Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chinese Slaw Salad and Grilled Portobellos

My brother-in-law, David is being inducted into the Knights of Columbus this evening, so Cindy, Chris, and David are attending a special induction dinner tonight. Congratulations David!

I'm making dinner today instead of tomorrow for Mom and Dad. We're having Chinese Slaw Salad, grilled portobello mushrooms, and Quick Tiramisu Trifle.

I've made Chinese Slaw Salad before and it is yummy! I use a recipe I got from one of those local church or school cookbooks that folks put together for fundraisers. I don't know which book it was from because I cut the recipe out to put in my keeper file. Here's the recipe:

Evelyn Glaze's Chinese Slaw Salad
1 large head cabbage or 1 lb bag slaw mix
5 green onions, chopped
1 stick butter or margarine
2 (3 oz) pkg. dry Ramen noodles (use only the noodles, not the flavor pack)
1/2 Cup slivered almonds
1/2 Cup sunflower seed kernels
1/2 Cup sesame seed
1 Cup oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
1/2 Cup cider vinegar

1- Mix chopped cabbage/slaw mix and onions; set aside.
2- Melt butter in a skillet; add the crushed noodles. Cook over medium heat until lightly browned. Watch carefully as the noodles burn easily. Add almonds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seed. Toss until lightly toasted. Let set to cool.
3- Combine oil, soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate.
4- When noodle mixture is completely cooled, toss with the slaw and pour soy sauce dressing over the salad just before serving.
Serves 6-8

Note: I purchase already toasted sesame seed that can be found in the Chinese section of the grocery; it is a lot less expensive than the sesame seed found in the spice aisle. Because the sesame seeds are already toasted, I add them after the noodles and nuts have toasted.

The portobellos are marinating in Adria's steak sauce and I'll just grill them. Sam Andria, the creator of the sauce, is a friend of my Dad. Sam used to operate Sam's tavern in Granite City when I was a little girl and he used to tease my sister and me when we went there with Dad. When he opened his Steak House restaurant we would go there from time to time and enjoy a truly terrific meal. The sauce is available in our local grocery; I think it may work quite well with the mushrooms.

The Tiramisu recipe is from the most recent Vegetarian Times magazine. It includes mascarpone, sweet Marsala wine, sugar, espresso, whipping cream, pound cake, and bittersweet chocolate. Mmmm...should be good. You can find it on page 42 of the September 2011 issue.

It all sounds good to me. I'll be sure to let you know how it all turns out!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Back from the Girls' Float Trip!

Every year a group of really wonderful women get together and go on a trip together - a relaxing time of friends, cocktails, and lots of laughs. Two years ago we went on a float trip down the Meramec River in Missouri. Last year we went to Cancun, Mexico. This year we went on another float trip on the Meramec. We stayed at a pretty nice place called Bird's Nest Lodge just outside of Cuba, Missouri. They have a great package deal: two nights, a six mile float, two breakfasts, and one dinner. There were ten of us this year and we truly had a terrific time! We made dinner the first night - Cindy made Italian Chicken, Debbie L. made mostaccioli, and Liz made a green salad like Pasta House; I brought pretzel buns. We also make our individual lunches to take on the river. This year I made a Mediterranean Pressed Picnic Sandwich that I shared with Debbie L., Rhonda, and Liz. It was yummy! We got back from our trip yesterday, tired and relaxed. I didn't do anything the rest of the day.

Today I got up early and made a Mediterranean Orzo Salad that I've made a few times in the past and a Tomato Bread Salad that I've also made a few times in the past. I'm taking them over to my sister's and we're going to continue relaxing in her pool. I'm sure the salads are going to be just as great as they've been in the past. Oh, I added something new to the Orzo salad today: I toasted a few pine nuts and tossed them in.

Here's how I made the Tomato Bread Salad today:
The photo is without the croutons
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved or sliced in thirds (if the tomatoes are large)
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped (fresh from Dave's garden)
2 cans sliced black olives, drained
1 small red onion, slivered
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil mixed with
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 package Cheese & Garlic Croutons

Toss all ingredients except the croutons together. Let sit in the refrigerator until ready to serve. When serving, add croutons to individual servings (this way leftovers don't get soggy bread mixed in).

I've included photos of the dishes already, and unless something goes amiss I'm just going to count on these being just as delicious as they've been in the past and so won't be posting after dinner thoughts today. Instead, I'll let you know what's on next Sunday's menu as soon as I figure that out. Have a great Sunday and a great week!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

After Dinner Thoughts all was yummy tasty! I was quite pleased with the Pierogies Caprese; that turned out even better than I expected. Mom and I really ate it up. Dad ate a little, but not much. We're going to have to figure out what to do about Dad's eating. He's not eating enough these days and that has us quite worried. I think he liked what he tasted, but something is keeping him from eating well at all. Michael didn't eat - he said he wasn't interested in what I prepared tonight. Oh well, you can't make everyone happy all the time. I'd like to reiterate: Mom and I really, really liked tonight's meal.

The Three Bean Salad was as terrific as I remembered. I also sliced a cucumber from my brother-in-law's (David's) garden. I added a small cup of Greek yogurt, salt, and pepper and had an extra side dish. The creamy cucumbers were good too.

And, then there was the giant cupcake. Everyone liked it! Michael ate a slice, Dad ate a couple of bites, Mom ate hers and finished Dad's, and I had a small serving too. Yummy!

I don't know what's going to happen for Sunday dinner next weekend. I'm joining ten of my best girlfriends for a float trip on the Meramec River in Steelville, Missouri at the end of the week (Thursday through Saturday). We're staying at the Bird's Nest Lodge and are really looking forward to it. We arrive Thursday, float on Friday, and return home on Saturday. So, I don't know if I'm really going to feel like cooking. Also, we've been spending most Sundays at Cindy and David's house - enjoying the pool, grilling, just kicking back. A few Sundays ago I made a grilled asparagus, crab, and avocado salad; it was mouth watering! So, if I don't cook a full Sunday dinner, I might be making at least one dish - or not. We'll see. If I cook I'll be sure to share a review about the results. Have a great week!

Pierogies Caprese & Three Bean Salad

Today's menu began with the Three Bean Salad I made a few weeks ago. It is so yummy that I just wanted to make it again. I follow the original recipe except I don't put the rosemary in it - I just don't seem to be a big fan of rosemary. Then, I tried to figure out what to make along with the salad. That was a much harder task than I expected.

After thinking about it Saturday night and most of Sunday morning, I decided to go with Mrs. T's pierogies because I happen to have them on hand. After looking through the recipes on Mrs. T's Web site, and not being exactly thrilled with any for today's meal (there are some recipes I might try another time, though), I decided to go with a caprese. It's a riff on Insalata Caprese, which basically is comprised of sliced fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese with salt and olive oil (this is one of my very favorite dishes). I intend to prepare the pierogies according to the package directions, slice a nice big tomato, add some fresh mozzarella pearls I have on hand, and sprinkle a bit of basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil over it all. I'll put some balsamic vinegar on the table for those who like it to use it also (Michael does not like most vinegars). It won't be exactly the same as the caprese salad, but instead a dish inspired by it.

I'm hoping this all works out and that everyone enjoys Sunday dinner. My dad was recently in the hospital. The hospital staff made some unfortunate mistakes while dad was there and he is not eating much since he got out. I am hopeful that he might eat and enjoy some of today's dinner. I'm pretty sure he'll enjoy dessert - I was at River City Casino yesterday and unfortunately I didn't win. But, I had a good time and I used a food voucher they sent me for my birthday month to pick up a strawberry chocolate cake that looks like a giant cupcake! It certainly looks appetizing.

I'll be sure to let you know how it all turns out.