Just a Dinner

I’ve spent the last 12 days enjoying Christmas break by spending time in Colorado. Snowmobiling, sledding, hiking, skiing, cooking and, most importantly, spending time with family has occupied much of my time.

Homemade pasta for Christmas Eve Dinner

Sunset as Thunder Mountain

 Yesterday morning my grandmother, aunt, uncle and two cousins departed leaving only my immediate family here. My oldest sister, Sara, and I decided that a gourmet home cooked meal was in order. After debate and planning, a menu was set.

Appetizer: Stuffed Mushrooms

Soup: Japanese Pumpkin, Vanilla, and Garlic Soup

Salad: Baby Spinach, goat cheese, pom seeds, pears and a citrus vinaigrette

Entrée: Cider brined pork tenderloin with rosemary roasted potatoes

Dessert: Chocolate mouse with espresso whip cream and raspberries

 Portobello mushrooms stuffed, baked and cut into triangles

based off of this recipe

The table was set and it was time for the real food to begin….

Japanese Pumpkin, Vanilla and Garlic Soup

Last Friday, we actually went out for a nice dinner to celebrate my sister Katherine’s graduation. The restaurant served this soup and luckily for you and me, they featured the recipe on their website. There was no kabocha squash at the grocery store here so I used acorn. The soup ended up being pretty thick so we thinned with some chicken broth during the final step (part of this might have been because I used an immersion blender to blend the squash so I didn’t add any water then). It was a delicious and flavorful soup!

Main dish

 Cider Brined Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Brown Sugar Glaze

Ina Garten’s Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Salad with spinach, pom arils, goat cheese, pears and a random dressing of orange juice concentrate (leftover from pork brine), olive oil, red wine vinegar, drizzle of honey, rosemary, dry mustard, salt, pepper, etc….just threw stuff in until it tasted good!

The meal ended with a delicious chocolate mousse. Yum!

Although I’d recommend serving much smaller portions of it than we did….so rich!

 Overall, a delicious dinner!! I highly recommend all of these recipes. I seriously love planning, preparing, and eating fancy meals! I especially love plating the food and setting the table to make it look nice! I seriously can’t wait to be married and have other couples over for dinner parties. Is that weird?

I’m so normal. Weeeeee

The only thing I don’t like is doing dishes and cleaning up. I’ll cook, you do the dishes. Sound like a plan?

What’s your favorite thing to do when you have free time?

I love cooking nice meals. I also love playing games. Quelf, Catch Phrase, spades, Last Word, and Bananagrams are just a few of my favorites!

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten this holiday season?

The chocolate mouse above definitely ranks high on my list!

Dinner Tonight

 

The above was tonight’s dinner.

Marinated pork chops grilled on a soaked plank (seriously the most tender, flavorful, juicy pork chops I’ve ever had)

Prosciutto wrapped asparagus filled with farm fresh cheese (also plank grilled)

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Sooo delicious

And you know what?

I took no part in the planning or preparation of the meal.

I have awesome parents.

For realz.

Best thing you have eaten this weekend?

Blog Updates

Happy Monday!

I just wanted to stop in and let you know that I added a Blog Roll. I also updated my About Me tab and added an Important Posts tab. Be sure to check it all out!!

Also, I have a question for y’all. I’m thinking about going vegan for a week sometime this summer and I was just wondering, What is your favorite vegan dinner? (feel free to leave breakfast, lunch, and dessert suggestions too, but I am specifically looking for dinner ideas).

Overflowing Portabellos, either made with Daiya or no cheese is one of mine!

 

Thanks!!

~Ann Claire

Roasted Veggie Potato Salad

Last night for dinner I made Grilled Blueberry BBQ Salmon and it was quite delicious. With it, I planned to make Jessica‘s Roasted Potato Salad, but as I wandered through the grocery store my thoughts turned to something my sister made recently that involved roasting mushrooms and onions and topping them with gorgonzola cheese. I did the only logical thing I could think of and combined the two.

 

Roasted Vegetable Potato Salad

Serves 6-8

28oz (1 3/4 lb) Yukon gold potatoes

1 large sweet potato, peeled

1 1/4  pounds green beans

2 medium onions (yellow or red)

2 heads of garlic with tops cut off

2 tablespoons olive oil

16oz mushrooms

2 oz gorgonzola cheese

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 of your favorite fresh herbs

kosher salt

black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Chop potatoes into uniform bite sized pieces. Cut onions into large chunks and separate sections. Trim green beans. In a large bowl, toss potatoes, onions and green beans with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and kosher salt. Drizzle garlic heads with olive oil. Arrange veggies (excluding mushrooms) and garlic on a large baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Stir and add mushrooms and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.

While veggies are roasting chop fresh herbs and mix with olive oil. When the potatoes are soft enough to eat remove garlic gloves from the pan  and sprinkle on the gorgonzola. Bake for an additional 2-3 minutes. Squeeze the garlic into the bowl with the olive oil and garlic. Smash garlic. In a large serving bowl, toss together roasted veggies (and cheese) with the oil mixture. Add additional sea salt and serve.

Dinner is Served

By the way, take a look up at your browser: www.aflourishingfoodie.com.  No more wordpress for me! (just don’t forget the a at the beginning)

Also, thanks for your super sweet comments on my Back to My Roots post. I had been wanting to post something like that for a while but was hesitant. I now realize my reluctance was totally unnecessary.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a Father’s Day Post :)

Ann Claire

Back to My Roots

So let’s be honest, sometimes there are certain recipes I want to post, but I don’t because they aren’t healthy (<- I really hate that word). And if I were to mention an unhealthy (<- hate that word even more) food I feel like I have to make an excuse or justify eating said food. I know that it’s probably all in my head as you guys are like the nicest people ever, but I’m still sick of it.

I just want to make food that is good. Food that people enjoy. If I had to choose between something healthy or something delicious, I’d pick the delicious food every time.

You see, food and I go way back. When I was 6 or 7 I started a restaurant called “Train Depot.” The recipe was open around noon for lunch and again in the afternoon for snack hour. It even had menus. Keep in mind the only customers were my 3 older siblings (we were all homeschooled back then). I think the name came because the first time I “operated” the restaurant I served the food to “customers” dining in a train we made in our backyard out of the chairs from the kitchen table. My brother was certainly my most loyal customer. He would often order the “casadillas” or grilled cheese, two of our specialities. Side dishes included yogurt and apple sauce. For dessert my favorite thing to serve was Graham Cracker Suprise which involved graham crackers, peanut butter, and chocolate chips. Nevermind the fact that none of the menu offerings had more than 3 ingredients; it was something I enjoyed doing. I enjoyed serving my siblings and seeing how it made them happy when I made them lunch.

Flash forward a few years to when I was 9 or 10 on my parents anniversary. They decided to keep things simple and have a simple anniversary dinner at home. I begged to cook and serve them dinner. My mom and I compromised by picking up a Central Market Dinner for Two which I plated and served to them. But, I did get to make the dessert. I made Volcanoes (aka molten lava cakes) and topped them with raspberries and whipped cream before taking them out to my parents who were dining on the back patio. I was so proud of what I made and nothing made me happier than seeing my parents enjoying the dessert that I had made.

To me, that’s what food is all about. Sure it’s fuel and nutrition and all that good stuff, but ultimately it’s about bringing joy to others. I feel like in the past year or so I’ve gotten so caught up in making healthy food that I have strayed from what began my love for food. I’m still that little girl whose eyes light up when a new culinary creation turns out well and who enjoys nothing more than having someone else enjoy a dish she has made. I never wantthat to change.

So, in the future, I may post some not-so-healthy recipes. No shame. No excuses. It’s my blog and I can post about whatever I want. If you don’t like it, I’m sorry. But, there’s a lot of food that I enjoy that isn’t neccessarily healthy (depending on how you define the word) and I see that as no reason to stop me from eating it.

Sound good?