Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dinner Last Night

I really can't believe it's August.

This year has passed by pretty quickly, but has been full - we've been busy and have traveled and hosted parties and dinners and overnight guests. One of the things I like about having an extra room or two is being able to provide a place for out of town guests (or Kevin's grandma, even though she lives just 30 minutes away). My house is far from finished or attractive or stylish at this point. I am starting to feel like I should just give up because all my efforts seem lost and when I do make an update or a change, I don't like it so I feel like it was all a waste.

I don't like the blue paint in my kitchen, the rest of my house is still unpainted (meaning it's still the boring white and tan it was when we moved in over a year ago) and my 'decor' feels cluttered and entirely too 'lived in'. Of course we live here; we can't help it. But surely I can keep those piles of 'Martha Stewart' and 'Better Homes' OFF the floor and in a cute basket or something? I need design help, that is a fact.

Anyway, the point of this post isn't to vent about my desigh woes, though this is as good a place as any to do so. I wanted to post some pictures of our dinner last night. It's been a long time since I've posted anything about food (I have quietly skipped any coverage of my birthday party for so many disasterous reasons) and I thought I would share this dinner since it was sort of new (the salad part) and really good. I'd make it again, with minor tweaks to the salad which I will mention later.

Turkey with Greens and Beet Salad

I started by pan-searing/grilling/whatever some turkey cutlets. I just sprinkled some sea salt, cracked pepper and some parsley on each side as it was cooking in a tiny bit of olive oil and and even tinier bit of butter. I'm trying not to use butter and other fats since I'm dieting but the oil was splattering a little too much so I added just a pat of butter to tame it. It won't take too long to cook these but just make sure they are cooked all the way through - this is poultry we're talking about.

While these were cooking I coarsely chopped up one bunch of collard greens. They are so cheap right now (no more than $1 per bunch depending on the store - we found some for $.89 at Minyard last week) and so good for you. They are coming into season along with a bunch of other greens like spinach so it's the perfect time to add them at every possible opportunity. I just set this in a large high-sided skillet ... don't start cooking them til everything else is done because the only need a few minutes to wilt.

Once everything else is done, turn the heat on the greens and let them wilt til they are cooked to your preference. I like leaving mine still bright green and crisp. Jurt turn them a few times to make sure it's cooked evenly. No seasoning needed because they are amazing on their own! But we sometimes squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top.

I was trying to think of a salad I could make that was different from the usual. I typically make salad with lettuce and cabbage and mix in a bunch of chopped or grated veggies with a homemade vinaigrette. I'm not sure how I got 'beets' in my head but I browsed the web for some ideas and then blended a few of them to come up with my end result which was actually pretty good. Kevin said he liked it, too but maybe he was just being nice. ;)

I mixed 2 cans of beets (I am so aware of how inferior these are to fresh, oven roasted beets but I didn't have time for that), about 1/3 lb of fresh, pitted cherries, halved, 1 segmented orange and 1/2 an apple, very thinly sliced. For the dressing, I combined 1/3 a can's worth of the beet juice I had reserved, about 1 T olive oil, 2 T red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Then I decided it needed a different texture - something crunchy. I thought some nuts would be nice and toasted a couple handfuls of coarsely-chopped almonds. I added these at the very end (actually I completely forgot about them and Kevin added them for me).

Overall, it turned out great. I love turkey and I would like to use it more often and the cutlets are a nice way to do that. I think people use it primarily as a 'replacement' for ground meat but as a stand alone flavor, it's excellent and NOT just for Thanksgiving!

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