A Sandwich, Some Pasta, and a Date Night, Among Other Dishes

So this is last week’s menu.

* First off, this is a sandwich I made up, and I’m not sure how it turned out. I really love Chicken Parmesan sandwiches, but they’re kind of heavy for the summer months. So I wondered if I could make a lighter version with grilled chicken. It turned out to be tasty, but it didn’t taste much like chicken parm, more like chicken caprese. But I basically took chicken breast halves, grilled them on one side, flipped them and topped them with tomato slices and mozzarella slices, grilled them more to melt the cheese and cook through. Then I put the chicken on hoagie rolls and topped with torn fresh basil. Not too bad!
* Sunday Brunch! We had a simple French toast with Mixed Berry Compote. I used up the frozen homemade Brioche loaf I had in the freezer, taking up room. It was a decent meal that came from a 2008 issue of Food & Wine Magazine.
* Grilled Flank Steak with Red Wine Sauce with Grilled Lettuces. Both of these recipes came from “Giada Family Style” by of course Giada de Laurentiis. The steak was pretty good and the red wine sauce was easy to make. If you’ve never tried grilled lettuce, then you simply must, very soon! It sounds weird, but the lettuce wilts slightly and takes on the smoky grill flavor, and it’s really wonderful. Obviously you need stronger lettuces that will stand up to the heat, I usually just use romaine. This salad contained romaine hearts, endive and radicchio. It was then dressed simply with a balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It was pretty good, but radicchio is so bitter tasting to me. I really do try to like it, but it’s a little hard to take sometimes. Anyone else feel that way?
* Next up we have Spicy Crab Cakes and Spiced Edamame for a side dish. The crab cakes were really delicious. They came from Ming Tsai’s “East Meets West” cookbook, and the edamame came from “Food Network Favorites” which is a book put out by FN Kitchens. The edamame was a really easy side dish that could also be used for nibbles at a cocktail party. It was just boiled and then tossed in a spice mixture. The crab cakes were some of the best I’ve ever tasted. Not all crab cakes were created equal, in my humble opinion. Most of them are mostly bread with just a touch of crab. These, however, were full-on crab in the filling. It actually did not have any bread crumbs in the filling itself! Although they were crusted in panko before pan frying. This made them especially messy to prepare, but totally worth it in the end. Oh, and sambal olek is what made them so spicy! 🙂
* Orechiette Pasta with Greens and Goat Cheese. This was very light and tasty. I liked the ear-shaped pasta, I’d never cooked it before. Kind of like small shells. This was almost a no-cook dinner. Literally, the only cooking required was boiling the pasta. You just toss cooked pasta with chopped sun-dried tomatoes, salad greens and crumbled goat cheese and you have dinner! It came from the book “Everyday Pasta” by Giada de Laurentiis.
* DATE NIGHT!! For dinner we had Italian Grilled Chicken and Potato Salad with Spicy Vinaigrette. For dessert we had Citrus Semifreddo. Seriously delicious. The chicken was a whole, cut-up chicken (in 8 pieces) that was grilled and basted with an Italian style bbq sauce. Balsamic vinegar as the base made it Italian. It also made it sweet and tangy and unusual. I’d definitely make it again! It came from “Giada’s Kitchens” by, yet again, Giada de Laurentiis, as did the dessert. I hit her books pretty hard this week, I guess (didn’t realize that as I was menu planning). The potato salad actually came from the latest issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. They had a feature in there about potato salad, and gave instructions for making a mayonnaise based one (American) or a vinaigrette based one (European). Then there were all manner of ideas for add-ins and making the potato salad unique in some way. So, keeping in spirit with the Italian date night, I used a vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil, kalamata olives, and pepperoncini. Sounds a little odd, but one of the best potato salads I’ve ever had. Dessert was delicious. Semifreddo is similar to ice cream, but whereas ice cream is frozen cream, semifreddo is frozen whipped cream. You don’t need an ice cream maker, so this is a perfect dish to try if you want homemade ice cream without investing in another kitchen appliance. You just freeze it in a loaf pan. This one has amaretto cookies sprinkled on top. I fully realize it looks like a stick of butter on a plate, but I promise it tasted really good. 🙂

See, it looks like a stick of butter with cookie crumbs, doesn’t it?

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About jwall915

I love to cook and I love to travel! This blog explores my love of both. I share recipes and restaurant reviews, and I blog the trips I take.
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