If you’ve ever taken a look at my Tried Tested & Tasty board on Pinterest, you’ll quickly be able to see that I really enjoy cooking & baking – especially other people’s recipes. I’m planning on doing regular installments of these kinds of posts to take a glimpse into what I’ve made recently, what I liked/didn’t like about a particular recipe, and what changes I made or would make again.
Mac and I had friends over the other night for dinner. I always like when we do this because: 1) catching up with friends over a great spread of food is never a bad thing & 2) it gives us a reason to clean. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not messy people – our apartment is generally fairly tidy. But I’m talking about a deep clean. Complete with vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, the whole works. After said dinners, our place usually stays clean enough until we decide to have people over again and the whole process repeats itself. Friends = food = clean apartment. Win, win I’d say!
For dinner this time, I started off with a Corn & Blueberry Salad from Phoebe’s Pure Food (recipe here). I was really excited to make this salad because I had just bought a whole bunch of corn & blueberries from the local farmers’ market.
I opted to sauté the corn kernels in coconut oil before adding them to the salad. This is probably one of the best ideas I had that day. It smelled amazing!
I didn’t have any chives or parsley so I left those out & I used roasted sunflower seeds instead of the walnuts. For the dressing, I opted to make my own by combining orange zest & juice (leftover from the segmented oranges that were in the salad), balsamic vinegar, maple syrup & a bit of olive oil. I really enjoyed all the different flavours & textures in this salad! Corn, blueberries & oranges are not something I would have come up with on my own, but they turned out to marry quite well together!
For the main course I made Andrew’s Portobello Carpaccio with Chimichurri Sauce (recipe here). The thinly sliced mushrooms spend a few hours marinating in a mixture of maple syrup, soy sauce, miso and red wine vinegar before they’re baked & served. I didn’t have the herbs listed for the chimichurri sauce, so I just used a mix of salad greens instead. The sauce was still good, but next time I’ll try to use the herbs and a bit less red wine vinegar – I found it to be very acidic. Having never tried traditional Carpaccio before, I can’t make a true comparison to the likeness of the dishes, but these mushrooms were outstanding! The hours of marinating really allowed the flavours to infuse and the result was so flavourful! This is definitely one I’d make (and serve to others!) again and again.
For dessert, I pulled a classic-Tracey move and snuck in a lot of vegetables. I used Dearna’s recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Pudding (found here). Not only is there zucchini in this pudding, but there’s also avocado! The combination of the avocado & banana makes this pudding so rich & creamy. I swear you couldn’t taste the veggies at all! I didn’t add the walnuts called for in the recipe, but I did add the chia seeds which helped to make the pudding ultra-thick. This is definitely a dessert I can indulge in without feeling the teeniest bit of guilt!
PS: is there anything better than cutting into a perfectly ripe avocado? I am notorious for using them either 3 days too early (read: too hard), or 5 days too late (read: brown & mushy). So it’s always a big highlight of my day when I twist open the fruit to reveal a wonderfully green colour staring back at me! (Note: small things amuse me…)
All in all, an excellent meal with good food, great friends & full bellies