Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.

Sick of Dinner

Posted: June 16, 2010 | Author: Rita | Filed under: Rita | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

My recent gap in posting was unfortunately due to being sick, so I wasn’t all there enough to write down any coherent thoughts last week. I’m doing ok now — 24 hours of sleep helps! But the real casualty is that I was supposed to host a dinner party for four the day I could barely keep my eyes open at work. It was a real shame because I had a totally bomb menu planned taking advantage of my CSA greens and was looking forward to catching up with old friends. Sigh.

After coming home just a couple of hours at work and sleeping for 7 hours I realized though I wasn’t hungry all the food and supplies I bought were going to rot if I didn’t cook something so I thought ‘To hell with it’ and just made most of what I had planned in the first place and figured I’d eat the rest later. This turned out to be a damned good idea because it was probably one of the best dinners I’ve ever made. Too bad no one else was there to have any!

First off, since it was to be a sort of special occasion after not seeing friends for so long, I had bought four fillets of salmon. Right there that made dinner fancier than usual. Sure it was a little more expensive than groceries normally are but I figured I was saving money with all the produce I had acquired. And besides, pesto was involved and pesto with tilapia doesn’t jibe as nicely, at least in my mind.

Next, last week’s CSA share consisted of some veggies outside of my usual repertoire, like escarole. I have nothing against it but I didn’t know what to do with it and I figured I’d use it all up first. This is how I came up with a Braised Escarole with Cannellini Beans appetizer. Ok, I didn’t “come up” with it but I did read that escarole and white beans go together superbly and I found a fantastic recipe along with much commentary at this website. so no, I did not create it.

Discovery: escarole needs to be braised or sauteed for quite a while since it’s pretty bitter raw! The recipe I just linked to was absolutely delicious. Had I served it to friends It would have been spooned atop whole wheat flatbreads as an appetizer but I ate it as a side. The recipe can also be more like a soup, if that catches your fancy.

As the main, my CSA provided us with a simple but delicious recipe for Pan-Seared Salmon on a Bed of Baby Greens with Dried Cherries along with a recipe for an orange zest dressing. (Thus the salmon purchase!) Uh, yes, this was truly amazing. Lucky for me, one of the farmers is a trained chef and sends us weekly recipes and ideas!

The only real “recipe” part to this was the dressing, since it’s: plate some baby greens. Make the dressing. Pan-sear the salmon (skinned) on both sides for a few minutes until each side is golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Dress the greens using half of the dressing. Place the salmon on top of the greens. Drizzle the rest of the dressing along with the dried cherries that have been marinating in the dressing. Voila! I used golden raisins instead which worked just as well! So here is that dressing:

Orange-Zest Salad Dressing
- 2 1/2 tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar [I used red wine vinegar]
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1 tsp orange zest
- salt, pepper
- 1/4 cup dried cherries [I used golden raisins]
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine except olive oil and set aside. Pan-sear the salmon in the meantime, instructions above. Remove cherries/raisins from dressing. Whisk the olive oil in until blended. Dress half of it onto the greens. Plate the salmon. Drizzle remaining dressing on fish with cherries/raisins to garnish. Serve.

Simple but seems so fancy. Also, way, way tasty. Since I received so much spinach last week I had made some spinach with walnut pesto to use some of it up and scooped some atop the fish too. It was a very thick pesto, more like a tapenade. Either way it was good too. With all of these lettuces and greens I will need more salad dressing ideas so if anyone has any please let me know! I really don’t make them myself too often.

I would have made a grain as a side but just for myself, this was all much more than enough. Dessert was some blueberries and strawberries. Hopefully next time people are over for dinner I’ll be able to cook something just as special.

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Restrictions have nothing on her.