The version I made of this was severely parred down, as the boything doesn’t like mushrooms, I wasn’t sure about the beets in this, and honestly the pomegranate arils seemed more decorative than anything else. I’m probably going to try this again with the beets and maybe the mushrooms, not real sure about the pomegranate arils. (If anyone has insight on this, please feel free to chime in!)

The resulting pasta was, and is, still pretty amazing, and definitely something I want to try again. Please note below – parentheses used in this recipe will be used to indicate omitted ingredients, or instructions for the omitted ingredients.

Caramelized Balsamic Goat Cheese Pasta
Makes: pasta. However much you want. Look, it’s been forever since I made this.

Ingredients

  • 4 T olive oil (2 T if omitting the beets)
  • (4 medium red beets, quartered – omitted)
  • ((1 T chopped fresh thyme (substitute dry if you don’t have fresh), omitted bc not using beets)
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 lb long thin pasta (like spaghetti)
  • (8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced – omitted)
  • 2 T butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 c balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 T honey
  • .5 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • .5 c crumbled goat cheese
  • (pomegranate arils for serving – omitted)

(If using the beets – preheat your oven to 350, toss together the olive oil, beets, thyme, sea salt and pepper, put on a baking sheet, and roast for 25 to 30 mins, till tender and lightly charred.)

Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring salted water for the pasta to a boil. Add your pasta, and cook according to package instructions until al dente, and then drain. Just before draining, reserve 1 c of pasta cooking water.

While you wait for the water to boil, melt the butter, and add 2 T olive oil in a pot over high heat. (If using the mushrooms, add them here and cook until just barely caramelizing on the edges, appx 5 mins.) Add the garlic slices like in pic 1, and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Remove the (mushrooms) and garlic. To the same pot, add the balsamic vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes, like in pic 2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, and then cook for 5-8 mins until the balsamic has reduced by about a third and is sticky to the touch – see pic 3 for the example of this in progress, and pic 4 for what this looks like towards the end. Then, reduce the heat to low and stir in the pasta and garlic(/mushrooms). Toss to coat. If the sauce seems too thick, thin it out with a bit of the pasta cooking water. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Serve the pasta immediately, topped with crumbled goat cheese, (roasted beets, and pomegranate arils).

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This is a great quick summer toast, combining brie, bread, and tomatoes for the perfect morning flavor combination. Might have to try this before heading out the door for work in the morning here while we’ve still got good tomatoes. 

Heirloom Tomato and Buttered Brie Toast with Thyme and Honey

Ingredients

  • Slices of crusty bread of choice (sourdough, roasted garlic, whichever you like best!)
  • 2 T butter
  • brie, sliced to taste (or in these cute little brie bite sizes that I got from Trader Joe’s)
  • fresh thyme if you have it, otherwise, dried thyme to taste
  • heirloom tomatoes of varying sizes, sliced thin
  • honey and olive oil, to drizze
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 450. Rub the slices of bread with butter, and place in the oven for three to five minutes, until lightly toasted. Layer on the brie and tomato slices, and then return to the oven to cook for five minutes, until the brie is melted and the tomatoes wrinkle slightly. Turn on the broiler for one minute after the brie is melted to crisp it up a bit. 

Then, add your thyme (and oregano, if you’re me), and drizzle with honey and olive oil, and a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. And then, enjoy your quick summer breakfast!

I haven’t tried making a pie in a while, and frankly, I felt it was time to try again, especially with the strawberries and peaches at the height of their season. It didn’t exactly turn out amazing (fumbling around with thawing pie crusts and super juicy fillings translates into a sudden cobbler transformation), but it’s good for a first try. Plus, it’s generally an amazing flavor combination – warmed, honeyed peaches and strawberries, with just a dash of bourbon and vanilla. 

Honey Strawberry Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen pie crusts (one for the bottom, and one for the lattice top or whatever you can manage) (if you want the recipe for the crust as in the original recipe, click the link above)
  • 5 fresh sliced and pitted peaches (roughly 5 c)
  • 2 c strawberries, halved and hulled
  • 1/3 c dark brown sugar
  • .5 c flour
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 T bourbon
  • 2 T butter, sliced thin
  • 1 beaten egg
  • sugar, to sprinkle

Line the bottom of your pie plate with the crust. Toss together your peaches, strawberries, dark brown sugar, flour, honey, vanilla extract, and bourbon, and then spoon the filling into the pie plate, being sure to get all the juices. Add the thin butter slices over the top. 

Place the top crust over the top of the pie – if you can make a lattice, go for it! Otherwise, just crimp the edges on, and be sure to cut vents in the crust. (I tried to lattice it. It didn’t go very well.)  Brush the crust with the beaten egg, and then sprinkle the sugar on top. 

Chill the pie in the fridge until it’s firm, usually about 1 hour, but up to several days in advance. 

When you’re ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 350. Once heated, place the chilled pie on a baking sheet, in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the crust is a good golden brown. Let the pie cool, and then om the nom out of it!

This is a lovely little breakfast sandwich – there’s a bit of assembly involved, and I’m not sure if I could manage it in the mornings before work (though I’ll try it one of these days), but it’s definitely worth it. If you can get some good strawberries, prosciutto, and brie, you’re all set. Just a lovely little sweet taste of summer, this.

Strawberry, Basil, and Crispy Prosciutto Breakfast Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1 croissant, halved
  • sliced brie to taste (I used a bunch of apricot jam layered brie that a farmer at one of the farmer’s markets makes)
  • 2 slices prosciutto
  • 2-3 medium strawberries, hulled and sliced into circles
  • 1 egg
  • basil leaves to taste, torn
  • honey, to drizzle

Preheat your oven to 450. As it preheats, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and layer your bottom croissant (make sure it’s thick) with the brie and strawberries, and place the prosicutto slices just to the side of the croissant. Once the oven’s heated, bake for 8 to 10 minutes (I believe picture 2 was after 8 minutes), until your brie is good and melty, and the prosciutto is crispy. 

While the bottom half of the sandwich cooks, cook your egg to your preference (I typically go for sunny side up eggs). 

Once the bottom half is done, drizzle the strawberries lightly with honey, layer the crispy prosciutto and egg, and then sprinkle with more salt, pepper, and honey. Lay the torn basil on top, put the croissant top on, and then tuck in!

This recipe is… I’m not entirely sure. One – caramelizing onions is touch enough. Two, add in conversion from metric, and a slight vagueness to the original recipe, and it’s a bit ???.The rice turned out solid, if not that flavorful, and the onions probably got a bit burned. Probably gonna workshop it – take a look at the recipe, both how I tackled it and the original, and let me know if you have any suggestions. 

Rice with Cardamom and Caramelized Onions

Ingredients

  • 1.5 c rice (original recommends basmati, I went with the short-grained I had on hand)
  • 10 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed (original alternately recommends 6 black)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 T butter, halved
  • 2.5 c water 
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 4 cm piece ginger, grated (I used grated ginger here, as my ginger is frozen; original recommends a 4 cm piece of ginger peeled and sliced into matchstick sized pieces)
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 t honey

Put your water, crushed green cardamom pods, bay leaves, butter, and water into your rice cooker, and let it cook for the prescribed amount of time. If you don’t have a rice cooker, consult the original recipe.

Meanwhile, while the rice cooks, heat your olive oil over medium high heat, and once heated, add your onion slices, and fry for six minutes, stirring here and there, until golden brown (see the difference between pics 2 and 3). Then add your ginger, and fry for two minutes, until fragrant (pic 3). Then add your honey and cinnamon (pic 4), turn the heat to medium low (which I didn’t do, whoops), and stir frequently, cooking another five minutes until they’re a dark caramel in color (pic 5). 

Once the rice is done, spoon some out, add the onions on top, mix a bit, and enjoy!

This is something I threw together because the boyfriend really liked the sound of the recipe, and I had almost everything on hand, and what I didn’t was on sale. I accidentally used less honey than I should’ve on the glaze, so more of that will likely make the glaze cover better next time, and maybe use a bit less coconut on the coconut rice, but otherwise, this is a pretty solid dinner. And it’s also significantly quicker if you have an Asian marketplace (or a local producer) that does fried tofu. Getting everything to assembly is a long, involved process, and some of this was a bit out of my comfort range, but the boy really liked it, so that helped boost my confidence here a lot.

Mango Tofu Coconut Rice Bowls

Ingredients

Coconut Rice

  • 1.5 c uncooked rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • .75 t sea salt
  • 1 c water

Honey Lime Glaze

  • .25 c honey
  • .25 c fresh lime juice
  • 1 t lime zest, split
  • .5 T soy sauce
  • (you can use corn starch to thicken it, I passed on it)
  • 14 oz fried tofu

(note: I used packaged fried tofu here, so I’m skipping the instructions for the pan fried tofu; if you just have unfried tofu, click on the link above for the instructions/ingredients.)

Bowl Toppings

  • 1 mango
  • 1 avocado, sliced (had one on hand but chose not to use it tonight)
  • red pepper flakes
  • (optional: green onions, cilantro)

First, take your ingredients for your coconut rice, throw it all in the rice cooker, and set it to cook on the sweet rice or white rice setting (depending on your preference, I used sweet rice here because it gets it the right kind of sticky). If not using a rice cooker, please click on the link above for stovetop instructions.

While your rice is cooking, cube your fried tofu, and your mango. 

Don’t know how to cube your mango? Here’s how! (If I was smart, I would’ve taken pictures of this process.) Take your mango, and your largest knife available (trust me, if you have a chef’s knife, you’re gonna need it), and cut your mango just slightly off center to avoid the flat seed. Do the same just to the other side of the center; you will now have two halves of mango meat. To cube your mango, score a checkerboard pattern into the fruit, being careful not to cut all the way through to the skin. Push up on the skin underneath to invert the mango, and now, all you have to do is slice at the base, and you have lovely mango cubes for use!

As soon as you’ve got these ready to go, whisk together your glaze ingredients (only use half of the lime zest), and transfer to a pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and once it’s thickened, remove from heat, and toss your tofu and mango in it. (I ended up keeping it separate, and drizzling it over the tofu and mango once in the bowl.)

By this point, your rice will likely be done; take a bowl, scoop some rice out into it, add some tofu and mango, along with, if you should so choose, red pepper flakes, avocado and green onion slices, and bits of cilantro. And then, enjoy your lovely summery dish!

I was able to find this roast for $.99/lb quite a while ago, and it’s just been hanging out in the freezer waiting for the perfect recipe. This is definitely it. I would’ve never thought of using lemon zest in a rub, but as it turns out, it goes really well, especially with all the spices mentioned here. Definitely going on the keeper list.

Roast Chicken with Plums

Ingredients

Roast Chicken

  • zest of 2 large lemons
  • 2 T ground sumac
  • 4 t sea salt
  • 1 T fresh ground pepper
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t allspice
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated or minced (I went minced)
  • whole chicken (original recipe recommended 2 4ish lb chickens, I went with one big almost 10 lb one)
  • 1 bunch thyme (or ground, if you’re me and don’t want to get the fresh herbs)
  • 1 T lemon juice (fresh squeezed ideal)

Plums

  • 2.5 lbs plums, halved, quartered if on the larger side
  • (original recipe mentions shallots, I omitted them, didn’t want to make the grocery run)
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 T olive oil
  • .5 t cinnamon
  • pinch allspice
  • 1 bay leaf torn in half
  • 2 T water

Take your lemon zest, and mix in the sumac, salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, the minced garlic, and 3 T of the olive oil. The resulting mixture should feel like wet sand. Rub the mixture all over the chicken, including the insides. Take your thyme bunch and rest it inside the cavity (or if you’re me, just sprinkle a bunch of thyme in the cavity). Let the rubbed chicken marinate in the fridge for a minimum of one hour, or up to 24 hours. 

Either way, once you’re ready to roast the chicken, take it out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature, letting it sit for about 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 450.

While the chicken sits and the oven preheats, take the plums, honey, water, olive oil, cinnamon, allspice, and bay leaf, and toss together in a roasting pan. Spread the mixture evenly on the bottom of the roasting pan. Once the oven is preheated, transfer the chicken to the roasting pan, resting it on top of the plums, and roast for 30 minutes to start.

After 30 minutes, take 1 T of lemon juice and the remaining 1 T olive oil from earlier, mix it together, and drizzle over the chicken. Put the chicken back in the oven, and continue to roast for another 45 minutes, until cooked all the way through. 

Let your chicken rest under a foil blanket for 10 minutes once it’s been removed from the oven, and then enjoy!