I’ve not thought much about food since returning from vacation. Our adventures in Costa Rica had far more to do with adrenaline and critters than our tastebuds. I relished that feeling of moving freely throughout the day, with nary a thought of “What’s for Dinner?”
I’ve managed to persist in a non-cooking fantasy for the last two weeks. Some sort of nutrition made its way to the table most nights (check out the meal plans if you don’t believe me). But meals lacked any concerted effort until I tried to reconstruct a casado – a simple plated meal of beans, rice, salad and meat – for dinner Saturday night. My version featured BBQ ribs, which were a hit, but the rest of the meal was a disaster. The boys spurned the simple lettuce salad and merely tolerated the beans and rice. I should have known better, having failed at “meal re-creation” in the past with everything from Greek coffee to Irish soda bread. Sure enough, casado tasted better near the Equator.
So it’s back to my own version of simple food for weeknight dinners. Tonight’s was a keeper: Spiced Chicken with Couscous Salad from, you guessed it, Real Simple. Sugar snap peas and basil from our garden boosted the flavor.
(I’m laughing at how horrible the color is in this photo. My summer goal is get smart with my new digital SLR – obviously I still have much to learn about white balance!)
Chicken and couscous - boosted by snap peas and basil from the garden.
While I generally avoid the kitchen as the week wanes, it was not so long ago that Friday nights were set aside as regular at-home dinner dates. When the boys were young, my husband and I would retreat to the kitchen after their bedtime. At-home dinner dates were a way for us to catch up, without interruption, and to enjoy meals designed for adult palates at the end of a busy work week.
Last Friday was a good time to revive the habit. The boys were away and I was yearning for a decent meal vs. the quickies thrown together all week. Long hours at work meant my husband and I had shared maybe one meal in the past week. It was a good time to catch up over an at-home dinner date.
We kept it simple: Sockeye salmon fillets with a Tom Douglas Rub With Love spice rub. Israeli couscous made with a recipe on the Trader Joe’s box. A green salad with a balsamic vinaigrette offered by a friend and reader of this blog (see her version below). Simple. Tasty. Plenty of time to reconnect with the Main Man.
Sockeye Salmon "rubbed with love" thanks to Tom Douglas
Friday Night Date Dinner:
Grilled Sockeye Salmon “rubbed with love”
Israeli Couscous with pine nuts & parsley
Green salad with Lisa’s Vinaigrette
Lisa’s Vinaigrette. “We use it on cold raw or cooked vegetables of every sort, as well as salad.”
1/2 cup olive oil (best you can find)
1/3 cup Elsa (brand) balsamic vinegar (this is the “secret” ingredient. Seattle Olive Oil “18 yr. traditional balsamic” also works, but cut the added sugar)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence, crushed
2 teaspoons granulated sugar (+/- according to taste)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dry ground mustard
2 to 3 cloves garlic, smashed
fresh ground pepper