Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday in the Kitchen- Corn and Green Bean Salad

I've gotten in the habit recently of spending a few hours in the kitchen each Sunday. Our routine is usually a lazy morning with coffee, walking the dogs, a trip to HEB and an evening watching some TV. In the few spare hours between, I like to make a few things for lunches for the week, and cook an occasional Sunday supper. It's a good chance for me to make something that is usually too labor intensive for a weeknight, and also try some dishes from my Cookbook Club book so that I can actually contribute during out get togethers.

I'm still enjoying Ruhlman's Twenty and am working my way through the 20 cooking techniques. The theory being that if you know how to properly do X, Y, or Z, then you can cook just about anything. Since we eat pretty healthy during the week, Sunday is also a good time to cook a good splurge meal, too.

Yesterday I decided to make a Corn, Onion and Green Bean Salad with a Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette, and also Butter Poached Shrimp and Grits. It was a doozy, for sure!! The two recipes spanned several cooking techniques though, so I thought the time I invested in the dishes was worth it.

All my ingredients gathered to make the salad. Marley is ready to help, as always. 

The salad was from the technique chapter Onion. It's basically ways to cook onion to enhance dishes. In this particular dish, you boil the vegetables separately in salted water, cool them off in an ice bath, and then drain them. One thing I learned is that salting water (either for vegetables or pasta) means more than just a dash or two of salt. You should actually TASTE the water before you start cooking, and make sure that you can really taste the salt. For a large pot of water, that means nearly a cup of salt. I'll admit- the vegetables turned out crisp and tasty!

For boiling vegetables, heavily salt the water, and use a basket to pull them out easily.

Once they're out of the boiling water, put them in an ice bath for a few minutes, and then drain on a towel.

Final product was one really pretty salad!

The roasted shallot vinaigrette was to die for. It took time to roast, but otherwise was pretty easy. Just wrap up a few shallots (unpeeled, with ends cut off) in a foil packet with a tablespoon of butter and some salt and pepper, and roast for an hour at 400. Let them cool, then dump them in a blender with red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Blend, and then stream in olive oil to your liking. I try to use minimal oil, so I used equal parts vinegar and oil (about 1/4 cup each).

Roasted shallots made the house smell phenomenal. 

After the salad was done, Hunk helped me with the Poached Shrimp and Grits from the Poach chapter of the book. The grits included onion and bacon, and we also added some blue cheese that I needed to use up. I would make these again, but would leave out the bacon and seriously reduce the amount of onion. I liked the poaching technique used for the shrimp, but have to say that I have entirely lost my appetite for all things fish. I rarely eat meat these days (with the few exceptions for bacon) and the shrimp just did not taste good to me. I think Hunk enjoyed them, but it's not something I would make again. I'll just have to find something else to poach in butter....

Sunday Supper

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