Two tasty side salads for a few days at the coast…

I spent the past two days down at the coast with some friends. We ate good food, did some nice kayak excursions, drank tasty beer and just had a good time. All of us bring food and drink to share during out time together. I made two sides to bring and share with my buddies.

The first side was Poppy Seed Coleslaw. It was really good and may become my favorite coleslaw in the future. It was really easy to make and that made it even better as a side dish. All you need is 1/3 cup cider vinegar, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 2/3 cup olive oil, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, 6 cups shredded cabbage, and 1 small red onion (halved and thinly sliced). In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, sugar, mayonnaise, mustard and poppy seeds. While whisking, add the olive oil in a steady stream to form an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the green and red cabbage, red onion. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to enjoy!

The other side dish was a macaroni salad recipe that I also found in one of our Food Network magazines. It was also relatively easy to make. For this side dish, you need kosher salt, 2 cups elbow macaroni, 1 cup halved grape tomatoes, 8 thinly sliced radishes, 1 diced poblano pepper, 2 stalks of chopped celery, 4-5 thinly sliced scallions (white and light green parts only), 1/2 diced cucumber, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon yellow mustard, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and freshly ground pepper.  Cook the macaroni until al dente. Drain and let cool. Toss the macaroni with the tomatoes, radishes, poblano pepper, scallions and cucumber in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar and garlic powder. Add the dressing to the macaroni and vegetables and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until you are ready to enjoy!

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Gazpacho tonight…with a caprese salad!

Paula and I enjoyed the bountiful tomatoes that are now in season when we sat down to dinner tonight. I made a simple gazpacho soup that we enjoyed with some crusty bread. We also had some fresh mozzarella and basil in the refrigerator so I made a caprese salad with those ingredients and the last tomato in the house.

The gazpacho was really easy to make. I broke up two pieces of whole wheat bread and soaked them in 1 cup of hot water for a few minutes. Then I chopped up two red bell peppers, 1 small yellow onion, 2 medium cucumber (with the seeds removed) and 8 plum tomatoes. I put all of these ingredients (including the bread) in the food processor and blended them up. (Note: I had to do this in two separate batches due to the quantity. Then I added 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt, 2 teaspoons of garam masala and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. I stirred these into the soup and then put it in the refrigerator so it would be cool when it was time to eat dinner.

It really hit the spot on this very warm summer day. Best of all it was really, really easy to make!

Simple Meal for the two of us…

We were not sure if Theodore was coming over for dinner so I deliberately held off making anything special until we go the word. Turns out that he decided to visit with a friend who was in town so Paula and I just had dinner together.

I rubbed a pork tenderloin with some cumin, salt and pepper. Then I let it sit on the counter for about 20-25 minutes. When it was time for dinner, I turned on the grill to medium heat and grilled the pork tenderloin until it was cooked. This took about 10-15 minutes. When the pork was about half cooked, I put two cobs of corn on the grill. I cooked the corn, turning them regularly until they were cooked, charred a little all over.

While I was letting the pork and corn cook on the grill, I made a simple caprese salad. I cut up a tomato that I had bought from a farmer at the gym that morning. I also cut up a ball of fresh mozzarella and tore up some basil leaves. Then I added a splash of balsamic vinegar to the salad. It was quite tasty and a perfect side dish for a summer evening. Paula and I even made some watermelon margaritas to enjoy with the dinner. They were really cool and refreshing!

Simple Summer Fettuccine Dish

I made an easy and light pasta dish for Paula and I tonight. It was fettuccine with zucchini and garlic and butter and lemon. The dish was quite tasty and not heavy like it might have been if I made a traditional fettuccine alfredo. I saw the recipe in the summer issue of Food Network magazine and thought that it might be a good way to cook some zucchini.

Ingredients (for two!)

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of smashed garlic cloves
  • 1 zucchini that has been halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds
  • 6-8 ounces of fettuccine
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is getting hot, heat the olive oil and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the garlic is golden brown. Discard the garlic. Add the zucchini to the garlic oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the zucchini is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the poppy seeds and remove from the heat.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until it is about 2-3 minutes short of al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the pasta, lemon zest, butter and Parmesan and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and toss to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup cooking water and the lemon juice and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes (Note: The pasta will continue to absorb the sauce as it sits and cooks a little longer). Divide among bowls and enjoy!

Barbecue Ribs tonight

We had some pork ribs in the freezer and I decided that it would be a good night to enjoy them. I cooked them in our usual manner. First I slathered them with barbecue sauce. Then I wrapped them in aluminum foil and put them in the oven at 325 degrees for 3-4 hours. When it was time for supper, I just opened up the aluminum foil and cut up the ribs. Paula requested two simple sides to go with the ribs. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Bush’s Baked Beans. I usually make my own macaroni and cheese but I indulged (?!) her tonight and just made the packaged variety. We ended up with a little leftover so Paula also got to enjoy the ribs and sides again for her lunch at work.

Garlic Shrimp and Potatoes

Our friend Bob came over for dinner tonight. As always, he brought his delicious homemade brownies and I made the main course. Bob and I taught school together for many years. Now that we are both retired, we don’t see each other often but we always find time to get together a few times over the course of a year. Tonight I made a recipe, Garlic Shrimp and Potatoes, that I found in the May issue of Food Network magazine. We hadn’t had shrimp in a little while. Nor had we enjoyed potatoes so it seemed like a good recipe to try.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp (peel and devein)
  • 1 pound of sugar snap peas
  • 6 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds of red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup of buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh chives
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the broiler. Toss the shrimp, snap peas, garlic, thyme and olive oil in a large bowl and set aside.

Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Add the buttermilk, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mash, gradually adding the reserved cooking water as needed or desired. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the chives.

While the potatoes are cooking, spread the shrimp and snap peas on a baking sheet. Broil until just cooked through and charred in spots, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Toss the shrimp and snap peas with 2 tablespoons of butter and sprinkle with the lemon zest until the butter melts and the mixture is well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the potatoes, shrimp, snap peas and any juices from the baking sheet among plates. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon chives.

Pork Tenderloin and Peaches…Delicious

We cooked another delicious meal with our friend Christine in Charlotte. Tonight we cooked another relatively simple dish that I found in the most recent issue of Cooking Light. It had pork tenderloin and peaches, which are just coming into season, as well as a little bourbon. We also roasted some fingerling potatoes to go with the meat. It was quite tasty. The only change that I made in the original was dropping the butter since Christine cannot eat butter. But it didn’t make any difference.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 cups sliced peeled fresh peaches
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1-2 pounds of fingerling potatoes

Set the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the potatoes with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the potatoes in the oven and roast them for 15-20 minutes or until they are soft.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season the pork with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Place the pork in the skillet and cook, turning it periodically, until the thickest part is cooked, about 5-6 minutes for each side. Transfer to a plate.

Add the peaches to the skillet. Cook, stirring often, until they are lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Add the bourbon, 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of honey.  Cook, stirring often, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

Slice the pork and serve with the peaches and sauce.

 

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