Tag Archives: Cooking

The Meal-Planning Market

12 Jul

Since I’ve been buying part of each week’s groceries at the Farmer’s Market it’s totally changed the way I’ve been going about meal planning. Although I’ve been chipping away at my Life List goal of planning meals for a year I’ve only experienced limited success, but this new world local food has given me new inspiration and motivation in a way that supported my meal planning goals.

Each week I’ve been posting my Farmer’s Market finds each week in a flickr group called Farmer’s Market Hauls started originally by Jim of Sweet Juniper. I’ve also convinced two food-blogging, local-shopping friends to join in, the fabulous Lead Paint Cookbook and home cook extraordinaire, E of Outpost 505. If you shop at a fruit stand, flea market, farmer’s market or CSA, please snap a photo of your haul and add it to the group. I think it’s time we breathe new life into it. Clicking on the photos below will take you to my flickr where you can read notes describing each item in the picture.

What I’m loving is that while I’m at the market buying produce I’ll find other, nonfood-related but still very awesome things. I’ve so far grabbed a flier to tour an alpaca farm (friends, I’m going to arrange a trip for this–let me know if you want in), signed up for free books via Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and Isobel was able to plant a little sunflower in a peat pot. All of this, free, too.

We’ve been watering the little sunflower and watching it sprout. Last night it I decided it was large enough to put in the ground. That booth also gave us free seed packets: parsley and lettuce. I told her that seeds were tiny baby plants and she helped me water them. I can’t wait for them to sprout but I really hope she won’t love them too much.

In addition to the produce we’ve picked up some fabulous clam chowder from near San Jose, Dutch chocolate zucchini bread that is so good it haunts my dreams, endless varieties of hummus and fresh pita bread, and dried organic spices. Isobel often asks for pita and hummus for breakfast, and it makes me ridiculously proud when she does so.

Our farmer’s market is still pretty small. It was just started last year and buzz about it is only just taking off. There are still a lot of things not available at the market–no meat is sold and only one vendor sells cheese and offers only one kind. But I’ve still managed to make a wide variety of things with the selection of things I do bring home, and I feel I’ve only scratched the surface.

I’m still mulling over how to pull my Farmer’s Market shopping into a cohesive plan, but I’m getting there. For now I’d like to share a list of things I’ve made with the items from my haul:

* Spicy Eggplants in Honey Sauce from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food

* Blanched wax beans with dill butter.

* Figs: Cut in half with market goat cheese and honey.

* Gazpacho with local bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, olive oil and lemon.

* Crudites with wax beans, heirloom cherry tomatoes, and cucumber dipped in hummus.

* Zucchini ribbons dressed with oil and goat cheese.

* Zucchini ribbons dressed with leftover Spicy Honey Eggplant sauce.

* Goat cheese slathered on baguette rounds, toasted, drizzled with honey and thyme from the garden. I could very easily eat this all day.

* The most amazing green salad with butter lettuce, cucumber, red Italian torpedo onions, heirloom tomatoes, and olive oil dressing. Even the oil was from the Farmer’s Market!

* Corn on the cob with cilantro and lime butter.

* Chopped up fresh fruit by the bucketful.

* Omelet with portabello mushroom and red onion.

* Scrambled eggs with cheese. Practically every day. Also, tastes so good with a side of spicy eggplants. I can’t explain this, but it works.

* New Hatten chowder with garlic herb pita chips.

* Pita bread spread with hummus and cucumber.

* Sliced cherry tomato salad with corn, red onion, and bell pepper and dotted with feta.

I’m looking forward to sharing detailed recipes and pictures with you (and maybe even meal plans, if I get my act together), and I really hope everyone joins me posting to Farmer’s Market Haul. I can’t wait to see what you’re bringing home.

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Asparagus Shiitake Risotto

9 Jun

Recently I made some exceptionally delicious asparagus risotto after reading about E making it. It was creamy and unctuous, but the perky hit of the lemon kept it from being too rich. The asparagus was perfect and gave the whole dish the herbal hit that made me want to eat whole bowlfuls of it at a sitting. It wasn’t side dish risotto. It was main dish risotto.

I’ve been looking for more dishes that feature asparagus since its still in season, and while at the store I noticed some reasonably-priced sliced shiitake mushrooms. Now, shiitake mushrooms might be one of my favorite foods ever, but I usually only buy them dried. It’s much more economical that way (until I grow them myself), but since they were on sale I splurged and brought a container home. I’d seen mention of asparagus shiitake risotto before, so I pulled up a recipe and got to work. I made some changes as I always do.

I also decided the one photo of me wearing my onion goggles wasn’t enough, so here’s another. I’m making duckface because that’s the only way these goggles can get any sexier.

Again, I had me some medicinal wine.

And here’s a tip for amateur food photographers: don’t have access to even a cheap, DIY lightbox? (Let’s face it, if I left mine up the kid or the cats would destroy it.) A brightly lit clean white sink works well, especially if you can edit out any scratches or water droplets in post.

I had extremely high hopes for this risotto. Back when Anthony and I lived in a one bedroom apartment with a kitchen the size of a coach airline seat and a counter barely deep enough to rest a blender on, I used to cook constantly. Before I developed crohn’s I spent whole days cooking. One of the best things I ever made was a wild mushroom risotto, and the memory of that meal is indelibly burned into my palette. I’ve been aching to recreate the amazing flavor of that meal, and since this dish used shiitake I felt sure I’d taste the echos of it in the bowl.

I hate to say this recipe disappoints, but it does.  Asparagus and shiitake are two of my favorite things, and they taste wonderfully together, but, I couldn’t help but compare it to the asparagus risotto and the wild mushroom risotto of the past. The asparagus in this dish just wasn’t as good as the asparagus in the other, and same for the mushrooms.

It looked beautiful, and I don’t deny it was absolutely delicious. It just didn’t compete with the memory of the other two dishes. I kept expecting to taste that bright hit of the lemon, or that deep flavor of the dried shiitake.

Anthony and Isobel loved it, however, and although I made a ton it only lasted into the next day. It made me realize, however, that I’m going to have to try a bit harder to recreate the wild mushroom risotto I made a few years ago.

Anthony has been making this salad a lot lately, inspired by one we get at our favorite Greek place, and fortunately, it was even better than I remembered it.

Impromptu Zucchini Fritters

11 Apr

I wasn’t planning on making zucchini fritters for dinner the other night, but I was hungry and had just put in some potatoes to bake while I played in the kitchen with Isobel. I was just going to make a salad for the easiest dinner ever (baked potatoes with salad + a protein – typically hardboiled eggs or beans in the salad), and I noticed I happened to have a combination of ingredients that would make some really good fritters.

Typically a fritter is a fried food, a deep-fried food, and coated in batter. These zucchini fritters are shallow fried in a thin layer of oil, and the batter is incorporated into the patty. I have had unfortunate experiences with zucchini in the past so I’m rarely excited to eat it. But these were good. Really good. And easy enough to put together after a long day.

To make a zucchini fritter, you just need to start with a few ingredients:

The Basic Zucchini Fritter Ingredients

  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • ½ – 1 cup Panko crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • S&P

Please don’t stop there, though, because even adding one more ingredient makes a dramatic difference:

Extras & Add-Ins

  • 2-3 tbs jack cheese
  • ½ scallion, sliced thin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 handful chopped parsley
  • 1 tbs lemon zest
  • 1 tbs chives
  • Fresh or dried thyme
  • curry powder (thanks, Cameron!)

This time I added the jack cheese, parsley, and scallion, but lemon or garlic would be so, so awesome. Parmesan cheese, gouda, fontina—all of these would make lovely additions. The problem with adding cheese, however, is that they will be more likely to stick to the pan during frying. Next time I plan to add the cheese in the middle of the patty in an attempt to prevent this. I’m not sure it will work, though. (Also I think that playing around with the temperature might help.)

Directions:

1. Grate zucchini using a box grater, food processor, or flat cheese grater. I used the flat cheese grater because that was handy. Dragging out the food processor for just this step was not going to happen on a weeknight.

2. Toss your shredded zucchini into a bowl and add all the ingredients, basic and extra, that you plan to use (with the exception, perhaps, of the cheese, as noted above). Mix well.

3.  Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and swirl it around. You want to use a flavorful oil because it will impart its taste to the fritters, so I’d recommend against canola. (Unless you love canola oil! More power to you.) Heat the pan to medium.

4. While the pan heats, form patties from about 2 tbs of the mixture. They’ll be a bit crumbly—that is their nature.

5. Cook the fritters over medium heat for a few minutes on each side. Cook in batches, replenishing oil when necessary. When done, drain on a paper towel.

6. Serve with a dab of sour cream, a sprinkling of lemon juice, sriracha or ketchup, if that’s your bag. They are also good on their own, and taste great warm or at room temperature. (Probably cold, too, but I didn’t have any leftovers.)

Asparagus Risotto is OMFN

5 Apr

I’ve been doing that slow walk past the asparagus in the store lately. You know the one where you casually walk by, feigning indifference, while giving the object of your affection the side-eye? I used to save this sort of behavior for attractive dudes, but now that I’m a grown-ass married woman, I freely use the same tactic on produce.

On one recent weekly shopping trip I realized that the asparagus did indeed look good enough to pick up on. I had been dreaming of asparagus risotto ever since I read Elizabeth’s post describe it tasted like “sunshine and springtime.” I’ve made risotto several times, but I always stick to a wild mushroom variety. Tender asparagus was reason enough to branch out.

Did I ever tell you my Grandaddy grew up on a farm in the Delta that grew asparagus? It has a special place in my heart.

I deviated slightly from the recipe E posted. Because I’m a deviant. And because I already had pinot grigio instead of vermouth, and I didn’t want to add basil to my puree. Shallots, instead of onion. And I added more cheese, because well, obviously. Any glasses of wine I may have had during the cooking process were purely medicinal. I assure you.

The puree looked so lovely I took a dramatic picture of it. It’s the asparagus version of a Glamour Shot. It’s totally posting this photo on its Facebook. Also whenever I think about the word “puree” I always think about the pea puree debacle on Top Chef. Anybody else have this problem? No? Carry on.

There’s something satisfying about dumping incredibly delicious ingredients on top of the pale, buttery risotto.

There’s something even more satisfying about stirring it all together.

Ta da! The natural light was all gone when I was done so you’ll have to excuse the overhead lighting. Anthony, Isobel and I all ate huge greedy platefuls. Isobel, who’s had a complex love-hate relationship with rice, adored it and chomped on the asparagus tips until they were indistinguishable. I was going to freeze some of the leftovers and make risotto cakes with the rest, but alas, the leftovers were too good and we ate them all up before I had a chance.

I loved it so much I made up a new phrase for it, OMFN: Oh My Fucking Nom.

Pasta and Semis

17 Feb

Our heat’s out so I’m typing this while under a mountain of blankets and a footie pajama-clad toddler. She’s playing with our old checks and talking about cupcakes and Santa for no particular reason other than she likes them. Our winter has been extremely mild and right now the fact that our heat’s been out is mostly an inconvenience. We are lucky for that. It calls attention to the fact that there are several major things wrong with our house that get worse and more annoying everything. Soon we hope to change this.

Today, however, we are taking advantage of the Presidents’ holiday to organize, which, if you know me, is like a holiday in itself. I love organizing almost as much as a I love making lists.  The challenge will be entertaining Isobel while we work.

Isobel got this semi truck from her grandparents for Christmas. Obviously she loves it because 1. she can ride on it and 2. she can honk incessantly. Oh, also she can haul her Carebears around without having to carry them in her arms like a sucker. Speaking of Carebears, can some child of the 80s please tell me the name of this orange one with the star on its belly? Everyone whose been around it (including myself) has referred to it as “Sunshine Bear” before realizing that Sunshine Bear is yellow with a sun (duh) on her tummy.

Isobel still hasn’t gotten the knack for steering so if she runs into something she liberally applies the horn till someone corrects her trajectory. When outside, however, she just constantly presses on the horn, so much so that my neighbor just assumed it honked constantly when it was powered on. Oops.

By the way, if you have leftover lentils from your soup (because your child has insisted on drinking only the liquid of the soup for the past several days) just cook up a batch of pasta and throw it on with some olive oil and cheese. And everything will be all right.

Bloject 25: Steak

10 Feb

It’s about time I quit worrying and love the bomb procrastinating and get down to it: I joined former guest-poster Cookbook in her Bloject 25, a project designed to inspire people to cook 25 things they’d always wanted to cook but, for whatever reason, just haven’t yet. One of the items I wanted to conquer was steak. My list can be found here. If this is something you are interested in, join us! We’d love to have you.

Steak is expensive, so I’ve passed it up many times in favor of flank steak, or carne asada, or stew meat. It was something we only ate if we ordered it in restaurants. But all too often I experience the sting a disappointment when my requested medium-rare steak comes back grey and tough and well-done. At ten bucks a pop, though, I could never afford to experiment at home.

Hooray for steady employment and blojects, though, because last weekend I felt justified in buying two giant steaks. I decided to use a Pioneer Woman recipe because I figure, if anyone knows how to cook a steak, it’s someone from a family who raises cows for slaughter! The day of, however, I read the recipe I chose more carefully: the sauce is explained in full PW detail, with pictures accompanying each step. The method of cooking for the steak, however, was summed up cheerfully as, “Cook till done!” Not helpful for your average n00b. But she does make a killer blue cheese sauce, so I kept her recipe and went looking for another one.

After googling my problem  (“zomg why won’t PW tell me how to cook a steak!!!1!!!”) I discovered a recipe by Alton Brown that looked promising. Good old Alton. I still trust you, dude. All that weirdness from Next Iron Chef aside. I was especially excited because the recipe described the steak as “pan seared.” YES. This was what I wanted.

First off, when you cook steak, you’re probably going to want your sous chef to help. She might need to be pulled away from other, very important, cooking projects, though.

The meat needs to be at room temperature before it’s cooked, which, as Sunday recently mentioned in her post about salmon, all meat should be at room temperature first. I set my steaks face-down on the stove as it preheated. The reason for this was twofold: to absorb some of the heat, but also, to keep Jupiter’s thieving paws away from our dinner. I’d never leave the kitchen with them unattended, because one stray second away and he’s got himself some very expensive cat food, but it worked well enough when I was near.

Your sous chef, by this time, will be joining you.

I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but since I’ve been pregnant, I cannot just casually chop onions anymore. I used to chop bucketfuls without a second thought, but since the pregnancy, onions make my eyes fill with the sulfuric tears of Satan. It’s not the crying I mind, hell–I’d gladly take it–it’s the complete inability to open my eyes and the horrible, horrible pain. I can barely stand near a sautéing pan of them without the fumes getting to me at least a little. I have no idea if this change in me is really due to pregnancy or my advanced age or what, but my relationship with onions has changed. I tried all the tips and tricks and nothing worked. I avoided onions as much as possible.

And then, my friends Zack and Heidi got me a lovely Amazon giftcard for my birthday last year. And I broke down and bought these.

They work perfectly! I can now mince onions with the best of them, pain-free. The husband makes fun of me, of course, but whatever. I can slice onions again!

(Note on the make and model: they work, are not cute, and aren’t particularly sturdy. They are like very inexpensive sunglasses with foam attached. But the foam is well attached and sturdy and they work beautifully. They do everything they say they do and store easily in this little pouch.)

(Thanks again, Zack and Heidi!)

Here I am, chop-chopping.

Okay, not really. I’m actually pretending to chop while I take a picture. It’s technically a reenactment.

  Beautiful onions! I’ve missed you so.

The onions got to work caramelizing, like so, while I pulled the very hot pan out of the oven and plopped in the room-temperature meat. Just like Alton said, I waited the full 2 minutes before turning, and…

Dissapointment! No sear, or at least, barely any sear. This made me very sad as I do enjoy the burned bits. When I put them in the oven to finish them I realized: I had done nothing wrong. My oven didn’t get as hot as it was supposed to because after cooking for the recommended time for medium-rare, they were completely and totally raw in the middle. I put them in for a few minutes more, testing and thought about what I would do next time.

My not-so-hot oven explains the lack of sear, as well.

So, sauce is bubbling, meat is cooking, let’s have some veg, shall we? I steamed broccoli, because it’s one of Isobel’s favorite foods right now, and sliced up some grape tomatoes because I needed to eat them before they spoiled. They didn’t need the careful slicing I gave them—they would have been fine sliced in half or simply left whole. But I am so paranoid of Isobel choking I wanted to make sure they were easily ingested.

Sauce, you are looking wonderful. How’s our sous chef doing?

 Manning the kitchen towel station, I see.

OMG. Heart attack imminent.

If you don’t have an adorable sous chef, no need to panic: you can easily throw a towel over your own head and shout, “Peekaboo!” a few times as you whisk it off and you’re all set.

And now, the blue cheese.

I loved blue cheese as a child and then didn’t encounter it again for years. Anthony thought the effect was a little strong, and he’s not the hugest proponent of blue cheese with steak. Something I didn’t realize as he likes it otherwise. Well, crap. Fortunately, though, he loved the steak and dipped in the sauce more conservatively than I did.

Mmm! Here’s my plate. (Anthony’s plate is the photo at the top of the page.) First off, notice how lovely and pink it came out. Perfect. You’ll notice that Anthony’s portion is huge: for some reason I thought they’d shrink up a lot more than they did. We each ate about half of our steak and saved the rest for lunch the next day.

Isobel only had a couple bites of meat, as her ear infection messed with her appetite. She eagerly reached for the broccoli, though.

Those carefully sliced cherry tomatoes went totally untouched. Of course.

She sings constantly, and dinner is no exception. I love her broccoli crumbs.

Isobel always manages to sneak at least some of her meal on the floor for Jupiter. She’s a crazy cat lady already.

I normally make a sauce for the vegetables, or at least sprinkle over a little tamari or olive oil. In this case I knew there’d be sauce for miles, so I didn’t bother. I used the leftover sauce, onions, and meat and made THE BEST sandwich with a crusty French roll the next day. (I’m sure the snugness of my waistband is just a coincidence.)

And before I leave you, I wanted to tell you I saved all the jus from the meat, labeled it, and tossed it in the fridge to add to stew or gravy next time I make some. You all totally have a bag in your freezer labeled “meat juice” too, right? Right.

Stuffed Mushrooms

9 Feb

There’s something to be said for dinners alone. Dinners when you don’t have to think of anyone’s needs or tastes but your own. When you can eat whatever weird thing you want and your secret stays between you and your pantry cupboards.

While Anthony was gone I decided to try this recipe for stuffed mushrooms. Not that Anthony doesn’t love stuffed mushrooms, because he does and very much would have liked this recipe. But I was angling to eat only stuffed mushrooms for dinner, something he wouldn’t have been down for.

I decided to make this recipe on a whim, and right before I went to the store, so beyond the mushrooms I had very little of what I needed to faithfully recreate this recipe. If you’ve stuffed any vegetable before, you know that stuffing ingredients are extremely flexible. (See also: rebaked potatoes.)

Here’s what I lacked, and how I made up for it:

Shallots: A bit of onions and more garlic

Walnuts: Skipped nuts all together (I was counting on sharing with Isobel)

Parsley: I added some celery greens, but damn, I missed parsley

Dried thyme:  planned on getting fresh sage from the yard

Bread crumbs: Panko. I had bread crumbs, I just like panko better.

I had originally planned on crossing our lawn and picking some of the Mexican sage that grows between our property and our neighbors’.  I was really looking forward to the flavor of fresh sage, but we have been experiencing the worst Tule fog in years, and opening the door revealed a dark street (I had my lights on, and so did only one of our neighbors. Oh, and the street lamp was out). Everything was thickly coated in a shimmery blanket of cold, wet fog. I felt like leaving the comfort of my barely-lit front porch would mean entering a scene straight out of Silent Hill. With a baby.

So I decided to see what I had on hand in the old spice drawer.

Uh, yeah. It could use some organizing love.

Dried rosemary from the plant on my patio would have to do. Instead of the shallots, I used garlic and onion.

All of my spoons were too big to fill the mushroom caps. Surely, I had to have a smaller spoon somewhere?

Fortunately, Isobel let me borrow hers.

When creating food photography, be sure to include the prep mess in the background.

The photo of the end result is not that great because by the time they were ready all the available light had long since fled the kitchen room. They were good, and although I couldn’t get Isobel to share them with me (she was devoted solely to hummus at the time) she did enthusiastically shout MUSHROOM! MUSHROOM! at least five times, so I feel that’s progress.

Miss January’s Guest Post: Cookbook’s Lasagna

19 Jan

In the spirit of Overshare Wednesday I’m not going to lie: today is awful. I’m trying to keep the house together while Anthony is gone, take excellent care of Isobel, and oh yeah, occasionally go to work and take care of myself, too. Last night Isobel woke up crying at least once an hour from midnight on. I’m pretty sure it’s just teething but today I started coming down with (another) cold and so I’m hoping she’s not sick, too. Because frankly, I already have as much as I think I can handle. (Oh, also, there’s all kinds of stupidity happening with coworkers, but that’s not something I’m at liberty to talk about.)

Anyway, bullshit aside, I have a wonderful post lined up for you today. I put out a call a few months ago for guest bloggers and Camilla signed up to be Miss January. I love her blog, Lead Paint Cookbook, because she’s hilarious and she writes about things I like: Food. Housekeeping. Crashing bridal shows and causing mayhem. If you’re interested in guest blogging or switching blogs for a day, email me! I’d love to have you.

Today my Miss January is going to teach everyone how to make a delicious lasagna, and I’m going to take some mucinex.

ANYONE CAN MAKE VEGETABLE LASAGNA

Hello there, I’m Camilla, aka Cookbook. I blog over at Lead Paint Cookbook about my (mis)adventures with home cooking and housekeeping. I’m delighted to be guest blogging on Little Big today. Thanks, Carrie!

A couple weekends ago, my dear friend M was in town, which meant a Saturday night sleepover at my place with his “hens,” which is his affectionate nickname for me and my pals K and Christine. I suppose we do spend a lot of time clucking over him, but trust me, you would too if you ever met Mark. He’s that adorable.
The plan was for everyone to gather at my place around dinnertime on Saturday night. I decided to make a lasagna, because it is a dish you can almost never go wrong with. It’s really my go-to thing for crowds. Minus a few gluten-free friends, I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t like lasagna at least a little bit.

Given that half the sleepover attendees were vegetarian, I looked at a lot of recipes online and settled on a hybrid spinach-eggplant dish. Honestly, I kind of prefer veggie lasagna over meat-based anyway. I have a bit of a predilection toward Stouffer’s veggie lasagna, the family-sized one. It is one of my darkest secrets. That stuff is good, though, and guess what? The Stouffer’s factory is only about 20 minutes away from my home in Cleveland and they have an outlet store where all the factory seconds go. Be just a little bit jealous.

We all know homemade is better, though. And besides its relative ability to please a crowd, another thing I really like about lasagna is that it’s pretty easy to throw together and it’s also very forgiving, which is great if you’re not a super-exacting cook. All you have to remember is layers, sauce, cheese, filling, bake. Boom.

Here’s the recipe I went with:
Cookbook’s Vegetable Lasagna
1 large eggplant, sliced and quartered

1 8 oz. container baby bella mushrooms, chopped

1 lb. spinach, minus the stems
1/2 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced

1 large jar pasta sauce (I used a plain marinara, but if chunky or white’s your thing, go with that)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups grated mozzerella
1 box cooked lasagna noodles
1 large container cottage cheese (yes, instead of ricotta)
2 eggs
dashes of oregano, basil, salt and pepper

Method:
Boil your lasagna noodles according to package instructions. When they are cooked al dente, remove from water. Lay them out on a cookie sheet to cool. To prevent stickage, spray with some cooking spray or brush lightly with olive oil.
Cut your eggplant in discs, then cut the discs in half. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Oregano, too. Roast in oven at 425 for about 30 minutes.

This is pre-roast, obviously.

Meanwhile, prepare your other veggies. Have a friend help you, because cutting up veggies is a lot of work! If your friend finds a blade of grass mixed in with the spinach, allow him to pretend it’s a whistle:

Chop the onions and garlic and sautee in a bit of olive oil. This photo looks disgusting and I’m sure the folks at Cooks Illustrated would hang me for calling this my sautee, but it is what it is (and what it is is delicious):

Chop up the mushrooms too.
Add the mushrooms, onion-garlic sautee, and pasta sauce together in a pan and warm up. Season according to taste. Basil is always good. I recently found frozen fresh basil at Trader Joe’s which has kind of changed my life:

It’s frozen into individual 1 tsp portions. They also sell cilantro packaged the same way. THANK YOU ISRAEL.
While the sauce is simmering, mix the cottage cheese and eggs and about a cup and a half of the mozzarella. You can use ricotta if you want to, since that’s more authentic and everything. Ricotta weirds me out on some inexplicable level, so I stick with the dumbed-down American cottage cheese.

Then assemble everything. Coat the bottom of the pan with a bit of the sauce, then a layer of noodles topped with eggplant, topped with cheese, topped with sauce, then a layer of pasta going in the opposite direction, etc. In a typical pan you’ll end up with three layers of noodles.
Top it off with a very thin layer of sauce (to prevent the top layer of noodles from drying out) and cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350, or until the cheese is nicely browned on top and sorta bubbly.


Then eat. Serve with a nice salad. Enjoy!

Linkage

16 Jan

I enjoy link posts. Don’t you?

Join the bloject. Very soon now, I’m going to attempt steak.

My friend Brandon got me this shirt for my birthday. I wore it to work last Friday and no one complained.

Bridget Callahan came up with a new astrological system that I think is worth a shot.

This recipe for English Peas has been going around the internet. The comments are the best part. (Current fave: “Which 1/2 of the stick of butter should I melt?”)

Sunday is growing her own mushrooms. Jealous.

BSG fans need to check out this real estate listing: Included: Washer, Dryer, Toaster, Toaster, Toaster, Toaster.

I’m going to see Anthony Bourdain next month, so I’m reading Medium Raw in preparation.

I recently bought a copy of Not Your Mother’s Casseroles. I’ll admit I never would have bought this if the author wasn’t a contributing editor to The Kitchn. I’m curious to find out if these recipes are delicious. I’ll let you know.

The Haps

9 Dec

Here’s the haps:

* First and foremost, I’m participating in my Etsy Team’s sale, which means everything in the Little Big Shop is 15% off for shoppers who use the coupon code “librarylove.” Today is the last day of the sale. As my friend Librarianearp says, tell all your friends about the sale, or the terrorists win.

* The lovely and talented Windsor Grace allowed me to interview her. Check out her blog and an Etsy shop.

* I guest blogged for world-traveler and good friend Marie on her food blog Five Flavors. She asked me to post a recipe that I make often and so I’m sharing with you my version of Rebaked Potatoes. I attribute the success of my marriage to this recipe. It’s hard to fight when you’re eating enormous amounts of cheese. You’re just too damn happy.

* It’s worth mentioning that Marie is in New Zealand, which means I’m reaching a whole new audience: Middle Earth.  

* Anthony went to his first Christmas party with his new company. And he didn’t get drunk and Xerox his butt! I’m counting that as a win.

* Last night we did some shopping at Target and Isobel ran through the aisles shouting, “WE DID IT! WE DID IT! WE DID IT!” She also does this new thing where she says, “No biting! No biting!” before she tries to bite you. She’s also obsessed with the concept of sleeping. If the TV’s not on, it’s sleeping. If the bathtub isn’t full, it’s sleeping, if the neighbor dog isn’t currently barking, he’s sleeping. It’s adorable. Everything she does is adorable, though.

* Isobel quit using binkies when she was just a few months old. I really think that was tipping point in between her being a newborn infant and her being just a baby. Sometimes Isobel rummages through her old baskets and comes across her old binkes. She generally starts shouting, “Baby! Baby! A BABY!” The other day while I was doing laundry she left the room and came back a minute later with two binkies. One she put in her mouth and one she insisted go in mine. So we finished the laundry with binkies in our mouths.

When you have a toddler, you just have to roll with it.

* My daughter SINGS. She sings “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” “Ring Around the Roses,” “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and pretty much everything on Yo Gabba Gabba. Grandma taught her how to sing, “La Cucaracha”, and the other night she learned “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” in about three minutes. I’ve been trying to get a video of her singing. She’ll sing sponantously: at dinner, in the car, while playing with her toys. She’s a big (little) girl now.