Blazing through Navy life one duty station at a time.

The Galley

Here's what's cooking in our galley:

So The Galley is finally up and running!  I have been planning to post occasionally about cooking, but for some reason it has taken me a lot longer to get going on this project than I had originally thought.  Probably because by the time I finish dinner I am usually ready to just get it on the table and be done with it.  But with it being a new year and all, it's time to get moving!

I love cooking, and I love food blogs.  I am inspired by The Pioneer Woman's step by step tutorials on the cooking section of her website.  But I can pretty much guarantee that The Galley won't look anything like that.  I am horrible at taking pictures, and since I am not really one to create my own recipes, I don't think anyone wants to read step by step instructions on how to rip off a Food Network or Cooking Light recipe.  Instead, I'll simply share a snapshot of the dish and the recipe when I make something worth sharing.

But first I should warn you - a lot of the recipes I share are bound to be vegetarian.  However, I am not a strict vegetarian.  I think Pilot Pete would probably kill me if we went completely meat free.  I would consider us "flexitarians".  I occasionally cook chicken or beef, but never fish.  I personally have found a diet lighter on meat and poultry to be better on my wallet and my waistline!

Dinner, January 1, 2011:

Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets and Poppy Seed Dressing

This recipe appeared in the September 2010 issue of Cooking Light.  In it's original form it is called "Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Watercress and Poppy Seed Dressing".  First, I can't find farro out here.  I can get pearl barley, so that's what I used.  Second, while I can find watercress, it seemed a little wimpy when compared to the other ingredients (plus, in the picture from Cooking Light, they very clearly used spinach).  So I guess my version should technically be called "Barley Salad with Roasted Beets, Spinach and Poppy Seed Dressing".  Seems wordy.  Anyway, the salad was tasty, but the star was the dressing.  I'll definitely use it for other salads.  Easy to make and healthy too!

Here's the recipe:

Spinach Salad with Roasted Beets and Poppy Seed Dressing

2 bunches small beets, trimmed
2/3 cup uncooked pearl barley
3 cups water
kosher salt, to taste
1 bag pre-washed baby spinach
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 oz. crumbled goat cheese
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. reduced-fat sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
2 tsp. honey
black pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Wrap beets in foil. 
    Bake at 375 for 1.5 hours or until tender. 
    Cool; peel and thinly slice.
3. Place barley and water in medium saucepan; bring to a boil. 
    Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes or until tender. 
    Drain and cool. 
    Add salt to taste.
4. Make the dressing:
    In a bowl, combine vinegar, oil, sour cream, poppy seeds, honey, garlic, salt and pepper (to taste).
    Stir well with a whisk.
5. Arrange half of the spinach on a serving platter. 
    Top with half of the barley, half the onion, half the beets.
    Repeat layers.
    Sprinkle top with cheese.
    Drizzle dressing evenly over salad.

Yield: 4 servings

Dinner, January 9, 2011:

Vegetarian Dumplings

Little Dude and I went over to a friend's house this week for lunch and a play date.  She made a delicious dumpling soup, and I have been thinking about it ever since.  It reminded me of a recipe for Chicken and Dumplings that I made when we were first married.  Sometimes I want certain parts of a dish, but not all of it.  This time I wanted everything but the chicken, which, as an added bonus, saved me time in the kitchen.  

So here is my simple, quick and easy recipe for Vegetarian Dumplings.  It's very much a little of this, little of that kind of recipe, and you can add or alter about anything in it.

Vegetarian Dumplings

1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2/3 cups water
1 box Jiffy biscuit mix
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In pot, heat about 1.5 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat.
2. Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery.  Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
3. Add chicken stock and water, bring to a boil.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the biscuit mix per package instructions.
5. Once the vegetable mixture comes to a boil, lower heat to a simmer.
6. Using a spoon, drop about a tablespoon of biscuit dough into the pot, allowing enough space for
    expansion.  (You can drop as big or as small of a dumpling as you desire, just make sure you don't crowd
    the pot - they will grow as they cook).
7. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes.
8. Uncover the pot and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened slightly.
9. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4 small servings