It’s been a while…

We seem to be terrible at updating this thing. That doesn’t mean we haven’t been cooking and eating all kinds of deliciousness the past few weeks, despite the adventures of moving with 2 cats…. Shall we recap?

This is my new all-time favorite breakfast, favorite way to use arugula or goat cheese or eggs or tomatoes, and favorite 5 minute healthy meal! Even you can make it. It’s foolproof and shockingly delicious.

Got 5 minutes? Quick: Fry an egg in olive oil (not butter, this is important) – when the egg is mostly cooked, tip the pan and spoon some olive oil over the top. This gets a nice crispy-edged result with the velvety yolk still liquid. Plate a bed of arugula, sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and crumbled goat cheese and then slide the egg on top. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil in the pan. Prepare to want seconds.

I also made a nice chilled zucchini soup in the middle of a hectic weekend of cleaning and packing. It was beautifully accompanied by the fried egg salad.

The iPhone app ColorSplash is entirely too much fun…. moving on!

Last Saturday at the farmers’ market (we actually went to 2, shh…) we fell in love with the adorable variety baskets of heirloom tomatoes in rainbow colors. So we promptly made fresh bruschetta.
Pulse a bunch of basil, a clove of garlic, olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a food processor. Mix with chopped tomatoes and spread on toasted baguette.

Perfect post-market lunch, followed by a nice bike ride to a free ice cream tasting fest near Gallaudet. 4 free samples with the expectation you’ll vote for your favorite.  The heat (and crowd) was nearly unbearable, but the free ice cream and gelato was fantastic. I voted for Dolcezza for best gelato. We sampled their chocolate mint which is made with actual chocolate-mint leaves and their lemon basil which was just outstanding. They make everything from fresh, local ingredients and you can taste the difference. They also have really creative flavors, which keeps it interesting. Too bad (or not) Georgetown is eons away from where we live…

    

We also picked up both yellow and green zucchini (no, yellow zucchini is not yellow summer squash), fresh herbs and local goat cheese from our favorite producer, Cherry Glen. We made some delightful linguine with zucchini, goat cheese, lemon, mint and basil. The next day, we baked the leftovers with a breadcrumb-parmesan topping. Oh yes we did.

                            

We have a growing obsession with pie – I blame Dangerously Delicious Pies. I mean, the name says it all. We also have a new addition to our cookbook collection: Cooking in the Moment by Andrea Reusing of Lantern (Chapel Hill, NC). You can catch a glimpse here. This is her blackberry-apple pie. We had a bit of a disaster the first go-round when the organic blackberries from the market turned out to be infested (I’ll spare you the unsavory details). But we persevered with a new batch of berries, and boy, was it worth it. We’ve eaten pie for breakfast every morning since!

We also made another of her recipes this week, the baked tomatoes with parmesan-herb breadcrumbs and olive oil, accompanied by zucchini-ricotta fritters,   from another favorite blog, Love & Olive Oil. I whipped up some lemon-cayenne aioli for dipping.

                             

And then there was last night. It was a damn good night. I invented my very own cocktail and it was mind-blowing. I’m still trying to come up with a good name for it, but it’s essentially a blackberry-mint cocktail.

I used my immersion blender, which was fantastic, but I’m certain you could also use a regular blender, food processor, or if you’re especially desperate, just cut up the berries and mint with a knife. Put 2 tsp sugar, 4 or 5 torn mint leaves, 1/2 shot of Rose’s concentrated lime juice and 1 shot of vodka into your blender/whatever and pulse until well combined and the mint is finely shredded. Add a couple of ice cubes and chop those roughly, then add the blackberries and puree until smooth, dark purple bliss. Serve over additional ice, garnished with a mint sprig. I think I might call it the BlissBerry.

Finally, we made a pizza that was so sublime, Emily swore it could have come out of a restaurant kitchen. I might’ve blushed a bit, but mostly I gave credit to the recipe, courtesy of all-time favorite Smitten Kitchen. I did not make the fresh ricotta, but I did make the honey-wine dough, my first successful pizza crust. I also added fresh basil and parmesan.
The photo, the blog post, the description – none of it does it any justice. It’s the onions. Caramelized with brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, they form an almost-jam or marmalade that I had to resist eating with a spoon. I can’t stop thinking about that onion jam, people. I am thinking up amazing ways to put it on other foods (though I’m certain this pizza won’t be missed for long). I’m dreaming of puff pastry filled with caramelized red onion jam, mushrooms and goat cheese… Or sweet potatoes gently mashed and accented with the onion marmalade… Or fancy BLT’s…

Sweet potato salad strikes again!

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A Brief Update

So due to the inevitable craziness of life, we haven’t had a chance to update in a few weeks. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been cooking and eating great stuff! A brief photo synopsis of the past few weeks…

I intended this dish to center around salmon cakes, but surprisingly, the salad stole the show. I roasted sweet potatoes and onions until sort of caramelized, tossed with mixed greens, goat cheese, and pepitas, and whipped together a nice cider vinaigrette. Recipe (of my own improvisation) to follow.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Mixed baby greens
2 Tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2 large sweet potatoes, cubed (1/2″)
1 sweet onion, diced
1/2 c. roasted, salted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
4 oz. chevre (goat cheese), crumbled
salt and pepper

Cider Vinaigrette
1/2 c. EVOO
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey (I was fortunate enough to have some from VT)
salt and pepper

  1. Heat your oven to 425. Meanwhile, toss your sweet potatoes and onions with the olive oil. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Roast for about 20-30 minutes, or until the onions are browning and the potatoes are soft but still hold their shape. Roasting brings out vegetables’ natural sweetness, so it will have a nearly caramelizing effect.
  2. Whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together and taste. I never measure when I make my own dressing, so these are total guesses – your own taste will determine how sweet, salty, or sharp you like it.
  3. Top the greens with the sweet potato-onion mixture. Dress with the vinaigrette and then top with a handful of pepitas and goat cheese. Serves 4.

As for the salmon cakes, I simply mixed a can of salmon, 2 eggs, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and bread crumbs until they reached the right consistency, and pan-fried them. Piece of cake!

Lovely trip to Ella’s Wood-Fired Pizza in downtown DC (thank you, LivingSocial for the half-off deal!)

A grilled portobello mushroom salad featuring pears, mozzarella, and spiced walnuts.

Pesto pizza with Shrimp, Roasted Red Peppers, and Pine Nuts at Ella’s. Really great restaurant known for its pizza, but I’ve had appetizers there that topped even this! Specifically a stuffed portobello mushroom with pesto, goat cheese, and sundried tomatoes, and an asparagus risotto with shrimp! Whatever you love in Italian cookery, you’ll love Ella’s.

I took a lazy Saturday afternoon to make a simple, cheap, and healthy favorite, Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chilli. It’s hardly even a recipe, just follow the photos…

First, roast 3 medium sweet potatoes, a large sweet onion, and a large bell pepper coated in olive oil, at 425 for about half an hour.

Meanwhile, start simmering a large can of black beans, a large can of diced tomatoes, a can of tomatoes with green chiles, a small can of tomato sauce, and a small can of corn (optional) over low heat. Add chilli powder. cumin, salt pepper, and cayenne if you’re brave, all to taste. A pinch of sugar will bite the acidity of the tomatoes.

Then stir it all together, taste, and season appropriately. The longer you can let it simmer and allow the flavors to mingle and integrate, the better. If you’re short on time, ten minutes will do. If it starts to get too thick, add a little water. Top with pepper jack cheese and serve with tortilla chips, cornbread, whatever you like.

A few other highlights…

Sunday brunch – just throwing together what we had on hand… A toasted bagel sandwich with cheddar, a fried egg, and seared bell peppers. Stuffed mushrooms with cream cheese and olives. And a simple side salad with cucumbers and feta. Not pictured: mimosas, of course!

And a random lunch: grilled pepper jack, pancetta, and arugula sandwich – a bit odd but quite good.

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