Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Week 12 of 2011

Our hearts go out to our CSA farm as they deal with the flooding of Irene. We’ll put all the wonderful vegetables you have grown for us to good use on our table.

We got….

Beets, Cucumber, Delicata Squash, Eggplant, Garlic, Onions, Peppers – Carmen and Jalapeno, Tomatoes – small and large

Fruit: Peaches

My plans…

I’m going to make these Roasted Beets with a Balsamic Glaze as a side dish. It calls for orange, but I’ll be check “The Flavor Bible” to see if I can substitute another citrus, orange is not my favorite flavor.

My cucumber’s always just go into a salad or get gobbled by the kids. I’d like to try this recipe for Dan Dan Noodles – an Asian noodle dish featuring cucumbers. I need to dig that out of my “try these” recipe file.

Delicata Squash
This is a squash that taste similar to a sweet potato, but belongs to the same species as summer squash. Thank you Wikipedia! I would like to try and make a mash or puree with it.

Eggplant, Garlic, some Onions and Peppers
I’m going to make my favorite eggplant dish, Afghan Eggplant with Yogurt Sauce.

First thing I have to do if fulfill my promise to my husband – he wants some tomatoes all his own that he can just slice and eat. Admittedly the best thing to do with a summer tomato!
The Food Network is celebrating #cookingwith tomatoes this week in their Summer Fest blog celebration. The Purple Cook is again a contributor. Check it out on FN Dish.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan Caprese Salad

Summer Fest is cooking with Tomatoes this week. My favorite dishes to watch on TV or read about in my numerous food magazines are those that take a classic dish and give it a twist that makes it impressive, impressive enough that I think about it for days and can’t wait to make it. One such dish inspired my contribution to Summer Fest this week, Aarti Sequeira’s Caprese Salad with Roasted Mango Dressing. I loved the roasted dressing that gives a classic salad that impressive twist. I knew my fridge was bursting with CSA vegetables and that I needed to consider how to implement the roasted dressing with what I had – then it came to me take another classic dish Eggplant Parmesan and turn it into a Caprese Salad.

Eggplant Parmesan Caprese Salad

1 small eggplant
olive oil, drizzle for roasting
¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 T fresh basil, roughly chopped
½ t crushed red pepper
1 ½ T capers, rinsed and drained
2 T red wine vinegar
¼ extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 – 2 Beefsteak Tomatoes, ¼ inch slices
1 8oz. ball of fresh Mozzarella cheese, ¼ inch slices
3-4 fresh basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade

Lightly drizzle olive oil on the whole eggplant and rub on the surface to cover. Wrap the eggplant in foil, place on a baking dish, and roast in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes – 1 hour. After 30 minutes check every 10 – 15 minutes until the eggplant gives to your touch. Remove from oven and let sit until it cools.

Place ¼ cup of Panko on a baking sheet and place in the 425 degree oven. Check after 1 minute, and continue checking regularly until the breadcrumbs are golden and toasted. Be careful, it happens quick!

Once the eggplant has cooled, peel off the skin and scrape the roasted pulp into an appropriate container for immersion blending or into a food processor. Add rough chopped basil, crushed red pepper, capers, vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. Puree with the immersion blender until well combined. Set aside dressing.

On a serving plate alternate tomato and cheese slices. Drizzle a line of the eggplant dressing down the middle of the tomato-cheese slices. Sprinkle the salad with the basil chiffonade and toasted Panko breadcrumbs.

Special Thanks to Aarti Sequeira’s Caprese Salad with Roasted Mango Dressing and “The Flavor Bible” by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg for the help they gave in creating this recipe.

Check out the rest of the Tomato Recipes from Summer Fest…

Big Girls Small Kitchen: Seared Chicken with Cherry Tomato Pan Sauce
Haute Apple Pie: Heirloom Tomato & Three Cheese Tart
What's Gaby Cooking: Zebra Tomato and Burrata Crostini
Zaika Zabardast: Balsamic Roasted Tomato-Basil Ice
And Love It Too: Healthy Lunchbox - Garlic Tomato Basil Pesto Bruchetta
Chez Us: Roasted Tomato Sauce
Daily*Dishin: Refreshing and Rustic - Tuscan Bread Salad
Glory Foods: Fresh Tomato Salsa
Dishin and Dishes: Tomato Tart Tatin
The Purple Cook: Eggplant Parmesan Caprese Salad
I Am Mommy: Tomato Crudite
Cooking With My Kid: Gluten-Free White Bean Chive Cakes with Heirloom Tomatoes
FN Dish: Easy Tomato Appetizers
Add a Pinch: Simple Caprese Salad Skewers
Sweet Life Bake: Salsa Cruda
Virtually Homemade: Farfalle with Roasted Tomato Sauce, Bacon and Shaved Romano
Dixie Chik Cooks: Tomato, Basil and Olive Bruschetta
The Sensitive Epicure: Yemista - Greek Stuffed Tomatoes & Peppers with Potatoes
Mooshu Jenne: Sun Burst Tomato Pasta
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Book Club, Tomatoes and a Recipe for Chicken Provençal?
Cooking With Elise: Tomato Parmesan Biscuits
From My Corner of Saratoga: Cooking from the Garden - Bruschetta Pizza
Fritos and Foie Gras: Tomato Terrine
Creative Culinary: Fresh and Savory Tomato Pie
Big Apple Nosh: Caprese Salad/Tomato Carnage
Spices and Aroma: Quick and Easy Paneer Curry
Zaika Zabardast: Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Breakfast Rolls

Herb-Roasted Chicken with Melted Tomatoes

My mouth watered reading this recipe and I wasn’t disappointed. This roast chicken was also relatively little work. Keeper!

Monday Menu – Herb Roasted Chicken with Melted Tomatoes, Orzo
Farm Share Food – Golden Rave Tomatoes, Onion, Parsley, Cilantro, Basil, Dill

I put to use some of those herbs I’ve been freezing. I had fresh dill and basil from the CSA, but dug out Parsley and Cilantro.

Herb-Roasted Chicken with Melted Tomatoes

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bok Choy Sautee

This is a basic bok choy recipe. You could add a protein – chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu, and make a whole meal of it served with rice. It goes quick, so prep your ingredients and cook it up right before you are ready to eat.

Friday Menu – Quesadillas, Bok Choy Sautee
Farm Share Food – Arugula, Bell Pepper, Onion, Broccoli, Bok Choy

The Quesadillas last night had mushrooms, arugula, bell peppers, and garlic. Click on the link for my Quesadilla Formula.

Bok Choy Sautee
Based on Best Bok Choy by Guy Fieri

2 T olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, julienned
1 head of broccoli florets, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 head of Bok Choy, sliced into ½ inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 T soy sauce, reduced sodium
Fresh cracked pepper

In a wok or large sauté pan heat the oil, add the onion and pepper. Sautee, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and mushrooms and cook 2 more minutes. Add the bok choy, garlic, and soy sauce. Sautee until just wilted. Crack fresh pepper over the sauté and serve immediately.

Friday, August 26, 2011

What's in Season? Mapping it out...

Check out Epicurious' tool, the Seasonal Ingredient Map!

You click on a state and it tell you what is in seasonal locally. You can also plan ahead or look back by choosing a month. What a great planning tool for your weekly menu or a big event like Thanksgiving to help you know what you will be seeing in your CSA or at the Farmer's Market.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sautéed Shrimp with Arugula and Tomatoes

Arugula and Tomatoes are a winner combination at our dinner table, we love them every time. I like the texture of rice with this dish. It would also be good served with pasta, maybe capellini or penne.

Wednesday Menu – Sautéed Shrimp with Arugula and Tomatoes, Basmati Pilaf, Corn on the Cob
Farm Share Food – Arugula, Mountain Magic Tomatoes, Onion, Sweet Corn

Sautéed Shrimp with Arugula and Tomatoes

Basmati Pilaf
From Everyday Food Volume 85

2 t olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 ½ cups Basmati Rice
Salt and Pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add rice. Stir to coat with oil and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add 2 ½ cups water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high and then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook 10-15 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Week 11 of 2011

We got…

Arugula, Bok Choi, Broccoli, Cantaloupe, Eggplant, Green Beans, Peppers – Bell, Jalapeno, Salad Mix, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes –Beefsteak, Golden Rave, Mt. Magic, Basil, Dill

Fruit: Peaches

My plans…

Arugula and some Tomatoes
I’m looking forward to making this Shrimp with Arugula and Tomatoes. I think I’ll serve it with rice.

Bok Choi
We just love this Sesame Tuna with Bok Choi. It’s pretty easy too!

On Splendid Table I heard this idea for cutting up the stems of broccoli and pickling them with garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. I want to give it a try and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Eggplant and some Tomatoes
I want to make this Eggplant Tomato Relish. It calls for canned tomatoes, but with all these fresh tomatoes I might think about a way to put them to use. We’ll see.

Green Beans
I think I’ll freeze these this week.

This Roasted Chicken with Melted Tomatoes recipe made my mouth water while I was reading it. It uses Dill too!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tortellini with Eggplant and Peppers

It is fun to notice all those little connections in life. We were meeting my new niece and her Grandma had brought eggplant and peppers to share from a farm stand. Then I opened my CSA newsletter for the week and there was a recipe for Tortellini with Eggplant and Peppers. Oh good!

The dish is delicious. It is super creamy and just a touch of spiciness from the crushed red pepper. It was another perfect “Piece Meal” for the kids. They ate the Tortellini from this easy to make one pot meal and pieces of the salad – tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots.

Sunday Menu – Tortellini with Eggplant and Peppers, Salad
Local Produce – Eggplant, Peppers

Tortellini with Eggplant and Peppers
Recipe from

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer Fest: Corn on the Cob with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Summer Fest is celebrating corn this week. The corn from our CSA is ahhh….so amazing! We can’t wait till corn starts coming in our CSA. We have never done anything with it except boil or grill it and eat it off the cob. So with Corn on the calendar of Summer Fest, I thought how can I make our ahhh…so amazing boiled corn extra special?

Another challenge of the CSA…what do with all these herbs? What is new and flavorful?

I found it! Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette drizzled over the Corn on the Cob – delicious! The corn is sweet and juicy. The Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette adds tartness from the lime and the tastes of the southwest by combining cilantro leaves, hot sauce, and cumin. Happy Summer Fest! Celebrate Corn on the Cob this week!

Corn on the Cob with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
The vinaigrette is found in “From Asparagus to Zucchini”

4-6 ears of corn, husked
2/3 cup lime juice
3 -4 cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped
¼ cup cider vinegar
Salt, to taste
2/3 cup packed Cilantro leaves
2-4 dashes, hot sauce (or to taste)
1 T ground cumin
¼ cup canola oil

Boil a large pot of water. When the water has come to a boil, add the ears. Cover and cook 10 minutes.

Blend lime juice, garlic, vinegar, salt, cilantro, hot sauce, and cumin with an immersion blender. Once blended slowly add oil and continue to blend.

When the corn is cooked, place on serving plate and drizzle with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette to serve.

Check out the other Summer Fest Corn Celebrations...

Dishin and Dishes: Kicked Up Creamed Corn From Scratch
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Fresh Corn Salsa with Basil and Mint
Zaika Zabardast: Fresh Corn Risotto
What's Gaby Cooking: Spicy Corn Salsa
CIA Dropout: Truffle Roasted Corn and Kohlrabi Soup
Cooking Channel: Fresh Corn Muffins
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Corn on the Cob Korma
Daily*Dishin: Sweet Corn and Couscous Main Dish Salad
Pinch My Salt: Peter Reinhart's Fresh Cut Corn Bread with Bacon
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Corn & Watermelon Salad
Virtually Homemade: Summer Corn Salad
Food2: Creamed Corn Cornbread
Sunshine and Smile: Scallops with Corn and Pepper Sauce
Spices N Aroma: Corn Pilaf
The Sensitive Epicure: Fresh Corn Fritters with Chive Lemon Chipotle Yogurt (Gluten-Free) Dixie Chick Cooks: Fresh Corn with Basil Slaw and Feta
Cooking With Books: Corn Favorites
Purple Cook: Corn on the Cob with Cilantro
Glory Foods: Skillet Corn Muffins
Virtually Vegan Mama Thai Corn Soup

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Five Varieties of Homegrown Eggplant

On vacation we got to visit Jungle Jim’s, an international market that is a destination for foodies. I found a display in the produce section of homegrown eggplant. There were five varieties and I bought one of each. Since it was vacation I decided to just buy one of the sauces available in the store to use with the eggplant. We wound up with a Sizzlin’ Sichuan Sauce. I simply cut the eggplant into bite size pieces, softened some onions and garlic in olive oil, cooked down the eggplant, and added the sauce. We ate it with fresh bread we bought in the bakery. It was fun cutting up the eggplant and eating each variety with a slightly different texture – usually the amount of seeds each one contained.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Grilled Fish with Spicy Cantaloupe-Cucumber Salad

I really do not like cantaloupe, but we got it in our CSA so I had to find something to do with it. I found this recipe with a Spicy Cantaloupe-Cucumber Salad and thought maybe spicy would make the cantaloupe something to look forward to. It was actually good. It makes me glad I didn’t just cut up the cantaloupe and make my husband eat it for breakfast.

Sunday Menu – Grilled Fish with Spicy Cantaloupe-Cucumber Salad, Cantaloupe-Yogurt Smoothie
Farm Share Food – Cucumber, Cantaloupe
Other Local Produce – Jalapeno

Grilled Fish with Spicy Cantaloupe-Cucumber Salad
From Everyday Food Volume 84

Oil (Vegetable or Olive) for grill and brushing
4 fillets of a firm fish
Salt and Pepper, to taste
½ Cucumber, thinly sliced into moons
½ Cantaloupe, seeded, peeled, thinly sliced
2 T fish sauce
2 T lime juice
1 Jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
1 t fresh ginger, minced

Heat grill or grill pan over medium-high. Oil hot grill. Pat fish dry, light brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill 10 minutes, flipping once.

In a large bowl combine cucumber, cantaloupe, fish sauce, lime juice, jalapeno, and ginger.

Serve fish with Cantaloupe-Cucumber Salad on the side.

Cantaloupe-Yogurt Smoothie
I actually enjoyed this smoothie. I think I liked the creaminess the yogurt offered. After these two recipes maybe I’m ready to give Cantaloupe another chance.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Week 9 of 2011

We got…

Broccoli, Broccoli Rabe, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Green Beans, Peppers – Bell, Carmen, Jalapeno, Poblano, Potatoes, Summer Squash, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes – Beefsteak and Juliet, Zucchini, Parsley
Fruit: Peaches

My ideas…

Broccoli and some of the Peppers
These are the vegetables I would like to freeze this week.

Broccoli Rabe and some of the Tomatoes
Here is a recipe for Chicken with Broccoli Rabe, Tomatoes, and Beans. It calls for diced canned tomatoes, but I would just substitute in fresh.

I love spicy food and I love eggplant, I’d love to try this Sichaun Eggplant recipe.

Green Beans
Here is a link to a great article on green beans in Cooking Light. Check out all the variations, I’m not sure if we’ll have Green Beans with Toasted Garlic, Sesame Soy, Citrus-Nut, or Peppery Bacon.

I’m thinking a cobbler.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Vegetable Korma

Vegetable Korma
Based on Shrimp Korma

2 t butter
1 cup sweet pepper, chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
1 ½ T all-purpose flour
1 t ginger, peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t Madras curry paste (or any curry paste)
2 t Garam Masala
½ t salt, divided
2 cups broth
1 pound vegetables, cut into bite size pieces (see NOTE)
1/3 cup coconut milk
¼ cup tomato diced
¼ cup frozen peas

NOTE: Vegetables we have gotten in the 2011 CSA so far that would be appropriate for Vegetable Korma: Broccoli, Broccoli Rabe, Carrots, Chard, Eggplant, Green Beans, Kale, Spinach, Snow Peas, Summer Squash, Turnips, and Zucchini

Melt butter in a Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add pepper and onion to pan and sauté two minutes. Add flour, ginger, and garlic and cook 1 minute. Add curry paste, Garam Masala, and ¼ t of salt and cook 30 seconds, stirring. Stir in broth and vegetables and bring to a boil. Stir in milk and tomato, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add peas and cook until warm through. Serve with rice and a dollop of plain yogurt.

Spiced Meatballs with Fruit and Nut Center

Spiced Meatballs with Fruit and Nut Center
Based on Beef Kebabs with Surprise Center

1 t ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ inch ginger, peeled and minced
1 pound ground beef
4 T minced fresh cilantro, divided
½ t Garam Masala
½ t baking soda
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste
2 T dried fruit, minced (craisins, prunes, dried apricots)
2 T cashews, crushed
2 T canola oil
½ plain yogurt
2 T lime juice, divided

In a large bowl combine coriander, cumin, garlic, and ginger. Then add beef, 2 T cilantro, Garam Masala, baking soda and 1 t Kosher salt. Thoroughly mix all ingredients then allow meat to rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile combine dried fruit and cashews in a small bowl.

After the meat has rested divide into 16 equal portions. Roll each portion into 2 inch sausage shapes. Make an indentation on one half of each sausage shape and stuff with ½ t of dried fruit mixture. Roll the meat into a ball and thoroughly seal in the fruit mixture. Repeat with each portion of meat.

Warm the oil in a non-stick skillet until shimmery. Place the meatballs in a circular formation around the pan – make sure not to touch meatballs to each other. Cook, turning frequently, until browned all the way around and cook all the way through, 10 – 15 minutes.

Make the sauce. Combine yogurt, 2 T cilantro, and 1 T lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Move meatballs to a platter, drizzle the remaining 1 T of lime juice, and serve with the yogurt sauce.

Book Club Meeting - Indian Menu

Book Club met at my house last night to discuss “Beneath a Marble Sky” by John Shors. This is a fictional account of the love stories behind the building of the Taj Mahal. I love the challenge of cooking a meal inspired by a book.
The Spiced Meatballs were the first thing I’ve made with our beef share from the CSA, they were a hit.
The Vegetable Korma helped me use some of the CSA share that was stressing me out the other day.
The Zucchini Rice was aromatic and fun to make.

Wednesday Menu – Spiced Meatballs, Vegetable Korma, Zucchini Rice, Naan, Cardamom Crumb Parfait
Farm Share Food – Ground Beef, Cilantro, Peppers, Onion, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Zucchini

Spiced Meatballs with Fruit and Nut Center

Vegetable Korma

Zucchini Rice

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Week 8 of 2011

We got…

Bell Pepper, Broccoli, Carmen Pepper, Chard, Eggplant, Onions, Salad Mix, Summer Squash, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Zucchini,
Fruit: Peaches

My plans…

I made this Spicy Garlic Penne with Broccoli. It is buried at the bottom of this posting on how the CSA got the better of me yesterday.

Bell Pepper and Carmen Pepper
If they don’t get used up in salads or another version of Korma, I’ll chop them up and freeze them.

Peppers, Eggplant, Onion, Summer Squash, Tomatoes
I’m going to make a vegetarian version of the Korma.

I’ll freeze this and use like frozen spinach sometime in the fall or winter.

Sweet Corn
As usual will just boil or grill, but it will be a side dish along for this Grilled Fish with Cantaloupe Salsa. I haven’t even opened the cantaloupe from last week.

I want to try this recipe for Zucchini Rice.

CSA stressing me out?

I am a planner. That’s good, I get things done, we get out and do things, etc. It causes stress for me when things don’t go as planned. We were supposed to grab dinner and see a water ski show last night. My husband and I decided that was not the best use of our time and resources. We decided this while I was at a playground with friends. I could feel the stress brewing in the pit of my stomach…What are we going to eat for dinner? All the protein in the house was frozen. Then my CSA arrived at my house and the panic continued. Yes, here is all this food, but what can I make? I could make many things, but I’ve got to get it all cleaned and find a place for it in the fridge, and the kids are starving so I need something quick. A clance in the fridge and I realize how much food I still have from last week’s CSA. What’s going on? Am I letting my CSA stress me out?

Here is the thing…belonging to a CSA is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself as a cook and the eating habits of my family. That’s why I have this blog, to share all the goodness of life with a CSA. The reality is that a CSA is also a lot of work and it can get ahead of you. That’s how I was feeling last night. Today I need to take stock and figure out how all this food is going to grace the table. Dinner last night? I came up with a pretty good Spicy Garlic Penne with Broccoli. It took no time and I made it while I stored the vegetables.

Tuesday Menu – Spicy Garlic Penne with Broccoli, Salad
Farm Share Produce – Broccoli, Salad Mix, Onions, Cucumber, Bell Pepper, Tomatoes

First time this year, every vegetable in the garden salad was from the farm!

Spicy Garlic Penne with Broccoli

Printable Version

I have a recipe for something like this from a friend. In the chaos of dinner prep last night I couldn’t find it. So this is what I did.

6-8 cloves of garlic, ends trimmed, unpeeled
¼ cup pine nuts
½ pound of Penne
1 head of Broccoli florets, cut into bite size pieces
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive oIl
½ t crushed red pepper
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Parmesan, for sprinkling

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place garlic cloves in aluminum foil packet. Place the packet in oven proof skillet and roast for 30 minutes. 15 minutes into the roasting time add the pine nuts to the skillet and toast for the remainder of the garlic’s cooking time. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, follow the package directions for the penne. 6 minutes before the end of the cooking time add the broccoli into the pot with the pasta to cook. Drain broccoli pasta mixture and set aside.

In a small bowl combine oil, red pepper, salt and pepper. Add the garlic by pushing the smooshy, smooth garlic out of their papers. Use a fork and mash the garlic into the oil. Combine the pasta, broccoli and pine nuts with the oil garlic mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan for serving.

Monday’s Menu – 9 Local Ingredients!

Monday Menu – Green Bean Spaghetti Carbonara, Garden Salad, Cucumber Salad
Farm Share Food – Green Beans, Onion, Head Lettuce, Bell Pepper, Cucumber, Dill
Other Local Food – Bacon, Burpless Cucumber, Jalapeno

Putting together last night’s meal was fun for me. As I was cooking I realized many of my ingredients were local, even the ingredients that are there for flavor like bacon and onions. The bacon we got at Oscar’s Smokehouse on a recent trip. Lucky for us we live close enough that many local stores carry Oscar’s products.

We visited family this weekend. They have a beautiful garden and we got to come home with cucumbers and peppers. The cucumber is called a Burpless Cucumber. It is bred with less seeds and that is it’s actual name.

Green Bean Spaghetti Carbonara

Cucumber Salad

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Green Bean Spaghetti Carbonara

Green Bean Spaghetti Carbonara
From EveryDay with Rachael Ray September 2011

Printable Version

½ pound spaghetti
1-2 handful green beans, trimmed into bite size pieces
2-3 strips bacon
½ onion, chopped
2 eggs
½ cup parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Add green beans halfway through cooking time. Drain pasta and reserve 1 cup of cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a skillet brown the bacon over medium heat. Allow to drain and when cool crumble. Reserve 1-2 T of bacon grease in the skillet and cook onion until soft and beginning to turn golden. Add bacon back in with the onions. Deglaze with a bit of the reserved pasta water and remove the skillet from the heat.

In a small bowl whisk the eggs with the cheese. In the skillet combine the eggs, bacon and onion mixture, and pasta with green beans. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water to get the texture you would like for the pasta dish. Discard any unused pasta water. Season pasta dish with salt and pepper and serve.

Cucumber Salad

This recipe came together for me after two recent events. One was listening to a caller talk to Lynn Rossetto Kasper on the Splendid Table about Cucumber Salad and how it changes from culture to culture. The second was a visit to family this weekend, they have a beautiful garden. We came home with cucumbers and jalapenos. When we visit I always hope for their Cucumber Salad, there is something just right about it. Knowing I’d never get it “just right” I decided to use the cucumber and jalapeno from the garden to make a salad inspired by the conversation I heard on the Splendid Table.

Cucumber Salad

Printable Version

2 Burpless Cucumber or English Cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
6-8 sprigs of dill
12 whole peppercorns
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 t salt
¼ cup sugar

In a medium size dish layer cucumber to cover the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with half the onion and jalapeno slices. Spread out 3-4 sprigs of the dill. Repeat these layers again.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan over medium heat combine peppercorns, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Cook 1-2 minutes until salt and sugar dissolve and then bring to a boil. Pour vinegar mixture over cucumber layers. Allow to sit for at least 45 minutes. For best results allow to sit in the refrigerator for several hours.

Ahhh…a third inspiration. I used the vinegar base from the Quick Dill Pickles for this recipe.