My passionate love for all things edible has apparently escalated to a somewhat frightening intensity lately, judging from my husband's skeptical responses to each new dish I force on him and his diminishing ardor when faced with a new sinkful of dirty dishes (three cheers for the world's hottest, and cheerfulest, dishwasher).
I recently signed up for an organic co-op and each week is a fresh challenge in culinary creativity. There's nothing like a boxful of produce that I would never buy at the grocery store (think alfalfa sprouts, artichokes, squash and giant kiwi) to inspire me to new heights. Via a priceless Pinterest tip, I've learned to fill the sink with vinegar water and soak all the dirt, grime and pesticides off for much fresher and longer-lasting produce:
I love grapes, ok?? And when they're on sale for $0.97 a pound I freeze them for provisions in winter. Frozen grapes are a delicious, healthy way to curb my sweet tooth that rears with a vengeance about every half hour.
Freshly washed to-die-for-ness.
Last Friday's produce yielded enough sweet cherries and plums for this Honey Crisp I served to company earlier this week. Can we just talk about how incredible organic fruit tastes?? Best grapes I've ever eaten, and kiwi sweeter than candy. Not to mention that last night's plums looked like glimmering, deep red jewels. I was way too busy entertaining to snap a photo, and it was inexcusable. My...August resolution is to build a custom camera shelf in my kitchen so that my life as a kitchen prima donna does not go undocumented. In other words, this is the last time you'll see mouth-watering recipes unaccompanied by photos actually shot by yours truly.
On to the recipes!
Our company entree was classy Abs Diet Burgers (they are thick, juicy, manly, and incredibly good.) I also tried baked potatoes in the crockpot, first time ever. I wasn't a huge fan. The skins didn't "crisp" like I'd envisioned, they were slightly gummy and bore that mysterious crockpot taste which I masked with loads of sour cream, but in the future I'll stick to the good old oven-with-foil method.
Recently I made these Blueberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies for small group. Clearly, the only thing to say here is please put those in-season blueberries to good use and make these immediately. Totally, utterly divine.
Our weeknight dinners have been increasingly later and pressed for time (think hour+ commutes for the Mister and long workouts to get in shape for when he mountain-bikes in Moab, Utah with his dad this weekend). The other night I whipped up these Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes (normally Nate wouldn't touch sweet potatoes with a 33-foot pole) to accompany syrupy-with-a-kick Maple-Glazed Chicken. It was like dessert for dinner, and should be illegal.
I had way too much fun experimenting while Nate's friend DJ was here. Both guys belong to the Five-Dinners-They'd-Eat-Forever-And-Be-Happy Club, but unfortunately for Nate he got stuck with a wife who hates making the same thing twice. So we feasted on Pioneer Woman's version of Chicken Parmigiana, French bread dipped in herbed olive oil (H-E-B has a divine Sicilian spice blend), salad and this whopper of a Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie, a la mode. Ever made a cookie in a skillet? Do it. One pan and a giant hunk of deliciousness later, it's the easiest - and one of the tastiest - desserts I've tried.
I apparently have a huge thing for avocados: the smooth, creamy, perfectly succulent gods of summer. I never liked them much before, but one day my senses were awakened and I could not stop eating them. I made two quick, easy and unbelievable avocado dishes this week: Chicken and Avocado Soup using homemade chicken stock, and Avocado Mac 'n Cheese. Two words: holy, and cow.
My favorite dish of the week was a pescetarian spin on Chipotle burrito bowls. That these were a success can only be conveyed by describing a total fish-loather (Nate) requesting a different meal altogether, then skeptically sniffing, eyeing, tasting, eyes-widening, and digging in with gusto. A triumph! Unfortunately for our guests, third-floor apartments are not well ventilated and blackening tilapia in a cast iron skillet produces a veritable cloud of spicy, throat-coating smoke. All the better to anticipate dinner with, my dear. Without further ado, I give you Spicy Fish Taco Bowls. Amen.
And I will leave you with these. Pioneer Woman's desserts never cease to - pardon her French - make my skirt fly up. I brought these Chocolate Mint Brownie Bites to a party, where they scored rave reviews. Chocolate. Mint. Brownie. What's not to love?!