Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cantaloupe salsa

This is amazing with chips or grilled fish.

3/4 cup chopped fresh cantaloupe
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno

Mix, let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Chicken and sausage with olive and anchovy sauce

1 1/2 lbs sweet or hot Italian sausage
3 lbs chicken, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
8 flat anchovy fillets
1/2 cup black olives
1 tablespoon drained capers
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup tomato sauce

Chop sausage and brown; drain. Brown chicken with olive oil. Add to sausage. Boil and simmer celery in water and salt for 5 minutes; remove celery and reserve liquid. To the fat in skillet (from browning sausage and chicken), add onion and mushroom. Add the rest, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken and sausage back in, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Use celery liquid if it starts to dry out.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Eggplant and barley salad

You can get the recipe here; reprinted below.

  • 1 1/2 pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped scallion (from 1 bunch)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/4 cups pearl barley (8 oz)
  • 1 (14-oz) can reduced-sodium chicken broth (1 3/4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, rinsed and drained if desired
  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

  • Accompaniment: 1 (1/2-lb) piece ricotta salata, cut crosswise into thin slices

Roast eggplant and zucchini:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
Toss eggplant and zucchini with 5 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then spread in 2 oiled large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pans. Roast vegetables in oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Combine vegetables in 1 pan and cool, reserving other pan for cooling barley.
Cook barley:
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook scallion, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add barley and cook, stirring until well coated with oil, 2 minutes more. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer to reserved shallow baking pan and spread to quickly cool, uncovered, to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Make dressing and assemble salad:
Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add barley, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to bowl with dressing and toss until combined well. Serve with cheese slices.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dutch-oven strawberry cobbler

The Texas Cowboy Kitchen

On my cross-country road trip three years ago, I took a cooking class in Houston and got this recipe. It's a great use for a large cast-iron skillet, if you have one. A regular Dutch oven works just as well, too.

You can get the recipe here; reprinted below.


4 cups sliced fresh-hulled strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons melted butter
Pastry (recipe follows)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


1 3/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening, cold
6 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream
6 tablespoons buttermilk
3 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place strawberries in a lightly greased Dutch oven. Make the syrup by combining the sugar and flour in a bowl; add water and lemon juice, mixing well. Pour syrup over berries; bake for about 15 minutes while preparing the pastry.
Adjust oven temperature to 425 degrees. Prepare the pastry by combining the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the shortening, a little at a time, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; stir in the whipping cream and buttermilk. Knead dough 4 or 5 times; roll to about 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough to fit baking dish. Place pastry over hot berries; brush with melted butter. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Before serving, combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over hot cobbler. Serve with buttermilk ice cream.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thai cucumber salad with roasted peanuts

As people in hot climates already know, eating spicy things when it's hot out will actually cool you off. (Hot peppers = you sweat = sweat evaporates and cools you off.) This is also a great way to use up cucumbers.

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 minced seeded jalapeno
2 minced garlic cloves
3 big cucumbers, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
3/4 cup sliced red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts

Whisk first five ingredients together. Place cucumbers, onion and mint in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coast. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cantaloupe granita

4 cups chopped ripe cantaloupe
1 1/3 cups sparkling wine
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Puree the cantaloupe and place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour into a 9-inch square pan, and partially freeze, stirring at about the 2-hour mark. Freeze uncovered until completely set (at least 3 hours, or overnight). Run a fork across the surface of the granita to form icy crystals. Cover and continue to freeze until ready to serve. Garnish with mint.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blueberry pie!

What says summer like blueberry pie? With this super-easy pie crust?

(Except maybe strawberry-rhubarb pie!)

Standard generic fruit pie recipe: (use two pints blueberries for this one)

pie crust
2 1/2 - 4 cups fruit
1 - 1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
lemon juice (half a lemon's worth)

Mix the fruit and other ingredients together, lay into the bottom crust, and cover with the top crust. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, then 350 25-30 minutes.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


There's not much excitement in my kitchen these days. No CSA, no fun summer fruits or vegetables, no new recipes really. Just the usual suspects: pizza, rice, beans, etc., as I try to use up whatever's in the pantry and in the freezer.

Complicating matters this week has been a 12-year-old boy, who will only eat the following vegetables: corn and carrots. Also iceberg lettuce if it's dripping with ranch dressing, but I don't count that as a vegetable. I've had to buy grapes and apples (the only fruits he'll eat), and dinner is predictably either a turkey sandwich (yellow mustard only) or pasta (after he scrapes all the tomato sauce off it). Do all parents go through this? I feel like holding him down and force-feeding him all the time.

Well, my brother was the same way, and he's still alive and not dying of scurvy. I'll make some cheese pizza today; that and the turkey sandwiches should carry everyone through the weekend. The adults have mainly been eating barbecue leftovers.

In a week we'll go visit my family and friends in Virginia, where I'm sure my mother will load me up with all the fresh garden produce my car can carry. We'll just hang on, eating sandwiches, till then.

In the meantime, I'll be posting some of my summer favorites. I won't be eating them, but you can. Have some for me while you're at it!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

You can freeze leftover barbecue

I learned this yesterday. You can freeze leftover barbecue!

I had a bunch of pulled pork left over from my houseguests this weekend. I filled a Ziploc bag full of shredded pork (just pork, no sauce) and popped it into the freezer. That's all you need to do. When you thaw it, you can use it for barbecue (you're going to cover it with barbecue sauce anyway, right?) or soups or casseroles or whatever.

Which means you could freeze it in small portions, then thaw one out whenever you feel like eating barbecue. Awesome.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A trip to Acadia National Park, and the Apocalypse Now Burger

I took advantage of having two full days off--in a row!--by taking DH and visiting stepson to Acadia National Park in Maine.

I've always wanted to go, and even though it was cold and foggy (no view from Cadillac Mountain, boo), it was still gorgeous. We stayed in a Motel 6 in Bangor (the finest accommodation $56 could buy), found a movie theater with $3.50 tickets, and ate sandwiches out of the cooler--except for a stop at Nosh Kitchen Bar in Portland, ME.

There, I had the Apocalypse Now burger--a pork-and-beef burger topped with bacon, cheese, mayo, pork belly, AND foie gras. And had bacon-dusted fries.

It was delicious.

I wasn't hungry again for another 24 hours.

I drove through Maine on my road trip, back in 2009; I wasn't particularly impressed at the time, though I didn't stop anywhere. It's still not a place I would want to live, but Acadia National Park was beautiful, and rural Maine in the summer is beautiful as well (if you can overlook the advanced state of decrepitude many of the houses are in). And I've added another national park to my roster.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Scallop ceviche

Another thing you can do with fresh, good-quality scallops is make a quick "scallop ceviche." Which is really just raw scallops, thinly sliced, on a plate with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Maybe some sea salt.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Last night's notable restaurant leftover haul included some enormous fresh scallops. These were easily three inches across, at least. I LOOOOOOOOOVE scallops, so naturally the first thing I did when I got home was pop those bad boys into a pan.

Good, fresh scallops need nothing more than a little butter and a hot pan. Get the pan hot, melt the butter, sear them for not even a minute on each side. Done. Delicious!

Try to avoid the temptation to cook them "all the way through." That will just make them chewy and tasteless. You want them a little raw in the middle. Quality seafood can, and should, be eaten raw.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Overnight cole slaw

Today is barbecue day!

And what goes with barbecue? Cole slaw, baked beans, and barbecue sauce. (Maybe some cheese grits.)

I'm not a big fan of mayo-heavy slaws. This slaw is great because you can make it the day before, and leave it sitting in the sun for as long as you need to, since there's no mayo involved.

3 1/2 lbs cabbage, shredded
1 large Vidalia onion, shredded
1 lb carrots, shredded
3 celery ribs, shredded
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup peanut oil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Mix the veggies together and add the sugar.

In a saucepan, combine the vinegar,oil, and seasonings (not the parsley). Bring to a boil. Pour the dressing over the slaw and mix well. Refrigerate overnight.

Just before serving, drain the slaw and add the parsley.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cheap desserts edition!

In preparation for a bunch of kids this weekend, I spent yesterday morning using up the last of my sugar.

I made chocolate chip cookies, fudge, pecan pralines, vanilla ice cream, and juice popsicles (orange-mango juice poured into popsicle molds).

Total cost: minimal, since I already had all the ingredients on hand.

If I want to get crazy, I can make ice cream sandwiches with the cookies and the ice cream, or milkshakes.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Fancy Free

For summer cocktail fun, I refer you to this article from the New York Times. It offers a fun "randomizer," in which you select a base spirit and it throws out a bunch of different cocktail options.

I made the Fancy Free, since I actually had those ingredients on hand.

2 ounces rye whiskey
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
Dash of Angostura bitters
Dash of orange bitters
Orange twist, for garnish

Stir, strain, serve over ice.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


This weekend, my stepson and his cousins will be visiting. If it were just my in-laws, I would have gotten milk and eggs, maybe some fruit, and called it a day. We would all be perfectly happy to eat red beans and rice and drink wine.

But kids aren't typically hip to eating pesto, beans, and gussied-up restaurant leftovers, so I had to break down and buy some junk food. Sandwich bread, lunch meat, cereal, juice, tortilla chips, plus fixings for a barbecue (pork roast, hamburger buns, cabbage for cole slaw, canned baked beans, and some sausages), plus the regular stuff I already needed: milk, eggs, cream, potatoes, etc. $150 on food, and I haven't even bought the fresh fruits and vegetables yet. (And I didn't buy the usual compliment of junk food, like hot dogs.)

I guarantee you he'll eat nothing but spaghetti, turkey sandwiches, and cereal next week. It'll be like pulling teeth to get an apple or a carrot stick in him.

If people raised their kids to eat the same things the adults eat, everyone would spend a lot less on groceries.

So the rest of the week will be spent prepping food for everyone, since I'll be working all next week. A huge batch of tomato sauce, frozen pizza dough, vanilla ice cream, and veggie sticks with dip (plus probably praline, fudge, and some form of cookies), and bread for the adults.

For the two of us, I've turned this week's batch of restaurant leftovers into mushroom risotto with asparagus and sea trout. (Also procured: peas, chives, and parmesan cheese.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Daiquiri (the original)

I'm back! Sorry about the lack of posts for the past two days--it's been difficult to come up with the time (and new content), what with working 60 hours a week on my feet and all. Neither DH nor I are eating much these days (I eat a lot of staff meal at work, he's not eating because he's unemployed and depressed), so I haven't been cooking much.

But family is coming to visit this weekend, so never fear! Exciting stuff is on the way!

In the meantime, let's talk about daiquiri. The original version, that is, not the frozen-drink-girly-fruity variety.

An old-school daiquiri is just rum, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake and serve up, preferably in a chilled glass. That's it. No crushed ice, no strawberries, no blender required. Rumor has it this was Ernest Hemingway's favorite drink.

1.75 oz rum
.75 oz lime juice
.75 oz simple syrup

Shake with ice, strain, and serve up.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pasta salad with crab, corn and fava beans

Remember the pasta salad with feta and fava beans from the other day?

I suddenly realized it could be so much more awesome.

I had some crabmeat from the restaurant that needed to be used up; I thought about making crab cakes, but I'd used all my eggs in the crustless mushroom quiche. So I combined the already-made pasta salad into a new, bigger, more awesome version of pasta salad:

Penne, with crab, corn, feta, and fava beans, along with olive oil, tarragon vinegar, and seasonings.

As a bonus, I used up all the crab, corn, feta, and fava beans.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Crustless mushroom quiche

Part of household management is paying attention. Every couple of days, I look at everything in the refrigerator, to see what might be on the cusp of going bad. Yesterday's foray reminded me that I still had several containers of restaurant leftovers to process.

So I used a huge plastic tub of sauteed baby mushrooms, and the rest of my eggs, to make a crustless mushroom quiche.

6-7 eggs
2 1/2 cups sauteed mushrooms
3/4 cup milk (I used watered-down heavy cream, which is not exactly the same, but hey, it's all I had)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
Seasonings: salt, pepper, dried herbs

Combine well. Pour into a buttered pie dish, and bake at 350 until the center doesn't wobble anymore (close to an hour).

Easy, low-maintenance, delicious. Now I just have to get some more eggs.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pasta salad with fava beans

I used this recipe from Saveur, without the tomatoes. I also used regular feta, distributed throughout, rather than the whipped feta.

On another note: I'll be really glad when it's fresh tomato season again.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Brisket, for those that don't know, is one of the famous barbecue cuts of beef. It sits on the cow's chest; and because cows don't have collarbones, that cut supports about 60% of the cow's weight. Which is why brisket is full of fat and connective tissues, and needs to be cooked low and slow for a long time in order to render it delicious. (Which is why it's great for barbecue.)

When it's cooked properly, it's meltingly delicious. I had the good fortune to get some leftover (cooked) brisket from my restaurant this week. Even a day old and reheated in the microwave, it was amazing. I made a mushroom risotto with some of the mushrooms I got, too, and served it with some brisket pieces on top.

I've never actually cooked brisket myself (just eaten it), but I can say it's definitely worth it. I can also it goes smashingly with mushroom risotto.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Crab and corn empanadas

I know I've said it before, but I love restaurant leftovers.

This week, I got several containers of crabmeat, several of sauteed mushrooms, a couple more containers of fava beans, and at least a pound of cooked brisket.

I see more crab cakes in my future; but I also made crab and corn empanadas with puff pastry.

1 cup crabmeat
1 cup corn
Juice of 1 lime
Old Bay seasoning
4 sheets of puff pastry, thawed and cut into four squares each

Mix together. Place a spoonful or two in the middle of each puff pastry square, and fold over to form a triangle. Seal the edges with a little water, and crimp with a fork. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown at the edges.

Serve with a Sriracha aioli (Sriracha + mayo).

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wine from my collection: Movia Lunar

Remember the undisgorged Puro? This is another wine by those same people.

It's orange. And cloudy. And delicious.

Eric Asimov of the New York Times said, "Movia’s 2005 Lunar is an experimental ribolla gialla wine, in which Ales Kristancic, an owner and the winemaker, tried to produce a wine basically without the touch of humans except at harvest. He put the grapes in specially designed barrels and then allowed them to ferment and age on their own for seven months, without pressing the grapes or adding any chemicals. They were then bottled without filtering."

Read about it here, here and here.

So there you go. Orange white wine, that has an almost chewy mouthfeel, that tastes like acidic orange blossoms and starfruit.

Best of all, I got a bottle for free, for breaking a record at work.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fresh cold homemade vanilla milkshake

Doesn't that sound like the most awesome thing ever?

I was making vanilla ice cream the other day, when a milkshake suddenly materialized in my brain. I don't know why that never occurred to me before.

Anyway, I let some of the vanilla ice cream sit out and get soft. Then I added whole milk, shook it really hard, and drank it.

So. Delicious.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Tequila Smash

Lime and mint-infused mezcal
Ginger syrup
Cranberry juice

Shake, serve over ice.

It tastes kind of like a lime and ginger cranberry drink, with smoke. Very intriguing.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Yard sale

The list, in order, of what to do when your husband is laid off.
1. File for unemployment.
2. Put the student loans into forbearance.
3. Have a yard sale.

"Have a yard sale" can be shorthand for "sell your crap on craigslist," too. The idea is to have a forced fire sale of assets, to bring in much-needed money. But this step also gets rid of unnecessary junk, in case of a forced move to a new location for a new job. Since we may very well have to move, and possibly move cross-country, a yard sale is the first step toward lightening that moving load.

So, hey, I'm having a yard sale tomorrow! Anyone in the New England area, you can tweet me @brokefoodie for the address.

I'm making a lot of money at my job, and my husband has qualified for the maximum in unemployment benefits, so hopefully we will not be in danger of either starving or bankruptcy. I've also been selling some furniture on craigslist; that's been bringing in some very welcome extra cash.

It's funny; every time I move I think, "That's it, I'm never doing this again," and I settle in and start nesting. I buy things to fill in the corners. Then I have to move again, and I think, "How did I get all this crap?" and I once again strip it down to the bare essentials.

The lesson here is: Less is more.