Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Comfort cooking

This week I had two unexpected visits, but I was able to cook very comfort dinners and everything went smooth! Besides, I cooked some delicious meals for my husbands, but all of them were made in an easy way. Check them out!!!

I like to announce the menu on my black chalk board. It looks like a French bistro at my home. Beside, it prepares my guests for an expected experience.
Mid-week dinner with a friend: NOT a problem, always ready!

 The table setting is casual. It uses rosemary from our garden as a centerpiece. It smells good, looks good, and you can also use it during the dinner! Even if I have unexpected guests, I like to place ironed napkins and pretty glasses on the table.

Using some fresh rosemary for the centerpiece

 Also, serving a whole bread is a great idea, because you don't limit your guests to a single dinner roll. In addition, I made compound butter with Herbs de Provence and served it in my new butter single-serving dish.
I made some compound butter with Herbs de Provence for the bread!
 Never forget to serve your favorite wine and water for dinner. When guests arrive, the first question should be: "What would you like to drink?" And be ready for different answers: red and white wine, beer, iced tea, and possibly tequila :)

What is better than some wine, bread, and the company of good friends?
After the dinner with our friend, we had leftover bread, so I served it for breakfast next morning. Hard-boiled eggs are nutritional powerhouses, so together with my cinnamon-honey compound butter, I created the perfect a.m. treat.

Breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, cinnamon-honey compound butter, walnut bread, and tea
Panzanella salad is supposed to be made with a day-old bread. And this is exactly what I did. I used my walnut bread and mixed it with juicy tomatoes, red bell peppers, feta cheese, and fresh oregano!

Panzanella Salad: torn pieces of walnut bread, peppers, tomatoes, and feta.
My new favorite way to eat salmon is to pan seared it in a non-stick pan with a little bit of olive oil. The skin becomes crispy, the fillet stays moist, and everybody is happy! I served it with green peas risotto, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and avocado green goddess aioli. Simply delicious!

Pan seared crispy salmon with avocado green goddess aioli and peas-parmesan risotto
I cooked some beets and thinly sliced them to create carpaccio. I topped it with garden arugula, goat cheese, and white balsamic dressing. The bread was essential to round up our salad.

Beet Carpaccio with graden arugula, goat cheese, and walnut bread
On next day, I made the same salmon, but I added some fresh dill and chives. It was much better. So, don't forget to use fresh herbs. They add clean and fresh flavor to any dish and also refresh our taste buds!!!

My crispy salmon is much better with fresh dill and chives!!!
I made this Simple White Bread for first time and I was pretty satisfied. The slices are great for sandwiches. We used them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Lovely!

Simple White Bread: super soft and great for sandwiches :)
Next day, I served the beets by themselves (no arugula) and I liked them even more. They are sweet, cool, and velvety! A slice of white bread is perfect pairing for that goat cheese...

Thinly shaved beets with almonds and goat cheese
 Yes, we love shrimps. In particular, the Florida Key Pink Shrimps. I made shrimp stock from the shells and then use it to flavor my risotto. The rice was cooked in a traditional way, but after that I added roasted cashews and dried cranberries. On the side, roasted brussel sprouts, very comforting and satisfying.

Pan-seared Florida Key Shrimps, served over cranberries-cashew rice and roasted sprouts
For breakfast, I made oatmeal pancakes. They are so soft and nutty. We topped them with fresh fruits and honey. The bananas, strawberries, and blackberries are a great combination!!!

Oatmeal pancakes with fresh fruit and honey. A great breakfast!
My shrimps were better served with Israeli couscous! I used the same additions: dried cranberries and cashews. But the pasta was so nutty and soft, yum!!!

Even better combo: Israeli couscous with cranberries and cashews, shrimps, and sprouts
For peanut butter lovers: these cookies are made only with peanut butter, chocolate chips, and egg. There is no flour in them. So, you can imagine the strong peanut butter taste they have. Very nice!

Crunchy peanut butter-chocolate chips cookies
Our goat cheese sandwich with poached eggs, prosciutto, and arugula is out-of-this-world delicious. I used my Simple White Bread and it was perfectly moist.

Goat cheese-herbs sandwich, topped with prosciutto, poached egg, arugula, and tomatoes
A new way to fold my napkins. Like a pocket, where I can place my silverware. Isn't this super fancy?

A new way to fold a dinner napkin. Make a pocket and place the silverware inside it
Another friend is coming for dinner with us. This time, I changed the napkins, the bread, and the butter spread. But I kept everything else pretty much the same.

For a week dinner with a friend, I folded the napkins in a casual way
This white bread is good for dinner. It is similar to French baguette, but wider and bigger :)

My white bread is also good with compound butter and wine :)
For lunch, I boiled some red rice and then mixed it with garbanzo beans, feta cheese, lots of vegetables, and grilled chicken. Healthy, delicious, comfort food!!!

Great lunch: red rice and garbanzos with feta, chicken, and herbs!
PIZZA NIGHT, my favorite time. This time: pesto topped with chicken, mozzarella, parmesan, and green grapes. Very very good combination.

Pesto, white grapes, chicken, parmesan, and mozzarella pizza!
For dessert, I made Creme Catalana. The milk was flavored with lemon zest and cinnamon stick. It is similar to Creme Brulee, but instead of cooking it in the oven, I cooked it over the stovetop. Fresh blueberries are very juicy addition.

Crema catalana with cinnamon and lemon zest scents!
Finally, I baked some profiterols. I froze them and I will fill them with ice cream next week. So, keep reading my blog and you will see the final product :)

I bake these profiterols, I will fill them with ice cream later :)

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