Bones and Marrow

What’s creepier than snacking on bones?

 

Dipping them in gooey marrow first, of course! Continue reading

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How to Make Salsa from Scratch

I can’t believe it’s the last day of September. Fall pounced on me this year, leaving me surprised when apples started to replace tomatoes at my local farmer’s market.

My response? Panic buy tomatoes. Of course. As any sane person would do, right? Continue reading

Palestinian Musaka’a

If there was a reason for me to consider vegetarianism, this would be it.

Unfortunately, pulled pork exists, so that’s not really an option. But hey, a girl can dream, right? Continue reading

Roasted Corn Salad with Tomatoes and Feta

I have to come clean. Corn has not always been my thing.

It seems like this time of year, everyone is raving about fresh corn on the cob at their late summer/ early fall BBQs, but it’s never really done the trick for me.

Oddly enough, there are many vegetables I would rather have a side than corn. Green vegetables even. Shocking, right?

But then, I discovered the secret key that would let me enter the corn loving club. It is, as with many things, all a trick of preparation. Continue reading

How to Make Tomato Sauce from Scratch

Hello world! Can I have your attention please? I’m the girl bouncing up and down with the wooden spoon in her hand, grinning like a fool. Yes, that one, right there.

Everyone listening? Great! Now stop what you’re doing. Unless you are mid-surgery, or putting out a wildfire or something really important like that. Watching Season 2 of Downton Abbey for the 3rd time does not count.

Now, everyone go buy a lot of Roma tomatoes. I mean, a LOT of them. 10 pounds or more. Why? Because I just figured out how to make tomato sauce from scratch. And guess what?

It’s SO much better than anything you will find in a store. Taste-wise of course, but also in terms of added ingredients, sodium, oils, and all those other things that sneak into our sauces while we’re sleeping.

Embrace the joy of the ripe tomato.

Continue reading

Polenta with Black Beans, Tomatoes and Spinach

Have I mentioned how much I adore Cooking Light? They have a great selection of delicious and healthy recipes, and every time I try something new from their cookbooks or magazines I end up with a winner.

Why? Because (and I truly do believe this despite previous posts like these Big Butt Bars) healthy options can be just as scrumptious as those loaded with oil and salt.

Case in point: polenta with black beans, tomatoes and spinach.

Since I first tried out this fast and easy recipe, it’s become my go-to for Summer cooking. It’s light, filling, and doesn’t require you to heat up the house.

Continue reading

Cheesy Pasta Bake for a Good Cause!

I work for a nonprofit called YouthLink. We provide a wide range of resources to homeless youth ages 16-23, one of which is an on-site food shelf to help them stretch a pay check, or use as a commodity to help get them a safe place to sleep for the night.

Now, our food shelf is an amazing resource for our youth, but if you’ve never had a kitchen of your own, you may look at a can of diced tomatoes, a bag of beans, and some chicken stock and wonder what the heck you can make with it all.

To promote our food shelf and all the wonderful dishes you can create with the goodies inside, one member of our amazingly creative staff decided to have a staff food shelf cook-off. The rules? All the ingredients had to either come from the food shelf, or cost less than $5. Continue reading

Ratatouille!

Why did I decide to try making ratatouille? To be perfectly honest, I’ve wanted to try it (homemade or otherwise) since I saw the Disney/Pixar movie. I mean really, an adorably animated rat living in Paris who loves to cook? Totally up my alley. Especially when you add in the necessary feel good message that if you keep trying you can achieve your dreams.

I fall for that stuff every time.

In the movie (spoiler alert!) ratatouille is the dish our furry friend makes to melt the heart of the mean old food critic. It’s considered a risky move because it’s a simple peasant dish, and is that really what you want to serve the most highly regarded food critic ever?

I decided to make some myself and find out. And yes, it’s pretty darn good. I would definitely make this recipe again. This is a wonderful dish for anyone with a bumper crop of tomatoes hanging around. It also let me experiment with eggplant, something I had never cooked with before, which always makes for an exciting day in my kitchen!

Ratatouille – recipe modified from Food & Wine, Oct. 2011

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 6 large garlic cloves
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 pounds of tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 cup of loosely packed and shredded basil leaves
  • lemon zest of one lemon
  • lemon juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Directions:
1. In a large casserole dish or Dutch oven (and I mean large, this nearly didn’t fit in the pan I used and I made a huge mess all over the stove top) heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the eggplant and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add 1/3 of the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove the eggplant from the dish and pour it into a bowl. *Note* this recipe is done in batches to speed up the cooking (and therefore eating). I promise eggplant tastes better than it looks.
2. While you’re cooking the eggplant: add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a second pan and let it heat up. Then add the zucchini and yellow squash and cook over medium heat until lightly browned in spots, or about 5 minutes. Add another 1/3 of garlic and cook for another minute. Remove the zucchini/squash mixture and add it to the bowl with the eggplant.
3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the original casserole dish and let it heat up. Add the onion and the red pepper and cook over medium heat until softened, about 7 minutes.. Add the remaining garlic and cook for another minute.
4. Add the tomatoes to the onion and pepper mixture along with 2/3 of your basil and the reserved vegetables you previously cooked. (Now you see why we needed the big dish!) Cook the whole mixture, stirring to combine throughly until the tomatoes have broken down and all the vegetables are tender. A fork should easily pierce your largest piece of eggplant. That will take about 15 minutes.
5. Stir in the remaining basil along with the lemon zest and juice. Remove from heat, spoon into bowls, sprinkle with feta cheese and dig in! This dish is great with a light Sauvignon Blanc. We enjoyed it with a bottle of Mohua, 2010.