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Monthly Archives: October 2010

Roasted Squash with Roasted Tomatoes, Feta, and Basil Oil

There’s a dirty little trick to recipe writing used to draw in the unwitting cook. At first glance, the cook sees a reasonable number of ingredients, say, eight or ten. But as she reads down the list, she sees that the last two ingredients are proper nouns referring to other pages in the cookbook, meaning that the once-manageable recipe now requires three recipes and no less than 15 discreet ingredients. This is such a recipe.

See, I really had no choice but to make this, and neither do you. What was I to do when one small farmer at the market presented me with truly fall ingredients, like the beautifully knobby winter squash tucked into an old wooden apple crate, while the late summer bounty—mounds of bold, glossy dry-farmed tomatoes and bunches of basil stuffed tightly into galvanized-steel buckets—beckoned from the next?

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Soames - We LOVE our fall veggies, including roasted squash and I can never decide whether to go savory or sweet. I love that your recipe does kind of both.October 28, 2010 – 9:24 am

Nikki - I had something very similar at Incanto the other evening. I will definitely try yours! I just want to jump into the picture! Thanks for sharing!October 26, 2010 – 3:18 pm

Heather - Inspiring and helpful send-off for someone like me. Beautiful colors indeed – happy fall!October 26, 2010 – 2:53 pm

ALANA - Beautiful, bright and colorful photo!! Inspiring story and great ideas on other ways to use all of the leftover ingredients! I have had this squash recipe and it is so tasty!!! I can’t wait to have it again!October 26, 2010 – 10:31 am

Weekend Muesli

I really meant it when I said that Elinor flaps her arms like a penguin when she likes what’s she eating. Typically, the flapping is so vehement that the bottom of her high chair bumps against the floor rhythmically, leading me to wonder what our downstairs neighbors think we do in the kitchen every evening around 6:00. Creatures of habit, they must conclude. Truth be told, though, this expression (of Elinor’s, not ours, dear reader) is only in the mid-range of her food-love meter.

On the low end, she exhibits a baritone, staccato groan, a more perky version of the Bay’s foghorn—her lips must always be pursed to keep the tone low and weighty. This pronouncement is applied to good morsels that are nonetheless quotidian, like the fresh sardines pan fried in butter that we have on weekday mornings.

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Kasey - I’ve been loving Skye’s ‘My Favorite Ingredients.’ I particularly love her approach to food. I’m a huge yogurt and granola fan, so this looks like it would be right up my ally. Excited to try it!October 29, 2010 – 11:56 am

Nikki - You have inspired me (well you ALWAYS inspire me). I have been making a slight variation of this for almost a week straight! Love it! Thanks for posting! xoOctober 25, 2010 – 2:05 pm

ApresFete - MMM….how fall and cozy…just the word muesli makes me happy. This is a great variation on Greg’s daily a.m. ritual of oatmeal, peanut butter and blueberries (and one we can enjoy together!). I did not realize that you don’t have to cook oats!? Now I’m inspired to plan a culinary temptation for my and Ella’s next encounter!!October 20, 2010 – 1:16 pm

Erin - All the muesli I’ve had is made with uncooked oats, but I’m certainly no expert. Sounds like you made granola, which is an excellent idea for an upcoming weekend breakfast!October 19, 2010 – 9:48 pm

hODDY - Is Muesli ever toasted? I feel like I made muesli several years ago or maybe i tried to make homemade granola and you had to toast the oats and I burned them and it was sad. I assume this would only work with ROLLED oats?October 18, 2010 – 5:34 pm

Rustic Provençal Vegetable Casserole

After I took the bar exam, we spent a couple weeks in Provence in a house that Van Gogh painted. Each day was slow and languid and developed organically; we seldom thought beyond what we wanted to do in that instant. Sometimes it was wandering through the Roman ruins across the way. When the sun was blazing, we would follow our gravel road to its end and hike, with branches and leaves cracking underfoot, through the pine-forested foothills. And when relaxation got the better of us, we would walk next door to tour Vincent’s cloister in the the asylum—with a view of our little stone house in the distance—and thumb through the artwork of the current residents, who were apparently welcome to roam the gift shop. “Américaine?” a toothless octogenarian shrieked, not two inches from my face, before deftly turning away, her pastel cotton nightgown floating ethereally behind her.

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Erin - PQ and Annette: I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe as much as I do! Annette, thanks for sharing your insights on making it. Mine may have turned out a bit drier because I cooked it with a pizza stone on the shelf above it, which probably drew out more moisture from the zucchini and tomatoes.October 19, 2010 – 9:44 pm

PQ - I tried this! It turned out so amazing, thank you!October 19, 2010 – 2:42 am

Annette - This was absolutely delicious. While your photo is fabulous, it still can’t capture the incredible flavor.

A couple of things to note:

1. I added water to the eggplant, because I couldn’t seem to get enough oil to keep it from sticking. I’d used only 1 T from the 1/2 c for the onions/garlic, so about 5T went to the eggplant (and another 3T for drizzling at the end).
2. I had to move the contents to a 9×13 baker, because there was no way all the topping would fit in the medium baker. The topping was so crowded that it didn’t dry out as much as what I noticed in your photo. I think I will use 2-3 tomatoes and 1 zucchini next time. While they weren’t dry, they were very juicy and flavorful.

Thank you for the wonderful recipe. It will be a regular go-to for me.October 18, 2010 – 10:51 pm

tobias cooks! - Delicious looking dish. Simple and tasty.October 17, 2010 – 12:56 pm

imfullblog - a perfect side dish for the season! i’ll try it soon!October 14, 2010 – 5:13 pm

So - Darling, this looks wonderful. I cannot wait to make it. Your writing is poetic and flawless. Keep them coming!October 14, 2010 – 2:51 pm

Heather - The image of Elinor and the arm-flapping gave me a huge smile.October 12, 2010 – 9:39 pm

hODDY - Nice! Looks delicious and relatively simple. I will try to make soon.October 12, 2010 – 2:37 pm

Steamed Mussels with White Wine, Garlic, and Tomatoes

Our first restaurant here was not our restaurant. A coast away, I pored over reviews hoping to find the perfect spot to commemorate our inaugural dinner in our new town. I settled on an Italian trattoria with simple fare made with local provisions. Think pappardelle with wild mushroom ragú, braised short ribs with root-vegetable mash, stone-fruit crostata. Not knowing that August in San Francisco means sweaters and scarves, I reserved a table in the courtyard and imagined us sunned and eating surrounded by walls draped with purple bougainvillea and fragrant jasmine. I was right about the flora, but it was foggy—cottony, quiet ocean-born fog. It demanded sweaters and scarves, and we had none. So the heat lamps sufficed. I don’t remember what we had to eat. There was wine and delicious conversation. We were in California. California! we grinned. Despite our elation that night, we never went back.

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Apres Fete - You have taken my cravings around the world in just a few paragraphs. Now I’m beyond conflicted as to what to make for dinner. While Dave’s soup screams satisfaction, it will have to be mussels. That sauce soaked bread is just too tempting. I’ll take a messy meal any day. I love hearing of your culinary adventures with your man, as well as the image of Ella playing hide-and-seek with her mussels. Not as a gimmick to make food fun, just because food is fun!October 5, 2010 – 10:12 am

Thomas Morris - Finely chopped garlic, bay leaves, thyme, AND parsley. This to me sound almost too flavor-full.October 5, 2010 – 9:56 am

Alana - Great picture!! I was so captivated reading your story that I forgot a recipe would follow! I have made a similar recipe with mussels and I am very excited to try yours! Soon!! Thanks for the interesting posts and fantastic recipes- I always look forward to the next!!October 3, 2010 – 3:37 pm