Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Neighborly Dinner

My way to say thank you, welcome, I'm sorry, happy birthday to someone other than just the words, has always been with food.  I don't know why.  Maybe it's just that southern thing coming out or just an excuse to cook, which I love.  It takes time to cook and as someone said to me recently,"you put a lot of love into it," and I do.  I feel as though I'm pretty good at it, although not everything turns out tasty.  I have a tendency to try new recipes when I entertain as I did on this night.  I got lucky because  the Butternut Squash Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, Walnuts and Goat Cheese Salad did turn out to be very good.
Stone and I where up early this morning for a meeting that ended very sweet, we had cake.  We tasted  four different flavors but thats for another posting.  After I returned home, I thought hmmm, I just consumed portions of four different flavors of cake and we are having company tonight for dinner followed by dessert. I better get in some exercise.  I did have some errands to run including the library, post office and the grocery, so I jumped on my bicycle and took off.  It was in the low 70's outside so biking was very comfortable and enjoyable.  Once I returned home, I felt much better. I was ready for the evening.  I pulled out the dishes I had chosen, Stone's grandmothers, and began setting the table which I really enjoy.  Ms. Betty, my mother-in-law, has passed down five sets of dishes that I frequently use.They included some from her, her mother-in-law, her mom and I have three sets myself.  Therefore, there are lots of choices. I have a cabinet full of napkins to mix and match with all the dishes which makes it so fun. I picked the one lone hydrangea left blooming and placed it on the table.  I was ready for Shannon and Sid.

Butternut Squash Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, Walnuts and Goat Cheese, lemon polenta cake, Crab Stuffed Catfish fillets with Cajun Remoulade Sauce,

 Sid recently made not one, but two trips to Home Depot just to pick up bails of pine straw and corn stalks for us.  I mean really, how many people do you know that would have done that?  He didn't need to pick up anything for himself.  When you see those bill boards or hear the State Farm commercial saying,"like a good neighbor State Farm is there."  It should say,"like a good neighbor Sid is there."
The other day, after their trip to Home Depot, Stone and I where out walking Lucy and we came upon Sid and Shannon taking Tobi for her daily walk.  Stone and Sid began recounting their trip to Home Depot.  Honestly, you should have heard their story. The more they talked the better it got.  Whether they enjoyed the outing or not, they sure had an entertaining story from it.

Butternut Squash Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, Walnuts and Goat Cheese, lemon polenta cake, Crab Stuffed Catfish fillets with Cajun Remoulade Sauce,

Butternut Squash Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, Walnuts and Goat Cheese Salad
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
1 small/medium butternut squash, pealed and diced
1 large leaf of kale, stem removed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup  crumbled cranberry & tarragon goat cheese
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
olive oil
salt and pepper
Instructions:
Prepare quinoa according to package directions.  Instead of water, use chicken stock to add flavor.  Cool completely.
While quinoa is cooking, heat oven 400', drizzle olive oil over diced butternut squash, place on a baking pan and cook until done about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
In  a sauté pan add a little olive oil and the kale.  Wilt slightly, 1-2 minutes, you want the kale to still be slightly crunchy.  Remove from pan and roughly chop.  Set aside to cool.
In the same pan add walnuts, no olive oil is necessary.  Toast for a few minutes on low heat-do not burn. Remove from pan and let cool.
Add all of the cooled ingredients along with the cranberries, goat cheese, salt and pepper, and stir gently mix.
Recipe adapted from: http://www.stuckonsweet.com/butternut-squash-quinoa-kale-cranberries-walnuts-goat-cheese/

We consumed our dinner of Crab-Stuffed Catfish Fillets With Cajun Remoulade, Mashed Cauliflower along with our salad of Butternut Squash Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, Walnuts and Goat Cheese.  Full to the extent of exploding, but I had to have dessert and I had made one of my favorites, Lemon Polenta Cake.  I cut rather large slices, since this is my favorite cake, piled it with whipping cream and fruit.  Now we are pleasantly plump.   Needing to move around and get more comfortable we waddle to the living room to relax and chat for a while.

Butternut Squash Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, Walnuts and Goat Cheese, lemon polenta cake, Crab Stuffed Catfish fillets with Cajun Remoulade Sauce,

Butternut Squash Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, Walnuts and Goat Cheese, lemon polenta cake, Crab Stuffed Catfish fillets with Cajun Remoulade Sauce,

I always hate it when our evening ends and our guests leave.  I'm never ready to call it a night, but we did.  We walked Shannon and Sid to the door and as they left for home Stone said," if you get lost going home, just call and I will come find you."