Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ricotta Toast with Basil Egg for Breakfast

A bit of a warm breakfast on a heat-soaked morning, but the cooking is minimal and the food is a fine change from summer yogurt and fresh fruit.  Make your coffee first because once you begin making this sweet little meal, it'll need your undivided attention.  Use up some of those ever-ripening Minnesota --Indiana, Illinois, Aix-en-Provence, New Jersey-- tomatoes. Just add a few ruby-red slices to your ricotta-slathered toast along with an egg and a little julienne basil, et voila, you're at the table!  Here's how:

ricotta toast with basil egg    1 serving (repeat for more)

                         Read through recipe before cooking. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Big Zuke (and other) Caprese + New Book Cover!

Huge zucchini--sliced very thinly and sauteed--then fanned into the caprese.

I'd like to say this little meal came up during my salad days.
But I can't put that down without a little head tilt and one-sided smile.

From Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra, 1606:
CLEOPATRA: My salad days,
When I was green in judgment: cold in blood,
To say as I said then! But, come, away;
Get me ink and paper:
He shall have every day a several greeting,
Or I'll unpeople Egypt.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Swiss Chard-Sweet Corn Scramble with Cherry Tomatoes and Parmesan

In Saint Paul, we have a plethora of farmer's markets.  Naturally the best--or largest-- is on Saturday mornings downtown.  And, if you're hungry, you can have a great breakfast sandwich and a big coffee from Golden's Deli. But if you don't have the time or the inclination (it's crowded), you can go to one of the other markets.

On Thursdays, you can go to the Capitol.  It's a small market, but is full of the best of the best.  Like tomatoes.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Grilled Tuna Salad with Late Summer Vegetables and Spicy Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

I'm not sure there's anything like a summer salad that appears to be a Niรงoise-Caprese mix.  It's the best of summer flavors combined and makes you feel as if you're in Italy and France at the same time.  Especially if you've added grilled eggplant and zucchini along with a lemon-basil vinaigrette.

I never pass the fish and seafood in the store without seeing if something's on the fire sale.  $9 OFF a pound is a fire sale for fresh tuna.  It means they have to get rid of it that day, preferably immediately. I'm willing to eat that tuna. I'm happy to run home and cook it straight away.  Here's what I did with it,which was all dependent on what I had in the fridge and on the counter after a visit to the market at the Capitol in Saint Paul:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Creamy Zucchini Soup with Parmesan and Cherry Tomatoes or Back Porch Gifts are Best

Fresh sliced cherry tomatoes are hidden at the bottom of the bowl for a surprise.
There may be more recipes for zucchini than anything else at this time of the year.  Long gone are the tiny, tender and sweet pencil-slim squashes of early summer.  Here now are baseball-bat sized --could I say clubs?--appearing on back porches, in countless loaves of bread, stuffed and broiled, or any of the above.

My basil died while I was gone.  Market had plants 3 for $10 this week. I'm starting over.
Since zucchini is my favorite vegetable, perhaps after asparagus... or maybe green beans...I just don't care.  I'll buy or take all I can get and never be tired of it.  Shredded, mixed with egg, onion, and a bit of flour, it's a supper pancake served with grated cheese.  Slit open, scooped out -- the moist innards sauteed with onions, garlic, and pepper--and refilled, I'm thrilled to stick it under the broiler under nearly burned and definitely crispy.  But what I really love to do is make soup.  Any kind. Especially with lots of fresh herbs  Which you knew.   (And the new soup book, Soups & Sides for Every Season truly is about done! Coming up in hard copy on

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ina Fridays -- Appetizers -- Roasted Eggplant Spread

Ina Garten's appetizers are, like all of her recipes, lovely and luscious, but while making this I kept remembering how often Ina speaks about simple, store-bought appetizers like

  • olives
  • nuts
  • chips
  • cheese
and so on. The show sometimes drives along with Ina into town to pick up the ready-to-go food and I have to admit I'm always jealous of the shops she has available.   Her point is often that if you have too many nibbles with your apertif or sparkler, you're full.  Not only that, who wants to spend not only the whole day getting ready for company, but making yet another recipe?  I not only agree with her, I follow those rules for entertaining and make things easy on myself.  I'll also admit I adore potato chips and champagne.