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Lest you think I spend any part of my days doing Important Things — preparing, and totally not at the last second or haphazardly, for my only child’s second birthday , or for his first week of pre-preschool; assembling warm, wholesome meals for his lunch each day; meeting my manuscript deadline; dealing with the shoe bomb that went off in my closet, etc. — it’s only fair and honest that I tell you that I’ve spent a significant portion of the last year considering ways to merge grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup in a single vessel. In a way, though, it relates to all of those things (well, not the shoes). There’s something very back-to-school-ish about tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, and because it’s still September, if you’re lucky, you can still get some tomatoes worth eating, and if not that, at least worth cooking down.
Every year at just about this time I renew my obsession with tomato sauce. It’s late August, after all, and just about anyone who has ever gardened or knows people who garden is drowning in tomatoes and I am here, with my virtual bucket, eager to help you out. Don’t be too fooled by my so-called benevolence, however, as it’s really a selfish endeavor; I find spaghetti with tomato sauce to be one of the universe’s perfect meals, so I’m hardly kicking and screaming my way to the kitchen the next time the whim for a new one strikes me. But I always think that the new one will be the one that closes the book on tomato sauce, that it will be done, that I will be able to move on and find new codes to crack in the kitchen knowing that I’ve locked in my tomato sauce nirvana. Unfortunately, these moments of spaghetti calm are increasingly short-lived.
When it comes to bruschetta, I don’t know why tomatoes get all the love. Right next to them at the market, eggplant is sulking… or at least I’d be if I always got stiffed in the Breezy Light Summer Appetizer with Wine department by my fruity field buddies. I got thinking about an eggplant topping for garlic-rubbed, olive oil drizzled toasts last week when I was still on vacation and had nothing but the ocean’s horizon to consider for entire minutes of the day when this constantly-in-motion 11 month-old rested his eyes for a but all I knew is what I didn’t want: a puree, because while there are many great ones, there’s just so much gray and heavy about them and I didn’t want it to need tomatoes to make it work because hey, I love tomatoes but was insistent that eggplant can be awesome on its own.
In a Dutch oven or large (5-quart) saucepan with a lid, heat 6 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Add eggplant; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pan; reduce heat to medium. Add onion, bell pepper, zucchini, and garlic.
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A family favorite, this recipe makes one baking dish for now and one to freeze for a ready-made dinner when you're pressed for time. Everyday Food, March 2009 Prep Time 35 minutes Total Time 1 hour Yield Serves 8 Add to Shopping List Ingredients 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes Coarse salt and ground pepper 1 pound penne rigate 1 teaspoon olive oil 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each), halved horizontally 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled) 4 garlic cloves, minced 6 cups whole milk 10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 ounces) 1 cup finely grated Parmesan (4 ounces) Directions
This simple, tasty pasta dinner can be prepared in just half an hour. Everyday Food, June 2006 Prep Time 25 minutes Total Time 30 minutes Yield Serves 4 Add to Shopping List Ingredients
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Let me just say right up front, that in general I do not believe in diet-induced substitutes for the real thing. In other words, I use butter, not margarine, and sugar, not splenda. If I want to lose weight I eat less and avoid desserts. That said, once in a while it is nice to have a cool, sweet drink, without all the sugar and calories.
This week the battle for the Mushroom Masters continues unabated and, as we recover from a battering at the hands of the Canadians, Australia is throwing Ellie Won – Kitchen Wench headlong into the competition. This week a recipe that will have mushroom lovers everywhere heading for the kitchen to whip up a storm – a slow roasted storm that is! Doing their best to offer some competition to Ellie this week will be Maggie from Pithy and Cleaver (US) and Jeannette from Everybody Likes Sandwiches (Canada). To your corners bloggers and on my signal let the Button Battle begin. Sorry, getting a bit carried away there. I should firstly introduce Ellie in her own words….
Spice Advice – how to make the most of spices, which spices to use with particular foods, when to add them, grinding, storage and more. Herbs and Spices Fight Disease — Most of us look at spices as a way to perk up the plate but are you aware of their potential to fight disease? Look here for some recent findings. Herbs and Spices Trends — Top culinary pros have come up with a top 10 list of oncoming flavor trends; herbs & spices are paired with other ingredients for some tasty combinations.
In the last week, I totaled my car*, almost gave myself a concussion by walking against a rather substantial tree branch and went all Lady Macbeth in my white silk nightgown this morning after slicing open my foot on a piece of glass in my kitchen (apparently, I must learn the hard way that you should never attempt to wipe down your counters before having your caffeinated morning beverage). Who knew a quarter-inch nick on a foot could bleed so much? I kind of wish I'd had the presence of mind to photograph the blood spatters on our white tile floor just now. They looked rather artful. Let's not even talk about how I managed to bust my iPhone on Monday or about the fact that I thought I'd lost all my identifying documents earlier this week. Not even kidding.
Pasta coated in melting Brie is a quick and easy vegetarian dish to whip up for a weeknight supper so you can put your feet up in front of the TV. Ingredients 300g vegetarian Brie, rind removed, cut into cubes 2 garlic cloves, crushed 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 300g cherry tomatoes, halved Large handful fresh basil, chopped Grated zest of ½ lemon and a squeeze of juice 400g fettuccine or spaghetti Method 1.
I'm sure you are thinking about Cinco de Mayo this very minute. You should be because it's in two days. We look for any excuse to celebrate. We look for any excuse to celebrate with food.