Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School

That's right, I said it. I'm going back to school!

It's not so much that I'm excited for summer break to end.  I'm just excited that it was a vacation after all, and not the permanent kind.  And now I have an excuse to buy new school supplies!!  (Nerd.)

I was a horrible blogger this summer due to major life happenings, and I will probably continue to be less than punctual: I'm teaching a new class at a new school which means I have a LOT of reading in my future.  And not the food-related kind.

Anyway, enough about me.  Let's talk about all those end of summer vegetables piling up.


Cook cherry tomatoes down with garlic, red onion, and crushed pepper to make a delicious bruschetta:

Or, make fresh marinara.  Or pile them onto a pizza. MMMMM.


For a quick meal, fry it up.  Dip it in seasoned flour, then egg, then fry on both sides in hot oil.  Serve with dipper of your choice (I made honey mustard and it was finger lickin').

Or, if you're feeling fancy, make this pasta.  Or cook it into your fresh marinara with mushrooms and sausage for a hearty zucchini stew.

Or, make zucchini bread and share it with me.


It's easiest to just dice it up and saute it in your fresh marinara to give it some more weight.

If you're okay doing a little work, make eggplant parm.  I make a mean eggplant parm.  The secret is to use panko bread crumbs.

I'd love to make baba ganoush, but it seems like so much work??


My uncle gave us pounds of peaches from his trees.  I spend a whole morning canning them with my mom and grandma.  (Cheater's canning: mix sliced peaches with the pectin and just freeze instead of jar.  They taste great it December!)

I also made muffins. (Tweak this recipe.)

And diced them on top of waffles.  Ohhh yeah.

Anyway, I wish you all the best as summer ends and fall begins! XOXO

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Busy Busy/ Zucchini Pasta

This summer has been ridiculous in more than a few ways.  The last few weeks have been filled with lots apartment hunting and then moving, sprinkled with interview after interview, a pinch or two of fun, and a whole lot of soul searching.

Exhausted kitties.

It's been tiring.  And there's been no time for cooking. :(

Until this week, I finally paused for a moment to make dinner with my friends (I also paused for another moment to make muffins, but more on that later).  Not only was it pretty tasty (our veggie-disliker even had seconds!), but it felt pretty darn good, too.  Mind-clearing.  Like kitchen-yoga.

I made this recipe last summer, but it came out way better this time, with a few minor changes.  It used up a whole zucchini (you know how those zucchinis pile up!) and was rather healthy... except for the "covered in cheese" part.  But you know how I roll.

Summer Zucchini Pasta, Take 2

1 med. to large zucchini
1 box fettucini -- I found a veggie one at Hannaford (Garden Delight) that was perfect
1 block of cream cheese (go low fat only if you must)
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
a few tablespoons aka "don't be afraid of the" olive oil
a few leaves of basil, fresh from the porch
salt and pepper to taste

1. First, julienne the zucchini as thin as possible.  This was made much easier with the use of a mandolin, though we feared our lives (or at least, our finger tips).

2. Put on the pasta water.  Begin melting the cream cheese with salt and pepa, the juice of half the lemon, and 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Use the olive oil to thin it out so it spreads over the pasta.

3. Boil the pasta.  When it's almost done, throw in your zucchini to soften it up.

4. Mix your pseudo-alfredo into the drained pasta and zucchini mix.  Sprinkle on the torn basil and the zest of half the lemon.  Pretty!

So easy for summer.  And chock full of veggies!!  I really think the garden pasta makes the dish.  And a little cream cheese never hurt anybody... right?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Harvest

Summer time is a season of plenty here in Upstate NY.  There seem to be plenty of greens...

Swiss chard cleaned and ready to go.

...and other colors, too.

Zucchini flowers anyone?

A visit to a good friend resulted in bagfuls of fresh goodies from her garden.  We feasted like kings for days.

A hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, fried zucchini strips, sauteed swiss chard, and battered zucchini flowers. (OK, I know there's a lot of fried in there, but they're VEGETABLES.  Come on.)

Summer salad #1 with garden fresh lettuce, chunks of pear, and chicken grilled with a homemade plum sauce (gift of a friend).

Summer salad #2 with same lettuce and plum chicken, plus fresh raspberries and snap peas.

I dream of having a garden that could feed me for the summer.  It appeals to so many aspects of my character:  love of fresh food, anything earthy, and... I'm cheap.

Everything is so fresh in the summer!  Enjoy the good eats of the season :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Union Square Farmers Market (NYC)

Hi again!  I went to visit my lovely City Mouse a couple weeks ago, and despite the rainy weather, she took me to the farmers market in Union Square, just as she promised.

She knows me so well.

It was a treat.  The price comparisons were interesting (sadly, I think NYC is sometimes cheaper than Upstate), but even cooler is seeing all these great freshies and wild products set against the backdrop of Manhattan.

Anyway, in case you live around the city, or are heading there soon, I thought you might be interested.

Here's our photo journey:

The man wanted to know why I was taking a picture of his radishes.  "Because they're beautiful!" I answered.


I think this is cheaper than in Albany.

Rooftop honey! Is it really made on rooftops?

Walking through the rain.

I've never even seen these Upstate!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Love My Chips

I am a potato chip fiend.  I really will eat them whenever the opportunity arises.  I just love the salt and the crunch!  But then the guilt sets in, and I head out to an extra yoga class.

What's a girl to do?

My buddy Erin made me some kale chips for my birthday, and I've been meaning to try it myself ever since.  I'll warn you, they're not for everybody.  You really do have to like green things.

But to me, they have everything I want: crunch, salt, and 0 grams of guilt.

Kale is all over the farmers market right now.  I bought a bunch this weekend for $2.  It was more than enough for the recipe.

I followed this one from the Food Network.  After washing and drying the kale, I ripped the leaves off the stems, tossed them in olive oil, and laid them flat on a cookie sheet.  They baked at 300 for about 10 minutes.  They have to be in a single layer, so it took several batches. Don't try to do two batches at once!! Lesson learned.

They're fun to munch!  Strangely addicting.  Give it a try :)

Also check out the kale chips on Healthy Eating For Ordinary People for another take on the kale chips, and other yummy summer recipes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th and Berry Season!

Hello! Hope you had a great July 4th!

We did.  Look at that cake!  Erin's strawberry-blueberry flag cake is now a tradition.  Especially eaten in Washington Park during the fireworks.

It's the tail end of strawberry season, with overlap of the next crop: raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.

Sadly, I didn't see any berries at the farmers market this week, but I have been running into them pretty much everywhere else.

As yummy as they are straight from the crate, I've been experimenting anyway.  Mostly with the strawberries, since I don't really like them a lot by themselves (thanks to an unfortunate strike of the stomach flu immediately after strawberry shortcake about 4 years ago).

So... I made muffins!

They were very pretty, and made a lovely breakfast.  I just followed my basic muffin recipe but added 1 cup of fresh diced strawberries. (And left out the whole wheat flour to keep them light.)

I still had a bunch left over, so I sliced the really ripe ones and put them over my pancakes with some Hay maple syrup.  This was my best idea yet.  Pretty super.

I mean, that's restaurant quality.

That gave me the idea for my leftover blueberries.

As I was making the pancakes, I let the blueberries cook down in a sauce pan with some water, honey, and a little butter.

(Also notice the superb scrambled eggs complimenting my pancakes.  That's what I call team work.)

Berry season is quick... enjoy them!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lots of Asparagus

Hello there, asparagus!

I've been waiting for you!

I really love asparagus, and it's one of the first veggies to arrive with Spring, so by May, I'm buzzing with anticipation.  And by June, I can barely wait.

Thursday night I stopped by the Carrot Barn on the way home from work, and they had fresh, homegrown asparagus, picked that morning.  I figured I could get a couple meals out of a bunch.

It was super sweet and delicious.  BUT, three meals later, I was asparagused out, and still had a ton of it left, so I had no other choice but to force it upon my friends.


I don't think they minded.

The many days of asparagus:

Day #1: It's super fresh, so you don't have to do much with it.  I sauteed it in butter and a sprinkle of dill in my cast iron skillet (which is my fave).  Dill + asparagus = delicious.

Day #2:  Asparagus and eggs are a tasty pair for breakfast.  I also bought fresh biscuits at the Carrot Barn, so I made a muffin sandwich.  Yum.

End of Day #2/ Day #3:  So much left, and it's already starting to wilt.  To use it up, I made an easy pasta dish adapted from Everyday Italian by Giada De Laureniis (the one from the Food Network).  It traveled excellently to our picnic!

Directions: Throw your chopped asparagus into the boiling water with the pasta for the last 2 minutes.  When you drain it all, save 1/2 C. of the pasta water.  In a pan, saute some garlic, and toss the pasta and asparagus in it, with the left over pasta water.  Add salt, pepper, sliced prosciutto, and a cheese of your choice (I used smoked chedder, which melted into the pasta and was extra delicious).

Eat some asparagus!  And do it outside, it's finally nice out.  (Don't forget to pack the wine.)