Thursday, April 14, 2011

Some Healthier-than-Normal Dinners

As I mentioned in my last post, I am often inspired by the blogs I read on a daily basis.  I didn't even realize how much they influenced the most recent dinners I've made, although I think Davy and I are better off because of them.  

I've recently dedicated some of my free time to reading through How Sweet It Is, which is creative, informative, and funny. Jessica, the author, often roasts heads of garlic and incorporates it into her recipes.  I decided to mimic her technique (pour a little olive oil on the top of the garlic head, allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then wrap in foil and bake at 350 for forty-five minutes) for a pasta dish I made last week.  

I was roasting a bunch of asparagus at 400 degrees, so I stuck the garlic in the oven and took it out after 15-20 minutes.  My oven tends to be hotter, so I try to check anything I put in there before the recommended time frame.  My garlic wasn't quite as golden as Jessica's, but it still tasted sweet and mellow.

The rest of the dish came together in my 12-inch non-stick pan.  I browned a few pieces of leftover prosciutto from the picnic sandwiches, then tossed the roasted asparagus, cooked whole wheat penne, a little pasta water, half of the head of garlic, and some fresh mozzarella* together in the warm pan.  Normally I only eat regular pasta, but someone had given me a few samples of this penne, and I really enjoyed the nutty taste and chewy texture of it with the crispy, salty prosciutto and smooth mozzarella.

*I learned recently that most pre-shredded mozzarella is coated in cornstarch to help prevent the pieces from sticking together.  It doesn't melt as well, and the fact that it has to be messed with makes me not want to buy it.

The Yellow Umbrella, my local fish shop, sends out a newsletter every Friday detailing their selection, including prices and recipes.  I was hoping they'd still have escolar when I went in last week, but they'd already run out.  The friendly guy behind the counter recommended sea bass instead.  

It was a beautiful night, so we took his advice and grilled the nice-looking fish, along with some marinated zucchini and roasted garlic flavored rice.  Neither of us could remember trying sea bass before, and it's different from a lot of the other fish we normally eat.  It's much firmer, and richer, with a texture that reminded me of crab meat.

This week I made pizza, but ran out of regular flour before finishing the dough.  I added 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour (one-third of the total amount) before realizing I had to get more all-purpose from the story anyway if I wanted to be able to knead it.  Luckily we both liked the way the crust turned out.  I don't think I'll make it partially whole wheat all the time, but it's nice to know we can make our pizza a little bit healthier without sacrificing the familiar taste, or eating any extra cornstarch. 

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