Batter Licker

August 4, 2011

tomato, summer squash and quinoa party

In the wake of last night’s employee fiesta and on the eve of the BlogHer ’11 Conference in San Diego, I thought it only appropriate to commemorate my first annual conference with another, seasonal kind of party: a tomato party.

Tomatoes are perhaps the single piece of produce whose season I most look forward to. So when I came across Yottam Ottolenghi’s tomato party recipe in Plenty, I felt inspired.

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This dish highlights tomatoes in all their glory, from the gorgeous variety of bright red, yellow and green colors to the wide range of raw, slow-roasted, and partially-roasted flavors. It truly is a tomato celebration.

But for me, a cheese-less tomato gathering is akin to a cocktail-less dinner party. Something had to be done to liven the mood. (more…)

May 17, 2011

how to cook dried beans

Aren’t these beans beautiful? They should be showcased in a mason jar to bring some color and warmth to my ugly, scratched, white laminate countertop (it’s okay; I rent). Or used instead of rocks or glass marbles in the bottom of the vase on my dinner table. But I boiled them up with some onion and cilantro, and ate them instead.

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Clearly, interior design is not my strength, unless decorating the lining of my stomach counts. (I have a feeling it doesn’t.)

But cooking dried beans? That I can do. Especially when they are beautiful, relatively fresh dried beans. Not those sad ones that have been sitting in a bag on a grocery store shelf for 10 years. Even bulk bin beans, which are usually in more optimal shape than the plastic bagged variety, aren’t quite as good – although they’ll do in a pinch. But colorful beans with fun names like Rio Zape and Midnight Black! Exclamation point-worthy indeed! And check out these multi-colored Zarco beans! Are you excited about cooking beans yet? I am. (more…)

May 5, 2011

mexican tortilla lasagna with chorizo, kale and beans

Whenever I have extra tortillas sitting around after a night of mango-salsified and pink chipotle-sauced fish tacos, I typically insist on using them as is (pretending not to notice that they’re stale and ripping when I fold them for a taco or burrito), or during slightly more logical moments, I chop them into wedges, toss with olive oil, salt and cumin, and bake them into chips. This time, I pretended they were lasagna noodles.

Some might define insanity as repeating the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. But I bet a few of you are reading this and thinking that indulging my admitted illusion that tortillas can work as noodles is just another type of crazy. And you would probably be right.

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But I love an excuse to make Mexican food, and the miniature stack of leftover tortillas provided me with exactly that. (more…)

April 15, 2011

collard greens, black beans, and potato pizza with parsley pesto

On Sunday each week, I compile a grocery list, taking careful inventory of the contents in my refrigerator and pantry and cross-referencing them with the ever-growing list of recipes I want to try. But before I add ingredients to my list and recipes to my meal plan for that week, I force each recipe through the reality filter. On a week night, after a full day at work, a workout and possibly laundry or working a shift at Bar Method, I can’t always muster the energy or the patience it takes to cook a preparation-intensive meal and have it not be ready to eat until 9 p.m. Earlier in the week on a Monday or Tuesday, I can usually make it work. But come Wednesday and Thursday, fast and easy take priority. So on those nights, I shove my desire to innovate and experiment aside, and embrace familiar, fast recipes that allow me to eat dinner well before 9 p.m. Enter pizza.

While pizza is often associated with the unhealthy varieties featuring at least a half-inch thick layer of cheese and loads of fatty meats, they don’t have to be that way at home. And they don’t have to be boring either. You would be surprised how far a little dusting of cheese can go when you get a little creative with wholesome yet richly flavored ingredients. (more…)

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