Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Been a Long Time Since I Rock & Rolled...

.... well actually, that's not true. But it feels like it's been awhile since I've rocked & rolled in the kitchen, but boy howdy, tonight I made up for lost time. And now I shall attempt to quickly fill you in on tonight's highlights.

1. My favorite new simple spicy cole slaw recipe - just in time for BBQ season!

2. Padron peppers, do you know them? Do you worship them like I do?!

3. A quick little recipe for roasted corn & cherry tomato relish, great as is, or as a topping for roasted fish.

Yeah I know that's a lot to cover, but like I said, I'm making up for lost time! And compensating for future laziness!

So first, let's talk cole slaw. I am addicted to this simple, fiery, bright & summery recipe, which owes a lot to an Alice Waters take on the same dish.

First, you thinly slice your cabbage. I like the plain old green variety. I also toss into the bowl some thinly sliced red onions, a generous amount of fresh chopped italian parsley (from the garden!!) and a couple of diced fire-roasted pickled jalapenos, especially pickled by my honey, the pickling master. You could also use the canned variety, or use fresh jalapenos. For the dressing, whisk together 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts olive oil, with a sprinkling of salt. Toss the dressing w/ the cabbage mixture until it's well coated, and you're off to the bbq! This slaw also goes well w/ tacos, or just plain straight up.

On to the padron peppers. Our pals Steve & Patsy made these for us last year, and we could NOT STOP eating them, to the point of feeling embarrassed because we simply could NOT STEP AWAY from the plate. And if you make them, or are lucky enough to find them at a party, you won't be able to step away either. They are a type of small green pepper that look a little like a jalapeno, but they are mostly sweet, except for the occasional one that turns out to be very hot! You simply fry them in a little olive oil until the skin blisters a bit, and then drain and toss w/ coarse salt. And proceed to eat until you have nothing left but a plate of stems!

And lastly, here's a little relish I threw together tonight to accompany some fish that I attempted to pan-roast. The fish was so-so, but the relish was so damn good, who needs the fish, anyway? It's a good thing we didn't need the fish because half of it stuck to Grandma Esway's pan, nearly causing me to have a complete meltdown... but fortunately the pan survived! And like I said, the relish was splendid.

Take one ear of corn and remove the husk, and either pan roast or fire roast the corn so that it gets blackened here & there. Once it's cool, cut the kernels off the cob and scrape them into a small bowl. Toss in about a tablespoon of minced red onion, and a handful or two of ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in half. Add a sprinkling of salt, about a half teaspoon of lemon zest, about a teaspoon of olive oil, a tiny splash of vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar) and a couple of sprigs of basil (from the garden, preferably!) cut into slivers. Toss it all together and eat with a spoon! Or, use it to redeem that sad fish that was supposed to be so good but that almost ruined your grandmother's cast iron skillet. Any way you toss it, you'll love this stuff. It screams SUMMER!

And speaking of summer, I hope you're enjoying yours! I'm enjoying mine, even despite family illness, personal injury and an ailing, achey old dog. Perhaps I'm enjoying and appreciating it all a tad bit more, in light of all these things. Enjoying each bite, and each warm, lingering night, especially those rare ones (lately) where I find myself in the kitchen, chopping and slicing and dicing all my worries away.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Simple Summer Tomato Salad

Can't wait to make this with tomatoes from my garden, which are growing riper every moment. It was so exciting when the first one went from green to yellow, and then yellow to orange. And how exciting it will be when one by one, they go from yellow to orange to ruby red and perfectly ripe, ready to be plucked and sliced and diced and sauced and thoroughly enjoyed.

For now however, we had to settle for what we had on hand, which was a couple of organic red cluster tomatoes. Not homegrown, but not half bad.

It's such a simple salad that it barely requires a recipe, and before you know it, you're halfway to dinner. Just slice the tomatoes and place them on a plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and upon each tomato slice, smear a dab of creamy goat cheese, if you've got it. Drizzle a little olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, and then, top each slice with a sprinkling of fresh basil slices, preferably from your garden!

Our basil is growing wildly so the basil part turned out to be no problem at all. In fact, I'm already feeling the pesto coming on, in anticipation of just how wildly it's going to continue to grow as the summer passes. I'm really digging this gardening thing, and still tickled pink that it's working, considering that for many years I couldn't even keep a houseplant alive. Stay tuned for more updates!