Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday December 29, 2008 Dinner

Zucchini marinara

This was a good way to use up some leftover homemade marinara. Just sauteed some fresh zucchini with an onion and a bunch of mushrooms, added the marinara with a splash of wine, and let it simmer down to a manageable consistency. Could have served it over bread, noodles, or rice, but just ate it plain with a small caesar salad and a glass of the generic red I cooked it with.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunday December 28, 2008 Dinner

BACT sandwiches! Sweet!

Cheddar cheese

On country white bread, with mayo & butter. And a fair fist-full of Kettle Chips.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

December 24-27, 2008 Feasting

It is impossible to separate the last four days into distinct dinners. Feasting has been the rule of the day, here at home and at the homes of family. Christmas dinner itself was a delightful entity shared with my wife alone (steamed crab, fruit, cheeses, dates, cold asparagus spears, chiabata, and a truly elegant meursault), but it continued through to Boxing Day, and seemed to blend right in from Christmas Eve dinner buffet and Christmas morning breakfast. Not to mention non-stop snacking upon a host of treats and lovelies of rare delight. sigh. I believe I am ready for month of salad and meager fare.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday December 22, 2008 Dinner

Found some nice fresh raviolis at the market—stuffed with four cheeses—and served it with a quick and easy marinara and some fresh Parmesan.

Easy Marinara
  • 1/4 cup of diced onion
  • dash of olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped black olives
  • dried basil & oregano (fresh would've been better, but hell, it's winter)
  • salt & pepper
  • one regular-sized can of tomato sauce (I used organic, but any kind would be fine)
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
Just saute the onion for a minute in the oil, then add the sauce and all the other stuff, and let it simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday December 21, 2008 Dinner

I baked a halibut fillet thusly:
  • Drizzle of olive oil in a baking dish
  • salt & pepper fillet, very light dusting of dill weed
  • lay fillet in dish
  • cover with juice of one lemon, then a bit of grated lemon rind
  • generous layer of capers atop
  • few tablespoons of viognier
  • Cover tightly with aluminium foil and bake at 325 for about 35 minutes.
Served it with broccoli, and a glass or two of the viognier.

Saturday, December 20, 2008 Dinner

Ate at a very popular Italian chain restaurant. I had a seafood thing over fettucini. I was a pretty tasty dish, but they snuck something milk-ish in there and I paid a price.

Friday, December 19, 2008 Dinner

Burrito night, the reprise. Same as Friday, November 7.

Cocktails, however, tell a different story. Manhattans, only vanilla! 

  • 3 parts quality bourbon (I use Wild Turkey)
  • 1 part vanilla cognac (I recommend Navan)
  • dash of Angustura bitters
Shake all ingrediants together with lots of ice. Serve in a frozen martini-style glass with twist of lemon. Oh, man.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday December 18, 2008 Dinner

Did the chicken Caesar salad thing again, only with a little twist. For the chicken, I sprinkled the skinless, boneless breast with salt, pepper and marjoram, then wrapped it in a single, tight layer of bacon. Baked at 350 for about an hour (or until the bacon looks done). Cut it up and top the salad with chicken, chunks of avocado, and parmesan cheese.

And finish the Bogle from last night!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday December 17, 2008 Dinner

Oh, baby, this was good. Spaghetti squash carbonara, ala Max. 

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Halve lengthwise one medium-sized spaghetti squash. Clean out the guts with a spoon. Lay the halves cut-side down in a large baking dish containing about an inch of salted water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. This is how you tell it's done: take the dish out of the oven. Carefully remove the foil--I said carefully! there will be much hot hot hot steam. Gently turn one of the squash halves over and rake it with a fork. If the squash is done, you'll pull spaghetti-like strands of squash flesh away. You want them to come off easily, but still hold together as strings. Overcook, and they go to mush. If done, let it stand somewhere to cool a bit and move on to phase two.
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3-4 big cloves of garlic
  • 6-8 mushrooms, sliced
  • 4-6 cups of Italian kale (or similar green leafy stuff) julienned, blanched, & well-drained
  • 1/4 cup of dry sherry
  • splash of milk, cream, whatever you have that's white
  • Tsp of flour
  • Lots of fresh grated parmesan or romano cheese (I used about 3/4 cup)
  • salt & pepper to taste
Cook the bacon in a large skillet until done. Do not drain. Add onion, cook until slightly translucent. Add mushrooms & garlic, salt & pepper. Stir about for a minute. Add kale, add sherry. Reduce heat, cover and let cook for about five minutes. Add flour, stir well. Add milk, stir until slightly thickened. Add cheese a little at a time until blended.

Return to the squash. It should be cool enough to handle. Rake the spaghetti strands into a large bowl with your fork. Add the bacon/kale mixture and toss. Eat it up. Yumm.

Went quite well with a glass of Bogle Merlot. Okay, two glasses.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday December 16, 2008 Dinner

Sometimes, I just get tired of the whole eating thing. Last night just kind of snacked—handful of sunflower seeds, couple of bites of coleslaw, a few animal crackers, a cookie. I think that if I ate like that more often, I'd weigh less!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday December 15, 2008 Dinner

Polska Kielbasa with homemade coleslaw. Used to do this meal pretty regularly, but it's been a while and I missed it.

Just heated up a kielbasa in a covered saucepan with about an inch of water in it. (Beer also works very well.) Served with coarse mustard.

Coleslaw is one of those things that I thought would be hard to do successfully. I was wrong! Coleslaw dressing is easy as it could be—and nearly infinite possible variations keep it interesting.

  • One half head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 cup of diced onion
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • enough dressing to taste
Coleslaw dressing
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp of orange juice
  • tsp of sugar
  • decent pinch of salt
  • grind of fresh pepper
Stir it up. Keep tasting it until you like it! The ratio of salt to sugar is an important element of slaw dressing. Other variants use vineager instead of orange juice, but I've also used lemon juice successfully.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday December 14, 2008 Dinner

KFC. W00t!

Saturday December 13, 2008 Dinner

Nondescript mall-court food-like material of a vaguely Asian sort. Bleh.

Friday December 12, 2008 Dinner

Pizza night. Found a new place that serves Napoli-style thin crust pizza. Pretty good: great crust, topped with mozzarella they make themselves, then prosciutto, artichoke heart, and kalmata olives.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday December 11, 2008 Dinner

Leftovers, which can be pretty tasty. Leftover chicken chili soup (actual even better after blending in the fridge for a couple of days), and the rest of the Hungarian salami with cheese on some hearty homemade bread.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday December 10, 2008 Dinner

Okay, I eat a lot of salad. It's not so much that I like salad (although I do) it's really more that as an over-the-hill desk jockey with very little self-restraint I gotta be careful lest I super-inflate to the size of Mount Hood. Last night's salad was of the seafood variety, blue cheese dressing topped with bay shrimp and few delicious little dabs of crab leg meat.

A glass of Sauvignon Blanc, just for internal consistency.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday December 9, 2008 Dinner

Sandwiches rule. Easy, tasty, and you can eat them with your hands. Tonight's offering was a central European tour, really. Black forest ham, Hungarian salami, Swiss cheese, German mustard, and all on French bread. With an Oregon Black Butte Porter and some Northwest made black pepper & sea salt potato chips. Oh, well, had something going there for a bit!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday December 8, 2008 Dinner

I used to cook a lot with canned goods. There was a time, in fact, when Campbell's cream of mushroom soup was the basis of half my cuisine. That's not the case anymore, of course. Now a days I'm far more likely to start my sauces from scratch, and to rely on fresh produce wherever possible. 

Last night was an interesting exception.

Southwest Chicken Chili Soup (the canned version!)
  • 1 can tomatillas (16 oz.)
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatos (14 oz.)
  • 1 can mild green chilies (8 oz.)
  • 1 can black beans (12 oz.)
  • 1 can chicken stock (12 oz.)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 medium sized chicken breast, diced
  • 1 smallish onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • ground coriander
  • fresh oregano
Saute chicken in olive oil until cooked through. Add onion & garlic, saute until onion gets translucent. Add diced tomatillas, tomatos, chilies, beans, corn, stock,  sherry. Bring to boil. Reduce to low simmer. Add coriander & oregano. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Serve with coarse bread. And beer. Lots of beer.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday December 7, 2008 Dinner

Enough of the eating out already! Okay, tonight it was take out. Picked up a chunk of cooked pot roast and a tub of mixed salad at the supermarket deli. Good enough.

Salty dog after and a couple of these wonderful chocolate/tangerine cookies from Dancing Deer.

Saturday December 6, 2008 Dinner

Out again, this time a burger at one of the fancy-pants chain restaurants. It was a "five-alarm" burger with jalapenos and pepperjack cheese and kinda good.

Had a bourbon soda alongside, just for balance. 

Friday December 5, 2008 Dinner

'Tis the season, all right. Much eating in restaurants as we stagger about the city's malls and shops looking for whatever is we're looking for. Friday night was at our standard Mexican place, Chapalas. I had the "Three Amigos" which is a ginormous plate of Chili Verde, Chili Colorado, and Chili Rellano. Whew. Thought I was gonna die of excess. In a good way, naturally. 

Thursday December 4, 2008 Dinner

Stir fry again. It's kind of weird, really. We do stir fry fairly often, but it never comes out the even close to the same twice. Much depends on the type of meat, if any, the amount and proportions of vegetables, and the seasoning choices. This one was pretty tasty:
  • Chicken breast
  • Bacon
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Baby bok choy
  • Red chard
This was all cooked together with a bundle of fresh herbs fin (which is French for whatever fresh herbs you have laying about—this one was rosemary, oregano, and sage) in steamed in red wine.

Had to have a glass of the red along with it, of course. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday December 3, 2008 Dinner

Tonight, we reprised the turkey sandwich from Monday. Differences: country white bread and a little cranberry-port relish on the side. Went quite well alongside a Black Butte Porter.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 Dinner

Big salad night, only with a twist: leftover turkey! Also used blue cheese dressing for a change. And the avocado was perfect.

Glass of South African Sauvignon Blanc which was so-so.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monday December 1, 2008 Dinner

Well, okay, so what if I didn't cook a turkey for Thanksgiving? So what if I went to a upscale restaurant and pigged out on the buffet line? That does not mean I can't enjoy a leftover turkey sandwich. I cheated. I roasted a turkey breast just so I could have leftovers. And then I made a nice turkey sandwich.

Roast Turkey Breast
  • 1 split turkey breast (about 2.5 pounds), bone in
  • rubbed with olive oil
  • inserted two twigs of rosemary under the skin
  • inserted 5 peeled cloves of garlic under the skin
  • coarse sea salt and generous pepper
  • roasted at 375 for 1.5 hours
Cooked, then cooled overnight in the refrigerator. Thin slices of turkey on whole grain bread with coarse mustard, mayo, red onion and cheddar cheese. Along with a home-brewed IPA and a handful (or two) of Fritos, it was just plain tasty.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sunday November 30, 2008

Reprised the cheese & fruit from Friday. Changes: mango instead of pear, no avocado.

Saturday November 29, 2008

Had a half-rack of ribs with mashed taters and sauted mushrooms at a chain outfit known for its appeal to college-aged kids. Okay, but not fabulous.

Friday November 28, 2008 Dinner

A classic around our house: cheese, fruit, and other finger foods.

There was:
  • a lovely huntsman (layered cheddar & blue)
  • a peppered brie
  • an aged gouda which was delightful
  • pear
  • pomegranate
  • assorted olives
  • dates
  • avocado
  • table water crackers
And old fashions & a cheese danish for dessert.

Thursday November 27, 2008 Dinner

Had a Thanksgiving feast at a local upscale restaurant's buffet. It was lovely. Of particular enjoyment: the candied ham, the creamed spinach, the Greek salad with shrimp. This place also is famous for one of my favorite desserts, a flourless chocolate torte. OMG. Drool.

There will be no leftovers, sadly, but also no cleaning up. 

Wednesday Novemember 26, 2008 Dinner

Honestly, I do not remember!