Well, we’re nothing on this blog if not overly-ambitious, and this year, in an attempt to both save money (so I can buy a pool table and make a Steeler bar out of our basement) and lose weight (so I can dress like Carrie Bradshaw in a Casey Hampton jersey while I’m cussing at the game in a Yinzer accent), we decided to put a lofty cooking Achievement on the list.
So the rules this year are that we have to make 50 new recipes, but they can be from anywhere. Theoretically, they could even be from the instruction manual that came with my awesome little deep fryer. Of course, I’m going to try to make the majority of them be healthy, but if we want to splurge and make some sweet lobster rolls in the summer (have a Gourmet recipe for this that looks soooo yummy), then we can.
Last night, I made our first two recipes of the season, both from SparkRecipes.com, a sister site to Spark People, which is the healthy lifestyle community that we both use to track our calories and fitness. The recipes are largely user-sumbmitted, but all of them come with nutritional information and reviews, plus you get SparkPoints for making them (which you can use to send yourself and your friends motivational goodies like virtual personal trainers and legwarmers).
I decided to take dinner matters into my own hands, and I made the bourbon glazed salmon, which was pretty basic. First, I had to make a marinade with all of these ingredients (took me a minute to figure out which whisky was bourbon, but I guess this one worked!).
For our side dish, I went for broke with a second recipe, the asparagus parmesan. I love asparagus, and I would totally eat it almost as much as I eat beets, except that it’s more work to prepare. This recipe was another ‘make it in a bag’ recipe. Instead of letting this sit and marinate though, you just seal the bag and shake everything up before baking.
And keeping with the ‘things in a bag’ theme, I made some of these awesome fries that I picked up at the store the other day. When I was little, my dad would take me to the Rally’s in the Northside just so we could share their fries. They’re really the best (these were not quite the same, but pretty close).
Since I made the whole thing myself, I wanted to pose with the completed plate. (Please don’t mind my 1998 Rangers sweatshirt. I love that thing in all its comfy-ness, even if I did buy it to wear to the game when Petr Nedved got injured in the first period.)
We paired our meal with some chardonnay, and we were both quite pleased with it. The salmon marinade really cut the fishy taste down, which is often a problem for me and a reason we choose other fish over salmon. The asparagus was super yummy as well. I think I would make both of these recipes again, as they were also very simple. A prep time of 20 minutes was actually pretty accurate, even though I did the cooking.
So, two recipes down, 48 to go! And next week is Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, and my mum will be standing in as my official guest while Michael is out of town for a conference over the weekend, so plenty of exciting entries to come!