Easy Seasonal Meal
I need to cook dinner for some friends next Saturday, but will be on the road all week and will not have a chance to prepare. Does anyone have any tried and true seasonal menus that will be somewhat impressive yet manageable for a Saturday afternoon of prep?
Thanks in advance.
I made butternut squash risotto from Every Night Italian that was really yummy, very easy and very seasonal. Just dice an onion, cook it in a few tablespoons of butter on medium low, when its golden add 3 cups cubbed butternut squash, 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper, and cook until tender (you could also add some herbs at this point), Heat 5 cups broth on another burner, add 1 1/2 c arborio rice and a few ladles of broth, stiring constantly add broth slowly waiting for it to be absorbed each time. When the rice is tender and creamy stir in 1/2 cup parmesan, a little parsley, and 1 T butter. It takes about an hour all together and you can pause between the squash cooking and the rice adding steps for as long as you need. The last bit takes about 20-25 minutes. You could serve it with a roast pork loin, a salad, or some sauteed greens and be set to go.
How about Roasted Pork shoulder, Nyleve's Chipotle sweet potatoes, collards or other greens like mustard or turnip and fresh hot biscuits which bake quickly while the roast rests and you make some gravy. Roast does not take much prep just let ig go low and slow, the greens can pretty much stew all afternoon after a little prep. I cut up bacon if I don't have a smoked hock, add some chopped onion maybe some crushed red pepper and let them simmer on low, sweet potaotes just need to be peeled and sliced and mixed with the cream and chipotle and into the oven about 45 mins before the pork comes out and if you don't have a hand for biscuits some good crisp rolls from a bakery won't be looked down upon. Then set the table and go take a load off while everything cooks and have a glass of wine and a good read.
This is my favorite summer-into-fall meal. Fast fish stew -- saute chopped garlic, onion, and fresh tomatoes in a big pot with lots of olive oil, S&P. After 20 minutes or so (when the tomatoes are really breaking down), add boneless white fish filets cut into chunks (cod and sole both work well), white wine and lemon juice. Next add chopped washed greens (like kale) and cook until the fish just begins to break apart. Season to taste (I sometimes add some hot pepper flakes and a tablespoon or two of good butter). Serve in big bowls and add a drizzle of fresh olive oil and handfull of herbs (chives, basil, dill, parsely -- all good) at the very end. Serve with lots of crusty bread. If your inclined, make homemade aoili or you can make a fake aoil by mixing together whole yogurt, mayo, lemon juice, crushed garlic, pepper flakes. This meal is so fast and easy and my friends are always impressed.
Pork Tenderloin with some garlicky greens and mashed potatoes, and butternut squash soup. I LOVE the curried squash soup with frizzled leeks on epicurious, though I replace the Indian curry powder with a spoonful or two of Thai curry paste, and I skip the frizzled leeks step --just serve with a drizzle of cream.
For the Pork Tenderloin I'd saute and then do a pan sauce with brandy or a little calvados if you have some.