This morning, as I combed my garden for goodies, I stumbled upon a large amount of ready-to-go radishes and a veritable bounty of dill. Naturally, this means I am eating radishes and dill for lunch. I am in the last week of my month of vegetarianism, so my garden has been a definite go-to the last three weeks.
The first dish I whipped up with my lovely little radishes was a cold salad reminiscent of Scandinavia (if there was some pickled cod in it or something)…sliced radishes, hard-boiled egg, dill, capers, stone-ground mustard, mayonnaise, sour cream, and a little smoked salt.
Most folks consider radishes a vegetable to be simply sliced and tossed into a salad. But, they are absolutely delicious roasted or tossed into veggie soups. In my second dish, I cut them in half, mixed them with dill and olive oil, and roasted them until tender. While they were still hot I stirred them in with goat cheese and course-ground black pepper and served them over romaine and chiffonade of mint with a squeeze of lemon.
I can’t wait until more of my garden bounty is ready to rock. Spaghetti squash…I have plans for you.
Apparently, I cannot get enough of logging kitchen time.
Before I go work the line at night…what do I do?
Well, I make pasta for 5 hours straight of course!
Rick sent me a text at 7:30 in the morning with a photo of his kitchen. It was complete with a wood working table with a pasta machine pressed into the side, a large hunk of bright green spinach pasta dough, and a myriad of ravioli-shaping tools. Needless to say, I was there in about 30 minutes after a short rifling through my refrigerator.
I showed up armed with tasty leftovers and veggies. He raided his freezer for bags of pesto resulting from last years garden bounty. His signature ravioli of the day was spinach pasta with a pesto-italian sausage-cheesy filling. Mine were a little more on the “non-traditional” side.
1) Sweet Italian Rose
Among my ingredients were rose pedals and ricotta. With about half the rose pedals I made a rose-honey syrup to mix with ricotta. I piped that filling over a rose pedal and sprinkled the whole thing with sweet italian sausage. Since I roll my ravioli dough really thin, you can see the pretty pedals right through it once it hits boiling water.
2) Fire Engine
At first, this one just started out at an idea towards aesthetics. But then, my mix of chorizo, blood red beets, and roasted red peppers actually created an amazing flavor combination. The spice from chorizo, the sweet from the beets, and the earthy red peppers created an amazing flavor explosion. Indeed. And they were ridiculously bright (damn near neon) red.
3) Meat and Potato
I also brought out some mashed potatoes, so I mixed it with some of the sausage and piped the mixture over thin-sliced rounds of garlic-stuffed green olives and slivers of red pepper. These ones came out gorgeous and they appeal to the “Man-Man”.
With the left-over dough we created a Creole Linguine by flattening blackening spice into the pasta dough. It’s a beautiful thing, on Monday I concocted a Cajun crab cream sauce to adorn said pasta. No complaints here.
I usually relish the opportunity to beat up a ball of dough, but Rick busted out the bread maker and just switched the setting to “dough”. Damn, there was no upper body workout whatsoever to counteract the excess of carbs about to enter my body. Oh well, leave it up to Rick tofind a shortcut. Love it!
I have been hard at work.
It’s a bit late in the season, but Joe and I have our new place and I am going to build a bitchin’ garden. The crazy Northern Nevada weather has been freezing gardens up until 4 days ago. Monday’s and Tuesday’s are my days off so I began digging deep into the dirt Tuesday with seeds and a couple pepper plants, Wednesday I added some more seeds and a tomato and eggplant from the store. Today I almost filled all the vacancies in my dirt with 3 more kinds of seeds and 6 more plants.
This is all the good stuff my lucky friends and nighbors can expect in the coming months:
Ruby Queen Corn
Sweet White Corn
Contender Garden Beans
Green Ice Lettuce
Salad Bowl Lettuce
Ruby Red Lettuce
Cherry Belle Radishes
Scarlet Globe Radishes
Salad Slicer Cucumber
Detroit Dark Red Beets
Table Queen Squash
Lisbon White Bunching Onions
Little Finger Carrots
Golden Crookneck Squash
California Blackeye Peas
Golden Cayenne Peppers
Hot Banana Peppers
Cubanelle Sweet Pepper
Purple Top White Globe Turnips
Sugar Baby Watermelons
Neon Lights Swiss Chard
Ichiban Japanese Eggplant
Mortgage Lifter Heirloom Tomato
White Vienna Kohlrabi
Amish Pie Heirloom Pumpkins
Armenian Snake Cucumber
Noir De Carmes Melon
Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato
Sweet 100 Cherry Tomato
And I have space for 3 more plants…what to plant…what to plant…hmmm…
A match made in heaven!
I am with a man who likes to hunt, and yeah, this girl likes to cook.
Right now, our freezer is crammed full of antelope, deer, and umm…sheep. Yup, lots of good things for me to cook up. This week I am exploring antelope and creating “man approved” dishes. I have been told (by said man) that I have a tendency to make pretentious, pretty food. But, instead of dressing down my culinary delights, I intend on easing him into my “pretty” food by making homey favorites in my upscale fashion.
First up, Tacos!
For yesterday’s dinner I layered flavors in my rice (bitter orange and cilantro), my black beans (california chili, jalapeno, and cilantro), and my Antelope braised in a chili verde sauce heavy on garlic and onion all wrapped up in a corn tortilla ran through a cast iron pan seasoned with sesame oil. For the top, I finished it off with a quick blood orange, cilantro, avocado, and lemon salsa.
Tonight, I decided to tackle another homestyle favorite. The pot pie.
I seasoned and dredged the antelope and seared it before adding mirepoix, deglazed with an old vine Zinfandel, and finished it with a little heavy cream. At first, I was going to just go buy some puff pastry dough to cap it with…but when I got to the store I fell in love with a couple plants that looked like they wanted to live in my garden. So…I made a little dough from scratch instead and crosshatched it over my “hunter’s pie” concoction.
And now, off to work to go cook for the masses.
Apparently, I just can’t get enough.
Last night was my “stage” at a restaurant downtown, I had an absolutely fabulous time and hope to see a lot more of the place.
Unfortunately, it cut my recipe development for the day a bit short. But I did manage to come up with a couple more “quick” breads.
The first really was quick, a basic batter corn bread with tasty golden niblets of corn inside, green onion, crema for some lusciousness, and my weight in butter…no big deal…I give most of them away to save my figure. I feel as though I may single-handedly be keeping dairy farmers in business.
My second bread was actually biscuits and not necessarily quick. I modeled them after those tasty cream cheese-stuffed jalapeno’s wrapped in bacon that so often make their way into summer back yard grill-a-thons. So, these biscuits are not so heart healthy or diet friendly, but their golden layers freckled with hunks of bacon, jalapeno, and cream cheese will certainly make your soul happy (and keep your thighs well insulated for winter time). I started the dough yesterday, and baked them off this morning…a nice idea for super-fluffy, layered, yeasty, biscuits to accompany breakfast.
Today we sign the lease on our new place we so lovingly call “the shack”. It’s a tiny house with a big back yard and a gas range (the selling point for me). After we sign our lease this afternoon we have a dinner party to attend, so I had better get on my dessert bread…I’m thinking sticky bourbon pull-apart bread. Hmmm…
Yesterday was a flurry of scrubbing and baking.
I’m in a new kitchen and I’m a wee-bit OCD at times so I naturally had to scrub the bejeezus out of my new surroundings before digging in to my bountiful flour selection. I only kicked out two focaccia’s today, but the recipients of said focaccia didn’t sound too disappointed with my results.
The first was a Tomato-Basil focaccia using both sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste and gratuitous amounts of fresh basil. The second was a tarragon-caramelized onion concoction that was to die for. I know Joe appreciates all the focaccia since the hearty and flavorful Italian bread is the temporary substitute for good ol’ fashioned wheat bread in his daily sandwiches for work. Today was Salami-Provolone with chiffonade banana peppers on Tomato-Basil. Not bad for interrupting the daily grind, eh?
Today I have moved on to Dinner Rolls!
But not just any dinner rolls, marbled, jumbo-sized dinner rolls.
My first batch is testing a caper-tomato combo and a cilantro-roasted red pepper concoction. They rose so much, they were billowing over the cupcake pan before I even popped them into the 400 degree oven. Both types are swirling masses of red and green. I can’t wait to brush them with butter and “sample” or “taste-test” them directly out of the oven.
It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.
I have been seriously neglecting my blogging as of late…but who could blame me? I was working full time hours, going to school full time, testing recipes, and preparing to move. But now, I have boomeranged my way back to the biggest little city (Reno, for those who haven’t had the pleasure of encountering the slogan)…and it’s time to get to work.
This summer I am concentrating my efforts on finally finishing this cookbook. I have been working on it in a half-assed manner for far too long.
So, here I am staring at my breakfast (crispy focaccia, leftover grilled pork from the weekend, a poached egg topped with crema and sriracha, a banana, and a steaming cup of french-pressed coffee) planning my attack on this fine Tuesday.
I moved to Reno not only because Texas and I have a rocky relationship, but because of my high school sweetheart. That’s right, almost 10 years later and I’m sitting at his mom’s dining room table, eating off the same fruit patterned plates my mom had stacked in our kitchen cupboard when I was a kid in a little pink house just around the corner. The house isn’t pink anymore, none of my childhood friends are toilet-papering houses or sneaking smokes out of their moms’ purses, but I feel a strange sensation of Deja-vous.
Last night I got the cooking party started with my first focaccia of the recipe-testing-fury that will be this week (bread week). Rosemary, sea salt, and Kalamata. I think I hit the proportions right on the head. The crumb is beautiful and there’s just the right amount crisp to the edges of the bread.
I meticulously prepped (and actually measured) all of my supplies. Generally, I’m not the best at such things. A dash, a pinch, and sticking my tongue out while squinting one eye (because somehow this helps you eye-ball approximate measurements) as I glug out ingredients is my usual method of measurement.
This morning I divvied up slabs of focaccia to be distributed amongst mine and Joe’s (my love) families. The next ball of dough rising on the back of the stovetop is tomato-basil and will shortly be followed by tarragon-caramelized onion. Oh, I am going to ruin all my friends’ diets.
Somehow, I think they’ll manage.