I know, we’re almost in the final week of January, but this is the first you’ve heard from me in a while, so here we go!
When we were last in touch, I was heralding the arrival and cuisine of Autumn, my favorite season. Well, as per usual, life leapt up and got in the way of most of my most enjoyable activities until the holiday season rolled around. Though it was busy, it was incredibly fun and interesting; fueled by visitors from near and far, culinary feats of mimicry and invention, new freedoms and life lessons – these all contributed to an eventful year’s end.
Some culinary highlights? I thought you’d never ask!
On December 10, The Boyfriend and I went to Bar Toscana for dinner. They’d opened one year prior, to the day, and I hadn’t been in a while. Sean ordered one of their beautiful thin-crust pizzas and I got their smoked salmon/grapefruit salad. In that order. It was an extremely busy night at the Bar and the kitchen seemed really backed up, so I used all my willpower to refrain from finishing my salad before Sean got his food. By slowing down and really savoring this meal, it gave me the opportunity to figure out exactly how to replicate this refreshing repast.
Smoked Salmon & Grapefruit Salad, My Way
This simple salad is made special with delicate grapefruit segments and unique with zucchini ‘noodles’ snuggling with the friseé lettuce. It’s dressed with a simple vinaigrette, made with grapefruit juice, sherry vinegar Dijon mustard and Olive oil. The toast points just made it feel a bit more like lunch.
Due to the delayed arrival of Sean’s pizza, Chef Luca brought out an extra dish that has given us a new comfort food to pine for! He bestowed up on us a plateful of super-creamy polenta with a rich, meaty wild mushroom sauce, adorned with a dusting of pecorino. Lord. Have. Mercy. Though we were already satiated, we made this extra dish disappear in an instant! SOOO GOOOD! So, of course, I had to try to make this at home! I already had all the ingredients…
Polenta with Mushroom Sauce, My Way (Pecorino is on the side), and a Citrusy Kale Salad
Before having this in the Bar, Sean claimed he didn’t like polenta…even though he’d had it many times at home in different forms. What does that mean? Whatever. Now, this is polenta in our house.
A couple weeks later, Christmas showed up. Though we went to the big family dinner on Christmas Eve, I had to do it all over again…of course, it’s me! Jeremy joined us once more, and Sean’s sister Jaki was staying with us, so our table was once again filled with conversation as well as deliciousness.
– Three Cheeses that disappeared fast; Manchego, Camembert with Wild Mushrooms and the omnipresent Humboldt Fog
Blue Corn Chips and Homemade Salsa
Cucumber cups with spicy Scallop Ceviche
To drink: Prosecco, Raspberry Bellini
The Main Event
– Turkey Breast Roulades with prosciutto and basil
– Roasted Vegetables
– Stellar Salad
-To drink: Cocobon , Magistrate Cabernet Sauvignon
Caramel Apple Pie
Cucumber cups with Scallop Ceviche
Our Dinnertime Wine Selections
The Turkey Roulades, baking away…
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes
Caramel – Apple Pie… it runneth over ;-J
So, that was Christmas; the final feast of the year. I know I was ready for a steady diet of sprouts and water after all the indulging I’d done since Thanksgiving.
After the New Year arrived, our focus was on vegetables, and lots of them. Even Sean was tired of meat, eggs and cheese by the time the ball dropped. That was fine with me! Bring it on!
In general, we’ve been having veggie-packed meals ‘all year long’, as it were. But, we had loads of potatoes around, making it a little difficult to keep meals light, but I managed to avoid having them every night…somehow…
Colcannon & Pan-Roasted Asparagus, with Apple-Walnut Slaw
Colcannon Cakes, with leftover Slaw
Smoked Salmon/Frisee Crostini, adorned with FingerLime ‘Caviar’
Orecchiette with Kale and Wild Mushrooms
Now, obviously, many of these meals aren’t as Spartan as I’d have liked, but these lunches and dinners were usually the only substantial meal I’d have in a day… I may really still be full from the holidays! But after a couple weeks of these comfort-food meals, I went to the Sunday West LA Farmer’s Market. Here’s the haul:
Brussels Sprouts: $2
Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cilantro and Green Garlic $7
So far, from this haul, I’ve made a smooth, deceptively rich broccoli soup from a recipe I found on knowthecause.com. I’ve also been finishing off the leafy greens I’d bought on my last market visit. Check out this Arctic Char and Green Ribbons. The Kale and Chard from the previous market run were hearty and delicious combined with this crispy skinned Arctic Char….just an afterthought!
As happy as I am to be back in the blogosphere, I’m not going to promise anything in particular… well, I’ll promise one thing: In my quest for balance between Delicious and Nutritious, I’ll always share my findings.