Friday, April 8, 2011

$500 Meal

I have something to get off my chest: I sort of cheated.  Plagiarized even.  Most of the time I consider myself a pretty awesome cook.  Cook the food, that I can do.  But rarely are my dinners ever a creation straight from my own brain.  Most times they are inspired by other people and their recipe creations.  But let's be honest, each of us could not be as brilliant as we are if it weren't for the inspiring people in our lives.  All great ideas are borne from some type of inspiration, correct?  Wasn't Martin Luther King Jr. or the Dalai Lama inspired first by Gandhi?

So this meal is not of my own creation, but fully inspired by the wonderful cooks at Coyote Kitchen in Boone, NC.  You can read about my dining experience here.  We ate there just a few weeks ago and loved the experience.  However, Mr. Kummerow and I left feeling a little disappointed that we didn't try one of their "boats" after seeing how delectable Susan's and Dr. Russ's appeared.  Only one thing to do:

Create Your Own!

Mr. Kummerow and I have been planning this dinner party for several weeks.  We hosted it as a fundraiser for our mission trip to Africa and invited all of his work colleagues.  When it came time for the menu I knew exactly where to turn for inspiration.

I read through all the Boat descriptions and settled on two: the Louisiana and the Moab.  I made a large casserole of each using the ingredients listed on the menu, and my own personal cooking experience to recreate the dishes.  I served the meal with a green salad and red wine.  

the Louisiana

1 can red kidney beans
1 package Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup corn
1 yellow onion
1 cup Daiya Cheddar
Olive oil
1 cup cornmeal
1 chia egg (1 tbsp chia seeds, mixed with 3 tbsp water)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp oil
1/2 cup Almond Milk

Mix corn with 1 tbsp olive oil.  Roast in 400* oven for 10-15 minutes.

In large saute pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Slice onion into thin half-moons.  Place in olive oil.  To caramelize onions, cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 4-5 minutes.  You want to let the onions sit still long enough to turn brown, but not too long that they burn.  After onions are brown and have cooked for 30 minutes, you can add a little balsamic vinegar to the pan to add flavor to onions and deglaze your stainless steel pan.

After onions are cooked, add your soy chorizo, mushrooms and kidney beans to the pan.  Saute for an additional 5-10 minutes until mushrooms are soft.

Spray a pie pan with cooking spray and spread the contents of the pan into dish.  Spread 1 cup Daiya Cheddar Cheese over the mix.

In a mixer combine chia egg with oil and milk.  Add sugar and cornmeal until batter is just combined.  Stir in roasted corn. Spread cornbread batter over the cheese in the pie pan.

Bake casserole for 25 minutes at 350*.

the Moab

1 cup white rice
1/2 cup Coconut milk
1 cup water
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 can black beans
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
fried plantains (make your own, or purchase at store)
1 cup corn
1 cup Daiya Cheddar
2 avocados
juice of 1 lime
olive oil

In rice cooker, combine rice and water and coconut milk.  Cook until rice is tender.  Or you can follow rice package directions for stove top method using coconut milk instead of 1/2 cup of water.

Meanwhile, toss diced sweet potatoes and corn in 2 tbsp olive oil and roast in 400* oven for 25 minutes.

When rice is cooked, stir in shredded coconut and spread as bottom layer in a greased casserole dish.

Rinse and drain black beans and add on top of rice.  Next add sweet potatoes and corn.  And finally top with fried plantains.  Cover dish and cook at 350* for 25 minutes.

Add 1 cup Daiya Cheddar cheese and place under broiler for less than 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.

With potato masher, mash peeled avocado and stir in lime juice for a quick and easy guacamole.  Serve onside of casserole. 

Spicy Peanut Salad

2 cups chopped romaine
2 cups chopped kale
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
3 roma tomatoes diced
1/2 cup Trader Joe's Spicy Peanut Viniagrette

Rinse all vegetables and toss in dressing.
For dessert we enjoyed the Refrigerator Cake that Bob created:

So I really hate to toot my own horn...but seriously this dinner was GOOD!  All of our guests went back for seconds and between the 7 of us, we housed this meal.  There were barely any leftovers!

These two casseroles will be on permanent rotation in our home!  Thank you Coyote Kitchen for the inspiration!

Oh, and for a little praise report: Mr. Kummerow and I raised $500 toward our mission trip at this dinner!  Our friends are amazing.  We asked them to consider the cost of a meal out and instead allow us to wine and dine them, sparing that money they would have spent.  Well...if their donations are any testament to how awesome this dinner was, you should know how great it tasted!  I never knew my food was worth so much!  Thanks friends!

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