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Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Perfect Five!

As those of you who've been reading my blog for a while know, we rank our dishes.  Five is OMG, that's good, you can make it again tomorrow.  Four is that's really good.  Three is it's ok but needs some serious tweaking.  Two is throw the recipe away.  One's don't exist - at least in our house they don't!  I can't say I've ever fixed a solid FIVE meal.  Must've happened along the way somewhere but I don't remember it.  Now, I'm memorializing one so if I forget about it later, you all can remind me... 

One evening last week, I sat down at the table with all the recipes from The Dish that I'd printed out and all of the pages I'd torn from the October, 2010 issue of Food and Wine.  Over the next three weeks we'd be eating at home together a maximum of 15 times.   At that point, I had 22 entrees on my list to try.  And, we're only required to submit four posts a week that are inspired by Food and Wine.  Now, inspired is a big word.  Pretty much anything can be inspired by something else in a magazine that covers as much territory as Food and Wine does.  I've chosen to focus on Food and Wine recipes for the month.  Almost all of the recipes we'll try over the next few weeks will be directly from Food and Wine. That's the only way we'll all get an idea of what the magazine has to offer.

Speaking of that, let's talk for a minute about Food and Wine the magazine.  Some may be put off by their focus on the coasts.  They believe most good restaurants are on the East coast or West coast.  Goodness knows, Indianapolis doesn't exist as far as they're concerned.  I agree totally with that criticism.  But, the other one that I hear a lot is that the recipes are way too far out is somewhat misplaced.  There are some recipes that I'd never in a million years make.  Many, however, are very approachable.  They don't require odd ingredients or cooking techniques.  I would say, most of the recipes are more suited to adults than kids.  I think if the grandkids came to visit for the weekend, I'd be pulling out some other recipes!  At any rate, please stop click on the link at the end of this post and leave a comment so you'll be entered to win a one year subscription to Food and Wine.  If you win, I hope you'll enjoy the magazine as much as we do!

On to the perfect five.  I'd pulled out a couple of recipes to try for dinner then saw Alison's post on maple balsamic vinaigrette and the lovely salad she made with it.  That'd be perfect with the cod and potato salad.  A couple of notes on the recipes.  The original cod recipe called for crisping the olives in olive oil in the microwave.  I don't know about you but I'm not fond of the idea of heating olive oil in my microwave until it's hot enough to crisp olives...  That'd scare the heck out of me.  So, in the instructions below I show how I did them.  Also, once I made the spinach and chive puree, I felt it had too much oil - even at 1/4 cup.  So, I added more spinach.  Since dinner was almost ready I didn't take the time to blanch it and was thrilled when it turned out just fine.  Actually, because I didn't blanch it, there were lovely flecks of spinach in the puree - bonus!  As usual, I replaced the maple syrup with shagbark hickory syrup in the dressing recipe.  For the salad, I used what we had on hand - spinach and strawberries.  The recipe didn't call for putting soy sauce in with the nuts but I thought it'd be a good addition.  The sugar syrup bubbled and rolled when I added it. 

Connie and I were both intrigued by the crispy olives.  So, that's the dish we both started with.  YUMMY!  Then, on to the potato salad.  Yummy again.  Then, the spinach salad.  Again.  He looked up and said, "You know this dinner is a solid five."  It was indeed.  Enjoy!


Mustard Glazed Cod with Chive and Spinach Puree


1 cup snipped chives
1 cup baby spinach
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c coarsely chopped green olives
1-2 T olive oil
4 - 6 oz cod fillets
3 T dijon mustard

Blanch the spinach and chives in boiling water for no more than 30 seconds.  Drain them well, then squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible.  Put the spinach and chives in a blender with 1/2 cup olive oil.  (I used closer to 1/4 cup.)  Blend until it's pureed.  You still want some flecks of the spinach and chives for appearance. 

Coarsely chop the green olives. 

Brown them in a small skillet in about a tablespoon of olive oil.  They'll get very crunchy.

Slater the dijon on the cod

Broil it until it flakes easily.

Serve with the olives sprinkled over the cod and the puree drizzled around it.

adapted from Food and Wine


Potato Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette


1 lb fingerling potatoes
2 T champagne or chardonnay vinegar
2 t dijon mustard
1/4 c olive oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes or until they're done.  Mix the rest of the ingredients for the dressing. 

Drain the potatoes and immediately cut them into coins and toss them with the dressing while they're still very warm. 

adapted from Food and Wine

Spinach Salad with Alison's Balsamic Maple Dressing

fresh spinach
strawberries, cored and quartered
balsamic maple dressing

for the dressing:

3 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T red wine vinegar
3 T shagbark hickory syrup or maple syrup
1 T chopped fresh thyme
1 t chopped parsley
1/2 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper

Whisk all dressing ingredients together.

for the pecans:
1/2 c pecan halves
1 t sesame oil
1 T sugar
1/4 t soy sauce

Toast the pecans in a small skillet.  Add the sesame oil, then the sugar.  Allow to caramelize a bit.  Add the soy sauce.  Remove from the heat and pour onto a piece of aluminum foil.  Allow to cool before sprinkling on the salad

To put together the salad, put the spinach in bowls, top with the strawberries then the dressing then the pecans.

Thank you to Alison for yet another fantastic recipe!!

adapted from Prairie Story

FOOD and WINE is giving away a year-long subscription to a lucky reader from Kate's Kitchen. Click here to enter and read official rules here.

This post is part of a series featuring recipes from the FOOD and WINE archive. As a FOOD and WINE Blogger Correspondent, I was chosen to do four recipes a week from FOOD and WINE. I received a subscription to FOOD and WINE for my participation.


Peggy said...

This dinner sounds absolutely fabulous! And I must agree with you, the midwest is a highly underrated area of the country when it comes to food and restaurants! But I'm pretty positive that will change in the future!

Anonymous said...

This meal sounds amazing! I will have to try one..or all! ;) I have tried dozens of recipes from Food & Wine that my husband absolutely adore, but I have to agree that the recipes are more geared towards adults than children. Indy is definitely not renowned for its dining options. That is one thing that my husband and I have noticed since we moved here five years ago. You can choose from steakhouses, breweries, and hamburger joints... :)

Monet said...

What an amazing meal! My husband and I love cooking with cod...and we are both huge fans of mustard glazes. This sounds like it was a wonderful collection of flavors and textures. Thank you for your sweet comment on my blog this made me smile!


Yay for the 5!!! It so fulfilling to sit and eat and meal you've made the is truly inspired! Can't wait to try this!

Becky said...

I like the spinach with the cod and the mustard glaze. The potato salad has a different twist, too. I can see why you gave it a 5!

Anonymous said...

What a great meal! Looks soooo good!

What to cook today said...

wow...sure is a perfect five!!!!!!! they managed to make me drool!!!!

Carolyn said...

Love the ranking system! The cod sounds wonderful (well, it all sounds wonderful) so I am saving this recipe!

Skylar Wolfe said...

It looks fantastic! I saved this to my favorites. Thanks for sharing!

The Mom Chef said...

Nothing like finding a perfect 5 in a cooking magazine, is there? I feel your joy. The dishes look fantastic.