Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dinner from Disney

Just returned from taking Logan on his first Disney trip - an auspicious occasion in the Reed household! We went with 6 other families so between us we had nine kids ages six and down for a week in Disney. Oh boy!

While I was in Disney I had the opportunity to eat all kinds of park food. Some meals were definitely better than others. One meal I particularly enjoyed was dinner at T Rex in Downtown Disney.

The wait was kind of long (even with reservations) but the food was good and dining experience was excellent. The restaurant was decorated like Jurassic Park and there are regular “meteor showers” every 20 or 30 minutes. (Logan loved the light show!) For dinner I got the Omnivore Salad with shrimp - rosemary infused shrimp on top of a salad with strawberries, dried cranberries, goat cheese and maple pecans then topped with a balsamic reduction dressing.

The salad was so good and better yet, it was something I could easily recreate and enjoy when ever I liked at home. I liked adding shrimp to the top. Seafood, in addition to being so tasty, is also good for you. It is a great source of lean healthy protein and vitamin D. It is also a natural source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Shrimp really are a tasty, bite-sized, little super food.

The Anytime Omnivore Salad

1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, finally chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 bag salad greens
½ cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
¼ cup dried cranberries
Maple pecans (recipe below)
Balsamic Reduction Dressing (recipe below)

•Preheat oven to 400º.
•Place shrimp into a bowl. Add olive oil, chopped garlic, rosemary and a dash of salt. Toss to coat shrimp.
•Pour shrimp into a large glass baking dish. Bake for about 10 minutes or until shrimp are fully cooked (they will look white opaque).
•Portion salad greens onto serving plates. Top with strawberries and cranberries.
•Add cooked shrimp and maple pecans. Top with Balsamic Reduction Dressing.

Maple Pecans
½ cup pecan halves
¼ cup real maple syrup
½ teaspoon chili powder

•Preheat oven to 400º.
•In a small bowl toss together.
•Cover a baking sheet with tin foil. Spread pecans onto baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes.

Balsamic Reduction Dressing
1 cup basalmic vinegar
Garlic salt
Fresh cracked black pepper

•Simmer basalmic vinegar in a medium skillet until it thickens to a syrup (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat. Season basalmic reduction with fresh cracked black pepper and a dash of garlic salt. Stir well.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pass the Pumpkins Please!

I have a confession to make - I really really love Halloween. I love decorating my house and passing out candy to all the little trick-or-treaters. I even dress up to pass out the candy.

This year was extra fun because I had another little person to “decorate” for evening – my 6 month old, Logan. Naturally I decided we needed to coordinate our costumes. Since I had an adorable little devil costume for him I decided to coordinate myself and go as an angel. Fitting, huh?

Since I love this holiday so much I wanted to come up with a fitting dinner for Halloween night. Of course it had to be something simple or something I could make ahead since dinner time comes right about the time trick-or-treaters start making the rounds in my neighborhood. I came up with Pumpkin Soup with Cran-Apple Pistachio Relish. Let me tell you it was delish!

Not sure why I don’t cook with pumpkin more often. It is available anytime of the year in canned form and it is really easy to add to all kinds of dishes. The best part is, unlike any other canned veggies, you can get cans of 100% pure pumpkin (no extra copious amounts of salt added!).

This recipe makes a good amount of soup. I like to refrigerate it and eat it for a week, but if that is more pumpkin soup than you want, try freezing it. Just portion into ziplock bags, push the air out, seal and freeze.

The relish will keep in the fridge for several days, but it won’t freeze well. If you are going to keep the relish in the fridge think about waiting to add the pistachios when you are ready to serve it so they are nice and crunchy. Pistachios will get soft sitting in the fridge soaking up the fruit juices of the relish.

Happy belated Halloween!!

Pumpkin Soup with Cran-Apple Pistachio Relish
Hands on time: 12 minutes Start to finish: 25 minutes Makes: 6 servings (9 cups)

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks with leaves, diced
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon curry powder
48 oz container low sodium chicken stock (6 cups)
15 oz can 100% pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons brown sugar
8 oz heavy cream (1 cup)
½ teaspoon nutmeg

• Heat a medium soup pot on medium high heat. Add olive oil, butter, onions, celery and garlic salt top pot and sauté for 6-7 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent.
• Add flour, thyme, curry powder top veggies and sauté for 1 minute.
• Add chicken stock, pumpkin puree and brown sugar to the pot. Whisk together and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes to thicken the soup.
• Reduce heat to low. Add heavy cream and nutmeg. Stir to incorporate. Keep warm until ready to serve.
• Ladle soup into bowls and top with Cran-Apple Pistachio Relish.

Cran-Apple Pistachio Relish
½ cup pistachios, rough chopped
½ c dried cranberries, chopped
1 granny smith apple, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 teaspoons honey
• While soup is simmering chop the pistachios, cranberries and apple. Stir together with lemon juice, chili powder and honey. Set aside until ready to serve.