This is an amazing summer dish that I can’t recommend enough, especially now that we’re at the height of tomato season. I originally paired California black figs with this, but now that I’ve tried some more figs, I think that tiger figs might actually have gone better. (I’ve never tried figs before this summer. I’m still learning.)  Throw these roasted tomatoes in with burrata, and the end result is goddamn amazing. 

Marinated Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Burrata and Toast

Ingredients

  • .25 c olive oil
  • 2.5 c cherry tomatoes of various types, halved
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • dash of thyme (fresh if you have it, dried if you don’t)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • dried Greek oregano to taste
  • fresh figs, halved, to taste
  • 2-3 balls burrata
  • slices of sourdough, roasted garlic, or crusty bread of choice
  • olive oil and garlic clove for the toast

Preheat your oven to 225, and half your cherry tomatoes. drizzling with olive oil, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. Slow roast the tomatoes for three hours, until they’re nice and wrinkly and juicy. Then, mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and pepper, basil, thyme, garlic, red pepper flakes, and greek oregano. Add in your tomatoes, toss to coat, and marinate for 2-4 hours at room temperature, or just toss them in the fridge to absorb the flavors. 

When you’re ready to eat them, take your slices of bread, rub them in olive oil and a halved garlic clove. Hold your toast over an open flame, or in a grill pan, and heat until it’s lightly charred on each side, about 2-3 minutes a side. 

Slice your figs, layer them in a bowl with the burrata ball, layer the cherry tomatoes on top, and have a piece of toast on the side to dip into all the various juices, and enjoy the resulting amazingness!

Nancy Singleton Hachisu recently put out a new cookbook, Preserving the Japanese Way. Her previous cookbook was a favorite of mine, so I was excited to get my hands on this. It’s mainly themed on pickling and preserving, and this recipe came up right when I had a small fuckton of broccoli on hand, so I was eager to give this a try.

The resulting broccoli has a great flavor from being macreated in the soy sauce, dashi, and red pepper flakes, and the katsuoboshi adds a lovely savory flavor to it, too. I doubled the recipe because of the sheer amount of broccoli I had, but will include the original amounts below.

Broccoli in Soy Sauce with Red Pepper

Ingredients

  • 3 heads broccoli
  • 6 T dashi (recipe here)
  • 8 T soy sauce
  • red pepper flakes to taste (original recommends 3 dried red chiles, crumbled roughly)
  • 2 T katsuoboshi flakes (you can find these at your local Asian grocery)

Bring a mediumish pot of water to boil, and have a bowl of cold water waiting in the kitchen sink. While the water comes to a boil, cut your main stem from your broccoli heads and discard, and then cut up closer to where the florets start, so that it’ll break down into lots of nice sized florets. Cut the upper stems that are left over into similar sized pieces.

Drop your broccoli into the boiling water, and cook for three minutes. While the broccoli cooks, mix together the dashi, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes in a medium sized bowl with a lid. Strain the broccoli from the boiling water, and then immediately put in the cold water. Run cold water from your tap over the broccoli until cooled, and then pat dry.

Once dried and cooled, toss the brocooli with the dashi/soy/red pepper mixture and then cover, Let macreate at room temperature for 30 minutes, then drain the mixture. If eating right away, sprinkle with the katsuoboshi and eat, but these can be stored for a few days in the fridge and still be good.

Nancy also recommends a version with yuzu or lemon peel at the end instead of the katsuoboshi, so I would recommend that if you can get your hand on it.

I want to start this recipe with a disclaimer. Tieghan makes amazing recipes. A lot of her stuff is in my arsenal, or on my to-try list. HOWEVER. I usually end up cutting out upwards of three or four ingredients of hers per recipe, because as nice as those things are, they’re there more for garnish, and don’t really add anything to the dish. Here, I cut… three things, but we’ve still got a damn amazing recipe here. 

The most expensive things you will likely have to get are the cherry tomatoes and the feta, but the rest you likely either have in your pantry/fridge, or can find them nearby for reasonable prices. You can still make this for a pretty reasonable price, and it makes enough for you to have leftovers and then some. 

Twenty Minute Mediterranean Hummus Noodles with Blistered Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 6 baby bell peppers (I used about half of what the original recipe recommends, found them cheap at my local grocery, look for sweet snacking peppers)
  • pinch sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • .75 lb thin spaghetti, or your personal preferred thin pasta (I went angel hair here)
  • .75 c of your favorite hummus (roasted garlic, here)
  • 1 c pasta cooking water (drain this off right before you’re done!)
  • 1 c fresh basil (I tore it, Tieghan isn’t really clear on if it needs to be chopped, diced, left whole, etc)
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • .25 c kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 T oregano, chopped
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 4 oz feta crumbles

Take a pot of water, salt it, and bring it to a boil.  While the pot warms up and begins to boil, take a large grill pan, pour 2 T olive oil in, and heat over high heat. Once heated, add the cherry tomatoes, baby bell peppers, and a pinch of sea salt and pepper, and grill until the cherries begin to wrinkle and grill marks appear on the peppers, flipping from side to side. The difference between pictures one to three here is about 10 minutes’ time, and pic 3 is what it should look like at the end of that time. Remove the pan from heat and set aside.

Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to instructions, until al dente. Right as it finishes, scoop off one cup of the water the pasta’s cooked in, and add it to a medium sized bowl. Then drain the pasta, and let it sit a minute while you get the next part ready. 

To the pasta cooking water, add the hummus, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes, and whisk together until you’ve got a thin sauce (see pic five). Let it sit a bit to thicken. Then, take your pasta, and toss it to coat with the sauce. 

Take 1 c of your blistered cherry tomatoes, put them in a small bowl, and smash them lightly with a fork, so that the juices are released. Stir in the oregano, chopped kalamatas, remaining 2 T olive oil, a bit of sea salt and pepper to taste, and balsamic, and toss to combine. 

When ready to eat, take the sauced pasta, add the tomato-olive mix, a few blistered tomatoes and peppers, and feta, and toss to combine, and then enjoy the amazingness!

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!

Want a simple, quick, savory meal that will make your place smell delicious, and will include stuff you likely already have on hand? Then look no further than this. I’ve had puttanesca sauce on pasta before, but the idea of making the sauce into a shakshuka type dish never occurred before Smitten Kitchen put this recipe up. And let me tell you, it is afuckingmazing. So, pick up some diced tomatoes and kalamata olives, and give it a try. 

Eggs in Purgatory Puttanesca
Lasts 3 meals, if eating by yourself

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 T-ish pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 t capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 anchovy filet (add a few more if you want a more savory flavor)
  • 1 T dried Greek oregano
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (I went with fire roasted, will probably go with 2 cans next time)
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1-4 eggs
  • .25 c grated parmesan (or, if you have it on hand, parmigiano-reggiano)
  • 1-4 slices of bread

Heat your olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium heat. While the pan warms, take your garlic cloves, kalamata olives, capers, anchovy, oregano, and red pepper flakes, and mince them together until you have a nice small pile. Take the heap, and add it to the pan, stirring and cooking for two minutes, until nicely fragrant.  Slowly add in your tomatoes, and a bit of sea salt, and lower the heat to medium low, stirring and simmering for five minutes. Take a taste of the sauce, and see how you like it. 

Then, make small indentations into the sauce, and crack your eggs into it. Cover the whites with sauce and cheese, and then cover and cook for five minutes, until the whites have set. If you want to toast your bread, now is a good time to do so; if you have a gas stove, just toast it over the burner, or toast it under the broiler for a few minutes. 

Then, scoop out your sauce, and an egg, into a bowl with your bread, and enjoy!

And this, right here, was my final meal cooked at the old place. A combination of things fresh from my garden, frozen farmer’s market items, and just a good combination of flavors. Peas, proscuitto, parmesan, egg yolk, and mint all together over a lovely pasta just makes the perfect summer meal. Also, HyVee makes pot-sized pasta, which means that you can just stick in your box of pasta and not have to worry about breaking it all over. It’s pretty fantastic.

I might be on hiatus for a while as I make the transition down to Chicago here. Hopefully it won’t be long before I’m back, but these things can’t be helped. See you all on the other side!

Fresh Mint and Pea Pasta Alla Carbonara

Ingredients

  • 1.5 plus .5 to .75 c peas, shelled, frozen or fresh (I used the ones I had in my freezer, with 1.5 c frozen, and the other .75 c thawing out while everything cooked)
  • 5 slices prosciutto
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 large handfuls of mint, leaves whole (I took a bunch of peppermint from the garden)
  • 1 lb thin pasta of choice (seriously, get HyVee pot sized pasta, it’s the best thing ever)
  • 2-3 egg yolks
  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
  • fresh grated Parmesan (used Sartori’s)

Get your pasta water boiling in a separate pot. While that gets going, take 2 T olive oil and 1 T butter and melt it in a large pan. Once it’s melted, take 1.5 c of your peas (mine were frozen when I tossed them in) and your minced garlic, and saute them over medium heat until they’re soft, about 8 minutes. I chose to salt and pepper (including red pepper flakes) the veggies rather than the yolks, and found it worked very well. Don’t be afraid to use a heavy hand on the sea salt here, as the pasta will not be salted. Remove from heat.

Right about the time your peas finish, the pasta water should be boiling. Add in your pasta, and cook according to package instructions until al dente (usually 8 minutes). While the pasta cooks, take your prosciutto slices, tear them up, and heat 1 T of olive oil in a small pan. Take the torn prosciutto and cook it in the pan over medium high heat, until crispy. 

Once the prosciutto is fried, your pasta should be ready to go. Take a half cup of pasta water and add it to the peas, before draining and straining your pasta noodles. Combine the noodles with the peas, and add more salt, pepper, and pepper flakes after a quick taste. 

To serve, put your pasta in whatever you will be serving/storing it in, add the fresh peas and prosciutto, and toss to combine. Then, add the egg yolks and parmesan, and mint leaves, and toss to combine, until the pasta is coated. And then, enjoy the amazingness!

Looking for a quick, simple, but ridiculously delicious breakfast? Look no farther than this. You should have almost all of this on hand (especially if you buy your panko in bulk like I do), and even if you don’t, there’s lots of substitutions that can be made.  The result is amazing. As in, why the hell didn’t I think of this sooner. (Please note that the dark stuff on the final picture is reduced balsamic vinegar, not burned crumbs, lol.)

Fried Eggs and Panko
Makes single serving

Ingredients

  • ~2 T olive oil
  • Handful of panko (substitute normal bread crumbs if you don’t have panko, but trust me, you want the panko)
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 eggs
  • dash balsamic vinegar (if you don’t have it, you can substitute red wine or sherry vinegars)
  • pinch sumac (substitute fresh ground pepper if you don’t have any)

Take 1 T of olive oil, and heat it in a small pan over medium heat. When heated, add a handful of panko along with the sea salt and red pepper flakes and stir to toast lightly, getting them to a nice golden brown (see pic 1).  Remove to a small container.

Bring the pan back to the heat, add your other T of olive oil, and crack your eggs, frying till desired doneness (I like mine sunny side up, with the yolk still loose). Remove to plate, and sprinkle the fried panko over them.

Bring pan back to the heat, and then pour your dash of balsamic, and sprinkle your pinch of sumac in. Swirl for a few seconds to warm it, drizzle it over the eggs and panko, and enjoy your insanely delicious breakfast.

When I do veggies, I usually tend to roast them, as I feel it brings out their flavors better, and honestly, I usually don’t like them raw. Broccoli is one of those veggies that tastes amazing when you cook it just right, and I think I may have found a new favorite recipe using it, especially when it’ll inevitably show up at the farmer’s market in abundance (and cheap as shit because there’s a glut and people don’t typically buy it). 

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve got a lot of recipes with lemon juice showing up lately. I actually kind of have a small trick for that. I don’t own a juicer (and kind of think it’s a waste of time), but what I do have is a local grocery store that does fresh squeezed juices, and expands their typical orange juices to include lemon (and occasionally lime) in the summer. It’s cheap (usually $1 for 8 oz of juice), way less effort than juicing a ton of lemons yourself, and the fresh squeezed makes it taste even more delicious. 

Crispy Broccoli with Lemon and Garlic
Lasts 3 meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh broccoli
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • red pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • finely grated lemon zest (from at least half a lemon)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice to finish

Preheat your oven to 425. Take a baking sheet, lay down some foil on it, and take half of your olive oil, and drizzle it on the foil, brushing it into the foil so that it’s evenly coated (see picture 3).

Take your broccoli, and slice through the stems as close as you can get to the bottom of the floret crown. The florets will naturally break into several large chunks, and you can break these down a little bit further to get a more manageable size like the first picture that you see above. Deb recommends peeling and cutting up the remaining stems, but I honestly wasn’t feeling in the mood to do that, so I skipped it. It is an option, though.

Mix together your remaining olive oil, red pepper flakes to taste, a bit of sea salt, your minced garlic, and lemon zest, and then toss with the florets to coat.  Spread the broccoli in a single layer in your prepared sheet, and then put it in the oven. Roast for twenty minutes, and then flip and move around the pieces with a spatula. Picture five is what your broccoli will look like after those first twenty minutes or so. I roasted mine for another ten minutes to get a good char on it, but not, say, burnt (see pic six). General rule is after that first twenty minutes check it every five minutes or so to see where it’s at. 

Before taking it out of the oven, take one of the smaller florets and taste it to be sure it’s to your liking. If it is, take it out of the oven, and then sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to your personal taste, and then enjoy the ridiculously good broccoli. (Or follow one of Deb’s riff suggestions; some of those sound real good.)

As a result of making the limoncello, I had a hell of a lot of leftover peeled lemons, even after using a good chunk to make myself some lemon curd. I’ve done enough Middle Eastern cooking that I’d seen preserved lemons pop up as an ingredient in dishes, but either didn’t have any on me, or the cheapest I would’ve been able to find them would’ve been close to $10 on the internet. As it turns out, making your own is ridiculously easy, so I decided to use my leftover meyer lemons accordingly.  As far as I can tell, the lack of peels shouldn’t cause any issues, and in fact may have assisted in being able to fit more lemons in my jar. 

The recipe comes from the Ottolenghi and Tamini cookbook Jerusalem, a cookbook I don’t use nearly often enough. As the lemons sit for the first phase of this, they will naturally settle, and can be pushed down a bit to allow you to fit in more lemons (see the difference between pics 2 and 3). I started out with about seven lemons, and ended up with ten in there, plus an extra half lemon.  This is gonna sit in my cupboard for a while to settle now, but when the time comes to use these in a recipe, it’s gonna be glorious.

Preserved Lemons
Makes however many lemons you can fit in whatever sized jar you have

Ingredients

  • Meyer lemons (mine were peeled as a result of making the limoncello, with or without peel shouldn’t make a difference)
  • 1 T sea salt per lemon
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • olive oil

Take your lemons, and cut a cross in them, leaving about ¾ths of an inch from the base. Fill the cross with 1 T sea salt, so that the lemon looks like the first picture above. Put into your jar, and repeat with however many lemons you choose to preserve. Seal your jar, and place in a cool dark place for a week. Check on it occasionally, and as the lemons settle, add more lemons if you feel like it. 

After a week, open your jar, and press down on your lemons to release whatever juices haven’t already been released. If necessary, top off with additional fresh squeezed lemon juice to cover the lemons. (This was not necessary for me.)  Put in two sprigs of fresh rosemary, and however much red pepper flakes you feel comfortable with, and top with a thin layer of olive oil. Then, reseal, flip the jar upside down and right side up a bit to help the flakes settle throughout the jar, and put back into your cool dark place for another three to four weeks. The longer you let the jar sit, the more the flavors will infuse.

And then, use the hell out of them in your cooking!

Basically, the moment this recipe went up on Smitten Kitchen a few weeks ago, I knew I had to try these ASAP.  Made these right before tonight’s episode of Hannibal, and snacked a bit on them throughout; fast tracking these was definitely an excellent decision.  

I got to use the herbs at the least fresh from the garden (which’ll get its own post on here eventually), so the amounts used were changed slightly there.  I also didn’t have the patience to zest a lemon, so lemon juice was used instead. Otherwise, this recipe was followed pretty closely to the original.

Lamb Meatballs with Feta, Olives, and Lemon
Lasts 5 to 6 meals, depending on # of meatballs

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1.25 c panko
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 T water
  • .5 c crumbled feta cheese
  • .75 t salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • appx 4 T lemon juice
  • 2 T olive oil

Sauce

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 glugs red wine (I used part of the large bottle of Yellowtail Sweet Red Roo I had in the fridge)
  • 28 oz crushed or pureed tomatoes
  • 1 T fresh oregano, torn
  • 1 t salt
  • .5 c kalamata olives, pitted, drained, and chopped
  • 1 T fresh peppermint, torn
  • lemon juice
  • feta cheese crumbles (I used what I had leftover in the cup after using the rest)

Take all of your meatball ingredients and combine them using a fork in a large bowl, until you have one big coherent ball of meat.  Once the Allmeat is combined, break off small chunks and roll until you have the size of meatballs you want (I went with about medium sized). While you start to make the balls, heat up your olive oil in a pan on medium heat.  Add the balls once rolled ot the pan, and roll them around with a chopstick in the hot oil to brown completely.  This may take more than one batch of browning.  Once the balls are browned (lol), remove them to a small dish.

Take the remaining fat and add your garlic and onion from the sauce ingredients, cooking until soft (about five minutes). Then, add your red wine, scrape up anything that might’ve stuck to the pan, and cook it down until it’s almost gone.  Then, add your remaining sauce ingredients (except for the feta and lemon juice) to the pan, and bring to a low simmer.  Once simmering, add the meatballs back in, and simmer for another twenty minutes.

Sprinkle the lemon juice and feta over the meatballs, and then nom!