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Entries in West Hartford (53)

Thursday
Jan052012

heat 'n serve, part 1 of 42

Kitchen Renovation, Day 1When you're lucky enough to step off a plane in a foreign country, your first thought is: I'm on vacation!  The second: Uh oh...I don't speak the language...what if I get hungry?!

Analogy: our complete kitchen renovation.  We are very excited!  Now that the fixtures, appliances, finishes, and even the light switches are chosen, major demolition began this week, our first building inspection is tomorrow morning to check on the progress and well, it's even more amazing than going on vacation...  Then the second thought creeps in: Uh oh...we don't have a kitchen...what if I get hungry?!

Tonight, I made dinner in the microwave!  Here's what we had: Lemon grilled chicken, creamy polenta, and haricot vert.  It was good!  The lemon grilled chicken from Trader Joe's is a terrific product...definitely a repeat purchase as we weather the next 6 or so weeks...  The lemon-pepper marinade was light, the chicken was actually grilled and even had a nice bright char-grilled flavor (and, even though fully ready to heat 'n serve, this wasn't terribly expensive either).  While the haricot vert is a vegetable we prepare in the microwave all the time and was delicious as always, the polenta was a misfire.  At the end of the day, Trader Joe's "Polenta Provencale" was not "creamy" as claimed but instead just salty and one-dimensional...it also really killed the wine we tried to drink with it... I miss the kitchen already.  We're going out to dinner tomorrow night!  But, on Saturday, back to Trader Joe's in search of more heat 'n serve dinners...only 41 nights to go.

Thursday
Dec292011

you should make this (using any of the methods here!)

Click here to read our previous entry on a suspiciously similar dish!True story: apparently my creativity overtakes my good memory because as I sat down this morning to write up last night's dinner, I reviewed the "archives" here on Eating&Drinking and have realized...I made something very similar only 28 days ago...oops.

But, what have we learned?  The proof is in the...well, cod...that this is easy and can be set up in a few different ways.  Here's what I did last night:

1. Get a small saucepan (with a lid) working on medium low heat with a glug of evoo...once hot, put a small chopped onion in there and let the onions go for ten (or more!) minutes...if they are coming up too fast, lower the heat (like French Onion soup, the slower you cook the onions, the naturally richer and sweeter your resulting sauce will be!);

Click to visit Bella Gusta, our local source for Olive Oil...their products are varsity.2. Once the onions are translucent and beginning to golden, add 4 cloves of chopped garlic and a pint of halved grape tomatoes...also: a pinch of dried savory, a healthy amount of freshly cracked black pepper, a pinch of Northwoods Seasoning (Penzeys), and NO SALT (trust me);

3. Cook this rough puttanesca for awhile (I let mine go about 10-15 minutes on relatively low heat) and then add a handful of chopped (and pitted) Kalamata olives...cook an additional 5 minutes (you can set this aside off the heat and go off to do other things (I went to the gym!) to let the flavors marry or you can continue cooking right away);

4. Set your oven on Broil ("Hi" temperature) with a rack in the upper middle of the oven;

5. Coat an oven safe baking/roasting dish with a glug of evoo, pass your cod through the dish to coat the fish in the oil as well, remove the raw fish from the dish, and set the fish aside...place the empty dish in the oven...once the pan is hot, remove and place your cod in the oven...as soon as the top starts to brown a bit (like lemon meringue pie), your fish is ready...serve the sauce over the fish (you can't overdo it...this puttanesca is the star!)...

We served ours with a bibb lettuce salad (balsamic vinaigrette) and some Jasmine rice with a squeeze of Meyer lemon, black pepper, and a small glug of evoo...we ate every bite!  Add a slice of ricotta salata to your salad...the way it plays off the balsamic, it'll take you straight to ItalyAs for wine: your options are endless...with the hearty sauce and firm structure of the fish, this dinner can stand up to even a medium bodied red wine...a more traditional (white wine with fish!) bet would be a fuller bodied white (like a California Chardonnay).