Riverhouse Inn, Williamston, Mi

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Chris and I enjoyed a lovely riverside dinner at Riverhouse Inn in Williamston on the last weekend in August. Hopefully we’ll have another chance for such a nice meal al fresco before fall truly sets in.

I started two new classes today and unlike previous quarters, I haven’t done any reading yet. My first bit of home work is due Thursday, in both classes, we’ve been out of town since last Thursday, my google reader is overflwoing and ditto for my inbox, our fridge is both empty or full of ‘stuff’, depending on how you look at it and this weekend is our first wedding anniversary (!!) so I’m probably gonna have to pull out some kind of romantic meal at some point (we are going to an old favorite w/ special meaning for the official celebration).

This post is mostly pictures. 

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Bread is served with flavored olive oil. Yes, that is a giant mound of garlic in the center. You can use as much or as little as you like. We used most of it.

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Chris had the butternut squash ravioli with a sweet, maple cream sauce and pecans. It was yummy and as you can see, I had to get my pics quick before he started chowing down.

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I had a hard time choosing but a craving for ‘green’ and crunchy’ led me to the Caesar salad with added chicken.  The salad includes anchovies but whole ones so I just set those off to the side.

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Chris’s dinner came with a side salad and he decided to get two dressings, one for me to try (he’d sampled on a previous visit) and one new one. On your left is the avocado ranch and the right is raspberry vinaigrette, both house-made.  I like green in all things (see above and my closet) but also the raspberry was bit sweet for my tastes.

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We actually had this first but I saved it for last because it was the best part of the meal. Two bruschetta options are offered, one with hummus, the other more traditional. Chris dislikes hummus (sigh) so we ordered this one. It was delicious though so I will forgive him.

With goat cheese and balsamic glaze:

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Riverhouse Inn

http://www.riverhouseinn.org/Index.html

Menus available at the above website though not identical to the ones we had. Chris says they also make a good steak as went there for lunch while I was out of town a few weeks ago.

There are three dining options- indoors, outdoors on the patio, outdoors at picnic tables down by the river. We ‘chose’ option 3 as it was nice out but all the patio seating was reserved. There is also a lovely gazebo for private dining. When we first came in, someone thought we were the party that reserved this gazebo which could have been very awkward later (there was a gift on the table). I may have suggested to Chris that he should take a cue from this when planning our dinner on Sept 11.

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Summer Lovin’ Salad

 

It’s not summer yet, I know. In fact, I started this post while procrastinating on a trip to the backyard a certain someone in the house jumped the gun a bit and planted already in direct opposition to tonight’s frost advisory. I think most of what’s out there can handle the chill in the air but there are still some unplanted tomater plants that should be brought in for the night (where they are locked in the bathroom we have a plant muncher cat) 

It would be easy to forget about April lows in the 30s with the sunshine this afternoon and the beautiful colors of these tomatoes (from Canada!!) and bright green mint plus even some parsley from my own burgeoning herb garden. 

This recipe is from a special ‘magazine’ Meals Made Easy from Real Simple magazine, on newstands now1 now. I was able to locate the original recipe, here along with a ton of other chickpea recipes that share similarities. 

I had to make some slight modifications so this is my version. Also, I didn’t actually measure anything so consider the numbers approximations: 

Lemony Chickpea Salad with Tomatoes & Mint

Ingredients 

1 15 ounce can chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
3 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut in to wedges
1/3 to 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
5-6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped (or more, if you can)
3/4 package fresh organic mint, leaves only, rough chopped
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
salt
pepper
2 pinches cumin

Directions 

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine and let sit for 20-30 minutes to let flavors meld. Adjust salt & pepper if necessary. Or maybe add a bit more vinegar if yours is really lemony like mine. 

 

To go with, I also ‘roasted’ some carrots and parsnip with red onion based on a different recipe in the maga-book. 

2 carrots, some red onion (the rest of the half I didn’t use above) and 1 parsnip. Parsnip and carrot cut in to long thin “fries”, seasoned with maple garlic pepper salt. Heat 1 tablespoon oil until smoke-hot, add onions, cook a few minutes then toss in parsnips and carrots. Allow parsnip to get some color, reduce heat to medium and place lid on pan and cook 15 minutes. Remove lid and cook until softened to your liking (this will also vary depending on how thick your slices of root are. 

 


 

1 I bought this magazine during a “quick” trip to Walgreens that turned in to spending $40. Clearly there is something about that store which induces such behavior- I only needed some inexpensive facial moisturizera and a thermometer yet I somehow spent almost fifty dollars! After going to the car, I realized that this ‘magazine’ was priced more like a cheap cookbook. I considering going right back in to return it but did not. And I’ve used it 4 times already, 3 successes and one quasi-success. 

Bonus Picture: Look, its me, the theoretically anonymous author! What, you don’t see me? That’s my face, right there in the spoon!
 

a Walgreens (and likely others) have gotten very crafty with their product placement. The fancy-schmancy $20 and up facial treatments are all in the middle section. The normal, no botox-in-a-bottle varieties are either on the top shelf or the bottom, forcing you crane your neck, stoop down and look all over for some low-price SPF 30 lotion for your face.

Awesome Arugula

A little spicy, a lotta peppery, Arugula, also know as Rocket is a good source of potassium and Vitamin C. Its also Chris & I’s new favorite vegetable.

Or, it might be our new favorite vegetable. Following Chris’s first experience with it in early-May, we bought 4 plants for our container farm. And this stuff grows fast, especially in the cool spring temps we’ve been experiencing. We pulled a few leaves off one night as a base for some grilled chicken. Last night, I made a salad of fresh arugula topped with sauteed mushrooms, garlic and cherry tomatoes. We ate that with leftover grilled pork loin marinated in Dale’s Seasoning (reduced sodium please!). I mixed together a quick dressing of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh thyme (also from the farm). The balsamic vinegar is from Italy via Cherry Creek Winery, aged 18 years.

I’ve had arugula before, most often part of a salad mix. In early May we ate dinner at Evan Street Station in Tecumseh, MI. I had a mixed green salad and shared it with Chris, pulling each green out so he could sample the different flavors. The salad included arugula, frisee, dandelion, mache and other lettuces.

Its now early June and our arugula is going crazy.  We’ve been eating it a lot and still can’t keep up.  Earlier this week, I used a Rachael Ray recipe (from 365- No Repeats) that included a rice pilaf with arugula and basil mixed in.  Rather than a generic rice pilaf, I used Seven Grain Pilaf from Seeds of Change.  Like much of our cooking lately, the recipe also used the fancy balsamic vinegar.

I’m looking forward to a sweet potato-arugula salad I found in a British cookbook in the Barnes and Noble discount bin.  That recipe along with a roasted red pepper appetizer is what made me buy the cookbook to begin with.  And I’m hoping our arugula keeps growing, without bolting, until our tomatoes are ready. Just imagine an arugula, farm-fresh tomato and mozzarella salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar and good quality fruity olive oil.
I’m drooling.