Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pretentious Tuesday - Baked Cod & Roasted Cauliflower

I'm drawing a line in the sand.

It gets easy to find yourself in a rut, making the same dishes over and over because the dish is either easy to make, the ingredients are cheap, your comfortable with the your excuse.

Growing up in my parents' household those "go-to" meals were meatloaf and spaghetti.

We all live very busy lives and it gets hard when you have to come home from work to take care of your family, cook dinner only to look forward to logging back into your work computer again later that evening.

I recognize that this rhythm is tough, and you've gotta eat. But it doesn't always have to be the some old meal prepared the same way over and over (I'm guilty of it myself. Ask Kristi about my spicy rubbed grilled chicken).

So here's my solution: I declare Pretentious Tuesday to be a day that no matter what stand-by meal I make, I prepare it differently, and describe it with as many snotty, foodie snob buzzwords as humanly possible. It mixes things up, even if it's just a psychological boost and it gives my snarky alter-ego the opportunity to make fun of the foodie elite blogger/critic/home-cook/author/food porn hipster that exists in all of us.

On my inaugural Pretentious Tuesday dinner, I offer Spice rubbed baked cod and rustic roasted cauliflower over a bed of local greens.

Key ingredients
  • Wild cod
  • 4 cloves of garlic - whole, unpeeled
  • Half Mayan onion, thinly sliced
  • Mixed greens
  • Half lemon, sliced
  • 1 pad of organic butter
  • Rub for fish
    • Murray salt - no substitutes
    • Crushed habenero chili flakes
    • Ground black pepper
    • Fresh thyme - hand shredded
    • Herbs de Provence
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 4 cloves of garlic, whole, unpeeled
  • Ground pepper
  • Himalayan salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
Cooking the Cauliflower
Throw the cauliflower ingredients on a roasting pan and cook in the oven at 425 degrees for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cooking the Cod
 Spray coconut oil (or Pam) on a baking sheet. Apply the rub ingredients to your level of heat, taste. Scatter the sliced onion and garlic on the same sheet. Squeeze the lemon over everything and throw on the pan. Cook at 400 degrees for approximately 12 minutes, but check regularly. Remove when flaky.

Let us know about your Pretentious Tuesday meals.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Leftover Buffalo wing pasta is tastier than you think

So, I got a little over zealous with the chicken wings last weekend. The 49er's were playing a couple of friends were coming over. Yeah, so I ordered way too much food for 3 adults. How much, you ask??

30 buffalo wings
17 buffalo chicken strips
2 large baskets of fries (Wing Stop has the best fries - with the exception of In n' Out)

Kristi's out of town this week on business and I have a full order of chicken strips sitting in the fridge that have to go before she comes home on Wednesday. I opted for using the fried chicken in a pasta. It's simple, easy and fast.

leftovers, chicken, pasta
Here's what I used:

- Leftover fried chicken (breaded chicken breast, if you prefer)
- 6 or so cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 12oz bag of fresh broccoli (in a microwavable steam bag)
- Sun dried tomatoes - figure 2-3 spoonfuls per person) 
- Basil infused olive oil - or just plain old olive oil
- Thyme
- Salt & pepper
- Whole wheat pasta
- 1 pad of butter
- 1 squeezed lemon or so...

In a pan, saute the garlic with olive oil, thyme and pepper - add a little white wine to prevent the garlic from browning. Add the chicken and sun dried tomatoes. Let cook under low/medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the broccoli (already steamed in the microwave) and butter. Let that go until the pasta is cooked to your liking (You want to add the broccoli about 2-3 minutes before taking it off the heat to avoid burning). Squeeze the lemon on top - you're done.

The moral of this story: Almost any leftover protein can be chopped up (even fried buffalo chicken strips) can be combined with a nearby vegetable (spinach, peas, asparagus, zucchini, carrots) to create an easy and yummy pasta.  Ugh, now that I've eaten, time to get back on the VPN.