Category Archives: recipes – tried and true

Tomatoes Everywhere

Q & A Devra First at boston.com

Sometimes you find things you didn’t even know you were looking for – thank you, W). This was in yesterday’s Boston Globe (in the Ideas section).  An article about the history of tomatoes under Q & A (an interview by Devra First with David Gentilcore, professor of early modern history at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom). Gentilcore wrote Pomodoro! A History of the Tomato in Italy.  It is difficult to imagine Italian food without the tomato and this is especially timely as we are following an Italian cooking theme in our house this week. If I am a little late in writing it is not because I am making dinner – because my children did and it was wonderful.  Truly better than anything I have been turning out lately.  So – our menu included fresh green salad with creamy Parmesan dressing, fantastic bruschetta, braised chicken with peas and potatoes (delicious!) and a Parmesan parsley risotto (as good as it sounds)…oh, dessert, too (yes – although I didn’t need it). Triple chocolate biscotti and a lemon pudding-like confection that I forget the name of – like a semifreddo but not quite that.  I am slow in getting going today because we are just back from a weekend in the Berkshires and I had some things to catch up on. Now that I have tackled part of that list, I have a new list…great, right?  Some of the things were easy – get light bulbs, confirm camp registration – you know, the usual. Couldn’t get the dog washed – they are closed today but did everything else – well, almost everything else. I will post the recipes from dinner under Recipes – Tried and True and write about the Berkshire trip, too.

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NPR – Nigella Lawson – Summer Fresh recipes

My dear husband heard this on NPR early this morning and thought I would like it and wrote me a note about it so I could find it…I just returned Pragmatic Mom’s Nigella Lawson cookbooks to her and saw one at Whole Foods last night so some more synchronicity…

Here is the link – I would pretty it up but I am trying to make anti-harvest muffins – not hers. Ina’s..

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129100059 (short 7 minutes –  on NPR today) Cloudy lemonade which sounds practically perfect for a day like today.

Nigella’s latest cookbook is Nigella FreshNigella Fresh

Update:

I do love NPR!! They did not have the recipes up this morning but they do now – Here: Continue reading

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Great ideas for today – Happy Independence Day!

We had a lovely dinner last night with two other families. All of the food was wonderful (especially since someone saved my vinaigrette), the company was delightful and I will share some of the recipes here.  The hosts had the new issue of Bon Appetit and the food was gorgeous. They also had some super absorbent dish rack toweling that I am coveting. Maybe some kind reader will write in where to find them.

Here is a bean and tomato salad recipe that is wonderful and takes about 3 minutes to make. Okay, I subbed out the dill for basil because we didn’t have any dill – it is great both ways. I also did not have red onion so used shallot. Also very nice.

bean and tomato salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
  • 2 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes (about 12 ounces) or cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed

There was grilled salmon with a pesto sauce that was incredible and grilled chicken and a corn salad that was fresh and lovely. I can’t find those recipes but when I do I’ll put them up. Also an amazing fruit cobbler and the (in)famous Neiman Marcus cookies – a yummy urban myth.

Here is the Bon Appetit Summer Salad Slideshow – all gorgeous.

We will have the quintessential burgers and hot dogs on the grill tonight. A family tradition that I love – even if we expand the tradition to include tuna burgers (Whole Foods, on special for $6.99/lb – worth trying – they were a staple last summer). Added to post: Do not try the tuna burgers at Whole Foods. They were so pepper-y (as in cayenne pepper) that they were inedible. We have been getting these for years and they have been lovely. I am going to return them today. Even my spouse who likes spicy foods did not like them.

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Urban Legend – Neiman Marcus Cookies

Who cares if the story isn’t true? The cookies are amazing….here is the link

http://www.snopes.com/business/consumer/cookie.asp and here, from another site because I couldn’t copy it from Snopes, is the cookie recipe.


Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe

(Recipe may be halved):
2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
2 cups sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal**
24 oz. chocolate chips
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated)
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)

** Measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder. Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey Bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.

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Filed under Feed your head, soul, self, Food, recipes - tried and true, there is always chocolate

Ratatouille's ratatouille from smitten kitchen

This is probably the best vegetable dish on the planet. My entire family loves it and it is easy and pretty beyond words. I have made it so much that I no longer need to refer to the recipe. Always inhaled and great the next day. Here are some photos of our process.

The recipe is from the amazing blog smitten kitchen and it is her take on Ratatouille’s ratatouille – yes, as she imagined it from the movie. I imagined the ratatouille but it did not enter my mind to try to replicate it. This goes a long way to erasing the memories of a few years of bumper crops of zucchini. It was years before I could even look at that vegetable…my mom tried to disguise it but we always knew…

As you can see we cut these by hand but a mandoline would be lovely to use here. Go to my Amazon store in the side bar to get one.

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Filed under Feed your head, soul, self, Finds, Food, recipes - tried and true

Ratatouille’s ratatouille from smitten kitchen

This is probably the best vegetable dish on the planet. My entire family loves it and it is easy and pretty beyond words. I have made it so much that I no longer need to refer to the recipe. Always inhaled and great the next day. Here are some photos of our process.

The recipe is from the amazing blog smitten kitchen and it is her take on Ratatouille’s ratatouille – yes, as she imagined it from the movie. I imagined the ratatouille but it did not enter my mind to try to replicate it. This goes a long way to erasing the memories of a few years of bumper crops of zucchini. It was years before I could even look at that vegetable…my mom tried to disguise it but we always knew…

As you can see we cut these by hand but a mandoline would be lovely to use here. Go to my Amazon store in the side bar to get one.

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Vanilla Bread (really Vanilla Bean Loaves) from the Hi-Rise Bakery in Cambridge MA

I was asked by a friend (the one who also reminded me about the refrigerator cake – we called it zebra cake) if I was going to put this up. I found the recipe in The Boston Globe magazine – it is from the Hi-Rise Bakery in Cambridge and I have been making it for years. I make it as a welcome to the neighborhood cake, a sorry you-don’t feel-well cake, an all-around great dessert. I call it Vanilla Bread – maybe I should rename Brownies as Chocolate Bread.

Vanilla Bean Bread, Cake or Loaves

Ingredients:

3 cups flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp.
2½ cups vanilla sugar (1 split vanilla bean stirred into the sugar and left for a few days*)
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped*
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
8 eggs

Syrup:
1¾ cups sugar
1 cup water
2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped*

Cake:
Heat the oven to 325°. Generously butter two 8½ x 4½ x 2½ inch loaf pans.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a mixer, cream the butter and vanilla sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean seeds to the mixture along with the vanilla extract and eggs. Beat to mix.

Add the flour mixture to the batter and beat with a few turns of the paddle until it is just smooth. With a rubber spatula, fold the batter from the bottom of the bowl into the mixture to make sure it’s well blended.

Divide the batter between the pans. Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, turn the pans around, and continue baking for 25–40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out almost clean. Cool for 10 minutes (on a rack). Remove the bread from the pans and return them to the rack.

Syrup:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water. Add the vanilla beans and stir so the seeds disperse. Remove from the heat.

Place the cakes on the rack over a piece of wax paper. Brush generously all over—tops, bottoms, and sides—with the syrup. Brush with more syrup as they cool. Cool completely and slice. Sometimes I use the paper pans (Sur la Table has a good variety of sizes) and just coat the top of the cake with the vanilla syrup.

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