Tag Archives: alison

Saturday Night Dinner

Today’s post is a quick recap of Saturday night’s dinner, which went sadly under-photographed. We weren’t planning on writing about it, but the meal was so good that we felt we had no choice but to make a mention of it here. We’l let master chef Alison tell you about it.
I didn’t think about taking a photo until we were well into enjoying our Saturday night dinner. Ina Garten’s “roasted shrimp with feta” caught my eye as I was flipping though our cookbooks. So easy and delicious. The dish may be prepared ahead of time and put in the oven before dinner.
Ingredients:
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped fennel (our supermarket labels it as anise)
1 Tab garlic
1/4 white wine
2 t tomato paste
1 14 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 t dried oregano
1 T Pernod (we didn’t have any)
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 lbs (16 to 20 per pound) peeled shrimp with tail on
5 oz good feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
1 cup of fresh bread crumbs. Ina recommends removing the crusts from 4 slices of white bread and putting them into a food processor with a steel blade. I’m not sure what type of white bread one would buy so I bought a rustic baguette, didn’t remove the crusts, tore the bread into pieces and placed in the food processor.
3 T fresh parsley
1 t grated lemon zest
2 lemons
preheat oven to 400
Heat 2 T olive oil in a heavy oven proof skillet over medium-low heat. Add fennel, saute for 8 to 10 minutes until tender. Add garlic, cook one minute. Add wine, bring to boil scraping base of pan. Cook for 2 to 3 min reducing liquid in half. Add tomatoes with liquid, tomato paste (I just realized that I added 2 tablespoons rather than teaspoons — that’s how I have them packed in the freezer, oh well), oregano, Pernod, salt and pepper to skillet. Simmer over medium-low for 10 to 15 minutes, stir occasionally.
Arrange the ship tails up in one layer over mixture in skillet.  I waited for everything to cool a bit because I was worried that the shrimp might cook, but maybe they were supposed to cook a bit, confusing. Scatter the feta over the shrimp.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley and lemon zest with the 2 T olive oil. Sprinkle mixture over shrimp.
Bake for 15 min until shrimp are cooked through and bread crumbs golden brown. Mine took longer, almost 25 minutes, but I used 2 lbs shrimp and doubled the sauce — there were six of us for dinner
Squeeze a lemon over the shrimp. Serve hot with slices of lemon.
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Tuesday Night Dinner

This is the first entry of a meal by Alison, which is somewhat misleading — we don’t know why we didn’t get around to writing anything about her food before because 1. she still cooks the most in the family and 2. everything she cooks is delicious. So, sorry Mom, and here you go! (Maybe we’ll blame her delay in meeting the chief blogger’s suggested draft deadline, although that might not even be true. Hard to say.)

Recipe: Turkish-Spiced Chicken Kebabs with Pomegranate Relish and Tahini Yogurt

Source: Bon Appetit, January 2011 (You can find the full recipe here.)
Spices: Great combination of spices (mint, oregano, cinnamom, coriander, cumin, nutmeg) combined together to make Baharat seasoning, which is used to marinate the chicken and then as an ingredient in the Tahini Yogurt Sauce.
Surprise ingredients: pistachios, pomegranate seeds
Sad fact: Pomegranates are no longer in season. While I’m pleased that no one has found a way to cover them in wax/chemicals to make them last year round I was dissapointed that they weren’t available. It seems like we saw them just last week. Dried cranberries were my substitue becuase I wanted to have a bit of red on the plate. (In Bon Appetit’s defense, They would have been in season when the recipe was originally published.)
Verdict: delicious and easy.
If anyone is wondering, pistachios grow on trees.

 

Chef Profile: Alison

We should probably introduce our four chefs, huh? We’ll start with Alison (see her back there?), since this was her whole idea in the first place and she’s the best resource for any of the family’s many cooking questions.

We offer the biased (but still true) report that she is an excellent cook and we are quite lucky that she fed us, almost singlehandedly, for a long time. Now, what’s her role in the family dinner preparation schedule? Well, she’s not as inclined to turn cooking into a competition and perhaps feels less need to prove her skills in the kitchen…making her meals no less delicious, of course.

She’s agreed to answer some questions regarding her food style/preferences/dislikes (and we’ve decided to include her idiosyncratic formatting) – here goes:

Favorite foodsI still like pizza a lot! roasted vegetables with balsamic vinegar
Favorite snack: dark chocolate
Personal cooking speciality: chocolate chip cookies with everything
Best/worse meals consumed: I can’t pick favorites the best is the future when we are all making a component of a special dinner.
A fond cooking memory: everyone working together to make popcorn balls on christmas eve
Favorite meal of the day (why??): dinner of course.
A cooking mishap: does this have to be recent? pork caught on fire the other night. spilling boiling water on my stomach ending up on the kitchen floor in a ball of pain
General hobbies/interests: I’m kind of crafty (the biased narrator adds that she is VERY crafty, in the craft sense) — knitting, sewing, +cross country skiing, kayaking
Will not Eat…ketchup

We have big plans to make ketchup at home, so we’ll report back on whether or not she’ll eat that.

And here’s a picture of the popcorn ball cooperation she mentioned – a very fun family tradition on Christmas Eve.