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.

cheesecloth is fun

bakedricotta

IMG_1774

I have fancy new gadgets that I received for Christmas presents yet all I want to do is play with cheesecloth. I feel a bit like a kid with a big cardboard box.

I think the recipe was calling for a “round” ricotta meaning some sort of drained and pressed ricotta which I did not find. So I drained and pressed my own. I’m getting rather proficient with the cheese thing if I do say so myself…and I do. At first I didn’t brush on any olive oil and it wasn’t getting browned. Once I added the olive oil it did.

I had preserved lemons, fresh lemon juice, garlic, parsley, garlic and cilantro for the relish but I didn’t find plain semi-dried tomatoes so these were some marinated ones I I found in the grocery store olive bar… it was all the more super flavorful, but delicious. Good crusty bread is obviously required for success, so I bought the bread. This is really more of an appetizer, but if you eat enough of it with a salad, as I did,  it can be dinner. I can’t really find a comparable recipe online for you so here it is:

Cheese

ricotta (as I mentioned I bought some fresh hand dipped)
some olive oil

I wrapped the ricotta tightly in a doubled section of cheese cloth, put it in a strainer over a bowl with a saucer and a big heavy can in the fridge for most of the day. Then heated the oven up, not sure what temp, put the drained cheese in a casserole and put it in the oven, at some point I brushed on the olive oil. The recipe says to heat the oven to 500F, brush with olive oil right away and bake for 20-30 minutes. You should probably use those directions rather than mine.

Relish

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 preserved lemon, rinsed, pith and flesh removed an cut into strips (this always seems like such a waste but you will just want the rind)
5 oz semi-dried tomatoes (this seems like a European/Australian thing so you may have to be a little flexible and creative if you live in the US or order them online)
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

I smashed my garlic in a mortar and pestle and then put the rest together in a bowl.

Assembly

bread

I toasted the bread, cut out some of the baked ricotta and put on top, spooned on some of the relish.

a dip made of lima beans

1 can of lima beans (or butter beans) drained

3 tablespoons of the reserved bean liquid

1 smashed garlic clove

3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon of fresh minced dill

1/2 tablespoon of fresh chopped mint

1/2 teaspoon of olive oil (puree all the above in a food processor until smooth then add the onions and season)

3 tablespoons of minced red onions

salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

(I like mine with multi-grain pita chips)

very different sesame recipes

sesame shrimp toastsesame stick cookies Both made on the same day with only 1 similarity. Sesame seeds. On the left deep fried sesame shrimp toast. On the right sesame-almond butter cookies. Okay 2 things in common. They are both highfat recipes. Also kind of a geometry thing, triangles and rectangles.

Bad mashed potatoes?

Okay, I have not written anything in awhile but I’ve had a run of bad luck and who wants to read post after post about the really yucky food I made last week, which I threw out and ended up eating pizza and sandwiches. So here is the summary:

steakandmashedmasher cakes, steak in lots of steak sauce and salad

Yes, bad mashed potatoes, sorry Alton, they were actually bad. Maybe I did something wrong? Although I’m not sure how that is possible. I also did not like the cognac blue cheese sauce.

I did really like the ‘masher cakes’ recipe where you mix the leftover mashed potatoes with an egg and some green onion then cover in panko bread crumbs and fry…yummy. I then also doctored the questionable cognac blue cheese sauce into some homemade steak sauce that was pretty yummy. So take-2 was pretty good.

fish with fennel and couscous

And this one was really gross. Swordfish steaks with fennel. I put it on some whole wheat couscous…..seriously foul. There was no take-2 here and I threw most of it away. Thank you Moosewood.

taramasalataAnd finally Taramasalata…two bites…that is all I managed. The rest went in the dumpster.  This is supposed to be a very popular dip in Greece made with salted/cured fish roe. Now, I like smoked fish; I like roe (fish eggs); I like dip made with smoked fish; I really hated this!!!   I will not be trying it again.  If I ever find myself in a seaside cafe in Greece, then, perhaps, someone might talk me into trying it just one more time.  I will try not to memory gag.

RoastedBalsamicOnionsI had some extra pearl onions so I decided to make this recipe.  Now I’m not a particular fan of onions or balsamic vinegar, but these were good.  Just don’t leave them in the fridge for days, the marinade separates and they are left soaking in balsamic vinegar which makes them inedible. But after that first night of marinating they are sweet and caramel-ly and delicious.

look Amber the dough actually rose!

pizza doughturkish pizza before baking

So last weekend I had grand plans to make a “Turkish pizza” recipe for the football game. Go Packers!  I made the filling at home and was set to make the dough at Amber’s house because I though Kiran, who is 5, may have fun making the little boat shaped pizza’s with me. Now,  I used the recipe in Best-Ever 500 recipes and I should know by now that there are some great flavor combos in there and fun exotic stuff, but for technique or skill type recipes they tend to fall flat. For example their directions for making mayo…complete fail. But I always try their recipe first…sucker.   Basically I made a giant mess and an eternally flat rubbery disk of dough.  After a few futile hours I just threw it away. Luckily we had plenty of other food.

At home the next day I used John Ash’s recipe for pizza dough which of course was much better! Then, and probably most importantly, I checked the temp of the water I put the yeast in… apparently I was using water that was way to hot…rats!  Also I used my much loved new mixer to mix/knead (super easy!) and guess what…success!!!  It rose!  I was very excited and I made myself some little Turkish pizzas for dinner.

turkish pizza baked