Monday, February 27, 2012

Parmesan Crusted Salmon over Linguini and a Chocolate Souffle

I love making extravagant meals and baked goods.  But when I cook for myself I keep it pretty simple.  This week I decided to make a fancy dinner for my bf and I.

On the menu was parmesan crusted salmon, linguini with marinara, roasted asparagus, garlic bread and a chocolate souffle.
I started with the souffles. I got the recipe from Alton Brown.  I know a  good souffle needs some science to back it up, and Alton's got what it takes.
I made the salmon just like I would a chicken parm.  Drenched the filets in flour, a quick egg dip and then covered them with seasoned bread crumbs and some parmesan cheese.   I browned both sides in some olive oil and put it in the oven the filets were cooked through.  When I took them out, I topped them with a little dill.  Dill and salmon are such a perfect pair.  I couldn't resist. 

The linguini seemed  fancier than plain ol' spaghetti.   I simmered some bottled sauce for an hour while everything else cooked.  That thickens the sauce up to stick to the noodles a little better. 

I just drizzled the asparagus with some olive oil and sprinkled some sesame seeds over them before roasting.    

This was one of the best meals I've eaten in a long time, and... except for the exceptionally sweet souffles, the bf really seemed to love it.

I will agree, the souffles were very sweet.  And after such a rich meal, dessert wasn't as delicious as  it should have been.

I think there are a lot more home cooked date nights in store.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What's your Beef with eating local?

I get an email from a local farm that delivers their meat straight from the farm to your home once a month.  While I try to buy Amana steaks, I check the labels of the pork to make sure they're from Iowa (we have the best) and I refuse to buy South American grown fish... I have yet to take part in this door to door service. 

It's incredibly convenient and you get to shake the hand of the farmer who raised the cow and probably named it... (although I've heard you're not supposed to name them... you get too attached.)
But how does the cost of the true blue Iowa locally grown beef stack up against the supermarket deal-of-the-day? 

**Spoiler alert**
This stuff is kinda expensive... 
Starting with the cheap stuff:  Your basic ground beef is on sale this week for $2.99 a pound at Dahls, but this local farm delivers it to your door for $5/lb. 
Beef patties aren't too outlandish at $5.75/lb delivered to your door, but for 75 cents more you could pick it up at HyVee for $5/lb. 
A roast runs around $3.80/lb at the supermarket but the local dude brings it for $6.50. 
Knock, knock... it's the local meat guy! He has your ribeye Steak for $16 but Dahls is running a deal for $10.70/lb. 
Finally, Fareway has some stew meat for sale for $3.99/lb, and local guy is offering it for $6.50. 

Now, keep in mind these are all special deals, not the usual supermarket price...  But on any given week you can find a cut of meat on sale at one of the three big grocery stores in the metro. 

Choosing to eat local isn't going to be extremely cost effective, but for a girl who can live on a two pack of pork chops and some ground turkey every week... The benefits outweigh the costs.  Literally. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eating Local: An idea nugget floating in my brain.

I know it's been a minute since I last blogged... Sometimes I get in that mood where nothing seems blog-able.  But I know you all are dying to know what I've been up to and what kind of shenanigans I'm planning on getting myself into... so here goes. 

I am planning on eating 100% local for 100 days this summer.  I am still working out the kinks, but all the food I purchase is going to be grown here in Iowa, and the restaurants I go to are all going to be locally owned. 

Now, I know what you're thinking... Alisa, what are you going to do about salt?  I have no idea. 

I woke up wondering that myself. 

However, I also woke up with a recipe for apple pie using an oat flour crust floating around in my brain.

I'm meeting with an awesome farmer named Larry.  Follow him on twitter at @dirtfarmerlarry.  He is planning a loose CSA this summer where you tell him if you want a box on Thursday and he brings it on Saturday to the farmers market. 

A CSA, if you're not familiar, is basically an investment in a farm.  You usually pay up front for the whole summer, and you get a box of produce each week.  If the harvest is plentiful, you get more... if it's not so fruitful (haha) then you get less.  But local farmers are a special breed.  They don't like to send out skimpy CSAs.  So where the produce is lacking, you sometimes find a half dozen eggs floating around in your box...

The best parts about the CSA is that you're getting in-season produce picked at the ripest possible moment delivered on less than a tank of gas. 

I still have some kinks to work out... where am I going to get my butter/flour/salt... But I am also starting to get excited that some things are going to be out of reach, like packaged foods and sugar. 

My coworker Emily (@emilyindm) did a story on eating local that's going to air later this month and she interviewed me!  I guess I can't back down now. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Baby Shower and a Getaway

 I helped plan a baby shower for my dear Elizabeth this weekend.  It was fun to get together, but I hadn't gotten much sleep in the last few days, through no fault but my own...  But everything went off without a hitch! Even though it snowed about 4 inches while we were there.  (No joke)

I made some mini quiche and mini cupcakes for the occasion. 

 We had cinnamon rolls and a yogurt parfait bar too!

 Elizabeth got some great gifts! And she even has two more showers to go! 

 In other news... I'm headed to Sayulita Mexico on Tuesday! Check out the amazing view.  

 The more I read about the little coastal surfing town the more I love it!!