A perfectly simple spring menu.

                                                     

Last night I hosted the book club dinner (hence the continued blog hiatus)As usual, I was scrambling to finish reading the book up until the last minute (I swear, I've GOT to stop doing that. Next book up~ The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  I have the book already... I commit to picking it up this weekend and at least putting a dent in it.  [This was last night's book in case you're wondering... more to say on this later...]).

Anyways, I decided to serve a simple, light dinner.  One that could be partially made ahead of time (or at least well-prepped in advance)... that consisted of minimal ingredients, steps, components...  One that was fresh and 'spring-y'- and wouldn't leave people walking away feeling heavy and stuffed, and silently cursing you for sabotaging their 'summer-countdown-diet'... yet didn't sacrifice flavor or visual appeal for health and 'minimal effort.'  For the most part, we're back on the 'alkaline cleanse', and it was nice to offer a meal that we'd eat any night of the week... as opposed to my usual [former] entertaining approach (over-complicate, over-feed, over-indulge).
                                                      
It seems that perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: Terre des hommes

And once again, simple proved to be better. 

...

Here is the menu ~ my new go-to late-winter-early-spring-entertaining dinner...

{Rather than going over-board with appetizers (as I've done too many times, leaving everyone too full to enjoy the main course- and by the time dessert rolls around- forget about it...), I served this dip, along with a baked lentil chips and sliced cucumbers.}
            
cannellini bean & artichoke dip (recipe from my friend, christy) 

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/3 cup olive oil (more, for consistency, if needed)
1  14 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 
1  14-ounce can of artichoke hearts or artichoke bottoms, drained
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
10-12 basil leaves

Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse to combine.  Scrape down sides of bowl and continue to pulse until combined.  Add additional oil if necessary to make a smooth consistency that is not dry but lightly textured and creamy.  Season to taste with extra salt if desired. 
                
                                                      
{As for the salmon (below), I prepped it ahead of time, covered & set it back in the fridge (more flavorful this way).  So when the time was right, all I had to do was place it into the broiler~ then just transfer it to a platter... lemon and all.}

succulent lemon-thyme salmon (5 ingredients. 10 minutes. almost too good to be true.)


{The following two recipes are from my friend (& microscopist/'health guru'), Barbara.} 

red cabbage salad

1/2 red cabbage, finely shredded 
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped 
2 tsp agave (optional) 
1/4-1/2 tsp salt (to taste) 
1 tbsp bragg's liquid aminos 
juice of half a lemon 
6 tbsp olive oil 
2 tbsp pine nuts (raw or toasted)
Combine all ingredients.  Chill for at least one hour. 


couscous

1 cup of boiling water 
1 cup whole-grain couscous 
1 tbsp earth balance butter 
1/2 tsp salt 
Olive oil

Pour boiling water over butter and salt in a large bowl.  Stir, then mix in couscous.  Allow to stand for a few minutes.  Stir with a fork and drizzle olive oil over it.   


{...and last but not least...}

lovely lemon cupcakes

{...little bites of lemony-lusciousness...}

{...that I think would go mighty well with that 2nd cuppa coffee I'm about to pour. (cause it is friday afterall.)} 
  

4 comments:

  1. lovely! wish i could have come :)

    i'm not usually a big salmon fan, but that looks so pretty i might change my mind.

    and i totally do the same - i feel like when i have people over (um, almost never!) or when i bring a dish somewhere, it has to be fancy and a "cheat" type food that no one usually gets to eat on a regular day. but often, that's not what anyone wants anyway. good call!

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  2. i'm all about this red cabbage salad! and i would love to know more about your friend, barbara, the health guru. happy weekend to you!

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  3. Looks really, really good, Torrie!!

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  4. O.k. I need to get on board with some sort of healthy new routine for spring. Your menu looks amazing. I finally picked up the Everlasting Meal based on your and Alexis's enthusiasm. Hopefully, that will kick start some healthy leanings. :)

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