Friday, October 24, 2008

A Trio

The good thing about learning to cook for the ingredients instead of with them, is that you can reuse them and not leave your recipients bored. My wife did the shopping this time, and returned with some of her favorites. Asparagus, spinach, red potatoes, and yellow squash were my muses this week.

The first night, I decided to fire up the grill. I used a mixture of hard lump charcoal and regular to get a higher cooking heat for searing steaks. I threw on some asparagus and onions over aluminum foil so they would not suffer as much. Added a few tenderloins, and combined them over mashed red potatoes. I reduced some balsamic, beef stock, and brown sugar to drizzle over them. Simple meat and potatoes, but tasted wonderful.

The next night, I started with some split chicken breasts and cut multiple pockets into each.

I stuffed them with a mixture of ricotta, spinach, dried figs, white balsamic, and the obligatory salt and pepper. These were roasted in the oven to an internal temperature of 155 degrees.

I simmered some great white northern beans with a diced tomato in beef broth until they could be mashed into a refried bean consistency and plated it with sauteed squash and asparagus. I reduced orange juice, beef broth, brown sugar, white balsamic, and some spices to drizzle on top.

For the third and final night, meatloaf.  This consisted of ground turkey, a couple eggs, ricotta, salt, pepper, sauteed onions & garlic, and a couple pieces of wheat toast pulsed into breadcrumbs. For the sauce, I used ketchup, molasses, garlic, onions, cumin, paprika, beef broth, and chili powder. I plated this with mashed squash and red potatoes and topped with spinach and figs sauteed in butter.

I love food and I love challenging myself with new ideas and techniques. Good food does not have to be difficult, just simple and fresh. You know what you like, so give it a shot. If it ends up less than ideal, learn from it. In the story of Hercules, we learn that a true hero fails many times before he gets it right. We live, we learn, we eat.

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