Food I made Spring Recap

This is a time where I know I have had a camera (or two) while I cook, and yet, I can’t seem to take enough.  “Did I not take pictures of the cheese plate/cutting the chocolate/grilling chicken?”  I suppose with this “watching what I eat’ Campaign, the weekly dinners get a little similar (probably not a good thing, visually).  And the weekend dinners?  Well Fiance is manning the grill, I do some sort of vegetable or we grill at a friend’s.  Or we eat out/take home.
Either way, I am slacking on the pics.

So the first weekend of June, was a busy one.  Saturday, our receptionist was having a small ladies get together in Garden Valley, a small mountain town in Idaho about an hour away from Boise.  I ended up driving up that afternoon, and back late that night since I was going to a baby shower the next morning.  I was asking myself, do I stay sober to drive back down that night, or do I imbibe and wake up mega early (not usually a problem) and head down?   Because of the Campaign, I decided to stay sober, save for a couple small glasses of wine (including a sparkling rose, on account of celebrating my seven years at my salon).

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So the next morning, I go to the baby shower, a beautiful setting in the mother-to-be’s new old (built in like, 1890) house, in their backyard with this great deck, a giant English Walnut tree, among a variety of old, historic trees lending heaps of shade.  I couldn’t make this up- one of the trees was planted in one of the city’s parks, this house was almost a nursery/foster home for trees.
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And then the food.  I am sure it was her friend’s sister who provided that, same for her wedding last fall (oooh man those stuffed mushrooms…) and it was not to be missed.  The star (for me)? The salmon salad.  I must have been lacking on omega-3s… and salmon.  I gobbled it up, and decided it was time to revisit an old friend recipe.  I orginally found this in Food and Wine magazine, and a search was not cutting it.  This recipe is similar, but the original had no cream- or we didn’t have it and I didn’t use it.  It was just a reduced balsamic… glaze.
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In the middle of making this, I realized this recipe is one of the first non-chicken-parm dishes I had made for Fiance, back when he was Boyfriend. 🙂
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Recently, we have been watching and learning a lot from Cook’s Country and Cook’s Illustrated’s America’s Test Kitchen on our over the air PBS.  There are three extra digital channels and they rock!  I took their meat lover’s manicotti and just made it regular, until I unintentionally made it a cheese explosion.  Fiance is so nice- “No- I like ricotta”
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I also essentially made a hybrid of the spaghetti sauce “guidelines” from my dad and the recipe from Cook’s Country.
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Now, in real life, the cupcakes were made before the salmon- minor detail.  These I made for the ladies night in the mountains.  The bride to be is primarily gluten-free, so I did up the rice flour and this time, tossed in a half teaspoon of xanthan gum.  Crumbly crisis averted.
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This recipe is genius.  After an intense Pinterest and Google and then into the food blogs.  I wanted to red velvet without using an ounce of red food coloring, a tube of red color gel icing and not have it taste like pretty dirt from the beet.  One of them was all complicated.  Beet root powder?  Oh, you can tell me how to make it?  I’ll pass.  Boiling the beets and extracting the juice from  the.. . yeah you lost me waaay back there.  Puree the beets and add vanilla and lemon juice (for science!)? Go on…
On top of Hannah completely nailing the science of things, her explanation is legit, I love the incorporation of beets and how to not make it so beet-y.
That makes me excited.  I remember feeling this way with the color wheel and hair color long, long ago.
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So these are actually from batch #2.  The first one, well there was a hiccup in the kitchen and the test panel… wasn’t digging it.  Tried it again the next morning, as I had to leave that afternoon.  I even pureed the beets outside so I didn’t wake up the house.  Kind of glad it happened because I found these cupcake liners that I impulse bought some time ago.
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Batch #1.  I also think I used too much gum before so I was able to reduce it and not make red velvet mini cupcakes chewing gum.
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Sadly, I never got a pretty take-two cupcake picture.  Oh well. I will be making these again since this recipe is so bomb.
I will avenge you, pretty cupcakes!!!
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2 responses to “Food I made Spring Recap

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