What’s for dinner this week?

We were on our way home yesterday from a 4-day weekend in Oregon, after visiting relatives, and having some other fun touring around. We stopped for lunch, and Bill ordered a Prosciutto Caprese sandwich on ciabatta bread. I told him that a Caprese Salad consists of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves. He said the sandwich was delicious, so I thought I’d like to make a Caprese Salad this week before all the basil in the garden goes away with the cooler weather. But I didn’t want to make it the same night as he had that sandwich, so I came up with another idea for last night.

We had bought a package of frozen “winter mix” vegetables (cauliflower and broccoli) on the trip, which we used in a small cooler pack to keep our water bottles cold. Clever, eh? So I knew we’d be having that with our dinner. What else should I cook, thinks I? Thick-cut pork chops came to mind, and jasmin rice. I thought I’d like to make a nice sear on the chops using a glaze of agave nectar and dijon mustard, and to cook the rice in some jasmin tea. Both of those turned out amazing, especially the chops. When you make your own glaze, start out with equal amounts of mustard and nectar (or honey), and then adjust to your taste. The dijon was plenty of salty taste for both of our palates, and the agave sugar really gave an excellent dark color to the chops. Mmmmm, great leftovers, too.

So tonight it’s going to be the Caprese Salad! I’ve already sliced up 3 tomatoes and a package of goat mozzarella. I picked some nice basil, rinsed it, and I have the stems in a cup of water waiting until the last minute. I’ll dress the salad with some nice balsamic vinegar and a bit of grape seed oil (my favorite). Bill is going to look for some salmon or swordfish steaks for me to herb-crust and grill on my Bobby Flay grill pan. Just thinking of a nice, rare, herbed and seared fresh fish steak and all those fresh salad ingredients has my mouth watering. I guess it’s lunch time – that might have something to do with it.

FriedFishI picked two really large pattypan squash when I was out in the garden, too. We’re just about to the end of the squash season, but the pattypans are still putting out fruit. I thought I’d grate up the largest one, which must be at least 8 inches across, and make squash fritters. I’ll just mix the shreds with an egg, some rice flour and grated parmesan, scoop out dollops with an ice cream scoop into hot oil, and smash them down as they fry. I was mentioning this in the chat room of my favorite game at http://www.dkmgames.com and said I needed to think of a protein to go with the fritters. One of the nice gals suggested souvlaki. Great! I’m going to make it easy on myself and have Bill pick up a package of “chicken tenders”, pre-cut chicken strips, which I can skewer with some red bell pepper slices, and use that Bobby Flay grill pan again to grill the kebabs. I’ll also have him bring home a cucumber so I can make some tzatziki sauce for dipping.

Stay tuned – I might come up with Thursday and Friday’s menu before too long!

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