August 25, 2015

Roasted Corn and Tomato Crostata

Roasted Corn and Tomato Crostada

Fall is time for fresh starts. Back-to-...well, not school anymore for me although that's a tempting option with its tidy structure and respectable nature. If only it were that simple.

The kids are older and in school all day so what I "do" is mostly a little of this (volunteering and freelancing) and a never ending amount of that (housework, maintenance and filling out forms and such). There's not near as much goofing off as you might think (a serious personal failing).

And I'm lucky, really lucky to be able to not work full-time. But the itch still remains—to get back in, to feel relevant in the larger world, to not have to listen to the strains of "oh, your work is so important" and "that's the hardest work there is" when the inevitable meeting someone new question comes up. Their responses are well-intentioned and spoken truthfully but stinging somehow and my paranoid subconscious is whispering "yeah, they think you're a powder puff who bakes cookies all day and thinks it's an achievement". This really cuts close to the bone because I often DO bake cookies all day and blog about my achievement.

But lookie here. My kids are at their core, secure. Secure in the way a person is without knowing it because it's just how it is, all they've ever known—loved, cared for and never had to question it. Question lots of other things, sure, but not the big one. I saw and envied that in people and wanted it for my kids. The only way I thought I could swing it was to pilot the parenting ship 24/7.

I admire people who can do as well with a lot more outside demands but I didn't think I could be one of them. Quantity time was only option for me.

Speaking of quantity, I put a lot into this crostata—a free form pie that's easy–with the texture and flavor of pastry crust and all the goodness of late summer vegetables. The pastry recipe is my go-to. You can add a few tablespoons of sugar for a sweet variation or a handful of cheese for savoriness. I roast the vegetables for a bit to remove some the crust stays crispier. Good warm or at room temperature.

Roasted Corn and Tomato Crostata

makes one 12 inch pie

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and chilled (or frozen)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8-10 tablespoons ice water

4 medium tomatoes
2 ears corn
1 medium zucchini
2 teaspoons Herb de Provence or a mix of dried basil and thyme
kosher salt
olive oil
2 tablespoons goat cheese
1 egg (for brushing pastry), whisked

Preheat oven to 350º

Make pastry. Combine flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until flour is pebbly. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time until dough sticks together when you grab it between your fingers. Add more flour or water if it's too wet or dry. Dump onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a thick, flat disk (a big hockey puck). Wrap completely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Roast veggies. Slice tomatoes into 1/4" slices and lay on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with Herb de Provence and kosher salt. Drizzle with a little olive oil.

Slice zucchini into 1/2" rounds and lay on another sheet pan. Salt and drizzle with olive oil.

Cut corn off cobs and toss with a little olive oil and salt. Spread onto sheet pan with zucchini if it will fit or use another pan.

Roast tomatoes for 45-60 minutes and zucchini and corn for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Turn oven up to 425º

Remove pastry from fridge and roll out between two sheets of plastic wrap to 1/4" thickness. Put on a sheet pan and, if you have time, refrigerate it for 30 minutes. If not, go ahead and mound vegetable filling in the center, top with goat cheese and spread out leaving a 2" border. Fold up border and brush with whisked egg using a pastry brush. Sprinkle on some coarse salt.

Bake for 45-60 minutes until brown and crisp-looking.

August 15, 2015

Pitch: The Best Way to Reheat Leftover Pizza

The Best Way to Reheat Leftover Pizza

Best Way to Reheat Leftover Pizza

I don't usually use the word "best". It sounds arrogant and I'm always open to the possibility that there might be a better way to do things. I'm open-minded that way. Give me a well-reasoned explanation for your perspective and I might very well change my mind. 

August 8, 2015

Pitch: Salt Your Watermelon

Salt Your Watermelon

Last spring break we rented a house in Hawaii with some good friends and spent a week beaching and sunning and eating lots of fresh fish and shave ice. They have two sons that are roughly the same age as our daughters so it's like a family vacation but with less bickering.

June 19, 2015

Food52 Community Pick

Well, this makes my day. My favorite food site in the world, Food52, picked one of my recipes as a "Community Favorite". I'm thrilled because I love this site and the wonderful people who put it together. It's a true cooking community, stylishly presented, without the ragtag look and annoying ads and pop-up videos of some other sites. The articles and recipes are smart, inventive, real and fun. Yes, I'm a fan.

And just look at that great photo of my recipe, Puttanesca Panzanella!

June 7, 2015

Salmon with Cilantro Sauce and Cauliflower "Rice"

Grilled Salmon with Cilantro Jalapeño Sauce and Cauliflower "Rice"

I don't know what other people's experience is caring for someone with cancer but mine has been a surprise. I think I expected Mike to be pensive while the two of us have misty-eyed meaningful discussions. But our actual conversations have been kind of one-sided with Mike being, frankly, crabby, demanding and not necessarily um...linear in his thinking.

May 15, 2015

Raw Beet Salad

Raw Beet and Quinoa Salad

I don't know how it happens but sometimes a little extra sneaks up on me. OK, that's a lie. I know how it happens. Pretzel bread, raspberry pie, creamy curried pasta and my enjoyment of them have left me with a bit more around my waist. Not a big deal in the whole scheme of my life these days, but an irritation when my pants are tight and the zipper won't stay up because my stomach is fighting for a little more room. So I increase my running and consumption of things like this, a raw beet salad.

May 12, 2015

See you later, toast.

My husband Mike has cancer. Nasty MF @#$%&! esophageal cancer. Are you clear on what the initials MF stand for? Not My Favorite. Not Mon Frere. The other one. The one that feels so good to say. So appropriate. It deserves it for doing it's nasty work inside his body before announcing itself via a little fatigue, pain and weight loss. Clever bastard.

April 29, 2015

Puttanesca Panzanella—AKA Croutons with a Little Salad

Homemade croutons

Puttanesca Panzanella

Have you ever made fresh croutons? Big, fat, crispy, soft croutons fried in olive oil and made from the good bread you have to make an extra stop for? If not, this is my plug. Do it. Just do it (unless you're gluten-intolerant in which case I have made delicious croutons from cornbread too. If you're paleo, I can't help you. My ancestors are french and I'm sure they were eating something bread-like in their knuckle dragging days....maybe with flour from seeds they ground in their teeth in disgust over the visiting cave people's hideous taste in loincloths). 

April 15, 2015

Mustard greens and other discoveries

Re. mustard greens—I don't like them. This was hard for me to admit since I usually love bitter greens (arugula, dandelion) but these beauties are too strong and mustardy. I tried them raw. I tried them sauteed Asian-style then I gave up. I want to like this health-packed food. Anyone have ideas?

April 8, 2015

Pasta with Cauliflower, Ricotta and Spiced Oil

I found the bones of this recipe in a People magazine, one I felt lucky to get my grubby paws on in a doctor's waiting room. I've been spending more time in various medical offices around town —a story for another post. But I will say that most of these places have the saddest assortment of reading materials. They should stock the most outrageous celebrity rags and travel magazines to help people get their minds off whatever worry sent them there in the first place. 

April 1, 2015

Spring on the salad!

This weekend I'll attend Passover dinner on Saturday and Easter brunch on Sunday. My family is Catholic so Passover is relatively new for us, a gift, if you will, from my mother's Bronx born and raised Jewish husband, Marty. He loves a good opera and a good sandwich (quite possibly in equal measure), celebrates Christmas with us enthusiastically (especially the tree) and makes handmade wooden toys for all the grandkids. He is without Midwestern reserve and often blurts out what's on his mind. Scared us a little at first until we got a gander at his heart—which is huge and hangs off his sleeve for all to see. So on Saturday we'll all put on the little pita bread hats and take turns reading from worn booklets reciting passages from the Torah that Marty explains to us, eat the matzo, the bitter herbs and all the rest. The kids groan when I tell them we're going to Passover dinner at Grandma and Papoo's but it always ends up being a good time with plenty of laughter and tasty food. We're always glad we went.

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