Years back, during a visit from Morocco, my oldest friend whipped this up in my tiny Brooklyn apartment. I was told it is a popular side dish or snack that Moroccans will dig into with their hands – they pick up each delicate eggplant slice, dust it with cumin and salt, and take a bite. It doesn’t need a recipe. Slice an eggplant into rounds, grill (or sauté) until tender and then plate it next to two piles of cumin and salt. Then, it’s every man for himself to season each bite as they wish. Smoky, savory and delicious. Who needs chips?
I struggled to fit yet another arm load of zucchini and squash from my CSA weekly farm share into the vegetable drawer. Something needed to be done about this and fast. I knew that, before I could blink, Saturday’s CSA pickup would roll around again and I’d have no choice but to build a fort made of vegetables and fruit. Continue reading
The bag of avocados had ripened. I didn’t have a room full of hungry people, but it didn’t matter. I dropped all my plans and did what any self respecting person would do. I made guacamole. And, I knew I could experiment a bit with this Mexican staple without worrying about disappointing a purist. I worked with what I could find in the fridge. I had lemons, not limes. Leftover cilantro. A chile pepper. And some greek yogurt… Hmmm.
Much has happened since my last post. Work has taken me to Asia multiple times (I’ll be sure to share my noodle soup recipe once the weather gets cold…but let’s not talk about the cold yet), the dog is properly house trained but has developed a fear of anything on wheels, and the cats have begrudgingly accepted this 4-legged intruder isn’t leaving any time soon.
Anyway, let’s talk about summer squash. I know, it’s getting crazy.
My arms were full but they were so cute. Perched on the edge of a table at the farmers market, you couldn’t walk passed without giving at least an endearing glance at the little cartons of donut peaches. They would become dinner.
I love salads with oomph. It’s hard to accomplish without bacon, but it’s possible if you have cheese and grill marks. Both were at my fingertips.
I started with the cheese. The thought of creating it yourself in your own kitchen is extremely exciting. What’s fantastic about homemade ricotta, is that it’s delicious and incredibly simple to make. I’m not joking. I’d never tried it before because I hadn’t taken the 3 minutes to buy cheesecloth (the only specialty item required). That’s actually the hardest step, buying the cheesecloth. So, once that laborious process is over, you can get into comfy clothes, make ricotta and drizzle the leftover (nutritious) whey on your dog’s dinner. (Yes whey.)
It must have been the sound of women’s gymnastics in the background. I wanted to make ratatouille, but didn’t want it in just one form. I wanted two incarnations, two opposing flavor profiles. A competition of nations. So, I made rata-TWO-ie.
It was too hot to move, but I thought ahead to later that afternoon when it would still be too hot to move, but we’d be hot and peckish. Wishing for something crisp, refreshing, quenching. Then it hit me. Thanks to my late grandmother, Irene, I had a simple and delicious idea. It was something she would make on hot summer days at the farm in New Hampshire. It was time for Danish cucumber.
I woke to the sound of trees rustling – actual trees – and the chatting of birds over the comforting low hum of the ocean. Aside from my feeble attempts to tan (I swear, I can tan) I knew the days would consist of meal plotting by day and evenings with hungry, sandal-clad friends and family…
Sometimes, there is no competing with hamburgers and hot dogs. My mission: feed the masses with large mounds of summertime flavor. I wanted something that would scream, “Look at me, I’m delicious…and you can have seconds without awkwardly asking for someone to throw another dog on the grill.”
It’s all a bit of a blur.
I agreed to prepare some finger foods at a friend and co-worker’s “summer kick-off” / house warming party. In my usual fashion, I wasn’t satisfied with preparing something we already know is brilliantly crowd-pleasing. Although, there was plenty of room for that.