Nov 242018

Fall Kale Salad

Now that we are back to being between holidays (so everyone is not going crazy over turkey and sweet potato everything), it’s definitely time to enjoy some of the other flavors of fall. Kale is definitely one of those flavors. I know it was all the rage several years ago and has fallen somewhat out of favor (to be replaced by avocado for the moment), but I really like using it in salads. It gives the salad a much heartier flavor and meatier mouthfeel that makes you feel like you are eating more. It also balances very well with the…Continue Reading

Oct 132018

Caponata

When the garden started producing lots of eggplant, I started experimenting with caponata since I really like vegetable chutneys. But since it’s me, I failed to follow a recipe in any way. So this is a very non-traditional caponata that tastes excellent on crusty bread or pita. I did start with recipes from Smitten Kitchen and Bon Appetit, augmenting them for the flavors I like. I really liked Smitten Kitchen’s inclusion of pine nuts for some textural contrast, but I didn’t have celery or olives, so I included peppers for flavor and reduced the onion a bit. I also changed…Continue Reading

Sep 252018

Chickpeas with Egg, Grapes, and Tomatoes

Sometimes subtle flavors can be some of the best. You don’t need to drown something in sauce to make it taste good. That’s not to say there aren’t delicious sauces that you might want to put on everything. But there are times when you don’t want to put a bunch of effort into a dish, and that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor. This is one of those quick to throw together dishes which tastes delicious. I tend to keep cooked chickpeas and hard-boiled eggs available as much as possible because they are such easy additions to a salad…Continue Reading

Aug 252018

Sweet Corn and Tomato Gazpacho

This corn gazpacho is the soup entry I did for the Fairfield Tomato Festival cooking competition, and actually the recipe I was most please with. It may have only gotten second place in its category, but it is an amazing summer soup. For one thing: gazpacho = no cooking, which is great when there have been too many 90F + days. This was actually my first attempt at gazpacho. In true me fashion, I ended up trying multiple batches at once, both this and a cherry and tarragon version. I’ve had a cherry gazpacho before when I was working in…Continue Reading

Jul 182018

Zucchini and Steak Salad with Basil Dressing

And so we continue with the recipes from my excess of zucchini. Also considering the ridiculous temperatures in Northern California in the last few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of salads. This zucchini and steak salad is one of my successful attempts to balance my desire for cold refreshing salads with H’s current need for a lot of protein (he is currently training for an iron man). That has meant that a lot of our meals are light salads with lots of raw fruits and vegetables topped with meat of some kind. Not particularly ingenious, but it works. This…Continue Reading

Jun 262018

Peanut Curry Noodle Soup

When I’m cooking, often what I start out intending to make is not what ends up on the plates. I’ll get a bright idea that inspires me or decide what I really want to eat part way through the cooking process. There are times when this distraction is detrimental, and other times when the result is great. This  chicken curry noodle soup turned out to be one of the tastier results. I really couldn’t think of what to cook, so I settled on an easy default of Thai chicken curry and rice. I was just going to make it a…Continue Reading

Jun 202018

Tangy Cabbage Salad

This is one of those recipes you are going to look at the directions for and say “Really, is that it?” to me. But sometimes you just need a quick salad that is good for multiple occasions and tastes good. Also, I had a lot of cabbage and needed to do something with it (suitable to way-to-hot weather). In fact, almost all the ingredients in this salad were grown within an hour of where I live. Not the raisins oddly enough. Bad me for not supporting local farms (in my defense there’s primarily wine grapes around where I live rather…Continue Reading

May 222018

Spring Potato Salad

I learned about the concept of panzanella salads from Smitten Kitchen a couple years ago, however I have never really eaten croutons. But I liked the concept of being able to adapt the dish to the season (since I do so much of that already). So I started making similar salads replacing potatoes or other starches for the croutons. It’s basically another way of doing seasonal pasta primaveras (once again, just switch the starch!) which I do all the time. During the portion of the year when the farm stands are inactive or don’t have much variety, I get a…Continue Reading

Apr 192018

Onion and Wine Jam

The second farm stand in the area has opened this week! And unlike my earlier prediction, snap peas actually came before asparagus this year. I always love snap peas from farm stands. These aren’t the anemic things from the grocery store that are just a vehicle to ferry dip to your mouth when they sit on vegetable platters, these are the full bodied perfection of snap peas. Sweet and filling, I almost always buy multiple bags at a time. They make great snacks to munch on while doing computer work. But the other available produce includes the requisite spring onions.…Continue Reading