Thursday, July 20, 2006

2 Dinners

I have 2 dinners to blog about tonight - tonight's meal and last night's meal. I had enough energy to cook last night, but not enough to write about it.

One of my goals in cooking is to make sure that things get used up and don't go to waste. We're not terrible about this, but there is definitely room for improvement. We often have chunks of bread that go moldy before I get them properly wrapped and in the freezer or potatoes that get lost under the sink and begin to sprout. So, last night I set out with the goal of using up the two cobs of fresh corn, the fresh tomatoes and the fresh bread leftover from Tuesday's meal. I also decided that shrimp would be our main ingredient.

Although I found several tempting-sounding Mexican-influenced meals involving black beans, corn and shrimp, I decided to try something different. I went with the Shrimp and White Bean Salad from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food site, but I added corn. It turned out okay, but I don't think it's a repeater. Somehow, the beans just didn't work with this dish. I don't think I care for the combination of shrimp and beans - seems like I've tried that before and didn't care for it then, either. Mmm...I think avocado would have worked well in this dish. Ah well, I think it will at least be a spring-board for some experimenting down the line - the dressing was easy and tasty.

The shrimp salad with a side of bruschetta.

To use up the tomatoes, I made a bruschetta topping of tomatoes, balsamic, salt, pepper, a bit of EVOO and capers. I spooned this on fresh rosemary olive oil bread that had been toasted and rubbed with garlic. Everyone seemed to love it, but I think it was the spicy zing of the raw garlic that made it so tasty - the tomatoes weren't good enough to really make it a good bruschetta.

Tonight it was steaks on the grill. I had strip steaks from Wegman's and simply rubbed them with a little olive oil and fresh garlic and then sprinkled them with salt and pepper. One of our favorite things to eat with steaks is horseradish sauce. DH makes a great one, but I wanted to find one we could keep on hand for last minute convenience. I had my doubts about a prepared horseradish sauce, but this one rocks - IF you like your horseradish really potent. This stuff is more like the wasabi paste you get in Japanese restaurants.

The steaks were the best we've prepared at home in quite a while. Although the preparation was nice, we really think it was the quality of the steak that made it so tasty. We've done some fabulous preparation on steaks in the past and they still only tasted so-so. If it really was the steak itself that made the difference, I'll be buying my steaks from Wegman's from now on.

This stuff is really strong - a little goes a loooonnnnng way!

Along with the steaks I served fresh green beans from a local fruit farm (go figure) and roasted baby red potatoes that were in danger of being lost under my sink. Another save! The green beans were wonderful - I seasoned them with fresh lemon juice, dill and Penzeys Florida Seasoned Pepper. I buy them at the grocery store all the time, but every time I buy them, I know they could be so much better. These were what I knew a green bean could be. Yummy! Hopefully next year I can have a big garden and try my hand at growing them myself. Bunnies and bugs have ruined my efforts in the past, but I'm willing to try again.

Mmmmmm...fresh green beans.

Not sure what's on tap for tomorrow. I may need to continue my theme of reducing wasted food by serving small portions of leftover gazpacho with a sandwich melt of some sort to help use up some lunch meat that may go bad before the weekend's over.

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