Saturday, June 29, 2013



This bright and tasty Sangria has just the right balance of tart and sweet to make this your go-to summer drink. Sangria can be too sweet sometimes but with the additon of white rum you get the perfect combination of flavors and an extra punch too.


1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 bottle dry red wine
1 1/2 cups white rum

Slice lemon, lime, and the orange into thin rounds and put them in a large glass pitcher. Pour in the rum, wine, orange juice, and sugar. Chill for at least 2 hours.

Just before serving, crush the fruit with a wooden spoon and stir.

Serve over ice and garnish with some of the fruit.

Recipe adapted from bespangled.

Monday, June 24, 2013


This pasta dish comes together in practically no time and most of the ingredients are pantry staples. Saute onions, add canned tomatoes, cooked pasta, wine, capers, red chili flakes, basil, and some tuna packed in oil. Be sure to add the oil the tuna is packed in, it gives it a great flavor. This is good hot or served at room temperature

We loved this recipe. It was chosen by Evi from Fifth Floor Kitchen as part of our Food Matters Project.


2 TBSP. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
One 28-35ounce can tomatoes, chopped; include their juice
8 ounces any pasta, preferably whole wheat
1/4 cup white wine
One 6-ounce can tuna packed in olive oil
2 TBSP. capers
1/2 tsp. red chile flakes
Black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their liquid and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the mixture becomes saucy, 10-15 minutes. Turn the heat down to low.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling water until tender but not mushy (start tasting after 5 minutes), then drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid.

Return the sauce to medium-high heat. Add the pasta, wine, tuna with its oil, capers, and red chile flakes and cook and stir for another minute. Add a good sprinkle of black pepper along with the basil; toss well, adding a little of the cooking water if the sauce seems too thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Recipe by Mark Bittman

Saturday, June 22, 2013


If you have a fear of making polenta, don't like to spend the time it takes stirring to make it creamy, or you buy those tubes of pre-made polenta, then I'm here to change your life.

This is an oven baked polenta that comes out creamy with only two stirs. Really! I didn't believe it until I tried it. All you do is put cornmeal, water and salt in a gratin dish. One stir. Bake for 45 minutes and add butter and Parmesan cheese. One more stir...that's it. You can choose your toppings. I used mixed mushrooms and Fontina cheese. My niece Brittany used zucchini, onions, and tomatoes. This was our main course for dinner but it would also make a nice side. I think it would even be good topped with cooked ground beef, cheese and a marinara sauce.


1 cup corn meal (polenta)
4 cups water
4 TBSP. butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
10-12 oz. mushrooms (I used crimini and portobello)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced (about 1/2- 1 tsp.)
1/4 pound Fontina cheese, sliced or Provolone grated

Heat the oven to 350~. Put the corn meal in a 2 quart gratin dish, and stir in the water, milk,  and 1 tsp. salt. Bake for 45 minutes. Stir in 2 TBSP. butter and the Parmesan cheese. Return to oven and cook 15 minutes more.

Heat 2 TBSP. butter in a non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring frequently until the mushrooms give up their moisture, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the rosemary and continue cooking until the mushroom are dry, about 5 minutes.

When the polenta is done, taste and add more salt if necessary. Scatter the cooked mushrooms over the top of the polenta and then tear the soft Fontina slices into shreds and distribute them over the top of the mushrooms. Return the pan to the oven until the cheese has melted and begins to brown, about 5 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Circle B Kitchen

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


It's almost summer and our tomato plants are just starting to produce. Every year it's different. We always plant a few of our favorite varieties but the rest of the hillside is full with volunteers. It's a guessing game as to what each plant will bear, a super fun game we get to play every year.

We live on caprese salads all summer and this salad is a nice change from a traditional caprese.

The tomato is wrapped in prosciutto, drizzled with olive oil and baked until the tomato is hot and the prosciutto is crispy. Serve it with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil.

This week Laura of Chef Laura at Home 
chose our Food Matters Project recipe from Mark Bittman's cookbook. Laura chose Tomato Carpaccio. You can find the original recipe here. For the other members take on this recipe click here.


Wrap ripe whole tomatoes in a thin slice of prosciutto. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put tomatoes on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 390~ for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of tomato. Bake until tomato is hot and the prosciutto is crisp.

To plate, take a fresh mozzarella ball and tear off pieces. Serve with tomato and fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and freshly ground black pepper.

Recipe slightly adapted from Once Upon a Plate.

Monday, June 10, 2013


This was a tasty and healthy fried rice recipe. It uses pad Thai ingredients (bean sprouts, fish sauce, and peanuts). This recipe was part of our Food Matters Project and  was chosen by Keely of Keely Marie.  I used chicken in mine, Mark Bittman suggests trying it with shrimp or tofu. Keely added pineapple to hers and she used purple rice! You can find her recipe here.

We had just pruned our Kaffir Lime tree so I added some leaves to the stir-fry and served it over a bed of leaves. It gave it a great lime flavor.


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 carrot, chopped
3 cups bean sprouts
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into pieces of the same size
1 tablespoon minced garlic, or to taste
2 cups cooked long-grain brown rice, preferably chilled
1 egg
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons nam pla (fish sauce)
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, preferably Thai
1 or more small fresh hot green chiles (preferably Thai), seeded and sliced
Lime wedges

Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When it’s hot, add the scallions, carrot, and bean sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Lower the heat if the mixture threatens to scorch. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add another tablespoon of the oil to the pan, followed by the chicken pieces; cook, stirring occasionally, over high heat until the chicken is no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add to the bowl with the vegetables, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.

Put the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet, followed by the garlic. About 15 seconds later, begin to add the rice, a bit at a time, breaking up any clumps with your fingers and stirring it into the oil. When all the rice is added, make a well in its center and break the egg into it; scramble it a bit, then incorporate it into the rice.

Return the chicken and vegetables to the pan and stir to integrate. Add the coconut milk and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has boiled off, just a minute or so. Add the fish sauce, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and stir in the peanuts, basil, and chiles. Serve with the lime wedges.

Recipe by Mark Bittman

Monday, June 3, 2013


Our host of The Food Matters Project this week is Erin of The Goodness Life. Erin chose Mark Bittman's recipe for Cannellini with Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Sausage. I used Amaranth Greens instead of Brussels Sprouts.

For about a month each year these greens show up at the Farmer's Market. Only one person grows Amaranth so when I see those beautiful greens any menu plans go out the window and these will appear on the table. You can read more about Amaranth Greens here.

I added some orchiette pasta along with a spicy Italian turkey sausage, garlic, onions, wine, chicken stock, greens and fresh rosemary. It was an amazing one pot meal (I cooked everything in the pasta pot).

For Mark Bittman's recipe click here. For the other members take on this recipe click here.


Serves 6

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 ounces orchiette pasta
8 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2-15 ounce cans Cannellinni beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch Amaranth greens (or baby spinach)
olive oil
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt and pasta. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until tender according to package directions.

Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and rosemary and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add white wine, chicken stock and beans. Bring to a simmer, then add amaranth leaves and heat until wilted. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in cooked pasta.

Ladle into bowls and serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe adapted from Buddy Valastro. 


Sunday, June 2, 2013


No, it is not burned. Well maybe the eggplant in the background had a bit too much flame going on, but that pork chop had the most amazing caramelized char ever. This T-boned chop will be my go-to pork cut from now on. The bone helps keep the meat moist and juicy and the marinade is over the top delicious.


1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc nam)
2 TBSP. unseasoned rice vinegar
1 TBSP. lime juice
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4-1" thick-cut bone-in pork chops (about 2 1/2 lbs. total)

Lime halves for serving

Whisk shallot, brown sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, lime juice, and pepper in a shallow dish. Pour marinade in plastic bag and add pork chops. Refrigerate, turning bag occasionally for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Grill until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

Serve with lime halves.

Marinade can be reduced and served on the side but we didn't think it needed it.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.