Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fruit for Dinner and a Quiet Week Ahead...

This was my dinner tonight.  Isn't it pretty?





Protein?  No.    Vegetables?  No.    Light, summery deliciousness?  YES!



The rosemary infused "croccantini" (which I'm pretty sure is just fancy pants Italian talk for "crackers"), topped with mascarpone cheese, sliced peaches and strawberries, agave nectar and nutmeg was a sweet little slice of fruity heaven in my mouth.



Greek yogurt with mixed berries, pomegranate arils and a drizzle of strawberry balsamic vinaigrette finished my no-cook, hot-day-friendly, girly dinner.  




Exactly the sort of dinner that Jamie would protest against since there's no meat and it's just far too feminine of a presentation.  I had some beef and broccoli in the fridge to make a quick stir-fry tonight, but it was just way too hot out to even cook that for dinner.  Plus, fresh peaches won't be available for too much longer, so I have to take advantage of them.






Secretly, though, I think Jamie would agree that this tasted fantastic, if he were here.  He can't admit that just now though, if he's reading this, since he's in Sturgis this week, and he has a reputation to maintain.  :)  I'm pretty sure he liked the strawberry balsamic vinaigrette on the salad we had for dinner Sunday night, though.  The vinaigrette is a little sweet, a little savory, and can top anything from salad or meat to yogurt and ice cream.





The house is quiet tonight, since it's just me.  Of course I'm already planning what I'll make him for a welcome home dinner on Saturday...  but I don't want to give that away just yet.  In the meantime, I have piles of books I want to read, and a couple more sewing/mending projects I haven't quite finished yet.  A few weeks ago, I taught myself how to do a cuffed hem on two pairs of dress pants he needed taken up.  The first pair took me about four hours.  Should it take that long?  Somehow, I think not.  And I'm still not convinced that I did it quite right, especially after he tried them on, and they were still a little too long.

All this quietness, other than the Food Network channel in the background, gives me time to ponder the vacation that I really, REALLY want us to be able to take this October, after the craziness of work ends in September. When I think about it too much, I feel a little frustrated that my work involves spreadsheets and policies, missing files on the share drive, shipping deadlines, blah, blah, blah...   When what I really want to be doing is baking cookies and other yummy things, taking more time to paint and draw, really learn about photography, cook during the day when it's sunny out, or maybe own a cute little pink and white bakery where I can wear a fluffy apron and tempt people with treats all day!

But for now, the bills need to be paid, right?  :)  Which brings me back to a fall vacation...  The more I think about this, the more convinced I am that nothing else would be as perfect, as peaceful, as beautiful.   Maine.  I've never been there, and I so want to go!  I want to stay in a cute little beach town (maybe York?), rent a car and drive along the coast, eat fresh seafood, take pictures of all the fall colors, spend a day in Boston...  Maybe if we just eat Ramen noodles for the next two months, we could do it!  I wonder if an interesting blog post could be written about Ramen?  Eh, probably not.






Well, after all this rumination, I'll say goodnight to all you fellow foodies, and leave you with a couple simple but delicious recipes that I hope you'll make and love as much as I did.



Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 6 strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • pinch of salt
Place all ingredients in a container and puree until smooth using an immersion blender (or, you can puree the vinaigrette in a blender or food processor).  Serve as a salad dressing, use as a marinade, or swirl it with yogurt and berries.



Peach and Strawberry Croccantini
  • 1 croccantini (or your favorite crackers)
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 peach, pitted and sliced
  • 2 strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or you can substitute honey)
  • sprinkle of nutmeg
Spread the mascarpone cheese on the croccantini and top with the fruit.  Drizzle with the nectar or honey, and sprinkle with nutmeg.


(Slightly off topic, but worth mentioning...  I sort of consider using my crock pot as a no-cook dinner, too, because I really don't feel like I'm cooking with the crock pot doing all the work for me.  Last night I made some very tender and moist chicken and red potatoes with fat-free cream of mushroom soup.  The shredded chicken absorbed the creaminess of the soup so nicely, and it was a really tasty dish, but I didn't feel like this recipe warranted its own post, since soupy chicken and potatoes on rice really doesn't make a very exciting photo.  :) You can find that recipe here, though, for a filling dinner that will still keep your kitchen cool on hot evenings.)