Thursday, May 17, 2012

Real Food Dinner: Oven Grilled Asparagus & Homemade Garlic Mayo

Welcome to our Food Revolution Day Virtual Dinner Party! I hope you have been enjoying the delicious offerings of my friends (hop over to their blogs listed below). Wonderful, delicious real food, perfect for family or friends, and I can't wait for Bettina's dessert!

Here is the full menu with links:

The  Real Food Dinner Menu (#foodrevdinner)
Bacon Wrapped Blue Cheese Dates by Billy at Time at the Table

Grilled Asparagus and Homemade Garlic Mayo by Grace of

Real Food Dinner: Oven Grilled Asparagus with Homemade Garlic Mayo

On Mother's Day, my good friend hosted a fabulous brunch and part of the menu was amazing oven-grilled spring vegetables with homemade chipotle mayonnaise. It was a wonderful assortment of spring vegetables: sweet red peppers, baby eggplants, cherry tomatoes, leeks and fava beans! I was inspired and decided to oven grill asparagus for our Food Revolution Day Dinner and try to make my own homemade mayo for the first time.
The Inspiration!

Oven-Grilled Asparagus
This recipe is shamelessly easy, but amazingly good!

1 bunch of asparagus (can substitute almost any tender vegetable)
Drizzle of Olive Oil
Sprinkle of Sea Salt
Squeeze of Lemon (optional)

Preheat broiler to High. Arrange asparagus on a single layer on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and shake to toss. Sprinkle with Sea Salt. Broil on high for 3-5 mins (watch carefully to avoid burning). Turn veggies over and broil 2-5 mins more, if needed. Cooking length will depend on your taste and variability of your broiler. You can let them get pretty dark and then they will really look and taste "grilled," though your kids may prefer them only "lightly browned."
Step 1:

Step 2:


My kids, who will eat many vegetables, don't really like asparagus, but they devoured this version. Delicious even without the mayo! (You can give a squeeze of lemon when plated.)

Next for the real challenge: homemade mayo! I remembered seeing Jennifer Perillo's super-easy recipe and method for mayo, using a stick blender and decided to give it a whirl. Here is a video below that I first found on her website.

Garlic-seasoned Homemade Mayo
(Adapted from Jennifer Perillo (In Jennie's Kitchen) and Mark Bittman)
Adding garlic gave it a robust flavor so it could hold up to the other grilled fare, and also made it a bit fancier for our dinner party!

1-3 cloves of garlic, depending on taste
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
1 cup canola oil or other neutral oil, or you can use olive oil for richer taste
1/4 teaspoon of salt
juice of half a lemon (approx 2 tablespoons)

Soften whole cloves garlic by boiling in water for 10 min. Smash with fork or garlic mincer. Then add to mayo recipe.

Place egg yolk, lemon juice, salt, mustard an oil in a tall container, mixing cup, or bowl with high sides. Let ingredients settle for one or two minutes so that yolk settles to bottom. Place immersion blender in cup and slowly pulsate the mixture. In a few seconds, the mayo will begin to form; keep moving blender around the container to fully mix all the liquids. Stop as soon as it reaches the desired consistency, not more than one minute. Serve immediately, or can be save in refrigerator for up to one week.
(Jennifer has a low-fat version too; check here.)

Yum! Homemade Garlic Mayo

What a great way to celebrate Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day! I hope you enjoyed it and feel to share your favorite recipes or real food blog posts in the comments section or via Facebook or Twitter (@eatdinner).

Get into the kitchen this weekend and make some real food to enjoy with your family!

Join us for a Food Revolution Day Dinner Party! Our Virtual Dinner Party starts Friday May 18!

Jamie Oliver is having a huge celebration for Real Food. On May 19th, he's hosting a Global Food Revolution Day and encouraging folks to have dinner parties, send in videos, and tout all the good things about real food. The power of this movement is in your hands! We as shoppers, as parents, as eaters, as cooks, all need to take a stand to demand real food.

This past fall, a group of bloggers held a progressive virtual dinner for CSPI Food Day. We were all pleased to offer a dish and a virtual entry into our homes and kitchens. This time, we are thrilled to do it again with a few more friends.

We kick off the party early on Friday May 18, so be sure to check in and join us. Here is the outline of our Real Dinner Menu.

Join the conversation!  Post your own real food recipe on your own blog, on Facebook, or you can even upload it to Jamie Oliver's site. We are using #foodrevdinner on Twitter.

Take action! Choose Saturday May 19th to be a real food day in your house. Cook a family meal, host a real food potluck, or get involved in any of the activities in your area. Check out Food Revolution for more details or follow them on Facebook or Twitter @FoodRev #foodrevolution.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thanks Sheryl Sandberg for Taking Family Dinner "Out of the Closet"

Family dinner has come up again in the news, this time thanks to Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, who has come out publicly to declare that "Yes," she makes time for family dinner.  It is interesting that she said she's been doing it for years, both when she was at Google and now at Facebook, but has only recently "come out" for family dinner publicly. What a powerful statement! First, that you would have to "come out" to say that you leave the office at 5:30pm so you can have family dinner (and that it is big news with over 1,000 shares on Huffington Post). And second, that one of the leading business people in America can say that finding regular time for your family is important and priceless, and that it is important for women, and men, to agree to do it.

I often get distinct reactions when I talk about family dinner. Some people treat my advice to try family dinner as something akin to suggesting they build a spaceship and take it to the moon -- it just seems like an impossible task! Other people whisper to me in hushed tones, "We have family dinner most nights a week, but I never really talk about it. It's great that you are actually talking about it." Their tone suggests that they are slightly embarrassed about making family dinner a priority and actually pulling it off regularly. There is a (genuine) concern that if you are committed to family dinner you must be
  • hopelessly old-fashioned, 
  • willing to commit career suicide, 
  • have live-in help, 
  • have a lot of time on your hands. 
  • Or maybe all of the above.
I know from talking with dual-income working families across the country that family dinner is a way of life for many and not rocket science. But in certain circles, family dinner is totally "in the closet" and is some kind of mystery that men and women are reluctant to even discuss. I'm glad Sheryl Sandberg's statements are bringing out more discussion on family dinner so we can talk about the hows and whys to make it a reality. (Some of my own tips are here and Blog for Family Dinner is a great resource for stories about how real families are making it work.)

I applaud Sheryl Sandberg for coming out for family dinner. Will you? The first step to making family dinner a reality is the commitment. Talk with your family about what small steps you could take. Can you try for family dinner 2 or more nights a week? Can you build up from wherever you start? What would it take to put that together? Talking to your boss, doing more meal planning, reducing out some after school or evening commitments? Make the commitment and follow through. Just like you do at work everyday.