for produce.

And while I love many types of vegetables and fruits, I have to say my favorite summer produce are all the glorious tomatoes. I love when you cut into a real good ripe tomato and it seems to bleed everywhere. And the smell. The glorious smell of them. That rich fruity smell of tomatoes. And when tomatoes are THIS GOOD, you don't want to overwhelm them or create dishes that hide them. Which is why I'm posting this recipe.

Now this is barely a "recipe" as it is just a show to highlight the tomatoes. And this is pretty malleable. Don't like balsamic? That's cool, use another vinegar. Don't like cucumber? Skip em. Want to add delicious creamy cheese? Go for it. Cheese is the bomb. I'd recommend mozzarella. But either way, between now and the end of August EAT TOMATOES! Because this, baby, is their time to shine.