Seafood in May

May’s seafood theme was great! Of the recipes we made, I enjoyed the crab cakes and risotto the most. Unfortunately, I do not have pics, so this post is all business and all about preserving the recipes we used so we can revisit them another time!

  • Cajun Crab Cakes– MAKE THESE! They are better than any crab cakes from ay restaurant.

Asparagus Risotto

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Vegetarian January

Happy New Year! This blog has become my go to for the recipes we’ve made that we want to make again. Forget browser bookmarks!

For a long time I had wanted to do a vegetarian themed menu. It took some serious coaxing before the husband would agree to it. But overall, it turned out great — even with the brief, wife-winning argument about how to deal with the lasagna noodles.

Here is the vegetarian menu:

Artichoke Crostini

Artichoke Crostini

The crostini was super easy and delicious.

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Grilled vegetable salad looked good and was good. The minestrone felt healthy eating it.

Chocolate Cheesecake

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

And the triple chocolate cheesecake, well, was over the top!

As for the lasagna, I probably would not make it again. It was OK, but it didn’t have the wonderful visual appeal I was hoping for. I did win the argument with N’Gai about the noodles though. The recipe called for no boil noodles. I don’t care what the box says, I am not a fan of not boiling noodles! I think it makes them chewy and they never turn out right. I ALMOST pulled the, “I’m Italian, you aren’t.” card, but decided not to go there. It was the right choice in the end but overall I think the recipe could use the addition of lots of vegetables.

Definitely make the crostini, grilled vegetable salad, and minestrone!

Life is Peachy!

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Life is Peachy in August – continuing the tradition of our monthly dinner party!

For a while I was stuck on having a BBQ type menu – or at least a take on American BBQ. I even found barbecue napkins that were super cute so I figured it must be a sign.

But after our trip to San Francisco last month, we kept thinking about the peaches we bought and ate from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. They were so sweet, and of course in season too. So we thought we would take a similar approach as our April’s Ode to Lemon and pick one ingredient – peaches – and incorporate it throughout the meal. It ended up working out great!

The menu really complemented the summer month of August:

I also like the fact that we diversified our recipe sources for this month.

We subscribe to Cooking Light magazine and have had really good luck with their recipes. At least one of their recipes is included in our lineup. But every recipe in this month’s theme is from a different source, and it all came together really nicely.

The only things I didn’t care for was the Peach Bellini and the beer. The Bellini wasn’t sweet enough (a little simple syrup would do it some good) and the peach beer tasted more like peach juice.

But the salad, rice, and dessert totally made up for the drinks being so-so! All in all, another successful dinner!

Hawaiian June

Hawaiian Food

Hawaiian June

This month’s dinner theme was tough to nail down. My husband wanted seafood, I was thinking vegetarian, and neither of us had a solid menu to go from. So… I was researching dinner theme ideas and came across Hawaiian cuisine. We love the Hawaiian islands! And the theme worked perfectly for June, the month that ushers in summer. Plus, BevMo! was having their 5¢ sale, so it was great time to try some new white wine! Here is the menu we created:

Libations

Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc, 2009, New Zealand

Appetizers

Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Dipping Sauce
Ono Spareribs

Entrée & Sides

Blackened Tuna Steaks with Mango Salsa
Hawaiian Rice
Roasted Asparagus

Dessert
Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Although the coconut shrimp was fantastic, the dipping sauce (which I pulled from another recipe) was my least favorite item on the menu. It consisted of 1/2 cup orange marmalade, 2 tsp stone ground mustard, and 1 tsp horseradish. I didn’t care for the overall taste, so I added salt and sriracha to cut down the bitter sweetness. It helped, but I recommend going with a sauce that you know you like!

The blackened tuna was so good that we made it again about a week later. We bought the tuna from Marukai Japanese Food Specialty Store, which is where we get a lot of our fresh fish.

Banana Cake

Banana Cake

But the best part of this dinner was the banana cake. WOW! My husband started early in the morning on the recipe so that the cake was cooled and settled in plenty of time for our guests. It was definitely one of my favorite desserts we’ve made. It was fluffier and more moist than banana bread. If you like cake, MAKE THIS RECIPE! You will not be disappointed!

April Ode to Lemon

Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemons

April’s dinner was fantastic! Our theme was all things Meyer lemon. We got the idea from a group of recipes in a spring issue of Cooking Light magazine. We often find and make recipes from this magazine, and they are almost always good!

Here was the lineup:

Libations

Sparkling Lemon Cocktail with Vodka, Sparkling Wine, Rosemary
Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and California

Appetizer

Seared Scallops with Lemon Beurre Blanc, White Wine, Shallots, Thyme

Salad

Fennel Salad with Lemon, Parsley, Shallots, Olive Oil, Goat Cheese

Entrée & Side

Lemon Chicken Piccata Sautéed in Sauvignon Blanc
Roasted Asparagus with Brown Butter and Thyme Lemon Rind

Dessert

Lemon Curd Tart with a Macadamia Nut Vanilla Crust, Topped with Meringues

And here were the results!

April Meyer Lemon

April Ode to Lemon