So, I wish I had the patience for the real deal. And the forethought to plan ahead several weeks. But, I don’t. So, although I started with this recipe, I cheated.
For the onions
1 medium red onion, sliced in 1/4″ slices left whole.
1 c. boiling water
For the marinade
1/2 c. red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano leaves
1/4 c. water
2 bay leaves
4 black peppercorns
2 cloves, whole
Stack the onions in a heat-resistant glass jar (like a wide-mouth Mason or Weck jar)
Cover with the boiling water and let cool to tepid. (This parcooks the onions.)
Put the marinade ingredients in a pyrex measuring cup, and microwave for two minutes.
Drain the soaking water from the jar, but leave the onions in.
Cover the onions with the marinade, making sure the pepper corns and cloves go in. Slide the bay leaves around the outside of the onions because it’s pretty.
If you have leftover vinegar, just toss it.
If you need more liquid, heat up some more vinegar/water to boiling (1:1 ratio) and top off the container.
Let cool on the counter, then refrigerator for up to a month.
You can eat these as soon as the next day, and they get tastier the longer they sit. Assuming you can get them to last, that is.
It’s one of those uninspired weeks – where I start thinking on Wednesday, “What am I going to blog about this week?!?” I want to go nuts with the cakes and cookies, but it’s just kind of mean to make the whole house smell like that when Bill can’t eat any…..So, I went with what was in the fridge: zucchini.
And, I just love zucchini with lemon and thyme, but I only had the dried herb. I knew I wanted to roast the squash, but that was really incompatible with those hard little sticks – what to do, what to do…. so I pounded it with some salt and garlic in the mortar and pestle. Problem solved!
Bill says they’re good. And, although the garlic smell is really out there while they’re cooking, the end product is just lightly garlicky. Heads up, though! You might think you’re in Gilroy while they’re baking.
And, who am I kidding? This might have been the best part of the whole thing – cheesy paper for grown-ups!
Let’s make some – and tell me how yours turn out!
For the toss
1 clove garlic
½ tsp. dried thyme
Dash kosher salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp lemon zest
For the rest
2 zucchini, cut to look like wedge fries
¼ freshly grated pecorino romano or parmeggiano reggiano
Preheat oven to convection 400* (or plain old 375*)
Smash the garlic clove in the M&P.*
Add in the salt and thyme and pound till the thyme is no longer hard little sticks.
Add in the olive oil and lemon zest, and pound it a few more times to mix it all together.
Transfer the paste to a bowl, toss zuke sticks in it and then spread them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle w/ the cheese.
Bake 20 minutes, then turn to broil for a few to get things crunchy and brown.
*You could totally skip the M&P if you have fresh thyme. Just mince the garlic, then smoosh it with the salt and thyme with the side of your knife right on the cutting board.
I have always known this as baba ghanouj. Then one day, a friend of mine who spends her summers in Jordan told me, uh, no. That is muttabal. Not baba ghanouj. Wha-wha-wha? Unknowingly, my dear friends, we have stepped into an area between cuisines…..it is…..the foodist zone! Whatever we call it, I’m sticking with fucking delicious. Because it is.
Safeway had eggplants on sale for a buck this week. How can you not make this luscious elixir when it’s a buck an aubergine?!? Of course, the secret to this is how you cook the eggplant. Sure, you can put this in your oven and it will come out….fine. But if you want something truly exquisite, you will need fire.
If you have a gas burner, you can do this there. I used the barbecue. That little skinny zebra in the picture took ten minutes each side. But the big fat one, he took twenty-five minutes per side. But, it was sooooo worth it. You wash ’em and throw ’em over the open flame. That’s it. Don’t peel, or pierce, or anything. Just flame ’em til they’re blackened and smooshy. When they collapse in on themselves, they’re done. Then you put ’em on a tray and cover ’em with plastic wrap to loosen the skin.
Once they’re peeled, purée them in the Cuisinart and then drain them for a good half hour. Out of those two eggplants, I got 2 cups of purée and 1/4 c. of liquid. So, now you know why I wait til there’s a sale…..
Ok, enough chit chat. Shall we make some?!
2 medium eggplants
zest and juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/3 c. tahini
1/3 c. chopped parsley
Roast the eggplant over an open flame (ie on the grill) until it is charred and smooshy.
Put the cooked eggplant on a tray and cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes or so to loosen the skin.
Peel the eggplant.
Purée the flesh in the food processor.
Drain the purée for twenty minutes or so. Discard the liquid.
Add the lemon, garlic and tahini.
Pulse until smooth.
Taste for seasoning, and adjust as needed.
Add the parsley and pulse a couple times just to mix it in.
Serve warm, or chill and serve the next day.
I like it better the next day, but it is certainly delicious as soon as it’s done.
Use this as a dip with pita chips or wedges, or with veggies, or as spread on a wrap with grilled veggies and kalamata olives.
So, we all know about Billy’s diet restrictions. Coming up with a starch-resembling food item at dinner is a challenge. He can eat winter squash, so lately it’s been 101 ways to eat butternut. This is one we like. And it is literally three-ingredients and ten minutes.
The biggest pain to this is peeling the squash. Sometimes Sprouts will have it already peeled and cubed at essentially the same per-pound price, but not always. So, when I have to (gasp) prep my own, this is what I do: Slice the knob off the top and the bottom, so it will stand up on the cutting board. Then, I just take a veg peeler in long strokes down the length of the squash. (There is nothing pervy about this, unless your husband is watching you do it so make him leave the room.)
Once the peel’s off, it’s just a matter of slicing it in half longitudinally and then cubing.
So – to make it. For the two of us, I put half the cubes in a microwave-safe bowl. That’s about a pound of squash. Cover it with Saran, and microwave it. Do NOT add any liquid of any kind, or you will wind up with squash soup instead of puree. If you don’t have a microwave, roast it. Do not steam or boil because that will add too much moisture and again you’ll have soup.
Take it out, drain it if needed, add a tablespoon of butter and one half of a whole chipotle in adobo. Dump all that in the cuisinart and pulse til it’s gorgeous. Then it’s ready to go!
This is a new favorite at our house. It is fantastic with some grilled pork chops and collard greens, or a nice chicken breast and roasted broccoli.
Butternut Squash Purée with Chipotle
Tasty, easy, fast side dish with only three ingredients.
Put the squash in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 4-6 minutes until soft. Do not add any liquid or seasoning to the squash before cooking it.
Put the cooked squash, butter and hot pepper in the food processor and pulse til puréed.
We've tried this with Sriracha, and although it was delicious, my mouth was on fire for a long time. Wait until it is done to see if you need any salt or pepper - that chipotle adds all the seasoning we needed, but you may want some more.
Do you go through phases where you just want to eat the same thing all the time? This may surprise you, but I am currently fixated on carrots. Specifically shredded carrots. My friend Karen introduced me to this one fantastic Lao/Thai dish a long time ago – green papaya salad. It is scrumptious, and was the inspiration for Carrot Salad #2.
This was quick and easy. Now I just wish I had some sticky rice.
For the carrots and the jicama, I used that blue doodad in the pic above – I got it for a couple bucks at the asian market. It shreds – but the shreds are triangular in the cross section, and you can make them as long as you want – a longer carrot or stroke of the tool makes a longer shred. It’s pretty cool – I was totally stoked when Karen told me about that puppy. Oh, and this recipe has fish sauce. You could leave it out, but you’ll be sad. You don’t taste the fish, promise, unless you’re like a super sniffer or pregnant or otherwise olfactorily enhanced. And, I totally cheated on the dressing and just used some sweet chili sauce with the lime juice and fish sauce.
Shredded Carrot, Cucumber & Jicama Salad
Crunchy and fast - delicious with grilled chicken kebabs.
This month’s MOM bounty was green beans. And romas. But we’ll save them for another post. I blanched and froze a ton of those beans, and they were still staring at me. And I started to wonder how they’d taste roasted. The answer is “pretty good”.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. I liked it best room temperature, and it was really good the next day. You could really chop this and toss it with some quinoa or orzo and have a lovely salad, too.
Roasted Greenbeans with Hazelnut Shallot Vinaigrette
Some parts of being a former French teacher I will not let go – the biggest being a serious French Food Fangirl, and proud of it. Why? Allow me to illustrate – they can take the bits of stuff we would have thrown out and turn it in to something extraordinary. This is creamy asparagus soup made with asparagus butts. You know, those end pieces you trim off and throw away?
This is a super simple recipe and you can discern every ingredient with each bite – the sweetness of the squash and onion, a faint note of celery, the earthiness of the asparagus, touches of lemon and thyme and through it all the gorgeous richness of that butter. Oh, my.
This beautiful, rich, fresh-tasting soup came to be because I was going to post about a roasted asparagus salad but wound up with some serious woody asparagus stems.
And that made me think of my last French host mom, and how horrified she would be if I threw that much food away. So, I put those, and a couple chopped up courgettes, a celery rib and a slice of onion in the steamer.
After twenty minutes, I puréed it with some warm chicken stock, pushed it through a mesh sieve, put in a ton of butter and a dash of lemon zest and fresh thyme and called it exquisite. Which it was.
The next time you have some asparagus butts, make this. You will be SO happy!
Asparagus Squash Soup with Lemon & Thyme
Fast, healthy creamy soup equally delicious hot or at room temp.
Oh, food trend. You fucking hipster. Fine. You got me. And lawdee lawd, do you suck.
The meta blogs are all roasted chickpea this, and roasted chickpea that. And Billy loves him some chick peas. So I started to think, my that sounds delicious! They must know something I don’t know! Surely roasting them will not return them to their pre-cooked state, as my girlfriend T. jokingly asked at Happy Hour last.
First batch – she-who-shan’t-be-named’s recipe states 400* for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Results? Bits of charcoal, quickly tossed in the carport to avoid stinking the whole house.
Second batch – (after recipe research and comparison, and the determination not to be bested by a garbanzo bean) 375*, 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Peas – one 14.5 oz, drained rinsed and dried (but not peeled. The Goddess gives us fiber for a reason, people.)
Oven – convection @ 375*
Second batch – stirred every ten minutes. Not bits of coal this time, but rather a range of barely a crust on the outside to T’s predicted rock-hard state.
But, here’s the thing. The first bite or two you really taste the seasonings, and think “hmmm” and can possibly forgive the erratic textures. Possibly. But after that? You’re just munching on this sometimes almost soft, sometimes break-your-teeth-crunchy canned-chickpea-flavored stuff.
Don’t be fooled by the hipster food – it’s fucking with you. Not even one of Bill’s super amazing Bloody Marys could make me want to eat this shit.
So, you know when you go to Costco and get that HUGE clamshell of cherry tomatoes, and you tell yourself – Oh! I’ll eat all of them. They look so good! I’ll have some every day!
Only a week later they look like this?
Or, maybe you have a neighbor who went to Market on the Move and brought you four pints of them? (Because you have the best neighbors ever!)
What to do, what to do? Soooo many cherry tomatoes. Some a little on the sad side. Well at our house, that means cherry tomato jam.
This stuff is like grown-up ketchup – it goes on everything. On a sliced baquette with some goat cheese. On a pork chop. On a ham and cheese scone. On a bacon sandwich. Everything, I tells ya.
I make mine with the toms, some grated onion and sliced shallot, thyme, sugar, balsamic vinegar, worcestershire, garlic and olive oil.
Since these were M-O-M cherry tomatoes, and most likely not organic, I gave them two good washes with soapy hot vinegar water.
Anybody with a split skin, I tossed. (Hello? Hot soapy vinegar water?) Next, slice the toms in half. These aren’t cranberries – they don’t automatically pop when they’re done. Trust me, I’ve tried. You get stuck trying to mash them at the end and it’s a pain. Plus, this way you can inspect each one.
Throw them in the pot and simmer on low for a couple hours. I actually wound up having to add some tomato paste to mine. It *is*January, they weren’t exactly chock full of tasty tomato-loids.
You can can it at this point. Or freeze it. Or just toss it in the fridge for up to a few weeks. I’ve been known to make a mini batch of these when I’ve got a partial pint mummifying on the counter.
I tried to use less sugar this time, and it did not set up – it’s like a thick tomato jam sauce type thing. But still *very* tasty. Just not as pretty. And, unfortunately, I’ve promised some to friends so hello, cooking shame. Haven’t seen you in like…a day.
Alright – moral of the story? Never throw away ageing cherry tomatoes again!
Cherry Tomato Jam, Not-So-Cherry
Sweet and tangy with thyme, vinegar and mild onion. Yum!