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July 23, 2007 / Tony

Feeding a pregnant mom and five kids-simple salmon, risotto, spaghetti and green beans

I made dinner for my sister and her five kids.  Since there was so many people and various likes and dislikes, I made a mishmash of different stuff to try to please.  My main dish was Simple Salmon.  I was pressed for time a little bit and hadn’t thought about what I wanted to make before I got to the grocery store.  So I just made what I already knew how to make.  The only thing different last night was the size of the salmon filet.  Instead of my usual 8-10 oz. piece of fish, I had a 1 3/4 pound piece.  It was significantly harder to flip on the grill.  In fact, since it looked pretty fragile on the grill, I didn’t even flip it.  I just moved it to the cool side of the grill to cook indirectly.  Here’s what it looked like:

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You can tell the fish broke in the middle but it was still delicious. 

I also made risotto.  This was a last minute idea.  I had thought to make rice pilaf but when I returned home from the store, I realized I didn’t have any regular white rice.  All I had was arborio rice so I was forced to make risotto.  The rice I had was from Trader Joe’s and I just used the recipe from the back of the box.  It’s a really basic recipe-just onion, butter, rice, wine, chicken stock, milk, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.  (When I make a more advanced risotto, I’ll post a recipe.)  I had to make one modification to the recipe, however.  I didn’t have any white wine on hand so I used vermouth instead.  It was really nice.  There was very nice floral quality to the final dish that white wine would not have added. 

The spaghetti was fun.  I started by lightly caramelizing one yellow onion.  I then added 1 pound of ground beef and let it brown.  Next came 1 28 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup of tomato paste, and 1 T of balsamic vinegar.  I then just let it cook for about an hour.  I seasoned it and gave it a taste.  Added a little sugar to balance out to acidity.  Then I julienned some fresh basil from my garden.  Tossed it with 1 pound of cooked spaghetti and called it good.  It was surprisingly rich in flavor although next time I would use at least another 15 oz. of canned tomatoes.  The spaghetti was just a little dry. 

The green beans I made were simply made.  I blanched for two minutes, drained them, and let them sit at room temperature until I was ready to cook them.  Then I just tossed them with olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a saute pan.  Simple and delicious. 

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