Tag Archives: dinner

A Daily Dinner: Portobello Quesadillas with Corn

Portobello Mushroom Quesadillas and Corn and Avocado Salad

Before I get into this week’s Daily Dinner, Ryan and I would like to share some exciting news with you all.

Last week’s Daily Dinner post, the lamb chops with tomatoes and olives, was selected as Foodista’s Food Blog of the Day for today!

This was entirely unexpected but we’re totally flattered, so if you’re visiting from Foodista, welcome! We hope you’ll stick around and read more.

Fresh Corn on the Cob

This week’s dinner was inspired by two things: the heat and tasty summer produce.

Now that the mercury has fully risen here in New York City, I find myself craving cool, fresh salads and seeking out recipes that involve very little (if any) use of the stove top. (And I definitely avoid the oven at all costs!)

Luckily, these two goals are fairly easy to accomplish, thanks to the fact that summer produce is often so good that it needs very little cooking.

Like I mentioned in our last post, we’re huge fans of FreshDirect and have been really impressed with the quality of their produce, much of which is locally-sourced.

Fresh Portobello Mushrooms

This week, our delivery included some amazing portobello mushrooms that looked like they were just pulled from the soil, the juiciest, sweetest corn I’ve ever had, and buttery ripe avocados.

These great things came together to make two of the best summer dishes you’ll ever make. Each has just three ingredients, give or take, and one of them requires absolutely no cooking. None.

The Ingredients: Portobello Mushrooms, Corn and Pepper Jack Cheese

Grilled Portobello Quesadillas
Adapted from RealSimple.com

2 large portobello mushrooms
2 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 8″ flour tortillas
1 c. grated pepper Jack cheese

1. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil over medium heat in skillet. Season mushrooms with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
2. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes per side; thinly slice.
3. Heat remaining 1 tbsp. of oil over medium heat in skillet. Form 4 quesadillas with the tortillas, mushrooms, and cheese. Cook in the pan until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crisp, 1 to 3 minutes per side.

Corn and Avocado Salad
Adapted from RealSimple.com

3 ears of fresh corn
1 avocado, pitted and chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 green jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

1. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the corn.
2. In a medium bowl, toss the corn with the avocado, scallions, jalapeño, oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Portobello Mushroom Quesadillas and Corn and Avocado Salad

Could those two recipes be any easier? Together, that’s my idea of a perfect summer meal.

The mushrooms were juicy and flavorful and I loved the extra kick from the pepper jack cheese. As for the salad, let’s just say that we fought over who got to eat the leftovers!

What are some of your favorite summer recipes?

– Laura

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A Daily Dinner: Lamb Chops with Tomatoes and Olives

Daily Dinner: Lamb with Tomatoes and Olives

It might seem shocking given what we write about, but believe it or not, Ryan and I eat at home most nights.

We’re completely and utterly in love with FreshDirect and the greenmarket and typically eat at least four meals a week at home.

We try to keep our weekly menus focused on seasonal ingredients and I also like to mix up proteins. For example, last week, we had bluefish, lamb (which you’ll see here), pork chops, and a meatless pasta dish.

Fresh Australian Lamb Loin Chops

We both particularly liked this dish, so I figured I’d share it here, as I hope to do with some of our future meals. Lamb is my personal favorite protein and I’m lucky that Ryan likes it as much as I do! We prefer ours quite rare (almost still “baa”-ing, even), but if you like a more well-done product, you can simply increase my recommended cooking times by a minute or two.

Before I get to the recipe, I also want to mention a funny little side dish that we ate with this meal: purslane.

Purslane from the Greenmarket

I picked it up at my office’s greenmarket, not really certain of what it was. After a little bit of Internet research, I discovered that it’s a tenacious little weed that many gardeners spend lots of money and time trying to get rid of!

Of course, it also happens to be very nutrient rich and quite tasty. I ate some raw, but for our meal, I blanched it for a few minutes and then sautéed it in some parmesan butter I had mixed up earlier in the week.

When it’s cooked, it has a slight crunch that then yields to an almost okra-like texture. Cooking it also mellows out the flavor, which is why I liked having a little extra kick from the parmesan and the butter.

If you see some at your market, I highly recommend it as a nutritious leafy green. It seems like it can be prepared quite similarly to spinach or chard or arugula or any other salad green, so I look forward to experimenting with it further. If you try it, let me know what works for you.

Lamb with Tomatoes and Olives

…And with that, I digress. Here’s the recipe for our delicious one-pot lamb, tomato and olive dish:

Lamb Chops with Tomatoes and Olives
Adapted from Real Simple

1 tbsp. olive oil
2 2″-thick lamb loin chops
1 tsp. paprika
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 shallots, quartered
2 tomatoes, quartered
1/4 c. pitted kalamata olives
1/4 c. flat-leaf parsley, torn

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Season lamb with paprika, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
3. Add shallots to the skillet, transfer to oven, and cook lamb to the desired doneness, about 6 minutes for rare.
4. Add tomatoes, olives, and parsley to the skillet, with lamb, and toss with the shallots to combine.

Simple, right?

We don’t have a particularly elaborate kitchen (in fact, it’s actually a pretty big downgrade from my previous kitchen in Dallas) but it hasn’t stopped me from making anything that I want to make. We have, oh, perhaps five pots and pans of various sizes, one roasting pan/baking sheet combo, a colander, a few bowls and utensils, and that’s about it.

Fresh Purslane and Lamb

But, I can tell you with certainty: that’s all it takes to make healthy, delicious meals at home.

– Laura

(P.S. Have you “liked” us on Facebook yet?)

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A Taste of Portland

A few weeks ago, we read about The Beagle, a new restaurant in the East Village.

The menu and concept (is it a restaurant with great cocktails or a cocktail bar with good food?) were immediately appealing to us, but we were especially intrigued when we learned that The Beagle’s owner, Matt Piacentini, is the co-owner of Clyde Common, the restaurant in Portland, Oregon’s Ace Hotel.

Additionally, The Beagle’s chef, Garrett Eagleton, has worked at Portland favorites Le Pigeon and Lincoln. (And he’s also a Texan, so we automatically love him.)

We love the Ace and Portland has been on our trip radar for awhile now, so we headed over to The Beagle to see what we have to look forward to when we make it out West again.

The space is really well-done, without feeling precious or overly kitschy like so many new restaurants in the city are. The walls are a deep, lush blue, paired with crisp white paneling and European-styled light fixtures and dining tables. The Beagle is small, but not at all cramped—in fact, it’s one of the few restaurants of its kind where you could easily take more than four people.

Since they really tout their cocktails, we spent entirely too much time poring over their very thorough and creative drink menu.

We eventually settled, but it wasn’t without great debate. Ryan got the Queimada Swizzle—a take on our favorite, the Queen’s Park Swizzle—made with Rhum Agricole, lime juice, orgeat and pineapple, and I had the Daisy de Santiago, a refreshing, tart blend of white rum, lime juice, yellow Chartreuse, and chilled seltzer (served from one of those great antique bottles).

A final drink, the Prince of Wales, combined rye whiskey, maraschino liqueur, champagne, pineapple and angostura bitters.

While the drinks themselves hinted at the impending summer, the blue-and-white striped paper straws gave me an immediate rush of sandy beaches, salty hair, and scorching sun.

Our first “tidbit” plate continued my summer flashback: mini-corns, skewered, and slathered with mayonnaise, lime and cilantro. There isn’t too much to say about that plate, because, really, what could possibly be wrong with that combination?

The next dish was equally successful. Bitter radicchio came together with rich blue cheese, thick-cut bacon, briny Castelvetrano olives and the nutty crunch of farro.

We shared another small plate—the squid. The tender squid packed a punch, as they were served with green chilies and prosciutto, atop a bed of crisp frisee. Squid is one of those things that is so easily overcooked, so it’s always nice when it melts in your mouth.

My favorite course of the evening (Ryan’s, too!) was the confit pork cheek, a large plate that we also shared. The pork cheek was served with braised pork belly, applesauce and a pork reduction.

The cheek was beyond juicy and fork-tender—it’s easily one of the top five best things I’ve eaten this year. The pork reduction was tangy and the applesauce mellowed everything out with its mild sweetness.

I’ve also neglected to mention the broccolini it was served with. I’ve been enjoying the beautiful yellow-budded broccolini at the greenmarket recently and The Beagle did it full justice—the tops and stalks were crisp and the yellow flowers added some great floral notes.

For dessert, we shared the chocolate custard with grapefruit and crispy cornflakes. This was also fantastic—the grapefruit was fresh and tart, the cornflakes were indeed crispy, and the chocolate was rich without being too sweet. It was almost like eating a chilled ganache, which I’ve admittedly done in my own kitchen on more than one occasion.

The Beagle impressed us every level—our server was attentive and friendly, the space feels excellent and the food matches up.

If you find yourself in the East Village, or are simply in need of somewhere new to try, head over to Avenue A. (And be sure to report back and tell us what you think!)

– Laura

The Beagle on Urbanspoon

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