I took so long getting around to putting this post up that I'm making it a double--here's what I made in the past two weeks.
If I had been neglecting my kitchen recently, I've definitely made up for it by now.
Episode 14, September 6-September 19
Let's start out simply, with the egg salad I've been making since I was a kid: mayonnaise, honey mustard, dill, salt and pepper. My honey mustard of choice is Jack Daniels, but right now we've got Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Honey Spice on hand.
Labor day was warm here in San Francisco, so we decided to keep dinner light: a green salad with Point Reyes blue cheese, blue berries, and walnuts; I made a bacon-balsamic dressing.
I remixed this salad for lunch the next day: same greens, same cheese, same walnuts, but with hardboiled egg and mustard-vinaigrette. Have I mentioned how much I love making my own salad dressings? I will never buy bottled dressing again.
After eying heirloom tomatoes all summer, I decided to showcase some on this pizza. I used soft chevre as the base, then laid down roasted chinese eggplant, prosciutto, tomatoes, and a little mozzarella. Homemade crust, as always--by the way, I ran out of flour halfway through making the dough and had the run to the store. I ran out of flour the last time I made pizza, too. Seems like I should just put flour on my grocery list whenever I plan to make it.
I know--weird, right? But delicious! I'd had my eye on this Smitten Kitchen recipe since it was first posted, and when grapes started showing up at the farmers' markets I saw my opportunity. The grapes pickle in a brine of champagne vinegar, sugar, black peppercorns, brown mustard seeds, and cinnamon stick; I let them go for about a day and a half. I know, I know, it sounds weird, but if you are intrigued at all I highly suggest that you make these for a unique and delicious treat!
One of the husband's favorites, Smitten Kitchen's spareribs, paired with a Pioneer Woman corn casserole that I've been wanting to make for ages. Both were quite tasty, though I need to remember that the ribs take SIX hours, not four.
I used up the leftover corn casserole by mixing it into some eggs, along with a generous amount of mozzarella, left over the pizza. Hooray for using up leftover ingredients!
Speaking of using leftover ingredients, I also had some prosciutto leftover from the pizza. Into a risotto it went, along with some artichoke hearts and chicken I made from my last farmers' market chicken.
At this point in the week, I decided that I had a great deal of pickled grapes, and while eating them by themselves just straight out of the jar was fine, the next best option would be to have...
All of the food and wine was from California: fennel salami made locally, grapes, strawberries, and tamari-glazed almonds from neighborhood farmers' markets, Vella Dry Jack, Nicasio Square, and Humboldt Fog cheeses, and even the crackers, since I made them from scratch:
This is a recipe of Mark Bittman's that I followed the last time we had a wine and cheese shindig, and it's beautiful: the dough is easy to roll out thin, and assuming you roll it thin enough and remember to prick the dough before baking (sorry, batch #1!), they turn out amazingly. This variation uses cream as the liquid, and a large amount of butter as the fat. Mmmm. They're more like pastry than crackers you might think of, and not necessarily the best for serving with cheese, since they are a little soft. But no one seemed to mind.
This is undoubtedly the least visually-appealing dish I have made in a long time. Luckily, it makes up for it being tasty. This recipe from The Stone Soup is basically french onion soup in bread pudding form--tons of browned onions, piled together with chunks of bread and cheese, soaked in chicken broth (I used my homemade stuff) and then baked until warm and melty. As I said, ugly, but tasty.
I reused the bring from the grapes for some strawberries. While they're not bad, I think strawberry pickles would be better with balsamic vinegar as the base and a different seasoning mix.
I really wanted to make this tomato-almond pesto recipe from Smitten Kitchen, but I already had pine nuts and walnuts at home so just used those instead of buying almonds specifically for the purpose. While I still want to try to almond version sometime, this variation turned out well on top of some fresh linguine (store bought--I can't imagine making linguine at home without a pasta roller) with some Niman Ranch sausages for extra protein.
A visiting vegan friend provided me with the perfect excuse to try The Stone Soup's tofu scramble, guaranteed to please veggie- and meat-lovers alike. As a committed omnivore, I found it delightful, and I'm pleased say my carnivorous other half enjoyed it as well. The tofu is joined by roasted red peppers (from a jar), tomato paste, and smoked paprika, and we added half a diced onion; we served it over a bed of spinach with some shredded basil (left over from the pesto) on top. This was really, really good, and armed with the knowledge that "scrambling" tofu is the best way to get it to soak up lots of flavor, I look forward to adding tofu to my regular protein line-up.