Wednesday, September 9, 2009

heirloom tomatoes provencal on spinach and basil pesto pasta

With school heading towards full swing and the weather getting a bit chilly it was time to take what garden food I still had and make it comforting. All summer long we've had fresh clean options using these same ingredients and I'm soooo over it. I wanted a big ass bowl of happiness that will leave me with a vague sense of guilt and a huge sense of fulfillment.

Check out those tomatoes. With some creative pruning I finally started getting a decent yield. I really love the little round orange ones. The pink have been a big hit, they're really meaty, firm, and totally look like genitals. Which, as I'm sure you can imagine, goes over well in house full of tweens and teens.

I cut my tomatoes to about an inch, inch and a half, set them in a sheet pan, drizzled with olive oil, a little fancy balsamic, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, Italian oregano, and some thyme. Sprinkle each tomato with breadcrumbs and put in a 375 oven for 25-30 minutes. (I deviated from my normal breadcrumbs at this point and used panko this time, something I won"t do again.)
Panko regret:

I cooked my pasta and made my pesto while the tomatoes roasted.

The pesto was a few spinach leaves and a bunch of basil, some pan toasted pine nuts, a few cloves of the garlic confit I recommend you always, always have on hand, a dash of cayenne, and a little pepper blended in some olive oil.

At this point you start beating people back out of the kitchen...

When the tomatoes are about done sprinkle them with a little parmesan and basil chiffonade and set back in the oven for a few. I wouldn't typically let my parmesan get crispy but that's the way the pesto zombies wanted it. (It was alright...I guess.)

Then you take your tomatoes and set them over the pasta.
Like this:

no really, do it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

summer goods

Hiya. I'm back. It's been awhile, huh? Sooooooo long in fact that I'm way over discussing the Coq Au Vin I was going to lead into from the last blog post. Its far too hot to bother with now. Instead I'll talk about what Ethan and I made for his class was compiled into a cookbook and given to mom's for mother's day. Back when school was still in we had to haul our butts all the way across town to the market to pick up the goods we'd need for this dinner but now we just hop straight out the back door and pick whatever we need. It rules. The garden has been a wonderfully productive learning tool for all of us this year. We have a better idea of our lot. We know how much more space we'll need next year to keep us in the green. We have a better idea of what crops grow in which location. And I think most importantly, we know what we have far too much of and what we desperately wish we had more of. ( like artichokes, YUM)

Ash and I have been scavenging materials to build the bottle walled chicken coop. I'm excited to try this out. I don't have this one completely planned as of yet. I really want to build something that I can use for chickens and/or squab. A rabbit idea is being tossed around as well. The issue I have is that I have no desire to have rabbits as inedible pets. We have enough pets, too many maybe. What we need is a nice steady food supply. Convincing the kids of this was easy. Its the husband who has difficulty with the idea of killing flopsy, not that he has any issue when it comes to eating him (go figure). So...that is where I've been- collecting materials, growing food, adjusting our lives a little everyday. The good stuff.
Back to the food! Ethan and I sauteed some onions/shallots, (whichever you have) with one jalapeno and a few cloves of garlic in some oil until soft. I like to put in a pinch of cayenne and a little, say a teaspoon , of chinese five spice here and cook it for about 30 seconds. Then we added some ground turkey and cooked through. Ethan shredded a few carrots while I chopped cabbage.

I had thrown a cup of rice into the rice cooker when we started so it'd be ready to add by the time I needed it ( I always cook my rice in stock). We cooked down the cabbage and carrots in the spicy meat, added a cup to a cup and one half of rice and stirred it all together. We seperated the leaves of romaine on a platter and viola! We were done. Everyone has a bowl of spicy meat and veggies and access to as many leaves as they like. Its fast, try it. The jalapeno and cayenne don't add much heat so its kid friendly and you'll want to serve with sri racha for sure. Unless of course you're a bunch of that case you could probably sub the jalapeno for a bell pepper and skip the cayenne. Either way...

It's really good.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

eff the potatoes

I have decided that I must have dreamed my potato purchase. There is no other explanation.
I have never lost my keys much less a fucking TWENTY POUND bag of potatoes. light of the pathetic nature of my recent dreams, I am going on vacation.
I have never been on one before with a husband and kids. I'm excited. There will be a train and sneaky booze, and maybe even some illegal transport of produce. At the very least I wanna have train bathroom sex. ( plug your eyes mother) Wish me luck! I'll explain the photo when I return.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I know I bought a bag of russet potatoes at Costco two weeks ago.
Now where the hell is it???

Monday, March 2, 2009

true love soup

For valentines day the whole lot of us ( minus bella the defector who swears she "loves cheese more than anything in the world " but couldn't be bothered to stay home with her family and sample some really great muenster, brie, havarti, and farmers cheese. oh no...she had to go to her best friends house instead. psht.) stayed in and had a feast.

I made chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, give or take 20 cloves. By give or take I mean give. It totally had so very many more. I had one of those giant Costco garlic tubs and I didn't want to waste any so I made garlic infused food as well as confit all damn day.

This post is not about the amazing roasted chicken , or even the roasted garlic, the cheese plate, or the tomatoes with sea salt, basil chiffonade, and fresh cracked pepper that we enjoyed that evening. It is about what happened the next day. After dinner I ( very slowly as i was fat with cheese and chicken) put the carcass on the stove to make a stock and went to bed. The next day I was faced with one of the most amazing soup bases I have ever had the pleasure of coming up against. Oh man... it was clear and beautiful and so wonderfully infused with the garlic flavor. MMMMMMMmmmmmm

To this I added left over chicken, cabbage, jalapeno,peas, green beans, red onion, salt and pepper and then after cooking all of this until the vegetables were tender, I added some rice noodles that I had soaked for about 20 minutes. I let the whole thing sit on the heat for another twenty minutes and served with fresh bread. So easy and so fresh.

I love soup.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

summertime please.

My fascination with Eric Ripert has finally reached the point where I feel like I should apologize to my husband.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

eff you fingerling potatoes

I don't know if I've ever mentioned how much my dearest Ash hates potatoes.
He does. It had been totally cramping my style for like 5 years and I had enough.
Costco had beautiful fingerling potatoes and I couldn't help myself. I had actually walked past them during two other trips and asked the tater hater, ( yeah...i said it) if he wanted them and he was so violently vehement in his no's that I passed them by.
I thought about them so much I couldn't take it.I made demands and went back and they came home with me.
Now, this is by no means a special or even interesting recipe other than the fact that it was one that everyone liked and ate despite their feelings on the starchy bastards.
I marinated the fingerlings in olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, red pepper flakes and fresh thyme. (Which I had put in a bottle the night before...and it was funny.)

I laid them out all single layered and cooked them alongside the meatloaf at 375 for about 45 minutes.
I put a bunch on his plate. I watched while he took his first bite...I watched while he took his second the third bite when he smiling at me sheepishly, I proclaimed, "Fuck you! I knew it!" Hence the name. Eff you fingerling potatoes will be around more often. You can count on that.
I would like to show you a roasty toasty picture of them but I can't.
We ate them.


Yummy, right?

I never had meatloaf growing up. I didn't know what it was supposed to taste like until I was 23 and sitting in a bar in Ballard drinking shots of whiskey to get me through the blind date from hell. I loved it! ( Not the date, obviously) The meatloaf was pretty extra fucking wonderful for a comfort food. So I decided to make it using ground beef and those flavor packs you buy from one of those inner aisles of the market. It always turned out OK but never what I wanted. Time passed and I allowed myself to let go of my first meatloaf experience and it led me you...with love.
That delightful looking paste in the center of the above picture of heaven is about 6 cloves of garlic confit mashed with a spoon. I went on a garlic preservation jag last week and found this was the best method for me.
Just cover some peeled garlic cloves in a neutral flavored oil and cook on low for about 40 minutes. You will end up with a nice golden, easily mushed clove that you store in the oil in the refrigerator for up to a few months.

The fresh chopped ingredients in the 3.75 pounds of turkey breast above are 1 jalapeno that has been veined and seeded, 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, 1 finely diced shallot, and a bunch of scallion greens.

The wet and dry ingredients I add last; 4 eggs, sea salt, pepper, and 1 cup bread crumbs.
If your mix seems to dry add a dash of chicken stock. you want something that is going to hold together but not taste bready or dry.

That looks awesome, doesn't it.

Shape this into a loaf shape in 9x13 pan and drizzle with grasshopper spit and sri racha. ( Or whichever hot sauce you prefer) Cook for about an hour at 375 and love.
This fed 9 people with 1 slice leftover. I'm not saying this makes 10 portions- I'm pretty sure it makes more than that...I'm saying this fed 9 people. We actually ate it so fast that I didn't get end pictures.
This meatloaf is NOT to be eaten with ketchup. I mean it. That's gross and kinda cruel.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

another sunday breakfast

I am fairly certain if you ask either of my parents what goes into a really yummy sandwich they are going to say, "pickle, onion and cheese." My mom is a purist she has these ingredients with a little mayo on whole wheat. Perfection. My dad, if given awhile, will start adding things like ham, turkey, roast beef...maybe one day on whole wheat, maybe another day on a French roll. When it comes to food, I certainly tend to follow in my dads footsteps. We are eaters. We are recreators. We are reinventors. We spent years eating way too quickly and making my mother groan just watching us. So this sandwich is a gracious nod to both of my folks. To my Mom, for the basics. To my Dad, for making me want to add ham. ( To everything, really)
Ash and I made these together for brunch a few weeks ago. They were not only wonderful, but the time of day allowed us to sneak in a glass of wine just before noon. It was, to the dish. Yeah. Thats right. It was NECESSARY.
On sourdough I placed swiss, cheddar, pickle, onion, and ham. I lightly buttered just the outsides of the bread and grilled them till the cheese was melty. Ash fried up a couple of eggs, possibly in butter, though I may not admit it... and slid them on top.
Coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper.
You do this too.
Send me flowers.

Monday, January 12, 2009

oh things we've missed

Brined pork loin adapted from a bobby flay recipe, coq au vin (made with a hen not a cock...its supposed to be cheap and easy, remember), mommy's best risotto, three bean chili with just enough serrano chili to warm you right up and make your nose sweat, holy crap meatloaf sammiches. I've been busy folks, far too busy for my liking but thankfully we have finally settled back into normal life after the never ending birthday/holiday weeks. The kids have spent a full snowless week in school and there isn't a candy cane in sight. Phew. Now maybe I can pull my head outta my ass and remember to take some photos and share with you the wonderful winter food we've been eating! Maybe.
This year we made some family resolutions and I'm really excited to see the kids adapting so easily. ( Ash too...he really does embrace some things with unparalleled enthusiasm. Its a shame those things never ever include cleaning the toilet.)
1.)We have given up paper napkins and gone cloth. Everyone was so into this idea that they even made guest napkin rings. So far so good. Ethan and I even managed to badger our excessively tidy selves (read: horribly uptight obsessive compulsive germaphobes) into using handkerchiefs throughout the duration of our current sickness. Yay, us!
2.) Compost! Compost! Compost! We bought a new bucket and gave it a permanent home. The compost waste now goes out at the same time as the garbage and recycling. This resolution took off better than I thought it would, the compost bin has existed but we have had a disconnect in what we could and couldn't put in there and we were still producing just too much garbage. The kids are expert recyclers and they really seem just as excited to make compost now that everything has its place and routine.
3.) Grow and store our own food. Seeds are on order, plots are dug, plans have been made! We looked at deep freezes this weekend and hope to have one in place by April. Ash and Isabella plan on making cheese, all different types of delightful cheese, yay!
4.) Learn to create something for family use, sale, or trade. Elliot has taken up knitting and sewing felt dolls, Ethan wants to learn how to make lavender oil, and Isabella has her cheese and innumerable arts and craft projects going on in her studio. Ash and James keep trying to convince me that beer is a valid option but I know them... What are the odds that beer will ever, EVER, make it out of the house? Slim to none, I know.
5.) Get a massage every month for the duration of the year. This one is actually just my resolution. My very favorite resolution at that. They're covered by insurance, why the hell not, right?

I'll be back here soon. Writing with love and devotion about cheap, healthy, family friendly food made in my kitchen every. single. day.