Sunday, August 31, 2014

Squash Fritters with Tomato Jam

It happens to the best of us, and the longer you cook, the more often it pops start to feel guilty about dreading summer's bounty.

There, I said it, out loud.

We all have these moments when we can't look at another tomato or cucumber or heaven forbid, the dreaded summer squash. It's like they're haunting us, screaming at us,

        "But I'm so fresh! and ripe! and Local! Why don't you want me anymore??"

So we begrudgingly buy them and allow them to rot in our crisper and turn a blind eye when we have to toss them in the compost bin, making some lame excuse that we just didn't get to them in time. Well, here's the cure, really. This recipe will eat up all of those squash because not only are they delicious, but they cook down 3-4 of those buggers!

These are pretty basic in the flavors, but feel free to add spices - paprika, cumin, coriander would all be good. Or just keep them simple and add fun condiments like the Tomato Jam pictured above. Go wild! Summer's almost over!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tomato Jam - DIY Pantry

Tomato jam came into my life about 10 years ago when a Minnesotan asked me if I made it. Made it? I'd never heard of it! It took several years more before I met someone who's cooking I trusted enough to give her recipe a go. Wow! too many years wasted without tomato jam!

Combine four ingredients - tomatoes, cider vinegar, rosemary and brown sugar - and presto! You have a savory sweet delicious condiment which you will find a multitude of ways to slather on anything within reach.

If you remember that tomatoes are actually fruits, this jam idea doesn't seem that far fetched. It may take a little prompting to get people (especially kids) to try it, but you'll be rewarded for your efforts!

We've eaten it on squash fritters, latkes, chickpea flour pancakes and swirled into frittatas and scrambled eggs. If you're a meat eater I would  imagine it would be great on steak, brined pork chops or even with hash browns. Really, the sky is the limit!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Greek Scalloped Potatoes

Potatoes are my favorite comfort food...or at least a close second to pizza. But since pizza goes to my waist (and hips, and butt, and...) I choose potatoes over pizza most often. Mashed, roasted, boiled, you name it, I love them. Here's my latest take on them, scalloped with Greek flavors!

This version of scalloped is almost healthy, with very little cheese, just a little milk to steam them and lots of healthy Swiss Chard hidden inside. Add feta and kalamata olives for bursts of flavor and your heart, belly and soul are satisfied!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Foul - Moroccan Fava Beans

Foul - pronounced like "fool" is a traditional fava bean dish of North Africa. Also called Ful, I've seen it in Moroccan restaurants and if you search the web you'll see it listed as Egyptian. No matter what country claims it, prepare yourself for a hearty, delicious dish made with those magical legumes, fava beans!

Foul is made with dried beans, not the fresh, so it's easy to make it year round. Like so many Mediterranean cuisines, this dish makes the most of basic ingredients and not too many: cumin, lemon, parsley, tomatoes and beans. It's a shockingly great combination. I simply gilded the lily with the feta and olives, but certainly not traditional.

We ate this along with some Swiss Chard sauteed with garlic, coriander and smoked paprika and a dash of balsamic vinegar, which was fantastically good but the photo was not, so it's not yet featured on the blog. But it will definitely be making a future appearance, so look for it. To round it all out, muhammara, some homemade naan, feta and olives completed our meal. It was a Moroccan tapas of sort, and made us pretty happy!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Breakfast Nachos

Breakfast nachos...why didn't I think of this sooner! It's huevos rancheros with crisp chips on the side instead of buried beneath all of the goodies.

And it's amazingly delicious!

Unlike true nachos, these are not smothered in cheese but definitely heavy on the protein side, with both refried beans and scrambled eggs. The sprinkling of grated cheese is more for texture than heavy nacho-ness, but it brings the dish together. The only ingredient I probably would have added, but didn't have it on hand, would be pickled jalapeno slices. Oh well, guess I'll have to make it again!

Make sure the chips you use are the best. Here in California we are lucky enough to be able to buy Have'a Chips which are made with soy sauce and lime juice and are outta this world good! It makes a difference, so don't skimp on the chips!