Radish Top Pesto

Radish Top Pesto

It’s taken me a little while to do anything with radish tops.  They kinda make me nervous.  I think it’s their prickliness.  But in my past two CSA boxes there have been some beautiful bunches of radishes attached to these soaring magnificent green leaves.  I just couldn’t toss them into the compost bin anymore, I had to figure out something to do with them.  And as one does with many peculiar greens they’re unsure of what do with, I made a pesto.  It turned out delicious!

Arugula Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash & Red Onions

Arugula Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash & Red Onions

My CSA box has done it again.  It’s led me to another veggie crush; this time delicata squash.  Have you tried it?  It’s a smallish cylindrical squash with stipey thin skin and sweet rich flesh.  I think I may even love it more than butternut squash, especially since it’s much easier to work with – you won’t lose a finger trying to cut it up and you can eat the skin (major nutrition!) so no peeling required.  It’s small size and thin skin also means it cooks quicker, high fives all around!

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!

3-Bean Salad with Avocado Cashew Dressing

3-Bean Salad with Avocado Cashew Dressing

The other day I was standing at the deli counter in my grocery store waiting for a lid to an olive bar container.  I stood there staring at the various “salads” that lay limp, soaked in dressings and vinegars, and couldn’t take my eyes off of the 3-bean salad.  It was drowning in a pool of vinegar dressing, which I imagined was sweetened to death with loads of sugar just to make it palatable.  I thought to myself, this potluck/family reunion staple needs a makeover.  I’ve got green beans from my CSA and dried black beans and chickpeas waiting to be used; let’s jazz up this boring, tired salad and give it a fresh zippy kick in the beans!  {see what i did there}

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.

Brûléed Peaches

Brûléed Peaches

Sometimes you have failures in the kitchen.  You come up with a recipe idea, execute it, and it just doesn’t come out right.  Back to square one.  It can be a real bummer.

Other times, you have recipe failures and out of them comes something brilliant!  That’s what happened here.  I really wanted to make peach crème brûlée.  I had a bunch of peach skins I saved from making a recipe with peeled peaches.  I thought I could steep the peach skins in the cream and that would impart a light peachy flavor into the crème brûlée.  I was so excited.  My husband and son were so excited.  We couldn’t wait to crack into that sugared top and dig into the creamy peach custard!  But it didn’t work.  You couldn’t taste any peach at all.  Major bummer.

Then an idea struck me.  Why not just brûlée the peaches themselves and serve them with ice cream?  Yes, so much yes!

Charred Eggplant with Maple Balsamic Syrup

Charred Eggplant with Maple Balsamic Syrup

This is weird, but every time I see eggplant I think of that old 1980’s Nintendo game Kid Icarus.  My siblings and I used to play that for hours.  There’s a part in that game where you’re in a dungeon and you come across an eggplant-throwing monster.  You have to dodge the flying purple eggplants as you pass through the room and if you get hit by one you turn into a giant eggplant with feet.  I think that game was actually where I first found out about eggplants.  Strange, I know.  A little sad?  Perhaps.

Panzanella

Panzanella

This Tuscan bread and tomato salad is exactly why summer was invented.  It brings together the lovely veg that’s simultaneously in season; a harmony of ingredients and flavor.  Historically, this dish spanned all classes of 16th century Italy.  Though namely a peasant dish — it was a way to use up stale bread, which back then was only baked once a week — it was also adored by nobility.  Poets even wrote about it.  The stale bread was soaked in water and vinegar to soften then tossed with whatever vegetables came out of the garden, most commonly onions and cucumbers.  Tomatoes weren’t introduced to the salad until the 1800’s.