I have to tell you about our dinner. No, I didn't take a picture- that would mean I'm, like, a good and SERIOUS blogger. Nope. I just want to tell you about it. Because this is the most dishes that have come out of my kitchen on a weeknight in a LOOONG time, and they were easy, and delicious.
First off, you have to know I slept last night. After weeks of Mimi getting up 2 or 3 times a night, my own insomnia (laying awake in bed from 2 to 5, after getting up with a cranky toddler twice, and then finally falling asleep...only to have her wake up again at 6:30...I have not been a happy Mama.) But last night, oh my. Yes, she was up at 1:30 for a snack. Yes, she was up at 5 for a diaper change. BUT, we both slept till 9. That was nearly 12 hours for me! And the diaper change was forgiven, because it was the first thoroughly used-up diaper since Saturday, and I've been fretting about that.
OK, so we slept. Friends came over for an impromptu and long-overdue play date. Kids played fabulously well, friend-mom and I had a fantastic talk, and it was a wonderful morning! Naps happened about 2 hours late, and Mimi didn't get up until five. Score 3 more hours of sleep for our cranky miss!
4:45 I realized I had a fierce hankering for fish that would not be denied. So! Here's the dinner you're going to make soon, because it was awesome. Plus, it's pretty darn easy. Just make sure you go for a walk afterwards, yeah?
Oven Baked Salmon
Sprinkle salmon fillets with your favorite seasoning salt liberally, and wrap individually in foil. Place in a single layer in a baking pan and bake at 350 until flaky. (Ours were frozen so it took about an hour.) Our favorite seasoning salt is Cavendar's Greek Seasoning- it's amazing on green beans and eggs, too.
Next up is your salad. We had a head of red leaf lettuce torn up in the fridge (why do I always forget to do this to my lettuce?) but you can dress anything with this vinaigrette. I used a few different sources for this one, but here's my final recipe:
Balsamic Parmesan Vinaigrette
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (white or red is good)
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon mustard (all I have is yellow, but dijon would be amazing)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced or smashed
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup olive oil
Dump everything into a screwtop jar and shake shake! It's best if it gets to sit for a while.
Salad, fish. This is getting good. Next up is bread. Since lately the smell of wheat bread makes me gag (what kind of granola head AM I??) we've been enjoying french bread. It's just bread, you don't have to baby it. In fact, it's fine with one nice long knead in the kitchenaid machine and an hour rise, just like any other bread.
Finally, the noodles. Yeah, it's a bit of over kill, because we already have bread on the table...but noodles are delicious, and bread is necessary for wiping up the last bits of vinaigrette after you finish your salad. See? Everything has a purpose in this life. Bread just happens to be the cleaning crew in this case.
This recipe caught my eye in the Moosewood cookbook, Simple Suppers. If you haven't checked this book out at the library yet, I recommend that you do! If you don't like it, well...that was easy. If you DO like this kind of cooking, I think you'll find a lot to like in this cookbook. Vegetarian, easy, real. Nothing stuffy or fancy. Nothing complicated. The cooking notes say this recipe was from Ruth Reichl, in Comfort me With Apples, and SHE picked it up from Danny Kaye. I adored Danny Kaye as a kid, so that caught my eye!
I cut the butter by just a smidge, to make myself feel better. (HA!) I also used 3 tablespoons of jarred lemon juice instead of the juice of a lemon and zest that it called for, because it's what I keep on hand. This says it serves four, but they'd have to be four pretty hefty eaters- it's rich, rich stuff. I'd say it would serve 5 or 6 admirably as a side, and could definitely stretch even farther if you stirred in a load of veggies. The cookbook suggests peas, and that would be perfectly lovely. One more note- it looks impossibly thin, until you add the lemon juice and then it just thickens into the creamiest sauce....mmmm. Ernie tried a few bites, but Mimi would have used a shovel to eat this, had a shovel been at hand.
Creamy Lemon Pasta
Paraphrased From Moosewood Restaurant: Simple Suppers
In a small skillet on low heat, melt 1/4 cup butter. Add 1 cup of cream, and heat slowly. Stir in 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice and set aside.
Stir sauce into 1 pound of cooked pasta, with a cup of grated parmesan cheese. Thin with reserved pasta water if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (We didn't need any salt, but everyone peppered theirs lightly at the table.)
And there you go! Baked salmon, a quick salad, bread from the cutting board, and a 4-ingredient pasta sauce. (By the by, this sauce is remarkably similar to a sauce I made last year for gnocchi- a little cream, a little gorgonzola melted in, and thickened over low heat with a little pasta water. Why is cream so darn delicious on pasta?)