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Seafood Salad

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This salad from Ottolenghi is reminiscent of ceviche. The strong flavors of fennel, lime, garlic, dill, and onion marry well with the grilled seafood.

Caramel and Macademia Cheesecake

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Nate’s dessert request for his birthday is usually cheesecake. I found this recipe in the cookbook Ottolenghi. It was decadent, complex, and utterly delicious.

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Skillet Biscuits With Berries


Nate discovered this recipe in my latest issue of Food and Wine and immediately begged me to make it.  This recipe is as simple as forming quick little buttery biscuits and placing them atop bubbling berries and allowing the steam to cook the biscuits through.  The biscuits are finished by placing them under the broiler for five minutes.  It was every bit as delicious as pie and a million times more simple.  You could make this in a pinch for unexpected guests with whatever fruit you had on hand.

Grilled Avocado & Corn Salad, Spicy Game Hen, and Melty Creme Fraiche Leeks Over Grilled Toast



Nate leaves for New York in a few days, so I wanted to make sure his last home-cooked meals were memorable. This evening, We grilled a game hen rubbed with smokey paprika, chile powder, garlic powder, and salt.

I also found a recipe from Not Without Salt , for a grilled avocado and corn salad. The avocados sure looked pretty with those grill marks! Next time, I would up the heat from the jalapeños and grill the corn instead of sautéing it in butter; may be even adding a small amount of red onion and an acid (cider vinegar or lime juice).

My favorite part of the meal were the leeks from our garden. They were slowly sautéed in butter until melty (about a half hour) and then I swirled in creme fraiche, salt and pepper. We spooned this mixture atop thick slices of grilled olive oil-brushed toast. Yum!

Baked Spinach & Broccoli Pasta Casserole

Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks has amazing recipes and this one caught my eye. I wanted to concoct a pasta dish without having to make an extra trip to the store. I had everything that I needed for Heidi’s recipe although I embellished it a little. I added a bit of anchovy paste to the spinach, I threw in broccoli and reduced the amount of pasta, added fresh bread crumbs to the top, and I liberally sprinkled red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese to the entire mixture.

Baked Pasta Casserole Recipe

From 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients:

extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound whole wheat pasta shells
sea salt
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups well-chopped fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, lightly toasted
zest of 2 lemons
8 ounces mozzerella, shredded or torn into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter/oil a large casserole dish or baking pan – something roughly equivalent to 13×9-inch pan.

Boil the pasta in salted water per package instructions. Drain pasta, toss with a glug of olive oil. Set aside.

In the meantime, heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Saute the onions with a couple pinches of salt for a few minutes (or if you want a bit more depth of flavor until caramelized). Stir in garlic. Stir in spinach. Cook for just about 20 seconds, until the spinach collapses a bit. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the almonds and 1/2 of the zest. Add to pasta and stir and stir – mixing extremely well, a minute or so.

Now sprinkle the bottom of baking dish with the rest of the zest. Add a layer of the pasta to the bottom of the baking pan, now sprinkle with some of the cheese, add more pasta, then more cheese. Finish with a layer of cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese on top is bubbly and melty. Serve sprinkled with the remaining almonds.

Serves 8.


Pork Wellington

I love pork, but sometimes I forget about it when concocting a dinner plan. It is lean, flavorful, and deliciously juicy as long as it’s cooked well.

Nate and I were watching an Alton Brown episode and we were both eagerly inspired to try his “pork wellington” recipe. It certainly did not disappoint.

Because I “accidentally” consumed all of the dried apples prior to dinner time, I changed the filling to caramelized onion and garlic. It was perhaps even better than the apples would have been! I still wrapped the pork in thyme and prosciutto. The puff pastry encasing the pork was perfectly buttery with a hint of mustard flavor. Next time, I would make a dijon sauce to accompany the pork.

I also chose to make a side of roasted wedges of brussels sprouts (toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper and place in the oven while the pork is cooking). The sprouts were fantastic when coated with the pork and onion juices!

Pork Wellington by Alton Brown


Ingredients
1 whole egg
1 tablespoon water
1-ounce dried apple rings
1 whole pork tenderloin, approximately 1 pound
4 1/2 ounces thinly slice prosciutto ham
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed completely
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

Directions
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat to 400 degrees F.

Whisk the egg and water in a small bowl and set aside. Place the apple rings into the bowl of a mini food processor and process for 30 to 45 seconds or until they are the size of a medium dice. Set aside.

Trim the pork tenderloin of any excess fat and silver skin. Slice the tenderloin down the middle lengthwise, creating 2 separate pieces. Lay the tenderloin pieces next to each other head to tail, so when laid back together they are the same size at the ends.

Lay out a 12 by 16-inch piece of parchment paper on the counter and arrange the pieces of prosciutto in the center, overlapping them enough to create solid layer that is as long as the tenderloin. Top with a second piece of parchment, and using a rolling pin, roll over the prosciutto to help adhere the pieces to each other. Remove the parchment paper and sprinkle the prosciutto with the salt, pepper, and thyme. Set the tenderloin down the middle of the prosciutto.

Spread the dried apples in between the 2 pieces of tenderloin and push back together so the apples are held between them.
Using the parchment paper to assist, wrap the prosciutto around the tenderloin to completely enclose in a package.

Sprinkle the counter with flour and roll out the pastry to 12 by 14 inches. Spread the mustard thinly in the center of pastry and lay the prosciutto wrapped tenderloin in the center of the pastry on the mustard. Fold the puff pastry up and over the top of the tenderloin, then roll to completely enclose, brushing the edges of the pastry with the egg wash in order to seal. Turn the tenderloin over so the side of the tenderloin with the double thickness of pastry is underneath. Pinch the ends of the pastry to seal.

Brush the entire pastry with the egg wash. Place the tenderloin on a parchment lined half sheet pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of at least 140 degrees F.

Remove the tenderloin from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.