off the menu: salmon, parmesean risotto, and arugula salad

I had no plan for dinner tonight but I did have an entire container of arugula left over from grilled cheese night. The winning recipe was Arugula Salad with Pear, Almonds, Goat Cheese, and Apricots (page 32, Cook's Illustrated Cookbook). We picked up some salmon at the store and decided on a risotto to round out the meal. Warning: this post contains no photos (ok, one photo). You'll just have to rely on prose, people, because the camera thing wasn't working out.

the salad

My daughter made the salad tonight. She insisted that the dressing was going to be horrible and that the recipe was weird. Shallots and apricot jam in dressing? Microwave the apricots and vinegar?  Was she ever wrong. The salad was awesome. Two of her brothers (non-salad eaters) went back for seconds. Here's her photo of the salad before serving. She was so proud of the finished product.


Yet another vote for Cook's Illustrated. Have you bought the cookbook yet? You know, those people aren't going to pay me a thing to get you to buy their cookbook. The satisfaction of knowing that someone out there's life is going to be enriched by a simple $40 purchase is all the thanks I need. 

the salmon

The Pioneer Woman. You know who she is. She has some pretty amazing recipes for cowboy food. She also has an awesome fish technique involving lemon-shallot butter that you should run out and try. The recipe calls for Sea Bass, but we live on the edge sometimes, so went with salmon. Winner. I will warn that if you are feeding a lot of mouths (8 tonight), you probably don't need to multiply the butter sauce out all the way. We had more sauce than we needed and significantly more lemon zest than we needed in the finished sauce. My three year-olds ate their entire portion of salmon tonight. I can't give you a better endorsement than that. (Total aside, if you have little people who are picky eaters at home, check out Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It's about a pea who has to eat candy for every meal and hates it. Super cute book.)

the risotto

I have not yet successfully made risotto. I love risotto. Everything about it. But apparently not in my own kitchen. Tonight's recipe was Parmesean Risotto from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. I think we may have had too much going on to get this quite right tonight. My rice never got al dente (it went from uncooked to soggy) and I ran out of cooking liquid before the rice finished cooking. This was clearly not a problem with the recipe, but with the cook. Perhaps when you make the salad and the fish from this menu, you'll stick to a simple brown rice? Let's make risotto again when everything else isn't quite so hands on. And maybe when there aren't five people in the kitchen trying not to bump butts.