Sunday, August 29, 2010

Eat Your Heart Out, Peter Piper

This is my second year of growing my own produce and with each season comes new lessons. The first year, I learned where to plant, when to plant and how much to plant. This year, I tackled 6 varieties of tomatoes and have vowed to try my hand at canning and preserving in order to save delicious little reminders of what summer is all about. Hopefully, these tiny jars of sunshine will get me through the subzero temperatures and the sideways snow. Being a rookie when it comes to canning, I started with a pickling recipe that's as simple as filling the jars and putting them in the fridge. I found the recipe here: Pickle It, Jam It, Cure It. If all goes well, I should have spunky purple string beans and peppers in three days. After that, the real canning begins. JalapeƱo pesto, salsa, and yellow tomato sauce are on the docket. I wonder what next year's lessons will be?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Chef in the Making

When your grandfather is a cooking fanatic, your father is a chili cook-off champion, and your aunt is a food stylist, you have a pretty good chance of becoming a "foodie". This is the story of my 12 year old nephew, Cole. As with most families, culinary traditions run deep in our house. Dad has his famous spaghetti and meatballs, my brother is creating a dynasty at the local chili cook-off, my mom makes a mean crab dip and now Cole has created his signature scrambled eggs. I have seen this kid artfully plate his food, create his own spice concoctions, and study the culinary trends of Native Americans. He recently emailed me his very own scrambled egg recipe and asked if I could incorporate it into my blog. Today is his birthday, so this one is for Cole. Being the stylist that I am, I had to come up with a unique way to present his scrumptious recipe so I carved out one of my garden tomatoes and stuffed it with the eggs. Topped with freshly grated parmesan and a sprig of basil, this was one delicious dinner. Who knows what he will come up with next... you have to give credit to a kid who works on recipes at the age of 12!

Happy Birthday, Cole.
Love, Aunt Mimi.

Cole's Favorite Eggs (yields one serving)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of milk
2 tablespoons of your favorite shredded cheese (I chose parmesan)
pinch of salt and pepper
splash of hot sauce

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ecuador... Part 1

To quote the great Bob Dylan... "Times, they are a changing". As of yesterday, my parents are officially retired and gearing up to embark on an extended Ecuadorian adventure. As an homage to their amazing journey, I figured I would try my hand at llapingachos, a typical side dish of Ecuador. What is a llapingacho, you ask? At it's simplest, it's a potato cake. Add the cheese and onion stuffing and top it with an intriguing cayenne peanut sauce and it's a taste revelation. The twist of fate that led me to this recipe has also left me wondering what else I might be missing out there...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Zucchini Boats

This morning started out like most mornings. I woke up early, walked the puppy, and drank my first cup of coffee outside in the garden. To my surprise, after months of anticipation, I finally had tomatoes to harvest! As I strolled around the garden beds, I also found a beautiful zucchini basking in the sunlight. That's when the idea hit me. Today's culinary creation would be... (drum roll, please...) zucchini boats. I grabbed the sun soaked zuke and all the cherry tomatoes I could carry. To create the boat, I sliced the zucchini lengthwise and scooped out the center with a melon baller. Each vessel got a sprinkle of pink salt before being filled. Chopped cherry tomatoes and minced garlic were coated in balsamic vinegar and loaded into each boat. Topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, my veggie skiffs anchored in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. A sprinkle of fresh basil finished off the dish and the taste was delightfully classic, clean, and simple. Hop aboard and see where your imagination takes you.