Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce - Outtake

I've made tomatoes scary before.  If you're not into that, or prefer not get upset about food, this is your opportunity to skip a post.  If you read this and figure I'm a giant wimp, you are absolutely correct.  Please proceed past the jump break. 

I have this fear of eggs.   Sometimes, I pick one up and it feels "off" - like the weight isn't right, and I have to set it aside and wait for Sous Chef Brian to crack it.   I don't want to find any surprises in my eggs.   This isn't eggs, it's tomatoes.  I was making that Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce and cutting up a lot of tomatoes.  I've seen bad tomatoes before - this isn't that.  

I'm pretty sure when I sliced this open I turned into a 12-year-old girl.  I don't have the transcript handy, but I said something like, "Ew, ew [maniacal laughter], Brian do you want to look?  You don't have to look.  Oh damn, ew [maniacal laughter] It's not spoiled, you can look if you want to, ew, do you want to look?"  All the while, flapping my hands and backing into the dining room. 

He looked.  He didn't react nearly as badly as I did, but he was slicing onions and his eyes get all watery.  He may have missed it. 


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

CSA - The Goods - Week 13

This weekend we got an email that the tomatoes we unreliable, due to the storm.  So I ordered no tomatoes in the last week of August.   I'm kicking myself. 




Green beans.

Basil.  Without tomatoes.


Peppers.  Several serranos, bright cherry peppers and a light green one.  A frying pepper?

Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce

I had a lot of tomatoes.  Not like, a lot of tomatoes, but several.  Enough that I needed to take action before they went to waste, but not so many that I wanted to blanch and seed them and spend serious time fussing over them.  I had like a pound and half of all sorts of tomatoes.  

I also had time.  We had a bit of a storm here, you may have heard, and had prepared to not have power or water on Sunday.  But we had power and water, and I had done all of the laundry and cleaned out the fridge and everything in advance of the storm so once it passed, I had nothing but time.  

Slow roasted tomato time. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Peach and Onion Chutney

I think I've made my disdain for peaches very clear.  Also, I think my friends and neighbors are getting tired of getting all my peaches.   

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chipotle Chicken Enchilada Lasagna


I just hate the word "casserole."  Casserole sounds like a can of cream of something soup with crumbled potato chips on top. Or corn flakes. And I intended to make enchiladas, really I did, but my corn tortillas did not hold up in the freezer, so after I defrosted them, I started rolling, they started crumbling and this was plan B.  And it was delicious, and just like an enchilada, except for the shape.  

Step one: make enchilada sauce.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thai Green Curry with Vegetables and/or Chicken

Yeah I said and/or.  Because the chicken was good and all, but the veg were spectacular, so you could skip the chicken. 

Tonight was one of those nights where Sous Chef Brian was on top of things, and I was not.  As we finished dinner, he looked to the pile of dishes and said, "Are you going to go blog now?"

Me.  "No.  Tomorrow is the farmshare post and I already have that written."

Him.  "Maybe you want to get this down while it's fresh."

Me. "No."

Him. "How about I get on these dishes, and you start writing."  

Thanks, Mom.  "Honey, have you blogged tonight?" "Are you getting enough blogging in?" "Have you had enough blog?"

The reality is, he's a smart boy and I have a backlog of posts of things I don't quite have recipes for anymore.  Things I just made and set aside.  Like, maybe I made this pasta sauce two weeks ago.  

So hows that for your fourth wall?

Tonight I made a Thai curry dish that we had at the house of friends a couple weeks ago.  A week ago.  In the past.  We were there, and they were cooking and they were making Pina Coladas and suddenly I realized why - there was an open can of coconut milk... there was coconut milk in the dish.  Damnit.  You never want to be the person who doesn't want to eat what they're served, but I can't stand coconut milk (or coconut for that matter) and Brian is even more opposed... the coconut he's fine with but the milk...ugh the milk.  So that's what goes in the Pina Coladas.  The drink I can't drink even though I really like: 1. pineapple and 2. drinks. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

CSA 2011 - The Goods - Week 12

The earth moved.  I think it's from all the peaches.  How, you ask?  I don't know.  I'm just damn sick of peaches. 

There are 12 of them.  Local Philly people, let me know if you want them, otherwise they go to work.   Some are smooth and shiny, others are fuzzy.   All of them are peaches. 




Tomatoes.  All sorts.

Red Chard.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Eggplant and Chard Rollatini in Basil Cream Sauce

Eggplant rollatini is among my favorite dishes.  Smoky eggplant stuffed with creamy ricotta in a flavorful sauce.   How could you go wrong?  It's also something I'm more likely to buy than make.  When I was in school on weekends (the aforementioned days when I'd come home at 4 or 5 and Sous Chef Brian was home all day and he'd tell me he forgot to eat), sometimes I'd pay a million dollars to get eggplant rollatini from this place a lot of people have heard of that I won't name.  And we'd bring it home and heat it up and it was the best dinner ever.  Then one time I got it and it was fuzzy.  Like, blue mold fuzzy.  So that ended that.  Mmm, hungry yet?  

This other time recently I went to this Italian place (I'm in a neighborhood with a lot of that) and ordered the eggplant rollatini and it was A. stuffed with mozzarella or some other gooey, flavorless cheese and B. full on drowned in a thick cream sauce.   I'm all for creamy and cheesy, those are two of my favorite things, but if it makes it so you can't taste the rest of your food, what's the point?  

So I got these eggplants, and I had that sauce and I had a plan.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Basic Tomato Sauce

A few weeks ago I got all those tomatoes, remember?  I had seeded and drained them and hidden them away in freezer bags.   So it was time to make sauce.  A while back I made my "winter sauce" from canned tomatoes, and this is what I do in the summer with real ones. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Baingan Bharta - Mashed Eggplant

I'm not qualified to cook Indian food.  Not only because of the whole thing about cooking unfamiliar ethnic dishes and just not knowing the ins and outs, but also because I'm simply not going to have a cardamom pod or whole cumin seed on hand.  It's just not going to happen.  

But this is delicious and you should make it.  Even if you don't have a whole cardamom pod.  

Sometimes, though, delicious food isn't pretty.  I want to make that clear up front.  This is not a pretty dish.  Take eggplant, and mush it.  Oh yeah, I want to look at that.  No, you don't want to look at it, you want to eat it.  Prioritize.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What's in the Freezer?

Everything from my freezer(s).

I talk about being a freezer hoarder.  And I am.  But I also am a little bit organized, sometimes.  So about once a week I straighten things out in there (it gets bad) and write down the important stuff on my whiteboard (what should we use?  what did I forget we had?  what are we low on?)  Sometimes, you just have to lay it all out and figure out what fits where.

I moved the island into the middle of the room (it's on wheels) and got to work.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

CSA 2011 - The Goods - Week 11

Week 11 looks a bit light, but vibrant.  Ooh, purple and red and yellow and green and eggs!

Basil, because I can't keep a basil plant alive.  Seriously.  Also, something bad has happened to my cilantro plant.  But that's neither here nor there. 


Eggplants.  I don't think you can tell that they're tiny.  They're tiny. 


Leeks.  Summer leeks?  I didn't think it was leek time, but look, leeks!

Four peppers.  This is such a thing, because the peppers at Whole Foods are all chemically, and I appreciate peppers. 

Little tomatoes and WAY too many jalepenos.  Send ideas.  Or send help. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Warm Polenta Caprese

It's August, and that means tomatoes, so the first word that comes to mind whenever I'm trying to pull together a simple dinner is caprese.   There are few food combinations that work as well as mozzarella, basil and tomato.   You can melt them all together in a sandwich.  You can toss them all together with pasta.  You can stick them on skewers and call them appetizers, or just stack them in slices and call it a side salad.  

I wanted to make a more substantial meal of it, and one easy answer for that is polenta.   I had beautiful basil that I got at the farm market because I have officially killed my fourth basil plant of the season. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Secret Recipes and Shared Recipes

Several months ago, I signed up to do recipe testing for Cook's Illustrated, and quite a few times in the last few weeks I've received recipes to test.   For me, in my particular situation with the blog and all, this is a blessing and a curse.  I need new ideas, all the time, otherwise my blog would be called, "Look, Rose made another pizza."  So, getting a recipe by email is great because now I have direction, I have a goal.

not a pizza.  i promise. 
The flipside is that I can't share the recipe until the magazine comes out, and that could be months away.   So I'm cooking fairly fancy (for me) things and not able to write about it.  I'll tell you all about this tart and these cookies just as soon as I can. 

The other fun thing is that my bestest friend from childhood does it too, and she's been getting the same secret recipes. We live in different parts of the country, and I've seen her only a handful of times since we've been adults.  I remember making chocolate chip cookies with her late in the night at weekend sleepovers, and making french toast together early in the morning when we were teenagers, cooking with her and her friends at her bachelorette party and cooking up pasta sauce together on that rare occasion that we were able to visit.  I love that even through the distance we can cook together.  We can send pictures and advice and chat about how it worked out.

There's something special about cooking together.  For a while, most Sunday nights here were shared with a good friend, cooking together, eating together, (and of course) drinking together and talking into the night.  Sharing both a meal and the experience of preparing it.  Food is just better shared with friends. 

Technology has expanded our opportunities to cook together.  Over on the Google+, where I've been struggling to figure out how this all fits together, others are teaching cooking classes.  A few weeks ago, Kristina from On Blank encouraged her readers to play along with her as she made pizza throughout the week.  People are cooking communally across all sorts of distance. 

Last week, Jennifer Perillo, a blogger who I didn't know, suffered a sudden and horrifying tragedy.  I followed along on Twitter and watched her friends and fans and the many people in the food world come together to all make the same pie in honor of her and her late husband. How's that for the importance of cooking together?  Going through the same steps and following along with the same ingredients and engrossing yourself in the routine of cooking, of measuring and mixing with a common story in mind.  

Here's the recipe.  Brian and I finally made ours tonight.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CSA 2011 - The Goods - Week 10

Week 10, the return of the peaches.


Green beans.




Carrots.  Way better looking than last week's.

And peaches.  Lots of peaches.

It's been, and will continue to be, the kind of week where I'm just not home to cook.  I need to start freezing some things.  That's a huge part of what I did last year with the CSA, but this year the idea of having extra produce to freeze has been far from our minds.  Time to get back to it.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Orange Seitan and Noodle Stir Fry

This is one of those things that happens in my kitchen on a weeknight when plans have gone out the window.  I make a list of things I'm going to cook for the week,but then the milk goes bad or I forget to marinate the whatever.  

We needed to use up the last two side servings of that slaw I made, wanted something hot and protein-y and dinner-ish with it. 

Find some veg.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Roasted Corn Dip Stuffed Cucumbers

There's a special kind of pressure when someone says, "bring your favorite snack," because I'm probably not coming to your house with a jar of sweet pickles and some slices of muenster.   So last weekend, when this came up, I looked at the fridge and all I saw was cucumbers.  

But cucumbers are fun party food vehicles.  They're crudite you can stuff.  Dip and dipping thing in one. 

When I started thinking about posting this, I was surprised that I hadn't posted appetizers/party snacks/whatever before, but I guess I started this blog right after the last big party I had and even though for months Sous Chef Brian and I have been repeating, "Let's have a brunch event," it still hasn't happened.  Appetizers and party snacks are my favorite foods.  When it's too hot to cook, cheese, crackers, raw veg and some mustard and jam on a cutting board is dinner, and it's generally awesome.   Sometimes when I'm not inspired to pack lunch and there are no leftovers, that's what I pack.  I like small plates.  I like snacks.  I'd much rather hang by the hors d'ouvres at the cocktail hour than sit down to the real dinner.   This was actually one of the first conversations I had with the guy who said, "bring your favorite snack."

The first thing I did was hollow out some cucumbers.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spicy and Creamy Cabbage Slaw

I have a hard time with the idea of ethnic foods.  I like foods from a lot of places, but I have no particular knowledge of how these people actually cook.  I don't get out of the country much, and if I did, I'm sure I'd just learn the local word for vegetarian and otherwise stick to the PBJ in my purse.  Because I'm easily frightened of meat.  

But when I'm searching for a recipe idea on teh interwebs, I'm often thinking of what I have on hand and the types of flavors I want to end up with, and I Google "Asian this" or "Mexican that."  I'm big on "Indian vegetable side dish."  So I want to label my recipes the same way, so folks can find the flavors they're after, but the reality is, most of the time the only "Mexican" thing about a dish is I make is that it includes corn and avocado, or I'll say something's "Asian" because it has soy sauce.  This came up the last time I made cabbage slaw

So when I was making up my cooking agenda for the week (hush, it helps), I wrote down "Thai Cabbage Slaw," because I wanted to make a cabbage slaw with peanuts and chilis and lime.  But I doubt you're walking into a Thai restaurant and finding this on the menu, and I seriously doubt you'd find it in your grandma's kitchen in Thailand.  

So here's my vaguely Thai-ish flavored slaw. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

CSA 2011 - The Goods - Week 9: Tomato Day

This isn't a photo taken at the farm market.  It was taken in my dining room.
My CSA offered bulk tomatoes for cheap this week.  It was advertised as a 25 pound box, mine was actually closer to 27.  I don't think I knew what 27 pounds of tomatoes was until yesterday.

Also, kale, chard, beans, red onions, zucchini, cucumbers and horseradish cheddar.  

Oh and eggs.  Weird eggs. Just one was broken this week, which is a huge improvement over the scene last week when I opened up the previous week's eggs to find four were smashed on the bottom and had sat like that for a while.   Note to self, check the eggs on pickup day.  All of them. 

So I'm putting the jump break here because there are some vulgar scenes and descriptions of tomatoes ahead.  If tomatoes can be vulgar (and Sous Chef Brian would insist they can).  If you're not easily upset by messy kitchens and bulk tomatoes, and all the things they can look like, click through.  If not, hey, look, that was my CSA this week.  Nothing to see here.  I didn't process 27 pounds of tomatoes on a weeknight, did I?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

I had these poblanos, because I went to Headhouse for one poblano (and other things) and they were going for next to nothing by the pint.  This is how I ended up with all those jalepenos that one time.  But poblanos are nothing to worry about.  They're a notch or two above a bell pepper, in terms of heat.  But what to do with them?  Luckily it rained.

Why is that lucky?  Because poblanos do well roasted or baked.  They get slightly sweet and tender and they just want to be cooked in the oven.   And finally, we had a cool night.   I mean right now, it's 72 degrees out.  Quick, make a lasagna!  Put on a sweater!  We'll be back to the 90s tomorrow.   

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