Looking for something quick, cheap, simple, and full of cheesy carby goodness? Behold, this beauty. Literally, all this is is canned biscuit dough, gorgonzola, feta, melted butter, and a bit of oregano, thrown in the oven for a half hour. But the cheesy carbiness is just from the angels. Just trust me on this.

Blue Cheese Feta Biscuit Thingy

Ingredients

  • 1 can biscuit dough (1 used 16 oz generic)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 4 oz gorgonzola crumbles
  • 2ish oz feta crumbles
  • Greek oregano 

Preheat your oven to 375. Take your biscuits, and cut them into quarters, putting them in a 12″ round cake pan. Take your melted butter, and toss the biscuits with it. Sprinkle the gorgonzola and feta and Greek oregano over the top, and bake for about a half hour, until the tops are golden brown and the cheese is good and bubbly. 

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I’m back, kids, and with a whole bunch of food porn for ya. Didja miss me?

I’m officially settled in my temporary place in Chicago, was able to pretty quickly secure a job, and have finally fully restocked my pantry and taken a trip to the farmer’s market down here (Green City Market hyyyyype).  

That market is where I got the tomatoes and basil for this recipe, and let me tell you, using the heirlooms I did for this recipe (I want to say these were tangerine varietal?) blew this recipe out of the water.  (It also helps that buratta is on sale at Whole Foods right now for $5 for I’m pretty sure the entire month?)

Use the last little gasp of summer here, go out to the farmer’s market, and do the thing. It’s so worth it. 

Burrata Roasted Caprese Salad
Lasts for however many lunches you can stretch out the buratta or the tomatoes, whichever you run out of first

Ingredients

  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced thin (I used tangerine heirlooms, so good)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 ball burrata
  • handful of basil leaves, torn
  • balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 375. Take your tomatoes, slice them thin, and then layer them in a glass baking dish with some foil, drizzling olive oil, sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper over them. Roast your tomatoes for 20 minutes, until they just barely start to wrinkle at the edges (see picture 2). 

Take your tomatoes, and transfer them to whatever you will store them in (I just layered them in a take out soup container). When you’re ready to eat, take the roasted tomatoes, and layer them in with the torn basil and drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and reheat the tomatoes a little, so that they’re just barely warm. Then, take a bit of your ball of burrata, layer it into the tomatoes like in the final picture, and just enjoy the absolute deliciousness.

Looking for a quick, delicious side dish that features the amazingness that is a good ball of burrata surrounded by garlic and tomato? Of course you are. Because look at this. This is amazing.  It would probably be even better if I had some homemade tomato sauce on me, but hey, this works just as well. 

And if you can get access to a local cheesemonger who does their own burrata, even better. (Seriously, there was a dish done at a local chef’s festival this summer that featured homemade burrata, heirloom tomatoes, and balsamic that I still dream of.) Hell, you could probably add a bit of balsamic drizzle to this and make it even better.

Burrata, Garlic, and Tomato Appetizer (there has to be a better name for this, help me come up with one)
Lasts 2 lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 burrata ball (I bought BelGioso burrata, it came with 2 so I used both)
  • 1 c tomato sauce (I used a local marinara I really like, homemade is probably best here)
  • 6 to 12 garlic cloves, peeled (I used about 9 large ones)
  • .25 c olive oil
  • sea salt, pepper, basil (fresh if you can find it but dried if it’s the middle of winter like now) for garnish
  • optional: bread to serve with (I went with a roasted garlic loaf because of course)

Heat your olive oil in a small skillet over medium low while you peel the garlic, and then add the cloves to the oil, cooking until they become a nice golden brown. (See final pic for what this should look like.)  Pour off onto whatever you’re serving/storing it in, and separate off the garlic cloves.  Then, add your tomato sauce and warm over medium low. 

Once warmed, pour the tomato sauce over the olive oil, put the burrata on top of it, and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and dried basil, and put the cloves into the tomato sauce. Maybe a bit of balsamic, if you’re so inclined. And then enjoy the amazingness that is this side.

Some days, all you need is some comfort food. And man, do these meatballs ever count. Cheese stuffed anything is a good route to go, especially in winter. These were originally a slow cooker recipe, but I used the alternative baked method as I just didn’t have the time to throw these all in and leave them yesterday. Still turned out pretty good.

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
Makes appx 10 to 18 meatballs, depending on the size you make them

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 c panko
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
  • 1 t sea salt
  • .5 t black pepper
  • 1 small ball fresh mozzarella, cubed

Cube your mozzarella, and freeze for a half hour minimum on a small plate.  Preheat your oven to 400.  While the mozzarella chills, combine all other ingredients in a bowl with your hands until you have a single mass of meat. Remove the mozzarella from the freezer, and taking chunks of meat, place the cheese in the middle of the meat chunk and roll the meat around it (see pic 2 for an example of what putting the cheese in looks like, and what the final meatball looks like. 

Bake for 20 minutes. There will likely be cheese oozing out of the meatballs at the end of the bake time; this is normal, and a sign you did it right. 😛 

And then, dip in some marinara, and enjoy!

Looking for a nice quick meal that blends a pretty simple, traditional meal item (mashed potatoes) with something a bit savory and unusual? Then I recommend these miso mashed potatoes – the miso and potatoes combine perfectly, and the miso adds something new to the dish without being overwhelming. I used up a bunch of leftover potatoes I had in my veggie drawer with this, so I tripled the existing recipe – the tripled version will be in parentheses in the ingredients.

Miso Mashed Potatoes
Lasts 5 to 6 meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 lb potatoes (I used closer to 3, and reds), peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 T butter (used closer to 3)
  • 1 T white miso paste (used closer to 3)
  • 2 T milk (used closer to 6)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (optional: green onions, didn’t use them here)

Take your peeled and chopped potatoes, and put them in a pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and boil until your potatoes are fork tender (usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes). 

Drain the potatoes completely, add in the butter and miso, and then mash (with a spoon, masher, or whatever have you) together. Add the milk, salt, and pepper, and stir in, until you have nice fluffy potatoes a la the final picture. Taste, and add whatever you may feel you need more of (salt, miso, milk, etc). 

(For a fun variant, put them in a dish in an oven at 400 and toast until the top browns slightly, appx 20 mins.)

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!

A good caprese salad is an amazing thing in the summer. However, when you can elevate it by slow roasting the tomatoes (even better if you have a small plant going like I do and it’s going through a late summer resurgence), and adding a pan-seared oven finished steak to the mix, you have what I’m pretty damn sure is the perfect salad. 

Steak Caprese Salad
Lasts 4 to 5 lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pan-seared, oven finished steak
  • olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 package of mozzarella pearls, drained
  • salt and pepper
  • basil leaves in whatever amount you prefer, torn

Take your pint of cherry tomatoes, half them, drizzle olive oil over them, and roast for two hours in your oven at 225 degrees, until wrinkled at the edges. Make your steak following the directions linked either before or right after the tomatoes are done roasting.  Let it rest, and slice it thin, and each thin slice in half vertically.

Combine the roasted cherry tomatoes and mozzarella pearls first, tossing to combine; keep all of the tomato juices that come from the roasted tomatoes, it makes a great dressing for this. Then, toss in the steak slices, and the basil to finish, and enjoy your awesome salad.