Espresso Rubbed Steak and Grilled Veggies

During our wonderful weekend in Asheville, we stopped in one of those tea and spice shops that seem to exist in all east coast tourist towns. We walked out with an espresso steak rub and a northwest salmon rub, both of which we have enjoyed using multiple times, as they provide a perfect seasoning mix without the burden of having to measure all of the many ingredients yourself.

On this particular night we applied the espresso steak rub to a nice ribeye and cooked it in our grill pan. While the steak rested, we then grilled some slices of squash and zucchini. It was a great summer dinner! Unfortunately we still have to do all our grilling inside, so these grill nights tend to leave our whole house smelling like a barbecue for a day.

Tilapia and a side of kale

We're in the new house! No meal planning yet since we are still a bit frazzled with half unpacked boxes everywhere. However we've got a few meals and recipes to share from the past few months that were waiting to be published.

This particularly meal features tilapia and fresh veggies from our CSA. We decided to venture into the kale world and try the green for a meal; I think we both approved but probably won't start incorporating it into our favorite recipes. I found a recipe from Giada which turned out well. Forgive me for just simply linking to the recipe. Things are hectic here!

For the kale side dish
(saute green beans, mushrooms, and onions first then add kale)

For the tilapia
Made a quick spread of stone ground dijon mustard, chives, and a little mayonnaise. Then broiled it in our convection oven.

Don't worry, Mike. We've got the guest bedroom all ready for you when you visit!

The table lives on...

We have completed our move. This weekend we moved all the furniture and are working on getting things set up. Stay tuned to see our new place. In the meantime I forgot to share this picture and I meant to do it back in the spring!

Holly gave me this beautiful tablecloth with red peonies for my birthday. So for February-May I actually kept the dining room table set with the tablecloth and napkins for a home-y touch. For one of our last potlucks I had some fresh flowers and tea lights for the centerpiece.

Thanks Holly! I can't wait to decorate with the tablecloth in the new place.
And congratulations to Richard! The new owner of the dining table. Our potlucks can live on!

Baked Crab Cakes

There's a guy from Locals Seafood at the place where we pick up our CSA veggies every week, so I've been patronizing them every now and then to get some fresh NC seafood. One of their items is crab meat, so I decided to pick up a pound and try my hand at crab cakes for the first time. Our friends Christine and Kasper recently sent us a gift of two Le Creuset petite casserole dishes, so I decided it would be fun to bake up individual portions in them, while also avoiding the inevitable mess that occurs whenever I try to fry salmon cakes. The little dishes were such fun to use, and made for a really nice presentation. Thanks guys!

These seafood cake recipes are super easy; you just throw a bunch of ingredients (esp. egg, bread crumbs, mayo) you like together in a bowl and adjust them until you get the consistency you want. Here is what I used; the amounts are after-the-fact guesses. I made a topping with melted butter and bread crumbs, and then baked everything at 350 for about 20 minutes (until topping browned).

1 lb crab meat
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 red onion, minced
3 scallions
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayo
2 eggs
Salt and pepper

Whitney prepped some corn and salad for our sides

Garden Update

We're moving next weekend and hopefully our garden will like it's new home. Making sure there was a backyard for our container garden was certainly on our list when looking for the new place. Last month we did a little updating to our pots; here's what's growing now.

The heat had finally gotten to the lettuces so we emptied both of these containers.
All the herbs are doing fine. The basil and mint are our strongest plants. One of the black tray buckets had arugula in it and, like the lettuce, withered in the heat. That was to be expected though since lettuce is not very heat tolerant and more of spring / fall produce.
We went from one tomato plant to three! In the the center is our original "patio" tomato plant. We added a "lemon" tomato plant (on the left) and a "grape" tomato plant (on the right). You guessed it; the lemon tomato plant will produce yellow tomatoes and the grape tomato plant will produce grape-sized tomatoes. The yellow marigolds in the front will help ward off insects that love tomatoes.
In the old arugula tray pot (on the right) we planted two pepper plants; a yellow bell pepper plant and a banana pepper plant. 
Close-up of the peppers but there's so much green they're hard to see! So far the bunnies have been enjoying our yellow bell pepper plant leaves...

"Salad" Lunch

A couple of weekends ago Holly was down from to DC for a quick visit. We invited her over for lunch and then she invited Richard so it was a fun little afternoon luncheon. Patrick and I just chopped lots of things and put them together; that makes them a salad, right?! There was fruit salad, caprese salad, chicken salad, and white sangria!

The table with everything in the center!
For the Fruit Salad: cantelope, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, and fresh mint.
For the Caprese Salad: tomatoes, basil, Chapel Hill Creamery Farmers Cheese fresh from the Farmers Market, and balsamic vinaigrette.
For the Chicken Salad: roasted chicken breast (shredded), diced pickles, slivered almonds, mayo, and dijon mustard.
For the Sangria: equal parts chilled white wine and ginger ale, topped with extra fruit from Fruit Salad!

Do you need some basil?

The basil is "pouring" in! It is really growing. The more you harvest, the more you get!

We cut all this off our plants the other week! And it's already full again. We find the easiest thing to do with basil (that will use a lot of it up) is to make pesto.

After we harvested the basil I removed the leaves from the stem. Then we tossed all the leaves into the salad spinner.

For a small batch of pesto, in a small food processor we combine a handful or two basil, some almonds, one garlic clove, salt and pepper, and olive oil until the consistency is to our liking. After the the processing we add in some grated parmesan cheese.

Typically pesto is made with pine nuts but they're a little pricier than almonds. On this particular pesto making venture we actually used pine nuts and found that they didn't alter the taste of the pesto very much.

Do you have a favorite pesto combo? Other herbs or nuts?

Our first tomato!

It has come and gone... our first tomato, that is. A few weeks ago we harvested our first tomato. (The blog is on a bit of a delay.) We've had a few more since then but they're still only slowly ripening. We had a little trouble last weekend because it was super windy and the plant fell over twice! It messed the cage up a little bit and knocked a few green tomatoes off. No worries though, it survived. We've also added a few new tomato plants as well. Be on the lookout for a garden update!

Tomato on the vine
Ready to cut

Roasted Salmon with Thyme Vinaigrette

More salmon! If you've noticed recently Patrick and I have been using our little counter convection oven quite a bit. We just throw some aluminum foil on the tray for easy clean up and then either roast some fish or veggies. It's very convenient. This evening was no different. We roasted salmon, sauteed some squash, and a side salad... super easy! And this is great for a light summer meal. We found this recipe in our Weeknight Fresh and Fast cookbook. Another nice thing about the recipe is that the vinaigrette doubles as the marinade and the salad dressing.

Roasted Salmon with Thyme Vinaigrette From Weeknight Fresh and Fast
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp champagne or white wine vinegar (we used champagne vinegar)
1 tbsp minced shallot
2 tsp fresh thyme
3/4 lb salmon filet
mixed lettuce

Preheat oven to 425. Whisk mustard, vinegar, 2.5 tbsp evoo, shallot, thyme, salt, and pepper. Put salmon in baking dish and spoon 1/2 of vinaigrette onto it, and let marinate 15 minutes.

Roast salmon about 15 minutes. Toss lettuce with remaining vinaigrette.