Beer Batter Fried Green Olives with Sriracha Mayo

Beer Batter Fried Green Olives with Sriracha Mayo

Gone Girl.  Have you read the book?  It’s twisted and dark in the best way possible, a real page-turner, enormously suspenseful. Written by Gillian Flynn, who’s storytelling is wickedly funny and scrumptiously creepy, the plot is a sticky spiderweb of “who dunnit?” And now the movie adaptation comes out tomorrow, for which she also wrote the screenplay. They chose the perfect director for it, too: David Fincher! And it was filmed in my town, Cape Girardeau, Missouri!  And my family and I along with several of our friends got to be extras; an amazing experience! And, I also got to meet….wait for it….(no, not Neil Partrick Harris–Barney Stinson joke there)…but Ben Affleck. Gulp. Heart flutter. Swoon.

Roasted Tomatoes and Peppers

Roasted Tomatoes & Peppers

Ok, so today IS officially the first day of fall, or tonight rather…but where I live (southeast Missouri), there are still tomatoes and peppers aplenty.  And thank goodness for that, because this recipe has me swooning.  Plus it’s insanely easy.  You take a buttload of tomatoes, a couple bell peppers, a couple jalapeños, an onion, some herbs, and a hellaton of garlic and douse it with olive oil.  Season it with salt and pepper and roast it for 1 1/2 hours.  It turns into a lovely melted spreadable pool of sweet spicy caramelized summer veggies.  It tastes similar to a Fra Diavolo pasta sauce.  You will love it.  I definitely love it.  Even my not-such-a-big-fan-of-tomatoes son loves it.  And the best thing about it is it’s versatility.  I like to spread it on toasted bread, but it would perfect as a pasta sauce.  I also used it in kale and black bean quesadillas.  You could serve it over grilled mushrooms or fish.  Or you could puree it and add some tomato juice or milk/cream for a spicy tomato bisque.  So many possibilities!

Potato Kale Cakes with Kimchee Mayo

Potato Kale Cakes with Kimchee Mayo

Over the past month I’ve made 2 new food discoveries: savory (the herb) and kimchee (Korea’s national dish).  I’m in love with both…and though they may seem like strange bedfellows, I’ve put them together in this recipe.

Savory, the winter variety, was introduced to me through my CSA; one of the many awesome benefits of being a member is experimenting with new foods and flavors.  To me, it tastes like a cross between thyme and flat-leaf parsley; it resembles the woodsy flavor of thyme, but also has a clean, bright quality similar to parsley. It’s a beautiful in-between seasons kind of herb.  I’ve been using it in everything, including these potato kale cakes.

“Everything” Flatbread with Curried Zucchini Butter

"Everything" Flatbread with Curried Zucchini Butter

Each summer there seems to be a point we reach where there is an overabundance of summer squash everywhere.  A plethora, if you will.  Gardening friends and familiy try to pawn it off on one another, CSA boxes go through a heavy squash period, and farmers market tables overflow with all kinds of squash varieties.  Some people wonder, “what the heck am I going to do with all this squash?”  I got ya covered.

Embrace a CAN-do attitude!

 

Canning 2014

As a little girl I made several trips to basements retrieving glass, sometimes dusty, jars of preserved food. Both sets of grandparents lived on farms in southeast Nebraska and grew a lot of their own food.  “Jaime, run downstairs and get me 2 quarts of green beans.”   “Jaime, can you go to the basement and pick out a jar of dill pickles?”  “Jaime, go grab a pint of tomato juice from the basement cupboard.”  I grew up with canned (jarred) food and really didn’t think too much about it.  My mom and grandma would spend many summer days “putting up” sweet corn, beans, tomatoes, beets, pickles, relish, etc., and although my older sister and I would help out from time-to-time (mainly snapping beans or shucking corn), I wasn’t too interested in it nor did I understand the value or importance of it. It was just there, in the background of my childhood.

Strawberry Bruschetta w/ Nutella & Whipped Coconut Cream

Strawberry Bruschetta w/ Nutella & Whipped Coconut CreamI’ve been making this ultra simple dessert for years and I look forward to strawberry season specifically for this treat!  Grilled bread, topped with Nutella, sliced strawberries and whipped coconut cream is the perfect ending to any springtime meal, especially when you’ve already got the grill fired up.

In years past, I topped the strawberries with homemade whipped cream (the dairy kind), but this year I decided to give whipped coconut cream a try…and all I could think was, “Why the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks didn’t I try this sooner?”  It’s good.  Darn good.  So stinkin’ good.  I. like. really. lots.

Radishes with Tarragon – Garlic Chive Butter

Radishes with Tarragon - Garlic Chive Butter

Often the best snacks or party appetizers are the simplest ones that highlight fresh, raw ingredients.  With spring in full force and my local farmers market having just opened up, I wanted to taste the season.  Literally.  I found three kinds of radishes from one vendor and tarragon and garlic chives from another.  These had to join forces somehow…but with minimal manipulation.

Avocado Hummus

Avocado hummus
Hummus and I go way back.  During my college years in San Francisco, my husband and I lived on bagel and hummus sandwiches.  It was vegetarian, it was filling and it was cheap.  It was the broke-college-student-Californian version of ramen noodles.  After that, I couldn’t eat hummus for years.  Especially because the cheap hummus we bought was akin to eating spackling paste…I did say it was filling (horribly bad pun intended).  But years have gone by, I’ve birthed a human, landed back in the Midwest, and I can once again eat hummus.  Time heals all wounds.

Hummus tends to be the go-to party dip and I’ve found the best hummus is either at a Mediterranean restaurant or homemade.  So skip the store-bought paste and make your own!

Homemade Ricotta Cheese and Ricotta-mole

Homemade Ricotta Cheese
There’s something incredibly satisfying about making your own cheese.  It feels a little Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Sorta like you’re accomplishing something you thought could only be done on some far-away farm surrounded by grazing sheep, arcadian meadows, and rickety wooden fences…or in a cheese-making factory.  But it doesn’t.  And it’s really simple.

Indian-spiced Kettle Corn with Coconut Flakes (and a reminder)

Indian-spiced kettle corn with coconut flakes

every now and then you get a reminder.  a reminder that’s strong.  a reminder that makes you pause…and forget the everydayness of too much laundry, too little time, and too few minutes spent at the breakfast table sitting mesmerized by your son’s inability to care that his “brother” (a.k.a. pet cat) just stuck its tail in his nearly overflowing cereal bowl (when the generic brand of cinnamon toast crunch cereal is on sale, it’s christmas in our household–there just isn’t enough milk in the world…fill that bowl to the brim!).

i digress.