Saturday, August 31, 2013

Greek Layered Dip with Pita Chips-Cathy

This "Greek" dip/spread is one of my latest addictions that I learned from my friend, Linda.  It is so fresh-tasting and wonderful and it's sooo easy, too!

We were visiting our friends, Tom and Linda Huth outside of Boston for the second time in sixth or so months because of business trips--after not seeing them for eighteen or so years! They were kind enough to let us stay with (ahem, mooch off) them both times, and showed us around some beautiful areas of Martha's Vineyard, too. 

They let us play with their ridiculously cute dog, Gilligan (who misses his Aunty Cathy very much, I just know--we even took a nap together, with him curled around the top of my head) and they were even  nice enough to feed us very, very well.  

One night, as an appetizer Linda whipped up this amazing dip that is full of wonderful flavors and lots of chopped veggies and herbs.  She served it with freshly baked pita chips and it was oh, so delicious that we couldn't stop eating it until the whole thing was pretty much gone. And then we proceeded to eat a very large, most excellent BBQ dinner.  All that deliciousness in addition to my constant Boston obsession with searching out the best lobster rolls, clam chowder, pho, and cannolis... Hey, our friends have a really good rowing machine in their basement that we really did use! And some good running to be done in Boston besides. Whew!

But okay, really, I'm telling you--you've got to try this stuff!  I've made it a bunch of times since being home, and it's always been devoured--and not just by me. So here, with very slight adaptations (mostly out of sheer laziness), is Linda's delicious recipe.

One year ago: Baby Bok Choi and Snow Peas, and Blueberry Banana Bread
Two years ago: Spicy Edamame, and Chocolate Zucchini Cake 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fig Crostini - Caity

One of my dearest friends from college, Marianna, is getting married this weekend! The ceremony is up on Mt. Hood and we get to take a chair lift to the ceremony (unless you're my friend Kelly's poor fiancé, who broke his pelvis 2 weeks ago and has to take a van with the elderly people). The actual wedding site is a little clearing with the peak of Mt Hood rising high in the background. Marianna is so kind and beautiful and has such a great sense of fun that it's sure to be a great wedding. I have been looking forward to this wedding for so long, I can't believe it's here already! 

We celebrated her bridal shower this past weekend at her fiancé's parents home. The house was gorgeous and the party was a blast. We shared some of our favorite memories of Marianna. Her sister, Amelia, told a story about the time they were fishing and Marianna caught a fish hook in the back of her thigh while trying to cast off. Marianna panicked at the thought of having a fish hook caught in her skin and she to passed out from the pain. It made me laugh so hard I was crying!

We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying wine, champagne and snacks by the pool. I brought some Fig Crostinis to snack on because they have been one of my favorite appetizers this summer. The recipe comes from Melia Marden's cookbook, "Modern Mediterranean", which I highly recommend if you ever come across it. Erin bought it for me and I've made probably 10 recipes from it so far and have loved every one. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Watermelon Juice - Caity

Nothing says "August" more than watermelon! Lately I swear I've been drinking more watermelon juice than water. It's so sweet and refreshing! Try making this for your next BBQ or dinner to celebrate the end of summer. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart with Rosemary Crust - Caity

For me, summer doesn't feel like summer without eating some heirloom tomatoes from Farmer Kevin's (my dad) garden in Utah. I thought I was going to miss out this summer, but when my mom, Lynn and Wilson drove through Portland on the way to the Kestle's new house in Vancouver, B.C., they kindly imported some for me. 

They stayed the night in town and we decided to go out to dinner at Ox, for some Argentinian inspired Portland food. It was well worth the 90 minute wait. We ate ourselves silly on house made chorizo, short ribs, steak, roasted cauliflower, mushroom risotto, salad and fried potatoes. Since they don't allow dogs in the restaurant, Wilson had to stay back in the apartment. Lynn gave him a tranquilizer before we left so he wouldn't be really anxious alone in a small apartment he's not used to. When we got back Wilson was a little loopy (he only got half a pill; talk about a lightweight!) and he entertained us by flopping around on the couch looking stoned. 

Morning came too quickly and before I knew it, they were back on the road, bound for the border. I was left with an empty apartment, the day off, and a plate full of tasty Utah heirloom tomatoes to keep me company. I found this recipe on a blog called "Bella Eats" (here). You will need a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom to make this tart. I served this with some sautéed summer squash for a meatless meal, but it would go great with anything I think. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tomato Parmesan Farro - Caity

I still can't get over my summer produce/Farmer's Market high; I am happily snatching up all the ripe fruits and vegetables that Oregon summer has to offer! I decided to have a couple of college dance friends, Marianna, Amy and her husband Jered, over for dinner last week and I was very excited that I was able to get everything for dinner (except the farro and red pepper flakes) from the Wednesday Farmer's Market downtown. 

I had a great time wandering through the market examining all the items that are different from the Utah Farmer's Market. I was excited to find fresh, locally grown onions, some that were bigger than a softball. I have never seen an onion that big! After deciding an onion that size would last me the better part of a month, I chose a smaller, more reasonably sized onion which I am happy to say was delicious! 

The tomatoes were out in force and I picked up a couple pints of bright red cherry tomatoes intending on trying a recipe for "One-Pot Farro with Tomatoes" I'd seen on the Smitten Kitchen website. The farro came out great and it was so easy! When I say it was easy, I mean it's EASY! When you dish up this farro, it tastes like you've spent hours slaving over the hot stove, delicately adding in each ingredient and stirring it to perfection. What really happened was, you chopped everything up and dumped it in the pot, had a glass of wine and sat down talking to old friends for half an hour. Voila! Dinner! 

As the Smitten Kitchen points out on her website, purchasing farro can be somewhat tricky. Here is a brief excerpt about which farro is the "right" farro for this recipe:

"The trickiest thing in writing this recipe was considering the different types of farro (from an Italian wheat strain known as emmer) available — as well as misconceptions, such as the notion that it can be used interchangeably with spelt (it cannot, as spelt can take hours.). It comes semi-pearled (semi-perlato) and pearled (perlato) — which describes how much of the exterior bran is removed — but packages are not always labeled. However, if your package says it will cook in less than 25 minutes, it’s semi-pearled. If it takes 30 or more minutes and recommends pre-soaking, it is not."

Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a hearty main dish.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Quick & Easy Blueberry Freezer Jam - Caity


I've been so obsessed with the Quick & Easy Strawberry Freezer Jam, I had to have more. I bought a few pints of organic Oregon blueberries from the farmer's market the other day and it made the most beautiful bright blue/purple jam. 

I have been enjoying blueberry and strawberry jam (at least) twice a day since then; on toast, on English muffins, in sandwiches, in parfaits with Auntie O's Granola (yum!!!), straight out of the jar........ 

Makes 6 cups of jam 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Grilled Cornbread Panzanella - Caity

I love this time of year because the all the produce is so fresh and flavorful.  I went to the farmers market the other day and was annoyed I had only thought to bring one bag; I wanted everything! I also love this time of summer because of the sticky warm heat (my mom repeatedly tells me I can't possibly be her daughter because she hates this kind of weather). I like that you can go outside and grill something without having it dump rain on you; in Oregon that's a real treat!  

Cornbread and panzanella are two things I really like so I can't believe it had never occurred to me to combine the two. This recipe comes from the website "The Kitchn" and allows for optional add-ins; you can add in whatever is ripe at the market like corn, zucchini, micro greens, etc. If you find you are just as in love with panzanella as I am, make sure you try our other favorite Panzanella recipe. 

If you want to keep some for leftovers, separate the cornbread and salad and do not mix and dress until you're close to eating time. 

One year ago: Rice, Bean and Many Veggie Gratin
Two years ago: Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad, Panzanella

Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side dish