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I am not Martha.

January 7, 2010

I love having people come over for dinner.  As a matter of fact, I would invite people several times a week if it weren’t for A. this crazy thing I do all day called work, and B. having to actually figure out what to serve. 

It’s not that I don’t like to cook because I do enjoy it (most of the time). The problem is that I don’t think a lot of what I cook is fit to serve others.  I mean, it’s one thing for me to defrost a bunch of random vegetables from the freezer, scramble some eggs, top the whole thing with salsa, and call it a day.  But serving that to someone else?  Completely out of the question.

Over the years I have managed to pull together a few fail proof meals that I serve when we have guests. 

  1. Lasagna and salad. 
  2. Pasta and salad. 
  3. ??

Okay so maybe I haven’t managed to pull together too many recipes, but I do make some pretty decent pasta dishes. 

We had a few friends over for dinner tonight and I decided that I wanted to make something other than pasta for a change.  I always find meat rather intimidating, and a  bit gross if I’m being honest, but since my meat-only eating brother was lucky enough to be included in tonight’s guest list, I decided I needed to make a meal that involved red meat. 

So I trekked down to Ralphs, bought the largest pot roast I could find, and pulled out my dusty slow cooker.  I chopped up a few potatoes and carrots, added some water and seasonings, and the roast, and cooked it on low for 9 hours. 

I bought this slow cooker on amazon.com for about $30 and it was worth every penny.  I believe that the slow cooker might be the most under-utilized kitchen appliance!  Seriously, this pot roast couldn’t have been any easier and with the rave reviews it received tonight one would have thought that I slaved in the kitchen all day long.

Since I don’t eat meat and I do get a bit tired of eating eggs three times a day, I decided to go all out tonight and make salmon as well.  Once again, I headed to the grocery store and purchased one of the few non-farm raised pieces of fish I could find.  I threw together a marinade as follows:

Salmon Marinade

2 Tablespoons of plain mustard
2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 Tablespoon of apricot jam
2-3 Tablespoons of capers
1/2 a medium onion

Combine the first 4 ingredients and pour them over the salmon. I somehow managed to cut an onion without cutting my hand or crying my eyes out, and I sprinkled the onion slices and capers on top of the salmon. I cooked the whole thing at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Here it is before:

And after:

This is my plate with an amazing Caesar salad that my friend brought.  She makes the dressing herself and it is THE BEST.  All I know is that it includes anchovies and tons of olive oil. 

Since everything was falling into place so nicely, I decided I had time to come up with a dessert too. While I don’t usually excel when it comes to main dishes, I do much better in the dessert department. Normally I make something chocolate related because really, what else should dessert be comprised of? But today I decided to tackle bread pudding. Why? Because Ali loves it and I thought I’d stop being selfish for a change.

I based my recipe on this one but made a couple of changes, as follows:

Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding

10 Slices of Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Bread
2 Tablespoons of melted butter
4 Eggs, beaten
2 Cups of milk (I used Vanilla Almond Breeze)
1/2 Cup of brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Break bread into small pieces into an 8 inch square baking pan. I had Maya do this and I had a blissful 5 minutes of peace and quiet.  Drizzle the melted butter over the bread.
3. Combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and stir until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly push down until the bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.
4. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.

I am pretty sure that I will never master the camera’s flash.

I served this warm and with vanilla ice cream.  I couldn’t eat it (gluten allergy) but this too received many compliments and the house smelled amazing!  

I think I was 3 for 3 today. Obviously I will never be Martha Stewart but I didn’t do too badly if I do say so myself.

Do you have any go to meals that you serve when you have visitors?  Do you have a kitchen appliance you think is underrated?

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. January 8, 2010 12:16 am

    YUMMMM this salmon sounds delicious! I haven’t had meat in a while, but i do love a good salmon. Thank you!

    XXOO

  2. January 8, 2010 1:23 am

    I love that you mentioned the underrated kitchen appliance topic. I feel that way about my vegetable steamer! Great job on the dinner, I think you were quite the magnanimous host to oblige all your guests’ palates.

  3. January 8, 2010 3:36 am

    I bet guests would LOVE that meal! I know I would love bread pudding!

    We have staple dishes we like to serve to guests – our vegan pizza, our version of Pad Siew, the whole Mexican food spread, our pasta primavera, vegan “chicken” and biscuits, chili… we are constantly trying new dishes. Last night was the first time we made spaghetti squash and we LOVED it! My husband even wants to stock up for the year!

    Hmm. We don’t have many kitchen appliances. I think the bread maker is OVERrated 😉

  4. January 8, 2010 5:00 am

    Yummm! I want the bread pudding too!

  5. January 8, 2010 5:32 am

    The after pic is confusing. Is that the ceasar salad or the salmon? I can’t find the salmon anywhere. 😥

    Half of your ingredients are not in my kitchen! Appliances? Nothing! Everything is used!

    • January 8, 2010 8:34 am

      My salmon is on the side of the salad…off to the right. I completely forgot to take a picture of the cooked salmon when it came out of the oven!

      • January 9, 2010 4:22 am

        Do send me one, next time you prepare it. I’d like to see it 😀

  6. January 8, 2010 5:35 am

    There are so many things I love about that meal. The salmon looks amazing. (I’d skip the onions because I hate them. I know, I know.) Bread pudding is my most favorite dessert ever. Well, honestly, it’s my favorite food ever. It looks great.

    As for my go-to foods, my husband’s family demands either hamburgers or turkey when they come to visit, so that pretty much narrows it down for me. With friends, I like to do fish, too.

  7. January 8, 2010 5:53 am

    Looks super yummy 🙂

    I wish I could cook. I’m pretty decent with the baking, but my cooking skills of actual foods with nutrients is totally lacking.

  8. January 8, 2010 6:07 am

    I have very little kitchen appliances — living with others…sucks 🙂
    I think your meal looks neat-o…and great raisin bread pudding – nice baking skills Ameena 🙂

  9. Danielle permalink
    January 8, 2010 6:37 am

    I’m with you- I usually have no idea what to serve people. If it were up to me, they’d be eating tempeh and sweet potato fries 🙂
    I know the freezer doesn’t really count as an “appliance” but I think it’s underrated! I seriously freeze everything.

    • January 8, 2010 8:34 am

      I love sweet potato fries…nobody else in my house does though!

  10. January 8, 2010 6:41 am

    My slow cooker is definitely underrated! I love the salmon and the apricot jam is a great addition!

  11. January 8, 2010 7:10 am

    I’m definitely not Martha. Everything you made looks so delicious!! Especially the raisin bread pudding!!!!

    When we have people over, we usually make casseroles or chili if it’s colder weather. If it’s warm, we grill chicken or burgers.

  12. January 8, 2010 7:30 am

    Oh that looks so good!!! Could pass as Martha to me 😉

  13. January 8, 2010 8:04 am

    thanks for the comments on my blog!! love yours! all of the food looks AMAZING, mrs martha 🙂

    cinn raisin bread pudding with ezekial bread=PHEMON what a great idea! and thats my fav kind of bread!!

    TGIF!

  14. January 8, 2010 8:14 am

    I do a mean Chicken Picata when we have guests…or anything Italian.

    I always serve some raw fun appetizers and desserts which gets the coversation on health and no one goes home feeling guilty or glutenous (sp)

    I think all your dishes look and sound amazing! Martha schmartha.

  15. January 8, 2010 8:52 am

    I love the sound of your salmon marinade! I mean, who needs to be Martha when you can make things that taste just as good in a fraction of the time/effort and then enjoy a few things that are NOT cooking/homemaking (God forbid, haha). I fully support your slow cooker usage. I think there are magical elves in there that make things taste extra good! Good investment. 🙂

  16. January 8, 2010 9:00 am

    Looks like you were very successful! I know my mother is the queen of hosting people- and she has a tendency to over-do it to appeal to everyone. We do a good salmon recipe where we cover it with a mixture of sesame oil, grated ginger, garlic, and a little bit of soy sauce- it’s delicious. Other mass-servable dishes- maybe a rice-based dish (biryani, pulao, create-your-own, etc)or enchiladas?

    • January 8, 2010 5:06 pm

      I wish I was able to make Indian food but it absolutely intimidates me. All those masalas and other ingredients that I never have.

      • January 9, 2010 4:21 am

        Nothing to it. U need Kashmiri Chilli powder (just very red/ not hot), coriander powder and turmeric powder, garam masala (packet available). Thos are the powders. If an absolutely illiterate cook like me can dish up what I do these days, you (a genius) can do it. And you’ve got recipes on the web these days.

  17. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce permalink
    January 8, 2010 9:24 am

    um can i come over for a slice of that bread pudding? ezekiel cinnamon raisin is like my fave in teh world! i think you are a terrific dinner host, martha or not. sweet of you to consider your brother’s um, dietary restrictions, and whip up some red meat even though you’re not a fan.

  18. January 8, 2010 10:08 am

    My slow cooker intimidates me… or maybe it’s just the fact that I’m not that patient a person when it comes to food, so anything with “slow” in it’s name instantly turns me away. Who knows.

    I’ve never actually tried bread pudding… but it looks pretty tasty; I might have to give it a go.

    As far as underrated kitchen appliances… spatula… definitely spatula.

  19. January 8, 2010 11:09 am

    I bet you make your guests very happy and at home. That bread pudding looks so yummy. I love cinnamon.

  20. January 8, 2010 12:29 pm

    MMMmmmmm, I am invited….right?

    Your guest are gonna be blessed!

    Have a great evening and may God bless ya’ll!!!

  21. January 8, 2010 12:49 pm

    Oh my…YUM!! Love bread pudding 🙂

  22. Lynn at The Actors Diet permalink
    January 8, 2010 5:52 pm

    oooh! looks delicious, all of it. i love that you used ezekiel in the bread pudding.

  23. January 8, 2010 7:36 pm

    looks good… please invite me over whenever you like 🙂

  24. January 9, 2010 5:48 am

    This all looks great!

    I often struggle with trying to decide what to serve guests as well. I would like to do more Indian dishes, but am not experienced in making mass quantities like my mom and MIL churn out for guests. Western food is easier for me to do in bigger quantities.

    The slow-cooker is definitely the unsung hero of the kitchen.

    Great site, by the way!

  25. January 9, 2010 5:48 pm

    Bread looks tastyyy!!

  26. January 10, 2010 8:22 pm

    That salmon marinade sounds just dreamy. I’m always looking for different marinades, dressings and sauces so I will have to try. Thanks!

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