Sunday, August 31, 2014

Weekend Cooking 8/31

Each weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  This is perfect for me since I love food and cooking almost as much as I love books!

I have to admit that I haven't been very creative in the kitchen this summer. Most meals have consisted of throwing some meat on the grill and cooking up a couple of vegetables (super simple preparation). Since February, we have been eating a mostly Paleo diet, for medical reasons (no grains, no diary, little sugar), but that doesn't mean bland. I love lots of flavor in my food. Since returning from our recent 2-week camping vacation, I have once again been inspired to turn to some favorite recipes, with a bit more complexity to them. Here are some highlights from the past week or so, all old favorite recipes from Cooking Light:

Last week, I made Cajun Salmon Cakes with Lemon-Garlic Aioli, one of my favorite meals! They are filled with flavor and needed only minor tweaking to be Paleo (I subbed almond flour for breadcrumbs in the cakes and skipped the crumb coating). I paired them with a simple cucumber and tomato salad made with fresh veggies from our local CSA farm. And we splurged on our first corn on the cob of the season (technically, corn is a grain that we are supposed to avoid). It was a delicious summer meal!

My 20-year old son came home from college on Monday and stayed for dinner, so I made a favorite of his that we hadn't had yet this summer: Adobo Flank Steak with Summer Corn-and-Tomato Relish (yes, we cheated on the corn again! Hey, it's summer). Talk about flavor! Wow, this meal has wonderfully complex flavors - it's a real treat! It takes a little bit of planning ahead because you make the spice rub/marinade the day before and let the flank steak marinate for 24 hours, but it is well worth it. I love anything made with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but this one is really special. My son, in his first apartment and cooking for himself now, asked me, "Mom is this easy to make?" Not exactly, but it is well worth the effort. I had trouble finding sherry vinegar the first time (which a few years ago seemed to be the new "it" ingredient) but finally found some at Whole Foods.

Another night last week when it was just the three of us again, I made a considerably simpler (but still very tasty) meal we all enjoy: Pan-Seared Tilapia with Citrus Vinaigrette. This goes together super-fast, in about 15 minutes total, but is delicious. I paired it with some sauteed zucchini (plenty of that from the farm this time of year!) and a simple green salad.

I was trying to figure out what to do with the dozen or so bell peppers I had from the farm. They are sweet and delicious but tiny, a mix of red and green. I used my handy Excel spreadsheet for favorite recipes and settled on Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers, another recipe that is fairly simple but full of complex, layered flavors. It was just my son and I for dinner that night (though my husband had left-overs after he came home from playing golf), so I went super-simple and skipped a second vegetable. Instead, we had fresh melon from the farm - both watermelon (yellow!) and cantaloupe. Another delicious dinner.

Now, the week is almost over, and I still have a bag full of hot peppers from the farm - mostly jalapenos but a few other varieties as well. I plan to make fresh salsa when my son gets home from the beach (I also have lots of tomatoes left!). Any other ideas for cooking with hot peppers?

Hope you are enjoying a week filled with good food and cooking fun!


  1. That tilapia recipe looks good! I'm like you ... I've been relying a bit too much on our tried and true recipes. And I think I need to start keeping a spreadsheet of our favorite recipes, too. Maybe that's a good long weekend project!

  2. I've had sherry vinegar on my someday-I-might-see-it shopping list for a long time! I guess I need to look at Whole Foods! Your meals look delicious. We find a lot of uses for almond flour and chickpea flour in gluten-free cooking, too!

  3. All those meals look wonderful. I too am a chilpotle in adobo fan -- makes everything better! Seriously, I'd love any all of these dinners. I'm impressed with your spreadsheet. I'm not very organized.