I am not Martha.
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.
- Lasagna and salad.
- Pasta and salad.
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:
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:
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?