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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dinner for 15 people in one hour.....beginning with salmon

For some reason, I have gotten quite good at coming up with a meal in a short period of time and limited information!   Tonight was no exception.  This scenario involves being extremely organized, flexible... and patient.  My original meal plan consisted of grilled pork tenderloin, broiled salmon, corn and black bean salad, but once I learned that my numbers had increased, I decided to make a double batch of ginger Jasmine rice as well.

My organizational skills kick in big time....  I decide to get the salmon ready first.  I take out a stick of butter and let it soften.  Place it in a bowl and add in some thyme, garlic, Montreal Steak seasoning, dried onion and tarragon.   Spread the butter mixture on the fish and sprinkle with lemon juice.  I decide to cook this in the oven, instead of the grill, just because of logistics....I can't be inside cooking and outside grilling at the same time.

Next up, stuffed peppers....and why did I decide to make these?  I had made some the night before and naturally I made way too much stuffing as usual.  I thought this would be something great to serve and would use up my over-abundance of stuffing!  These I have made many times and have blogged...This time I used the croutons, fresh mozzarella, some leftover orzo I had made that had roasted asparagus, garlic, fresh tomatoes and spinach.  I added some cut up sliced ham instead of the usual sausage.  

It's all about improvising, using the ingredients you have on hand.   Once those were tucked into a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, I moved on to my next dish, corn and black bean salad.

This salad is easy, and the flavors are so bold and delicious.   Here's what you need:

2 cans of black beans, drained
1 large bag of frozen corn, thawed and cooked
4 scallion stalks cut up
a good handful of cilantro, stems removed and chopped
the juice of at least 5 limes
a couple of times around the bowl with olive oil
salt and pepper

The longer this sits, the better it tastes, so make it early on.  Every so often take a taste to see if it needs anything..

The basmati rice is pretty straightforward.  I always cook my rice in chicken broth instead of water.   I added about an inch of ginger that I grated.  When the rice is done, give it a stir to fluff it up, cover and set aside.

The last item on this menu is the pork tenderloin.

All I did to get the tenderloins ready to grill was to rub them with a combination of sugar, brown sugar, black pepper, cumin, salt, mustard powder, chili powder and garlic.  Once the grill was hot, I got to work.  The great thing about cooking pork tenderloins is they don't take very long.  I like to turn them every 5-10 minutes, and after about 30 minutes, they were perfectly cooked.  During the last 5 minutes on the grill, I painted barbecue sauce on all sides.

I don't know if you kept track, but I managed to create 4 dishes to feed 15 hungry people in less than an hour.   It was funny, comment I heard was "wow, this is an interested combination of food!"  I think I tried to direct my brain to come up with things that tasted good, were relatively easy to prepare, and that didn't take very long to cook.   Note to self:  next time, find out how many people are coming up front, and simplify!  would I ever consider just ordering pizzas?  probably not!

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