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Archive for July, 2010

Rivalry

Xander, trying to keep his sister from taking something that belongs to him (yet again): “Clare, can I tell you what sharing is?”

Clare: “Mine!”

So, that’s going really well.

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Big and small at the same time. Kind of like being five years old.

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Last summer, when our weekly CSA box began to overflow with peppers and potatoes, I came up with this simple, flavorful dish. Let’s just say we’ve had it a lot in the past year. It’s great for lunch or dinner, but you could add scrambled eggs to create a tasty breakfast burrito.

Potato, pepper and onion wraps

1 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 red potatoes, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
1 onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tortillas
sour cream

Warm olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add sliced potatoes in a single layer, then salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat once the potatoes are brown on one side.

Flip potatoes and add red pepper and onion. Cook over medium heat until red peppers are soft and onions have caramelized.

Turn heat to low and add minced garlic. Let it cook for just a minute or two, being careful not to let the garlic burn.

Heat four tortillas, swirl a dollop of sour cream atop each one, and then drop 1/4 of the potato, pepper onion mixture on each tortilla. Wrap burrito-style and enjoy!

These wraps are also great for a casual dinner party or brunch. Line a buffet with the potato, pepper and onion mixture, a bowl of rice, salsa, black beans, and shredded cheese for perfect prep-your-own party fare.

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Olympia is finally enjoying sustained summer heat. Like, above-90-degrees heat. Scorching.

While many folks are excited about the heat, many others dread it. Can you tell on which side of that debate I fall? One thing everyone can agree on: don’t even think about turning on the stove or oven.

Beigeland, like most in houses in the Pacific Northwest, doesn’t have air conditioning. So instead of risking a rise in indoor temperature by even a degree or two, when it gets hot, I make this cool Caprese salad. Serve with a chilled glass of Chardonnay and call it dinner. Have a second glass of wine and call it dessert.

Caprese salad

3 vine-ripened tomatoes
1 pound fresh mozzarella
1 bunch fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Assembly is simple. Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into equal widths — 1/4 of an inch is usually perfect. Then layer alternating slices across a serving platter. You can include basil leaves in the layering of tomatoes and basil, or you can julienne the basil and sprinkle it atop the red-and-white salad. Drizzle with olive oil and dust lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!

One caveat: This dish’s success relies completely on quality ingredients. Fresh tomatoes (grow your own or get thee to your local farmers market); fresh mozzarella (don’t even THINK about the dry stuff; it must be packed in water or brine); and fresh basil. Nothing less will do.

A friend once tried to recreate this Caprese salad, but used out-of-season grocery store tomatoes, sliced low-moisture mozzarella, and dried basil. The outcome was nothing like she’d hoped for. Learn from her mistake.

Tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, and a splash of olive oil. It’s the definition of relaxed, hot-weather eating.

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