Tomato Tortilla Soup
Getting a little better at Random Recipes, but still need to work on my timing since it’s once again the night before the recipe is due and I’m typing things up. To be fair I did make dinner last week, I’ve just been dragging my feet in writing things up. See the recipe didn’t turn out the way I thought it would based on the name and a quick read of the ingredients. I was expecting something with fire and heat, which wound up being very far from the case. That’s not to say the soup was bad, it’s a really good rich tomato soup. It’s just not my idea of a tortilla soup, so I’ll have to figure out how to jazz it up in the future. This is the first recipe from my Moosewood Restaurant Simple Supper cookbook that hasn’t worked out on the first go, so I’ll have to try it again and see what I can do to fix it.
I know I could have just changed out for a different recipe, after all only I would know but this is the recipe that was picked so this is the recipe I’m featuring. Extra bonus with this soup is it makes a great base for other dishes, one of which I’ll be writing up next week. Moosewood also suggests a few different toppings so it’s possible that I need to add more than cheese next time, maybe some cilantro or chopped avocado!
Baked Eggplant with Lentils
There is nothing more relaxing and refreshing than the sound of rain, it just seems to make everything better. After the dry summer that most of the country has been experiencing, I can only imagine that for many the rain is a welcoming relief. I had originally been planning to spend this weekend switching out the garden and starting some fall vegetables, but Mother Nature seems to have other ideas and now I’m wondering if I’ll have a chance to plant the fall garden at all! This summer has been the craziest and busiest summer I’ve ever had, and it’s not over yet. I’m looking forward to October and the chance to rest, relax, and recover assuming that October allows for that. Until then, my kitchen will be my safe haven since it isn’t large enough to house a clock or calendar.
Since Joe and I have been traveling so much the past few weeks my trips to the grocery store have been few and far between. I have been focusing on using my pantry basics in addition to the fresh vegetables I’ve been growing. This recipe features the first of my Black Beauty Eggplants as well as some more delicious tomatoes and fresh herbs. When I started cooking I really had no idea where I was going with this recipe, which was evident by the large cast of characters I had sitting on the counters. I thought about sauting the eggplant with some basil and serving over lentils, or doing an all-eggplant stir-fry. In the end I decided to bake the eggplant and serve the lentils over them as a thick ragu style sauce. The result was a very filling and rich dinner that only needed a small salad to go with it, perfection!
This recipe comes together pretty quickly once the eggplant has been salted. For an alternate way of prepping the eggplant, press the cut slices between two plates lined with paper towels. Failure to properly pre-treat the eggplant can result in a bitter aftertaste, which is probably why more than a few people have been turned off of this amazing vegetable.
Zucchini Oat Bread
I had a surprise in my garden yesterday: a zucchini. I had basically counted them out since I hadn’t seen any sign of life on either plants all season. Needless to say I was rather shocked when going to gather some tomatoes I nearly stepped on a gorgeous fully grown zucchini. My original bread plan involved peaches, since bread is the theme for this week’s 52week challenge. After finding the zucchini I knew that I had to make zucchini bread and that it had to be amazing. For a few moments I debated chocolate zucchini bread, but decided to go for the health factor and modify a recipe in one of my favorite bread machine books. The Bread Machine Cookbook does have a recipe for zucchini bread, but past experiences with it weren’t very good. This time I decided to adjust the Carrot Bread recipe and made frequent checks to see if it needed more liquid in order to avoid the dryness of the last zucchini bread. In the end I wound up adding a little bit more oil and zucchini, which resulted in a very moist and flavorful bread.
As you can tell from the picture we ate our with Nutella, but honey or just butter alone is always an option. Since finding out Joe is not allergic to hazelnuts, Nutella has been a regular addition to our breads.
I am also submitting this to August’s Simple and in Season link-up hosted by the always fabulous Ren of Fabulous Foods. Make sure to head over there for some more great ideas for preparing seasonal recipes!
I apologize for the lack of posts this past week, I was getting my Geek on at GenCon Indy 2012. This was my 5th year as a Captain and hopefully I’ll be a Captain for many years to come. In my visit to Indy I was able to follow-up at a few of the restaurants I visited last year, and for the most part was pleased at what I saw. However this post is not about the Indy food scene, this post is about a new version of an old favorite. Once upon a time I could not bake to save my life and had to rely on roommates to make cookies in order to fulfill any cookie cravings. There was one exception to the cookie rule: no-bake cookies! I started with the standard “preacher” cookie recipe involving oatmeal, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla. I then started experimenting with other combinations based on what was available finally settling with the following crazy combination.
If you can’t find the caramel syrup, vanilla extract can also be substituted. I find there is something about the caramel that goes amazingly well with the nuttiness of these cookies.
I am also submitting this to Maison Cupcake’s Zero Baking Required Link-Up, which is all about oven free baking.
Vanilla Bean Peach Cookies
Bonus SRC recipe! This afternoon I saw a post calling for volunteers to help with some orphaned SRC blogs. Always up for checking out new blogs I jumped at the opportunity and was given Heavenly Treats and Treasures. It took me only a moment to realize that someone had missed out on an amazing blog. This proclaimed southern mom offers a treasure trove of sweets, ranging from Brownies to Macaroons to Whoopie Pies to Giant Snickerdoodles! She even gives out cooking tips for those new to the kitchen. For a fair amount of time I debated trying out the whoopie pies, however I have a flight tomorrow so I wanted something that could travel with me. So I kept on searching and then I found IT, the perfect summer time cookie recipe. Even better, all I needed was to grab some vanilla beans on the way home. This proved slightly harder than I thought but luckily World Market had some, and in keeping with HT&T I made sure to grab Fair Trade Vanilla Beans.
I had never tried a recipe with vanilla beans before but oh my goodness what a difference! This dough was so heavenly I had to quickly get the cookies in the oven to avoid picking off the dough balls. I made one slight change to the recipe, after finding out that my chocolate stash was lower than I remembered, by adding using fresh peaches in place of the chips. To say the vanilla bean enhanced the flavor of the peach doesn’t even begin to describe the joyous dance my taste buds were doing. I can’t wait to give this recipe another try, this time I’ll make sure to hide the chocolate away!
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
Last month Joe went out of town for a week, and I decided to use that week to try some recipes that had been the on the backburner for a few years. These recipes all feature peanuts, which aren’t welcome in the house under normal circumstances. Normally I avoid them even when Joe is going to be out for the weekend, but I figured a full week gave me plenty of time to sterilize the kitchen before he got home. While I did focus on savory dishes, I also made a few batches of some college favorite cookies. This cook is the result of two roommates craving two different cookies and deciding to do a cookie compromise. The trick to these cookies: mini chocolate chips! We found in our very scientific experiments that the smaller chips allowed for the perfect melding of chocolate and peanut butter.
These might not be your standard peanut butter cookie, but they will still take care of any peanut butter cravings! After all, why have chocolate chip cookies OR peanut butter cookies when you can have Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies.
Quinoa with Corn & Potatoes
Temperatures are starting to creep back up, but the lack of sun is seriously stunting my garden. Luckily Joe’s mom gave us a bag of fresh from the farm goodies, so I am still on track with my goal of eating locally. I also swung by the local market to find some seasonal corn, something that has been harder than normal this summer. While my small area of Virginia has had a fairly average summer rainwise, that is certainly not the case for the rest of the country. Since I’ve been relying on my garden I wasn’t fully aware how bad things were even after reading numerous reports and seeing the depressing photos. Finding corn that was full proved impossible, even though they were shorter than normal most of them had kernels only 3/4 of the way up with the last quarter looking dried out. This time last year corn was EVERYWHERE, and the cobs were large and fat and filled to the brim with fat and juicy kernels. I can only imagine what prices are going to look like this winter, and how creative people will have to get with making their budgets work.
For a fair amount of time I considered skipping the /52week corn challenge since I’m really trying to avoid frozen/canned vegetables this year but eventually I was able to get enough local corn to give it a go. I debated a number of recipes before deciding to do something involving quinoa and some of the vegetables we got in our goody bag.
This dish was incredibly easy to prepare, nothing like one pot dinners! I added some sour cream to the leftovers in order to insure that everything stayed moist and lunch the next day turned out perfectly. This dish would also serve as a great burrito stuffing, just add some fresh avocado and ready to go!