We picked up two tubers of Okinawan sweet potatoes at the Whole Foods in Kahului on a whim. We grilled them, opened them up, added a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt and got hit with a whammie. As rich and sweet as chocolate cake, we will definitely fold this veggie in to our repoitoire. You should, too.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
I strongly suggest a glass of solid champagne at the end of a particularly taxing day. Simple ways to celebrate small successes are underrated and almost always well-deserved. Salute!
Saturday, September 21, 2013
We each had a cup of these at the beach the other day. So easy, so simple and the perfect savory snack.
If your fridge is overflowing with kale, just toss a ribbed and torn bunch with 2 tbsp of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Lay it all out on a baking sheet (or two) and roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. You're looking for the crisp of a light potato chip. And you'll never need to eat one again once you perfect this recipe.
Perfect for a weekend brunch at home, this frittata recipe adapted from "Lidia's Italy" is sure to please. If you don't have asparagus on hand, substitute it out for any other veggies available or use more seasonal greens found at your local Saturday farmer's market. Don't sweat the fillings. This one is all about the technique, easy and versatile.
If you opt for asparagus, start with half a pound of fresh, thin spears. Cut off the thick bottoms, one or two inches. Then, dice them in to quarter-inch pieces.
Do the same with 2 oz. of bacon. I opted to cut the bacon in to lardons, thin slices comparable to the dice of the asparagus. We are aiming for consistency here, so that everything cooks at the same rate.
Dice 1/4 lb. of scallions in to quarter-inch pieces as well.
Now, pour 1-1/2 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil in to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon. Let the fat render out for a few seconds. Then, toss in the asparagus. Stir and cover the pan until the asparagus softens, about three minutes.
Add the scallion. Some salt. Stir. Cover and cook about four minutes more.
While that's happening, grab 4 large eggs.
Beat them in a bowl, adding salt and pepper.
The vegetables in the skillet should be ready now. Lift the cover and raise the heat until any moisture is evaporated.
Lower the heat back to medium as you spread the vegetables out evenly in the pan.
Now, pour the eggs over them.
Let the eggs set and don't move them.
Cover them, so that the top cooks as evenly as the bottom of the frittata.
The time it takes your eggs to cook depends on lots of variables particular to your circumstances. Ours took about three minutes. Yours may take more time, or less if you are using a shallower pan. You are looking for a cooked top, absent of any runny liquid.
Once your eggs are ready, you can opt to flip them out of the pan on to a plate, turning the frittata right side up by flipping it on to another plate. Or, you can simply slide it out on to a plate with a spatula.
Sprinkle with a little parsley. Cut and serve.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Toddlers are skeptical. "What's that?" Jada asked, wary of the wet slabs of mozzarella laying between her and her favorite vegetable.
"Cheese!" Michele and I answered in unison, all smiles and hype.
I cut off a sliver for her. "Try it. It's the same cheese we use to make your pizza."
Jada popped the mozz in to her mouth and smacked loudly as she chewed. She swallowed, "Mmmm! I want more!" (I'd include the photo of her smiling from ear to ear at the dinner table but she opted to go topless tonight.)
It took only minutes for her to get the hang of poking a little piece of cheese, with a little wedge of tomato and a tiny sliver of basil on to the tip of her fork to swirl in her favorite condiment, olive oil. She's a natural.
Here is the recipe for a classic caprese, a great way to use the abundance of tomatoes available this time of year:
Slice 3 tomatoes in to thin wedges. Then slice 8 oz. of mozzarella cheese in to wedges, the same thickness. Sprinkle with a generous douse of good olive oil, some salt and a little pepper. Some people/ Americans go heavy on the addition of balsamic. Michele insists that Italians keep it clean. Tomatoes, cheese, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Basta.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
There was one wine glass left in the cabinet. All of the others had broken and
dinner was impossible without a pair. So the plan was to pick up temporary replacements on a quick run to the grocery store.
Single seven dollar cheapies were the only options on the shelf. I refused.
But when I looked down a little lower, past the rocks glasses and shot glasses, I spied a bunch of canning jars, all sizes, starting at only two bucks.
Score. Wine glasses at trattorias and homes all over Italy are little more than the same. John Landis Mason's 1858 patent has been used to hold everything from moonshine to milk here in the US and speaks to simpler, slower times.
"Why not?" I thought as I picked up two six ounce minis. "It's only for tonight."
Well, let me tell you how I have not been to a home goods store since. The idea of holding onto a skinny stem while I sip my wine holds no satisfaction now. My mini mason feel good in my hand, substantial. It's portable, not precious. It gives me the same satisfaction whether I am drinking Pino or Pepsi, ubiquitous and utilitarian.
Maybe I'll find my way back to wine glasses. I can see a special occasion needing something more. Until then I'll be sipping out of my jar, like many Americans before me, completely satisfied.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Seems like a lifetime since we planted our first seeds. Three months later, we are beginning to harvest. Today, Jada picked our first tomatoes.
If you find yourself with an abundance, make this.
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013
The long Labor Day weekend takes on a whole new meaning meeting the round the clock needs of a two year old and we didn't even travel or do any day trips. Just the usual weekend drives to Kihei and Kahului to run errands, dips at the local beaches and laps in the pool, nothing crazy.
Maybe we're getting old. Maybe Jada is a typical whirlwind of needs and demands that would drain the most seasoned parent. Either way, after putting her to bed tonight, Michele and I were like lumps on either side of the sofa, blinking blankly at the ten o'clock news.
How was your holiday? Are you ready to get back to the grind?