Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Day Dinner

earth day dinner
We dined alfresco last night. So fun! And wow, clean up was way easier.

earth day dinner-2
Salmon with orzo and ricotta (uh, sorry about the half eaten food, I couldn't force myself to stop eating it until this point)

earth day dinner-3
Caramel macaro(o)ns!

Recipes for you today, dear readers. But first let me ask, have you dined out of doors lately? And I don't mean on a picnic blanket, which is also nice but completely different. I mean have you set a table (or in our case a computer desk) with your usual dishes and such and enjoy your dinner alfresco? Because if you haven't, you should. It's awesome and the kids thought they had died and gone to heaven. Plus our chickens were there to eat anything that fell. I'm now looking for a cheap card table so we can do this pretty much every night. Also, those of you who have been part of the rosemary saga, I'm happy to say that we are still alive today after having eaten some last night so I suppose we really can assume that those huge bushes in the backyard that look and smell like rosemary are, in fact, rosemary. Anyway, recipes:

Salmon with Rosemary and Lemon (from Suzanne Tracy)
This is so freaking good. I'm not joking. Best fish I've ever had, hands down. And my salmon had been chillin (haha) in my freezer for quite some time, so I don't think it was the quality of the fish that made it yummy.

You'll need:
Salmon with skin on one side {fillet, maybe?} (however much you want, and I just buy the frozen junk from walmart)
Fresh rosemary
Red onion, sliced (or if you don't have red, whatever color you have lying around)
1 or 2 lemons, sliced (depending on how much fish you have)
Olive oil
Garlic salt
Lemon pepper
Fresh Thyme (completely optional, i just had it lying around so I used it but you could just use more rosemary)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and place a bed of rosemary down the center of the pan. Cover with sliced onions. Lay fish on top of the onions/rosemary with skin side down. Drizzle with olive oil (I used extra virgin). Sprinkle with garlic salt, then sprinkle generously with lemon pepper and either more rosemary or fresh thyme. Cover with lemon slices. Bake on center rack of oven for 18-20 minutes.

Orzo with Baby Spinach and Ricotta
This is adapted from an America's Test Kitchen recipe to resemble a dish I had recently at my fav restaurant, Zinc

1 Tbs butter or olive oil
1/4 of one onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz orzo (this is a pasta that looks like rice)
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1-2 cups baby spinach (depending on how much you like it)
1/3 cup ricotta

Saute onion
and 1/8 tsp salt in butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and let heat until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add orzo and saute until browned, 3-5 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed. Add baby spinach and toss to wilt the spinach slightly. Put on plates and top each serving with a large dollop of ricotta.

And finally, the macaro(o)ns are from Martha, and I just added my favorite homemade caramel ice cream topping to the centers. Mine went everywhere because I didn't wait for it to cool, but if you refrigerate it beforehand, it stays in the center quite nicely.


mandakay said...

yummy yummy yummy! sounds amazing but im not sure that i can pull it off. I LOVE eating outside! My outdoor table broke so we dont do it as often anymore. i need a card table too. Oh and the pic is lovely as usual. Is that the childrens place shirt i got benson for his 2nd birthday on banks? LOL if it is He looks just as cute as benson did in it.

laura d said...

I love your blog. end of story.

Rachel said...

I'm with Laura on that one. And can I just say, "yum!" I so wish I could have joined you.

Megan said...

You are so awesome, Carrie. How fun! I know this makes me sound like an idiot, but I never even thought of dining like that. We just go out to our picnic table, but it's never very fancy. I'm thinking we should change that. :)

Caity said...

You always impress me! We just use our picnic table too, but I use real dishes and a table cloth, so does that count? :) Looks delightful!