Occasionally I watch my wife try to pick out what she would like for breakfast and stand in front of the pantry gazing at the lack of cereal options. This is of course entirely my fault considering I’m the one who does the shopping. I tend to buy things I like and I’m never entirely sure what she would enjoy. Those breakfast disappointments inspire me to bake.
This weekend we had my cousin Dana (quite a talented jewelry-maker – check out her Etsy site) over for dinner and a sleep-over with the kids while my wife was out of town on business. Since she had some errands to run in Manhattan, we weren’t entirely sure when she’d make it over, so I popped a pot of water onto the stove to get to a boil and decided to make something that could be thrown together last-minute. Last week we got some lovely nectarines in our CSA fruit share and I thought savory and sweet/tart go so very well together…
I don’t usually post side dishes. Most of the food featured here tends to be the main course. This time, however, I decided to deviate from the norm (whatever that means for me) and write about what we had with the grilled chicken. Originally I was just going to make a salad with chicken over it as we got a LOT of lettuce this week in our CSA box. But we also got some early carrots and fennel. Now I’m not the biggest fennel fan, but using the carrots’s sweetness and the tartness of an orange and olive oil dressing to offset the anise flavor that can really overpower a dish… well… it works for me.
I know, I know. I said I’d be writing about CSA food, but this dish went over so well with the family that I figured I’d probably better post it. It was originally going to be a salad, but the weather is so changeable here in NY these days that by the time the late afternoon came around it seemed too chilly for it. So pasta it became. Last weekend we headed out to the North Fork of Long Island and hit a vineyard or two as well as Hallock’s Cider Mill (in Laurel, NY) on the way home. There we picked up a really nice looking bunch of asparagus and a strawberry rhubarb pie. The pie doesn’t enter into this recipe… I just mentioned it for the sake of being complete, description-wise. Anyway, last night I made a pasta dish with it. The asparagus… not the pie. That would have been weird.
Hello, folks. Sorry about the dearth of posts lately. But fear not! The dry spell will soon be over. Our CSA season begins again today! I, for one, can’t wait to get started cooking and sharing farm fresh food with my family and you (all).
A simple, basic tomato sauce for pasta is one of those recipes, like a vinaigrette, that everyone should have available in their back pocket for an easy dinner. The one here is not necessarily for a work-night (considering the simmer time), but with a few tweaks, it can go from a simple red sauce to a meat sauce to a puttenesca in no time flat.
Growing up, my Dad would make carrot cakes for various baking-related events at the school in which he taught. They were always an enormous hit. They were equally popular at home and with my extended family… having been commented on favorably by my cousins any number of times. I currently have a crisper drawer full of carrots from our CSA (and more are on the way today). Fortunately, that inspired me to make a carrot cake… unfortunately, it only uses 3 cups of carrots. That’s barely a dent. Oh well.
I had to deviate from standard carrot cake recipes since two of the standard add-ins aren’t big hits in my family. I don’t particularly like raisins (it’s a textural thing… I also find them a bit overwhelmingly sweet in baked goods) and my 4 year old son doesn’t care for nuts – so walnuts were out of the question. Candied (uncrystalized) ginger proved a really nice solution to giving the cake a little extra something and the addition of cardamom to the cake and orange to the frosting was a variation on an orange-cardamom cookie I make from time-to-time (hopefully I’ll post that one a little later in the year).
*the title comes with thanks to FH. Thanks, FH.
I suppose this can be considered advanced grilled-cheesery (which will be covered in a later post). A reuben sandwich, in its traditional form, can be a wonderful thing, but I feel that the better version uses pastrami instead of corned beef. Not that there is anything wrong with corned beef, but I personally think of pastrami as a more, finished form… corned beef 2.0, so to speak. In any case, to define the sandwich in its classic form, a reuben is corned beef, Russian dressing, sauerkraut and swiss cheese, grilled on rye bread. The version pictured above is on whole wheat, but it is still a tasty lunch.