Tuesday, September 6, 2016

End of Summer Ratatouille - Caity

The end of summer seems to have happened over the last week or two. It has brought cooler temperatures (thank god) and earlier evenings. The swimming pool doesn't open til 4 PM on weekdays (pffffff) and there are about a million "back to school" photos flooding my Facebook. Part of me is always sad that summer really is over and the other part of me is so excited for the fall!

 For the last several years, I've cooked an "End of Summer Ratatouille" to celebrate the end-of-summer produce while enjoying the fact that it's not too hot to turn on the stove. This tradition began for me, three years ago in Portland when my mom came to visit Brendan and I in late August. I was working nightshift at the time and I picked my mom up at the airport after work in the morning, went home and slept while she entertained herself. I woke up that evening to go to work and my wonderful mother had cleaned our house, picked our garden and packed me a gourmet lunch of Summer Zucchini Noodle Salad and Ratatouille served over Goat Cheese and Truffle Oil Polenta. Since then it has been an August/September staple in our house! 

If you aren't familiar with Ratatouille, it is a silky French stewed vegetable dish, usually served with dinner. It can have a reputation as rather fussy to make which is why I like this particular recipe which comes from The Kitchn. It doesn't involve any vegetable peeling. The peels go into the stew with all the rest. More fiber, less effort and extra delicious!  Serve as a side dish to chicken or fish, or as a main course over cous cous or polenta (my favorite way to make the polenta is with goat cheese and truffle oil stirred in at the end). 

Makes 8 to 10 servings (this recipe can be cut in half if you don't need so many servings!)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Erin's Pasta Salad - Cathy

We haven't posted much lately on our blog, I'm afraid.  Not that this is an unusual thing for me, despite my best intentions but we've been especially busy for the last oh...year or so, planning a pretty big event in our family.

It was a stunningly beautiful and touching ceremony, and the most wonderful day and evening full of so many friends and family.  And now Caity is Mrs. Garlinghouse!
Well, we're finally catching our breath and now it's the dog days of summer...the time of year when I come in from picking the garden and lie down on the kitchen floor next to our dog to try to cool off.  I wonder if that's why they call it that? IT'S SO HOT!! I know it's that way in a lot of places all across the country.

If you're looking for a nice cool salad to serve this weekend, this is a longtime favorite of ours.  The original recipe came from our friend, Cindy Taylor Voss who is a wonderful cook.  We've always just called it Cindy's pasta salad, and it was an ever-popular staple at any of the get-togethers we had.  A few years ago I asked Erin to make it for a big family party, and she started going through my cupboards and fridge, adding a lot of things to the original recipe (look away Taylor boys!) and we were thrilled with the results.  We have been making it that way ever since, and so it has become Erin's pasta salad.

I can't recommend this salad highly enough; it is always devoured and in the off-chance you have some leftover it holds pretty well the next day.  Though we very rarely use any bottled salad dressing or mixes for things, this calls for Good Seasons Italian dressing mix--I'm not sure how to replace it, and anyway, why mess with success?

One thing about this recipe is that there are no exact measurements for the veggies.  I tried to put approximate amounts, but just add them to your taste and be generous. The more there are, the more colorful and tasty!

Serves 8-10
Five Years Ago: Kevin's Italian Beef, Porch Swing, Pan Con Tomate, Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad
Four Years Ago: Basil Saketini, Rice, Bean and Many Veggie Gratin
Three Years Ago: Quick and Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam, Zucchini and Haloumi Fritters, Grilled Cornbread Panzanella
Two Years Ago: Grilled Zucchini and Hummus Pizzas, Campfire Breakfast Burritos, Gina's Mom's Tart, Watermelon Popsicles
One Year Ago: Grilled Fava Beans, Grilled Tomato, Corn and Red Onion Salad, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad with Chipotle-Lime Dressing

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Lemony Roasted Potatoes - Caity

 Growing up in Salt Lake City where there is a large Greek community, I have long had a love affair with Mediterranean food, particularly Greek food. My friend Emily Rizzo, and especially her mom Joanne, can attest to my obsession with lemon rice in high school. I had an insatiable desire for Greek food! When I went away to Oregon for college, I was surprised to find that not every city had the amazing Greek food that Salt Lake did. I had to get my fix another way....

While I picked up a new taste for oysters, mushrooms and IPAs in Oregon, I still have this deep desire to eat Greek food as often as possible. That is where Melia Marden's "Modern Mediterranean" cookbook comes in. I have posted... a lot... of her recipes on this blog because I love them so much! Melia grew up part time on the Greek island, Hydra and many of her recipes are based on her childhood memories of the food there. Her recipes are full of bright flavors and the recipes themselves are accessible to any cook. I have been working my way through her cookbook to get my Mediterranean fix while also dreaming of visiting the Greek islands (one day!!!). 

This particular recipe for Lemony Roasted Potatoes is a favorite of Brendan's and mine and we make it often. Initially, I didn't make it because grapes and potatoes together sounded so... weird. But then I read Melia Marden's recipe notes. She based this recipe on her memory of delicious lemon infused roasted potatoes from a local taverna on Hydra that overlooks the village fishing boats. I mentally transported myself to that spot and did not want to return. So I made the potatoes and continued my mental escape to the Greek Islands. I suggest you give it a try too! 

My favorite things to serve with these potatoes are Rosemary and Oregano Pork Chops, or Balsamic Roasted Chicken, and Grilled Corn, Tomato and Red Onion Salad or a simple Greek salad and Mint Sugar and Strawberries for dessert. If you're not afraid to go with the Lemony-Greek theme, I highly recommend serving Grilled Halloumi with Lemon as a starter! 

Serves 4 as a side

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Almost Instant Chicken & Lemon Rice Soup - Caity

You know the "Spring head cold". The one where your alarm goes off and your throat is sore and you can only mouth breathe because you're so clogged up BUT it's too late to call in sick to work. You struggle through the day and you feel like your brain is marinating in snot (sorry for that visual). Thinking is hard. Breathing is hard. And no one seems to want to be near you (how odd!). 

The end of the day finally rolls around and you drag your sorry self home. You open up the fridge and that salad you had planned is just not going to cut it tonight. You want soup. You need soup. But you don't have soup. And you don't want to leave to go buy soup. This is where your life will be changed. I'd like to introduce "Almost Instant Chicken and Lemon Rice Soup". Three ingredients and in the time it takes to boil water, soup is ready! 

I admit, this soup is not going to blow your socks off. But it is good and, for those of us suffering from the Spring cold, it's fast and can be made with stuff you already have at home. Another benefit is that the zip of lemon can bust through that nasal congestion and you can finally taste something! It is reminiscent of that delicious Lemon Rice Soup you can order at some Greek Restaurants (I feel like the Rizzo family is shaking their heads sadly at me right now...but I'll come over anytime you want to make me legitimate Greek Lemon Rice Soup!). 

Treat your cold with Almost Instant Chicken and Lemon Rice Soup today! 

Serves 2-3