Monday, June 8, 2009

Cuisine Rie

Tonight I cooked an amazing meal, and a healthy one at that.
Tariq kept saying between bites "mmmm, I could eat this all by itself" (referring to the side salad). You see, I have no problems experimenting with new recipes and changing around the ingredients to make them my own. I enjoy trying new culinary experiences. I didn't grow up with exposure to "different" meals, it was your typical mid-west basics; meat, potatoes, spaghetti, tuna helper (I loved it mom:), and there certainly is nothing wrong with the above meals. Yet somewhere along my travels I started craving something more. I believe it started during the early days when the Mr. and I had just begun dating. We would attend dinners, paid for by pharmaceutical companies, at the finest restaurants Tucson had to offer. There were things on the menu I could not pronounce, but it didn't matter as over time you learn that a great chef can turn even beastly foods into mouth-watering bites of beauty.

I've never allowed my children to turn down any food without first trying, we call this the "no-thank-you-bite". They must try everything once and if they don't like it they can say no thank you. My goal is to open their minds to all kinds of food from all cultures (with the exception of fiery Indian food, even I cannot stomach the heat). I look at Jalyn now compared to friends that visit and see how un-picky he is compared to most children. He is not limited to a three item menu for lunch or any meal. He eats what we serve or he goes to bed hungry. Period. Some parents would disagree with this philosophy and say just feed them whatever they will eat, but I feel if there is no medical reason to do so you are simply doing your children a culinary injustice (I say this with a smile on my face). However, differences are what makes the world go around so I don't judge. Yet I see Jalyn and Leila eat food that other children turn their nose up to immediately without even trying it. Now our children actually prefer meals that have spices added, they don't like bland foods. Even Leila at a very young age disliked the blander foods I would make for her in exchange for the family meal just mashed up.

Tonight I made baked tilapia with a side salad. I got the recipe from Sunset magazine , which is amazing if you live in the west. I just finished a subscription to other cuisine magazines and ordered this one, what great ideas I received from gardening to food. If you want a light yet robustly flavored salad that is perfect for summer, enjoy this:

Asparagus Summer Salad
SERVES 6 TIME 20 minutes
~2lbs. thick asparagus, cut into 2-in. pieces
~2tbsp. each fresh lemon juice and Dijon mustard
~3tbsp. olive oil
~1/4 cup each chopped fresh basil, chives, and cilantro
~1 cup thinly sliced red onion
~3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
~2oz. feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
~1/2tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Drop asparagus into water and cook until bright green and slightly softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain asparagus and rinse with very cold water until cool to the touch.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, oil, and herbs. Add asparagus, onion, pine nuts, feta, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine.

It's that simple.....enjoy!

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