I’ve been having a lot of experimental soup recipes lately. Hearty, hot, and wholly un-publishable, they’re messy and tasty and completely dependent on what we have in the refrigerator. I kind of feel like everything I’ve been making lately is pretty experimental, actually. Tasty, of course (especially when I’m hungry and its venturing into past-dinner-time), but not the kind of thing I really think is ready to share with anybody on here. For instance, I tried egg drop soup today… and I think it will definitely make its way on here soon, but not the one I made today.
But one experiment that I really do want to share with you is this fabulous tomato sauce I made last week. I didn’t expect this tomato sauce to be something special, in fact I didn’t even take many pictures, but lordy be was I happily surprised. It was completely experimental and completely dependent upon the random stuff we had in the fridge and the pantry, but it turned out to be so flavorful that I must post it here for posterity. It didn’t make a huge batch because I only had a few tomatoes, so unfortunately I don’t have any of it left. In fact, I used it all up in two days. First, it was mixed in with some rice and then the next night it was the star of a polenta lasagna (another that will have to be re-worked and shared later). Basically, I gobbled it all up as quickly as I could.
So I’m going to share this recipe with its approximate measurements because I didn’t take special care to be exact. But have no fear, a little extra oregano or a little less salt is something that is a) easily fixable, b) highly adaptable, and c) all up to your special preferences. This is not a recipe that relies on a specific exacting ratio of tomato to onion (in fact, I didn’t even have fresh onion! I used dried minced onion and it worked just dandy). This is simply a recipe that has flavorful ingredients that work together to make a divine tomato sauce. No difficulty, just deliciousness.
|Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce
Recipe type: Sauce
Prep time: 3 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 48 mins
- 3 cups diced tomato
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 3 tbsp minced onion
- Dice your tomatoes and put in a saucepan on medium-high. Stir as you’re assembling the other ingredients.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. As the tomatoes release their juices and the mixture begins to boil, taste it and see if you like the herb/spice balance. Adjust to your liking.
- Continue to let the mixture boil down and reduce, approximately 30 minutes or until you have a thick, chunky tomato sauce.
I used heirloom tomatoes because that’s what I had in the fridge- they were absolutely divine, but so would be most any tomatoes I’m sure!
I don’t have a food mill, so I made this an easy, chunky recipe and left all the skins and seeds in the tomatoes when I diced them. If you wanted to make a smoother recipe, I’d suggest using a food mill or even utilizing the food processor. Personally, I was extremely pleased with the more chunky sauce.
I added a few notes to the bottom of the recipe about kinds of tomatoes and the methods for preparing the tomatoes. Basically, what I’m trying to say is I used what I had on hand. I had heirlooms, so I used them. I don’t have a food mill, so I didn’t use the food mill I do not have. It’s back to my ever-lazy, but resourceful, philosophy: make do in the kitchen! (wow… now that I’ve read that over, I’m going to admit that that’s not the note I wanted to end on… I’ll choose better words next time haha)
Posted in CSA, Dinner, Lunch, Sauce
Tagged Chili Powder, Cumin, Diced Onion, Heirloom Tomatoes, Onion, Oregano, Sauce, Tomato Sauce, Tomatoes
So it’s officially fall and I am officially in the mood for warm drinks, warm sweaters, warm food, and sick days.
I don’t mean that I want to actually get sick. No thank you, the reality of being sick is terrible, and that’s definitely not what I’m wishing for. However, there is something nice about having sick days. Those days when you’re sort of under the weather; enough to not feel good enough to get out of bed for school or work, but still feeling good enough to eat soup in bed and catch up on mindless television or read.
And, yes, I know that I’m being romantic about sick days. I know that it’s actually stressful to miss school and work and that most of the time I just feel crappy enough to be dissatisfied with the bad television. But I can’t help but wish for one of those romantic, perfect, pajama pants kind of sick days. I want to nap on the couch and eat soup! I want to watch movies and sleep during the time when I’m usually sitting in class or making glitter art at work.
And I guess I can do that without actually being sick or taking a sick day. I could turn a cold, blustery Saturday into a pseudo-sick day. And maybe I will. Maybe I’ll convert a Saturday into a bum-on-the-couch-urday. But if it stays so sunny and beautiful here there’s little chance that I’ll give up a perfectly lovely Saturday outside for a blanket based tv fest inside… I’ll keep you all updated.
In the meantime, while I’m busy mind-warring between my inner introvert and inner extrovert, I’m going to share this tasty vegetable galette. It’s the kind of dish that tastes warm and fresh just out of the oven, and then again flaky and comforting the next morning right out of the fridge. It’s the kind of dish that helps me transition happily (who am I kidding, I love this season) into fall. I’m not one to pass up a flaky crust any time of the year, but I think galettes are especially perfect during the fall. I don’t have any reasons to back up that assertion, I’m just a sucker for fall and a sucker for pie.
We got a big beautiful bunch of vegetables this past week. I didn’t post anything for The Thursday Stash, though, because I was feeling self-conscious about the fact that I’ve posted a lot of Thursday Stash updates without any recipes lately. So I skipped the stash, I gave you the Baba Ghanoush, and now I’m moving right into another recipe. But trust me when I say that this past week’s box was deee-vine. And I really wanted to take advantage of the bounty for a family dinner with my friends.
So I found this recipe for the crust and then pre-cooked some veggies and cooked it all up to create a galette that is rustic, simple, and tasty. Without further ado, here it is:
|Fall Vegetable Galette
Recipe type: Main
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup cold butter in small pieces
- 1/4 cup ice water (or a little more)
- 1 small summer squash, chopped (or about 1 cup chopped squash-any kind)
- olive oil
- 3 small radishes, chopped
- 1 small turnip, chopped
- 1 onion, sliced
- about 1/3 cup finely chopped head of broccoli
- 2 tbsp goat cheese
- salt and pepper
- dried basil
- Pulse flour and salt briefly in food processor.
- Add butter and process, mixture should look coarse and the butter should be smaller than pea-sized.
- Add water slowly while processing. It should begin to come together and you should be able to press the dough into a solid ball. (add more water as needed to reach this state)
- Shape dough into a disc and store in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- Take dough out of the oven and let it warm up enough that it is pliable.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Toss chopped squash, radishes, and turnip with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper, then put in a dish or on a baking sheet and put in the oven for about ten minutes or until the pieces soften.
- Heat up a pan on medium heat and add a little bit of olive oil and then the onion slices. Add salt and pepper. You want to cook the onion until translucent.
- In the meantime, roll out the dough until you have a large circle. You want it to be about 1/4 of an inch thick.
- Spread the goat cheese onto the center of the dough in a circle. If you want, add a little dried basil at this point.
- Then, layer the vegetables on in your favorite order. I went with squash, radishes and turnip, broccoli, and then onion.
- Then you want to fold your edges over. Galettes are fun because they are supposed to look imperfect. If the dough tears, just pinch it back together.
- Turn the oven down to 375F and then plop the galette in there. Let it cook for about forty-five minutes to an hour, depending on how done your crust looks.
Yes, it looks like a long recipe, but if you make the crust the day beforehand it’s really not bad. Just some chopping and pre-cooking and then the long wait for the galette to finally be ready for chow time. Whether or not you’re in a sick day mood, this makes a beautiful meal to share or to keep all to your selfish self. This time I shared it, but next time it’s all mine, baby.
Posted in CSA, Dinner, Lunch, Recipe
Tagged Broccoli, Butter, Crust, Galette, Goat Cheese, Onion, Pie, Pie Crust, Radish, Squash, Summer Squash, Turnip
I’m slowly but surely making my way back into school (and soon work), so that means easy-peasy meals are the go-to choice. Rules of easy-peasy meals?
1. No shopping for specific ingredients, must make do with what is already in the kitchen. (I usually live by this rule, helps me be creative!)
2. There should be as few steps as possible: Chop, saute, plate!
3. Utilize already-cooked items (such as rice from last night’s dinner or beans I simmered on Sunday)
4. If something has to cook for a while, it should not have to be watched or stirred or pampered. Stick it in the oven and let it do its thang.
5. Prep time should be less than ten minutes and cook time less than an hour… aka “I’m hungry now, where’s my fooood???”
To be honest, these are rules I generally always follow for my own sanity in the kitchen. Yes, of course sometimes I get that cooking bug and spend an entire evening or afternoon in that little space, but for the most part I’m not the world’s most involved cook. I’m utilitarian and I’m busy busy busy.
So today I want to share a delicious, but definitely easy-peasy meal idea. It’s not radical, but this version of a taco salad makes use of one particular component that was new to me. I had seen in the past that Averie of Love Veggies and Yoga had a nut “meat” that she used in tacos. I’ve never had the chance to try it, so I figured that this taco salad would be a perfect opportunity. I urge you to check it out with your next taco or taco salad.
|Spicy Vegetarian Taco Salad
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Bring some easy components together to make a perfect, filling meal after a tiring day.
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- olive oil, enough to bring the ingredients together in the food processor
- Rest of Filling
- 1 onion
- black pepper
- chili powder
- 2 cups lettuce, chopped
- 1 cup cooked beans
- First, put your uncooked rice in your rice cooker, add water and spices and set to “on.”
- For Averie’s “meat,” add all ingredients to your food processor or blender and blend until you get a thick, “meaty” mixture that somewhat (but not too closely) resembles the kind of ground beef taco meat you might make in for a traditional taco salad. Don’t over-process, you still want it to be chunky.
- Dice your onion and 3/4 of it to a pan with a drizzle of oil and a dash of salt, black pepper, and chili powder. You can also add your beans at this point so that they can get some flavor.
- You want to keep the heat on medium and cover until the onions become glassy.
- Finally layer your chopped lettuce in a bowl, add the bean/onion mix, the taco “meat,” and the rice.
- Add some uncooked pieces of diced onion on top, and decorate with tortilla chips (which you can also pan fry yourself!)
So if you’ll notice, I made pretty good on my promise to follow the 5 rules of easy-peasy meals. (Yeah, the prep time is a bit longer than 10 minutes, but it’s an estimate! Maybe your chopping is faster than mine.) In Averie’s original recipe the meat called for both almonds and walnuts. However, I only had walnuts, so I adapted the recipe to my kitchen. Also, I didn’t have sundried tomatoes. I stuck some in my dehydrator, then realized that I didn’t want to wait that long, so I just added them to my “meat” as they were and worked with a new, wetter texture than was initially intended. I still think it tastes wonderful, but I left “sundried tomatoes” in the recipe above because I think it could be EVEN BETTER with them.
In short, the easy-peasy rules just illustrate the different ways that you can be an adaptive (and lazy) cook. And they work pretty well for me
Posted in CSA, Dinner
Tagged "Meat", Beans, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, Lettuce, Onion, Rice, Taco, Taco Salad, Tomatoes, Turmeric, Walnuts
Ah here we are again on a lovely Thursday, ready to check out the THURSDAY STASH. I got back to Oakland after a great vacation just in time to pick up my latest CSA box.
I was so extremely excited when I opened the box and unwrapped these goodies. It might be the most colorful box I’ve gotten this year, what with the rich purple, shades of red and orange, and stripey greens. A vegetable rainbow!
How these all fit into my fridge I will never know… I got a little bit creative with my organizing. We’ve got: 3 white onions, 2 baby watermelons, a basket of Santa Rosa plums, a basket of cherry tomatoes, 3 full size heirloom tomatoes, 4 flamingo peppers, and 3 Armenian cucumbers. Whew.
And I’m so excited to share what I did with some of those tomatoes, peppers, and a baby watermelon tonight… Soon enough, soon enough.
Anybody have some good ideas for using up those Armenian Cucumbers?? I’ve never seen this kind of cucumber before, although I’m assuming it tastes much like the ones I’m used to? They are very long, not very stiff, and (as you can see) have ridges that create dark and light green stripes. I’m excited to do something with them.
Posted in CSA
Tagged Armenian Cucumber, Baby Watermelon, Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumber, Flamingo Peppers, Green Bell Pepper, Heirloom Tomatoes, Onion, Plums, Santa Rosa Plums, Tomatoes, Watermelon