Hey folks!  The long weekend rearranged my priorities cooking wise slightly, so I haven’t really cooked prior to now.  (Yay for cookouts/viewing parties where you don’t have to contribute food!)

So, sometimes you have cravings.  Mozzarella has been high on my list, and I seriously need to try and make it myself with the amount that I’m going through it as of late.  This is another way to try and satisfy these cravings.  😛

Personal note re: pastry shell: be sure you thaw it for at least 24 hours in the fridge before you use it.  I accidentally opened the shell and thawed it after, so it was likely a little dry.

Tomato and Mozzarella Tart
Lasts appx 5 meals


  • 16 oz puff pastry (I used frozen)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 oz grated parmesan
  • 1 pound (appx 4) plum or roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • a dash salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 8 oz mozzarella (I used presliced log mozzarella, the original recipe recommends grated)
  • 2 T fresh basil

Heat your oven to 425, and arrange your puff pastry so that it fits on a baking sheet.  I cobbled together two separate puff pastry sheets to get what you see above.  Fold over the edges of the pastry over by a half inch, and brush with the beaten egg.  Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the shell, and poke the shell with a fork so that there are holes all over (and I mean all over; I didn’t get the body the first time through, and when I checked it in the oven, it was puffing up to a ridiculous degree).  While this is happening, combine the olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic, and dry the sliced tomatoes (and sprinkle with a bit of salt).

Put it in the oven for 15 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 350 and bake until golden brown and crisp (usually another 10 to 15 mins).  Remove from heat, and take the oven back up to 425.  While the tart cools, tile on the mozzarella and tomatoes, and sprinkle with the garlic oil.

Return the tart to the oven, and bake until deep golden brown and the cheese melts (appx 15 mins).  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh (or dried) basil (half amount if using dried).


Originally, these awesome peppers would’ve been for Wednesday gaming nights, but that got called off this week, so well just push it to next week!  Plus, now it has another week to marinate, which means they’ll be even more awesomely flavorful.  Definite summer favorite, even if it requires using a high heat oven to make it.  (See, you eat these chilled, which makes it a pretty low maintenance recipe past the cooking and peeling.)  Served with mozzarella and just a bit of olive oil, this is a perfect meal to eat on your porch.

Roasted Peppers with Mozzarella 
Lasts at least five meals on average


  • 6 to 12 bell peppers (I typically get red, yellow and orange, and have also used green and purple – yes, you can find the latter at a farmer’s market)
  • ¼ to ½ c red wine vinegar
  • 2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • olive oil and mozzarella (use the fresh logs for this, presliced if you wanna save time) to serve, optional – parsley and capers

Heat your oven to 400, line a baking tray with foil, and add your peppers, roasting 45 minutes to a half hour.  Skew towards the higher time, as the skins need to come off easily.  Attempt to turn ¼ way every fifteen minutes, but it’s okay if you don’t.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and put part of the foil over the peppers to help cool.  Once cool, peel the skin off, and then split the pepper along a seam, tearing a circle around the top to remove the stem and seeds.  Tear the pepper into thin strips and put in a glass bowl, layering with minced garlic and salt as you go.

Once you’ve gone through all your peppers, pour the red wine vinegar over the peppers, toss, and cover to marinate in the fridge, at minimum one hour (though, the longer you go, the more flavor you get).

When you’re ready to serve them, take your mozzarella (slice it or presliced), have olive oil on hand to drizzle, and enjoy!

Ladies and gentlemen, all hail donburi, one of the most cheap, versatile meals known to man.  Feeling hungry, but don’t want any of the leftovers in your fridge?  No worries!  Make up a bowl of rice, toss some rice vinegar/sugar on it, put whatever the hell you want on top (I used salmon in this case, but the ideas as to what you could put on it are literally limitless), and boom, easy, new meal that you have to put little effort into!

Salmon Sashimi Donburi


  • between half to one pound of salmon (depends on how much you like fish, any other protein can substitute)
  • rice (I use short grain sushi rice)
  • splash of rice vinegar and sugar

First off, take whatever amount of rice you like and cook it according to the instructions on the rice packaging, using whatever you have handy – rice maker, steamer (which I used), pot, whatever.  (in this case, I used 1.5 c rice to 2 c water.)  Once the rice is done, let it cool off a bit, and scoop out however much rice you want, and drizzle a combination of rice vinegar and sugar on it (basically makes it sushi rice).  Toss the rice with a wood paddle, to aerate and spread the vinegar mixture.

Meanwhile, cut up your salmon into thin slices (I used the long, thin knife in my knife block, and no, I have no clue what it’s called), and put on top of the rice.

Boom.  Dinner.  1.5 c of rice ususally makes about three servings, but how long it lasts in this case is up to how much you make, and what all you have on hand.

So, making bread.  This is always an interesting thing, because sometimes, with a new recipe, you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing.  This is one of those cases.  😛  Also, I technically finished this late Friday night, but was lazy enough to not post until now.  

I’ve always liked ciabatta bread, and when I found a recipe for it, I thought, sure, why not, I can use it to make sandwiches!  As far as I can tell, the resulting bread that I got will work as sandwich bread, but it’s definitely not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made.  xD  Well, there’s next time for that.  

Just be aware that this recipe takes a lot of time, and any specifics for this recipe assume you making it by hand – if you have a food processor or a stand mixer, click the link to the original recipe for those directions.

Ciabatta Bread  
Makes 4 loaves


  • 1 t active dry yeast
  • 5 T warm milk
  • 1 C plus 3 T water at room temp
  • 1 T olive oil
  • biga (appx 1 recipe’s worth, rested at least 12 hours, follow any instructions for reactivating if starter was frozen)
  • 3 ¾ c flour, plus a bit more for the work surface
  • 1 T salt

Stir the yeast into the milk in a smaller bowl, and let stand for appx ten minutes, until creamy.  Add this to a larger bowl, with the biga, flour, water, and oil, and mix either with a spoon or by hand until combined, and then knead until the dough is supple, springy, velvety, and moist. (Oh baby.)  It recommends doing it on a well-floured surface, but my bowl was large and floured enough that I just did it in there.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise about an hour and a quarter, until at least doubled.  (See first two pics for an accurate before and after, I was doing the brown sugar miso ice cream and garlic beef, asparagus, and shiitake stir fry in between all this.)  The dough will be sticky, elastic, and full of air bubbles when it’s ready to go.

Cut the dough into four equal pieces on a well-floured surface.  Roll each into a cylinder, and then stretch each into a rectangle by pulling with your fingers.  Try to get each loaf into a roughly ten by four length and width.  If you can’t do this, just get them long and about half as wide as they are long.  😛

Place each loaf on your baking sheet (I used one and a pizza pan), evenly spaced, and dimple with your fingertips to prevent it from rising too much.  Cover the loaves with plastic wrap again and let rise another hour and a half to two hours, until puffy.  They’ll still look flat, but don’t worry.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 425 (mine went to 400, bc of previously mentioned oven issues).  Bake for about 25 mins.  The recipe suggests spraying your oven with water three times in the first ten minutes, but I didn’t do that, don’t know what kind of difference it might make.  

Will be using these for sandwich bread this week, likely, will update if there’s anything on how to keep them freshest. EDIT: …Yeah, I think I’ll stick to bigger loaf breads from now on.

So, this is a bit of an odd recipe.  Odd in that it’s a combination of two separate recipes (the base is from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams cookbook, which is sent from the gods above, slightly altered to take account for the brown sugar in the ice cream’s name, and the original combination is from Tokyo Terrace), and that brown sugar miso probably isn’t a flavor that you would typically think of.   But, the ice cream is currently freezing, and I can tell you that it was a great idea.  😀  To quote Rachel of Tokyo Terrace, “Imagine salty caramel, but on steroids.”  This is gonna be awesome.

Brown Sugar Miso Ice Cream 
Makes about 2 pints


  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1 T plus 1 t corn starch
  • 1 ½ oz (3 T) soft cream cheese
  • ¼ t sea salt
  • 1 ¼ c heavy whipping cream
  • 2/3 c packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 T white miso
  • 2 T light corn syrup

Mix 2 T of the milk with the corn starch to create a slurry in a separate container.  Combine the cream cheese and sea salt in another separate container.

Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients in a pot and bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat.  Once boiling, boil for four minutes, then remove from heat and whisk in the cornstarch slurry.  Once combined, return to heat and bring back to a boil, and stir with a heatproof spatula until slightly thickened, appx 1 min.  Remove from heat, and whisk together with the cream cheese mixture.  Once combined, pour into a gallon ziploc bag (or, in this case, two smaller bags), and chill in an ice/cold water bath for a half hour.

Set up your ice cream machine, add the base, and spin for appx a half hour.  The last two pics are what your ice cream should look like before, and after.  Once you attain that second picture, stop the machine, and scoop into your container, and throw that into the freezer over night.  (I happen to have spare pint containers, so I used those.)

By the next afternoon, you will have excellent, nommy ice cream!

Looking for another quick dinner?  Try Garlic Beef, Asparagus, and Shiitake Stir-Fry!  Don’t have garlic hoisin sauce?  Simple – mince half a head of garlic, and put in sauce to infuse.  Messed up a bit on this recipe, but it seems to have turned out fine.  Also, lack a pan lid? Find a large Tupperware container and put it over it, it works fine.  This is basically me fucking up and improvising (by adding shiitake mushrooms), which appears to be a theme today.

Garlic Beef, Shiitake, and Asparagus Stir-Fry


  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • ½ c garlic hoisin sauce (alternatively, having the hoisin but not in garlic flavor, take ½ c hoisin and half a head of garlic, minced, and combine)
  • 1 lb beef flank steak (or stir fry meat, or sirloin steak, whatever gives you a good cheap cut of meat), sliced thin and into pieces
  • 1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed and sliced into one inch pieces
  • 1 container shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and sliced

In a medium bowl, combine the flank steak and 2 T of the garlic hoisin sauce (whoops, added the whole thing here. derp).  Marinate for 15ish mins at room temp.  Heat the oil in a pan, and stir fry the meat until lightly browned, but not fully cooked, and remove the meat.  If you managed to add all the sauce for the marinade, save as much as possible in the original container, or whatever is left over in the pan.

Add the asparagus and shiitake, and stir fry for appx one minute, and add ½ c to water and cover (either with a lid, or, if you’re me, with your  tupperware container).  Steam for one to two minutes, and then remove the lid.

Add the meat, whatever’s left of the sauce, and stir until the beef is cooked and everything else is well combined.  And then, nom!

And now that the last of my groceries are here, I can finish off with strawberry lemonade!  Strawberries were super cheap (and not quite in season at the farmer’s market, sadly), and lemons are pretty cheap as well, so boom, strawberry lemonade, because it’s starting to get into pretty consistently summer temps out here, and I need a cool drink, lacking AC and all.

Strawberry Lemonade
Makes at least 6 cups


  • 1 qt strawberries (appx 4 cups, 1.5 pounds), halved
  • 2 lemons, peeled and quartered
  • appx ¾ c sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 6 c water

Puree the lemons, strawberries, and 2 c water in a blender.  Strain the mixture into 4 c water in your pitcher/container.  Add your sugar, and taste.  And then try not to drink it all right away.