vegetables on bread

bruschettaThis is obviously from a few month ago when the farmers market was in full swing and I was always buying too much wonderful produce and then trying to decide what to do with it. I would often settle for an easy classic, vegetables in vinaigrette on garlic toast otherwise known as bruschetta. Usually considered an appetizer, but to me it is jut an open-faced sandwich.

The top picture is good old heirloom tomatoes with balsamic and basil. The second was a little more interesting,  marinated grilled eggplant, it sounds odd but was really very good. I especially liked it with my homemade labneh (Greek yogurt left to drain until it is the approximate consistency of cream cheese) to cut the acidity of the vinaigrette a little.

another 2 veggie dinner

Farmer’s market season leads to a fridge full of veggies. As I have mentioned before I love the two veggie meal. I love the two veggie meal.

Turnips and pork chops were good. Brining is a wonderful thing for pork chops but the sauces were a little sweet for my taste. Turnips are another vegetable that I feel is rather under appreciated, especially these little white ones.

The Asparagus – My first recipe from Thomas Keller. First I had to make the “parsley water” to cook the asparagus coins in….mine weren’t really coins. I just cut them up because I couldn’t do the “coins” with the mandolin they way he suggests. Parsley water sounds easy until you find yourself straining boiled parsley puree through a fine mesh strainer. Straining, one of of the few cooking activities that I dislike. And the asparagus was tasty… just not tasty enough for me to be making more parsley water.  I didn’t have any chives that day so I didn’t make the chive oil. I think I added a few dried chives to the pan.


eat more radishes


I feel like radishes are very under appreciated. I have kind of been in love with radishes lately. If you have some extras in the crisper drawer…try roasting them. Spicy!

The asparagus recipe called for steamed asparagus but I had the grill going for the steak and portobellos, so I grilled it. Next time I won’t mix the asparagus into the risotto. It tastes good together but it just gets mushy. I think risotto with a side of asparagus would be perfect….unless you are trying to hide it from someone.


Trapped at home, phlegm-y, wheezy, coughing? Have you been wearing the same sweatpants for 48 hours and you’re wondering if you can take NyQuil during the day?  Me TOO!

This is what I did… I cleared out my cabinets. I made some oatmeal with shredded apple for breakfast. Used all the odds and ends I could find to make blueberry-coconut-cinnamon-pecan-hazelnut-muesli-granola.  There are also flax-seeds, rolled oats, rye flakes, quinoa flakes, and black forest honey…maybe more. The NyQuil-phlegm fog in my head is still pretty thick.

Finally muffins, which I made because I have a Rachael Ray recipe that calls for store-bought lemon poppy seed muffins and I do not “buy” muffins. I did have to bathe and leave the house to buy some buttermilk for those muffins this afternoon. They were kind of delicious…buttermilk-lemon combo is excellent.

Pepitas! I forgot there are also pepitas!

savory bread pudding for xmas eve

pan of spinach artichoke bread puddingOkay, so I was going to make lamb shanks but the lamb shanks that I found at the grocery in my hometown in Wisconsin (not a place where lamb is a particularly popular meat) turned out to be inedible once removed from the shrink wrap and weird sticky bandage-like-wrapping-stuff. They were returned. Have you ever returned meat? Not fun.

Then my mother said that my aunt who was coming to dinner was a vegetarian, (Turns out she actually isn’t any longer.) but I found a recipe online from Emeril, (Not usually my favorite, as you can tell from my Emeril-less cookbook collection.) but all the ingredients would be available and fresh at the local grocery store and I thought it was non-controversial (I was wrong. Savory bread pudding, kind of like savory cheese cake or flan, disturbs people.) but everyone said they liked this, a kind of like spinach-artichoke dip with the bread (and lots of brie) already in it. It was rich and yummy and the leftovers were great.  Mid-westerners seem to turn their noses up a bit at the idea of eggs for dinner, at least a holiday dinner. For those of you that agree…we did have a side of steak.

I also made some mushroom latkes and onion-applesauce which were tasty but not very pretty and I didn’t have a good picture for the blog.  The recipe you will see calls for celery root. Again one of those things you take for granted in Chicago but that does not seem to be popular in Wisconsin, yet.  I finally found some squishy-moldy ones… I substituted with good old fashioned potatoes.

Rhubarb and Ginger Brioche Bread Pudding

bread pudding with whip cream and mint sprig in large shallow white bowlSo i didn’t love this combo of crystallized ginger and rhubarb. Both should add some bite here but this syrupy sweet bread pudding completely overpowered them. Luckily I made a very small batch. I promise, I ate a fair amount of it before I trashed the rest.

The best part was the whipped cream. Just plain old cream, whipped.

But you don’t have to take my word for it…recipe

cherry-pistachio biscotti

pistachio cherry biscotti

I am really a big fan of homemade biscotti… not those jaw breakers covered in chocolate from Starbucks, but lovely nuts and dried fruit, a little sweet, crunchy but crumbly. These were really crumbly and I almost had more biscotti crumbs then pick-them-up and eat them cookies.

I couldn’t find shelled pistachios at my little local grocery so I shelled them all myself….(sigh) that took a little time. I actually did it on the same day I did the fava beans so lots of shelling, shucking, peeling that day.

The mixed dried cherries from the bulk bin at Whole Foods were perfect and when it called for a little almond extract I was skeptical but it was a perfect little subtle flavor layer that of course works well with the cherries.

I would definitely say to give them a try.  –> recipe on bon appetit