So, this recipe came to me as part of a trial of the Plated service. (Disclaimer: I was not compensated by the company for doing this, and all opinions are my own.) I chose a six plate trial, which meant that I got two plates of three different recipes, and only had to pay shipping ($24 at that level) to have everything delivered to me the next day. I honestly got it because I was running a bit short on food, and couldn’t afford to do a full grocery shopping trip. 

I would recommend at least giving the free trial a run. The service delivers you the exact ingredients you’ll need for the recipes on the menu, with the exception of a few staples (olive oil, salt, pepper, water for the recipes I used). And even if you end up not liking a recipe for whatever reason, you can just use the ingredients that you get towards a recipe you know you’ll like (see: my using most of the ingredients for a beef brussels sprouts stir fry in recipe I’ll be posting after this instead).  Plus, the recipes are interesting, all of the ingredients are fresh and as far as I could tell regionally sourced, the recipes are well written, and will give you a chance to try something you might not necessarily try otherwise.  

Like at least two thirds of this recipe for me.  I don’t know any hunters, so it would be difficult for me to get my hands on quail on any given day, and I really haven’t seen quince in any grocery stores around here, but it’s definitely a thing I would like to eat if I ever got a chance to get it on a regular basis. The recipe provided is incredibly simple, and didn’t take me more than a half hour to make. I did end up adding a bit more balsamic to the quince, but for the most part, I will not be altering the recipe card I got for this in transcribing it here. 

Roasted Quail with Balsamic Quince and Smashed Potatoes
Lasts 2 to 3 meals

Ingredients

Roasted Quail

  • 4 small partially-deboned quail
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 packets dijon mustard

Smashed Potatoes

  • 6 baby red potatoes
  • sea salt, black pepper, and olive oil

Balsamic Quince

  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 quince, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 T water
  • 1 packet butter

Preheat your oven to 425. While the oven preheats, season a pot of water with sea salt (to taste), add your potatoes, and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, cover the pot and cook until fork tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. While the potatoes boil, take your quail, roughly chop the rosemary leaves, and pluck the thyme leaves off the sprigs. Mix the herbs with the dijon mustard. 

On one half of a foil lined baking sheet, season your quail with salt and pepper on both sides, and then brush the dijon herb mixture over the top of the quail. As soon as the potatoes are done, drain, pat dry, and add them to the other side of the sheet and smash the potatoes with a bowl, so that they are flattened, but still mostly intact. Drizzle with oilve oil and sea salt and pepper.  Put your quail and potatoes in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown and the quail are golden. 

While your potatoes and quail are roasting, peel and core your quince, dicing it into small pieces. As soon as it’s diced, add it to a small pot with the balsamic vinegar, thyme, and water, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and simmer about ten minutes over medium heat, until the quince is tender. Remove the pot from heat, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the butter to melt. 

And then, enjoy your awesome fall meal!

Looking for a quick, simple, but delicious breakfast? This is it. This would be great for summer going into fall, and is a great use of any tomatoes you have from your garden.

Tomato-Rubbed Bread
Makes appx 8 slices

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf roasted garlic bread, sliced thick
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced in half
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

If your bread is still relatively fresh, take it and toast it lightly, either under a broiler, or if you’re lucky enough to have a gas stove, over a stove flame (appx 30 secs/side). 

Take your tomato half, and rub it against the bread, squeezing it slightly to let out the juices, until the bread is a nice light red color like picture 2. You can do both sides if you want; I did end up doing that, but it does make the bread soggy, with the juices. 

Sprinkle each slice with sea salt and olive oil, and enjoy!

There are two awesome things about this recipe.  One, that the summer veggies are incredibly cheap this time of year at the farmer’s market, if not available in your own garden, and smell amazing while roasting. Two, that the core recipe is incredibly versatile, and can be changed by adding whatever spice you want.  In my case, I had an ex coworker give me a jar of Penzey’s balti mix that I ended out trying with this, and all the spices (there are entirely too fucking many for me to list out individually) played incredibly well with the veggies.

This was also my first time testing out the immersion blender that the amazing paintboxsoapworks got me, and let me tell you, it is AMAZING not having to put all of this in the blender in batches. If you can get one, do it, it’ll make your life so much easier/saner. I probably could’ve gotten it a bit finer, but honestly, this was my first time trying it out, so now I know it for next time!

Roasted Summer Veggie Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into two inch pieces
  • 4 large tomatoes, quartered and seeded
  • 2 medium zucchinis, halved lengthwise and cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • half of one large onion (yellow or white), sliced
  • 1 T fresh thyme leaves (I didn’t have fresh so I went with 1 t ground)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 C chicken stock (can substitute vegetable stock to make it vegan)
  • seasoning of choice (recipe recommends .5 t smoked paprika, I went with several shakes of balti seasoning)

Heat your oven to 400, and place your vegetables on the sheet, placing the garlic at intermittent distances. Sprinkle with sea salt, thyme, and pepper, lightly drizzle on the olive oil, and toss to coat everything.

Roast your vegetables for 45 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and caramelized. Add your vegetables to the pot with the broth, your seasoning of choice, and more salt and pepper if you so choose. If using an immersion blender, use in the pot and blend until smooth.  If using a regular blender, pour your broth and veggies in in batches, blending until smooth and uniform.  Either way, heat it through over medium heat to finish.

Have a slice of bread on the side to dip/mop up extra soup, and enjoy a good taste of summer!

I made this recipe on something of a whim, as the cherry tomato plant in my front garden is undergoing a sudden late summer second fruiting (I’d honestly thought it was done for the year earlier in August). It’s a pretty simple, but very flavorful recipe, and a perfect change in pace for breakfast.

Baked Eggs on Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 3 c (1 lb, 1 qt) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • .25 c grated Parmesan
  • 2 T olive oil
  • small handful fresh basil, torn
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Bring out your eggs now and let them sit while you get everything else ready.

Arrange your halved tomatoes in a single layer (I did it in multiple, it still worked but would probably have worked best in a single layer) in a baking dish.  Bake your tomatoes for twelve minutes.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle the Parmesan and minced garlic over them, drizzle on the olive oil, and then add the basil, sea salt, and pepper. 

Crack your eggs evenly over the dish, leaving an intact yolk as much as possible (see pic 3). Bake another 8 to 10 minutes, but check at 8 minutes to see if a) the whites have set and b) that the yolks are still jiggly if you shake the pan a bit.  If this is the case, remove the dish from the oven.  (The eggs will continue to cook after you remove them from the oven.)

Sprinkle the eggs with sea salt and pepper and a bit of torn basil, and then enjoy your summery breakfast!

Life’s been a touch on the crazy side in the last few weeks.  I’ve started seriously looking at buying a condo, doing the associated wrangling with banks, my baby sister graduated from high school and moved into college, and been just generally busy enough that this blog has kind of fallen to the side.  Sorry guys, I kind of suck.  This first post tonight is the start of a major catchup effort, though. 

This is a fantastic, summery little side dish.  And it’s also technically two separate dishes, but screw it. Most of the stuff for this came from my garden, if not from the farmer’s market.  If you’re in a position to do something similar around this time of year, go for it. 

This recipe comes from A Girl and Her Pig, a cookbook I’ve used before (for those white wine stewed tomatoes, which I definitely need to make again), and I look forward to using again.

Roasted Tomatoes and Marinated Roasted Peppers

Ingredients

Marinated Roasted Peppers

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated
  • 3 T sherry vinegar
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 5 large basil leaves

Take a cast iron pan and slowly heat over high heat.  Once fully heated, add your peppers, laying them on the long side.  How do you know if your pan is ready? When you add the peppers, the peppers should hiss a bit. Cook the peppers for about five minutes on each side, until there are large charred areas with wrinkly skin in between (see the difference between pics one, two, and three for a good idea of how this progression should look), for a total of twenty to twenty five minutes.

Remove the peppers to a medium sized bowl and cover it with wrap of some sort (April recommends plastic wrap, I used aluminum foil, it all worked good). Let the peppers steam and cool until they’re cool enough that you can handle them; this takes about twenty minutes. 

Remove the deflated peppers, peel the skin off (starting from the charred areas is a good idea), and then split the pepper along a seam, tearing a circle around the top to remove the stem and seeds, but catching the pepper juice in a glass bowl.  Tear the pepper into thin strips and put in a glass bowl, layering with the garlic, sea salt, and basil as you go.  Then, add the vinegar, and toss and massage the peppers a bit.  Top with olive oil, and put in the fridge.

Roasted Tomatoes

  • 3 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • a small handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • .25 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1 pound tomatoes (about 5 medium tomatoes), peeled, blanched, and cored (see technique for this in paragraph 3 of this recipe)

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Mix together everything except the tomatoes in a large bowl until the mixture is a bit viscous. Add your tomatoes, toss gently to coat, and let them sit for about five minutes to absorb the marinade. 

Transfer the tomatoes to a medium baking dish so that the tomatoes are spread in one layer, and then pour the marinade over them. Roast the tomatoes for 1.5 to 2 hours, until they look noticeably smaller, and softer.  (I’m pretty sure I went for the full two hours on these. This was a while ago so I don’t remember the exact length of time.)  About halfway through, start basting the tomatoes and pressing down on them with the back of a spoon every fifteen minutes or so – not enough to deflate them fully, but to just get them leaking a bit. Once the two hours are up, remove them from the oven and let them cool. 

To serve, combine the roasted tomatoes and marinated roasted peppers, toss, and nom!

As my tomatoes are finally ripening on the vine and getting ready for harvest, I’m starting to find a lot of uses for the tomatoes I’ve been able to bring to full maturity (I lost at least half my plant due to the storms we encountered back in June). In addition, the less I have to heat stuff up when eating it, the better. So, this recipe from the Japanese Soul Cooking cookbook for cold udon noodles with tomatoes was pretty much exactly what I needed.

To bring out the tomato flavors even more, I ended up deciding to roast my tomatoes for about two hours; this, combined with the soy sauce in the recipe, made it even more delicious. Again, you can make your own udon noodles if you have at least a day or so to devote to it, or you can get the Shirayuki Jumbo Udon Noodles like I did, and only have to boil them for three minutes to get them ready.

Cold Udon with Roasted Tomatoes
Lasts six lunches as a main

Ingredients

  • 4 medium to large tomatoes (I used 5 medium)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil
  • soy sauce
  • 3 servings udon noodles (one pack of the Shirayuki noodles I mentioned above)

Take your tomatoes and quarter them, and then half those quarters. Put them in a baking dish, and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Heat your oven to 300 (275 if it runs hot), and roast your tomatoes for two hours.

About a half hour from the tomatoes being done, put on about four cups of water into a pot, and bring it to a boil. (The instructions only recommended one cup per noodle serving, but I skewed slightly higher to ensure that there was enough water). Once boiling, add your noodles, and stir with a chopstick as they break apart, keeping all the noodles separate. Boil for three minutes, then remove to your colander.  Once ready, strain them in a colander, and then put the colander in a large bowl, and run cold water over them, filling the bowl (and the colander), and stir your noodles, as seen in picture 5. This helps them cool down and not get overcooked or mushy. Cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Once your tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool at least ten minutes. Once cooled, add in soy sauce to taste. The original recipe also recommends shiso, but I didn’t have any on hand (might grow it in the garden next year). 

Then, combine your tomatoes and noodles, ensuring that the noodles are fully coated, and either eat immediately, or chill further in the fridge. Either way, enjoy your minimal fuss meal!

This is another recipe from one of the cookbooks I got recently, A Girl and Her Pig.  The recipes in here are all sorts of fantastic and simple, kind of English country cooking, and honestly, if I go out to NYC again anytime soon, I definitely want to eat at one of her restaurants.

All you really need for this is six ingredients: tomatoes, shallots, butter, white wine, sea salt, and garlic, but the result smells absolutely fantastic while it’s simmering/stewing.  The original recipe recommends saffron as well, but honestly, I don’t have the money for saffron (and if you do, come let me be your live-in cook), so I skipped it.  

Tomatoes Stewed With White Wine
Lasts 4 meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 1.25 lbs ripe tomatoes (I went with 5 medium tomatoes)
  • 4 T butter
  • 3 shallots, chopped finely
  • 4 small cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • .75 c dry white wine (I went with Cupcake Winery’s Angel Food)
  • sea salt to taste

To prepare your tomatoes, use the same technique that I posted about in the tomato-basil-feta soup and mizra ghasemi recipes – which, as it turns out, is called blanching.  Cut a small x on the bottom of your tomatoes, and prepare two pots, one set to boiling, and the other with ice cold water.  As soon as the first pot boils, add your tomatoes, and let rest for one minute, before adding them directly to the ice cold water.  This will take care of most of the peeling for you. Once you’ve peeled the tomatoes, core them and then quarter them, squeezing them gently to remove the seeds and juice.  Then, chop the quarters in half.

Meanwhile, empty your pot of the boiling water, and then add the butter, letting it melt and froth a little bit over low heat.  Add your chopped shallots and garlic, along with a generous dash of sea salt.  Cook the shallots are very soft, and reduce the heat if necessary to avoid them browning. This should take about ten minutes or so; I used this time to prep the tomatoes starting from the peeling forward.

Add your white wine, increase the heat to medium, and bring the mixture to a boil.  Add your tomatoes, give everything a good stir, and then bring to a simmer, and lower the heat to about medium-low to maintain that simmer just barely. Cook, but don’t stir, about six minutes, until the tomatoes are tender, but not mushy.  Add another T of sea salt, stir, and enjoy!