Last weekend we had another Homesick Texan-inspired dinner: chilled avocado soup, corn bread, crab cakes with chipotle chiles and corn, green beans with cilantro pesto, cucumber salad, and coconut tres leches cake. So here's the run down:
avocado soup -- kind of strange (in that maybe you expect that the combination of chicken stock, avocados, and coconut milk would be a little strange but still have hope that maybe you'll be very pleasantly surprised), not pleasantly surprised, so not sure that I'd make this again.
corn bread -- apparently Texas-style corn bread is salty, not at all sweet.
crab cakes -- great flavors, but my crab cakes would not for the life of them (or me) stick together and turned into more of a crab hash situation. I'd made these again but need to remember not to assume that I'll end up with individual cakes.
green beans with cilantro pesto -- my favorite dish of the night. Crunchy green beans tossed in very refreshing cilantro pesto. Although if you're one of those people who thinks that cilantro tastes like soap (the horror!), a lot of these recipes, and this one in particular, may not be for you. The recipe is below.
cucumber salad -- my dinner guests loved this side. My only beef with the recipe was that it called for "dill seed". After a confused Wikipedia search on my phone at the grocery store, I ended up purchasing a spice jar of "dill seed". Had I had the cookbook with me (and thus a picture of the completed dish) and not just the ingredients/shopping list, I would have known to purchase fresh dill ("dill weed"??). But you can't really go wrong with cucumbers and salt and Greek yogurt.
coconut tres leches cake -- take it out of the fridge a few minutes before serving to get maximum spongy cake-ness.
Lisa Fain's GREEN BEANS WITH CILANTRO PESTO
1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 serrano chile, seeds and stems removed, roughly chopped
1/4 cup roasted pecans
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt, to taste
1 pound fresh or frozen green beans, preferably long and thin
1. In a blender or food processor, mix together the cilantro, olive oil, garlic, serrano chile, pecans, and lemon juice until a paste is formed. Add salt to taste.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and then add the green beans. Cook until bright green, about 5 minutes. Drain and run cold water over the green beans to stop them from cooking any longer. Return the green beans to the pot and toss with the cilantro pesto. Add salt to taste.
And what the heck, here's the cucumber salad recipe also.
Lisa Fain's CUCUMBER SALAD
2 unpeeled cucumbers, cut into 1/4 inch round slices (I used about 9 of those mini seedless cucumbers)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 cup sour cream or thick, Greek-style yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon yellow or Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 medium red onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon dill seed (but maybe dill weed? I basically omitted)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Black pepper, to taste
1. Cover the sliced cucumbers with salt and allow to sit refrigerated for at least 1 hour. Rinse well and drain.
2. Mix together the sour cream, garlic, vinegar, mustard, cilantro, red onions, dill seed, cumin, and cayenne. Taste and add salt and black pepper. Add the cucumbers, toss, and chill.