May 2009

Easy Tuesday Dinner; Tofu Stir-Fry

May 26, 2009

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I really debated for a while with myself as to whether or not I should post this recipe.
Not because I don’t want to share.
Not because it’s not good.
But because it uses a bottled sauce (gasp!) and thus is not 100% home made.

I really don’t want this to be one of those blogs about how to use prepared foods to make it look like you slaved all day in the kitchen. Rather, I want to show people how easy it can be to make wonderful food, even when you get home late from work on a Tuesday and all you want to do is sit in front of your Tivo and catch up on episodes of CSI.

The reality is that it’s a rare cook who makes everything from scratch all the of time. Sometimes it just needs to be easy. This is one …

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Fava, Arugula and Mint Crostini

May 25, 2009

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I have a confession. I get too many magazines. So many that some are still in their plastic wrappers, waiting to be read, months after arriving in my mailbox. I used to get even more, but I pared down, now only getting one of each type; food, travel, home & garden, and National Geographic. I love my magazines, but I rarely have time to read them and for some reason, almost never cook from them.

A couple of weeks ago I made a vow to myself that I would not order or renew any magazines until I had a) finished reading all the ones I have and b) made at least a few recipes out of my current food magazine of choice, Gourmet. My Gourmet subscription ran out this month, so I’d better get crackin’.

Last weekend I was in one of my favorite markets and they had fava beans. …

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Pizza with Squash Blossoms, Fresh Mozzarella, Pesto and Prosciutto (Pizza Dough Recipe)

May 19, 2009

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When we planted the garden I was really excited at the prospect of cooking with squash blossoms, something I’ve never really done before. When were were in Rome last year, we had some fantastic zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta, batter dipped and fried. I want to try to make those at some point, but for my first attempt at cooking with them, I wanted to do something easier, so I decided to put them on a pizza because I’d been meaning to make one for a while.

First though, I had to figure out how and when to pick them. A quick Google Search revealed that there are both male and female blossoms. There are more male ones which are there strictly for pollination (of course) than there are female ones. The female ones create the vegetable (of course). Thus, it makes sense to only pick the male blossoms …

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Garden update; the Octopus in my Garden

May 16, 2009
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gardenoctopus Today we finished the irrigation project. Every plant now has an ugly black rubber tube leading to a low-flow drip irrigation end. It will save water and keep me from having to lug the hose from plant to plant. But the manifolds (1 for each bed) looks like an octopus, albeit a 12 legged one, snaking tiny black tentacles throughout the beds.

Yes, we still have intrusions by the monsters raccoons . But they seem to be more random and sometime we go days without seeing any activity from them. I found a way to keep them from eating the pieces of potato I was trying to grow; I started the potatoes in pots and then transplanted them when they got to be about 4″ tall. So far, so good. I’ve done the same with onions, though I may leave those in the pot because it looks kinda cool.

Some …

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Frittata with Prosciutto, Potatoes & Thyme

May 11, 2009
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I’ve been following the beautiful food and photography blog, Lucillian Delights, for a couple of years now. Ilva’s photos are stunning and I’ve made a couple of her lovely recipes as well. A while back I noticed that she also runs a blog called Paper Chef. What is “Paper Chef” you ask? It’s an “online creativity challenge” where every month the winner from the previous month picks 4 ingredients at random and then people make a dish or a meal out of those ingredients (and others). I’d wanted to participate in the past, but I didn’t have a blog then (not that you need one to participate, but I didn’t realize that at the time).

This month’s random ingredients were “floury potatoes” (aka baking potatoes like russets), “prosciutto” and “thyme”. The fourth ingredient was the theme of “Mother’s Day”, instead of a food item.  Last month’s ingredients were …

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Chocolate Ganache Tart with Fresh Strawberries; or How to Make Sweet Tart Dough

May 9, 2009
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We have a tradition of Sunday dinners in our family. I don’t have a particularly large, related-by-blood family, but I do have a wonderful group of friends who have become our extended family and are as much my sisters and brothers as if we shared the same DNA.
The dinners don’t happen every Sunday, but we try at least once a month. Occasionally, they are at my house, but usually my mother is the one to host these meals, inviting a changing cast of characters, some new, some spanning decades. Over the years it has evolved; first my mom’s friends and “strays”, then my friends (and later, my husband’s friends) came into the mix. Once our generation got married, our friend’s kids now come to Sunday dinner.

This past Sunday, my mom made an amazing rolled pork loin filled with arugula and caramelized onions (see where I get my obsession …

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