Yesterday’s bounty from my yard and some bonus homemade salsa
Tomato season is in full swing. Every meal has tomatoes in one form or another. This is a nice combination of flavors to shake things up from the usual pasta salads:
- 10 oz dry rotini pasta, cooked, drained, chilled
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp Dijon or stone-ground mustard
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 oz fresh basil
- 4 oz fresh spinach leaves
- 2 large tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
- 4 oz Kalamata (Greek green) olives
- 4 oz shredded parmesan
- 2 oz crumbled Feta
- 8 oz diced ham (opt)
serving bowl, bowl, saucepan
In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, pepper, garlic & basil. Slowly whisk in oil. To serving bowl, add pasta, fresh basil, spinach, tomatoes, olives, parmesan, opt. ham and toss with dressing. Garnish with crumbled feta.
I think ten is the sweet spot when baking the King Arthur bun recipe, not too big, not too small.Just the right size!Made some tuna salad today, we’ve been giving that bread slicing gadget a workout. Tuna salad on toast is another good way to use the tomatoes we have coming on strong. Probably going to boil down some more juice soon.We are starting to grow fond of leaf lettuce on sammiches, it doesn’t have the same crunch as iceberg but it does lay nice and flat and uniform.Gabe goes from 90 miles per hour to naptime in about 6 seconds flat.I have a better photo of the eggs in that nest I first posted about a week ago. We tried to get a video of the little bird flying from the nest but failed to get anything useful. I did get a little better look at the bird but just confirmed that it was a wee brown birdie. It might be a house finch but a tip from a commenter over at Balloon Juice pointed me toward the Chipping Sparrow – the wings of our bird are darker than the belly.Here’s another cold cuts and cheese sammich with a few sides.I’ll wrap with a picture from the archive. I’m tickled by the balancing act this dragonfly is putting on, and I think the colors are pretty.
This is on a basic wheat flour crust. I suppose if you were to go all in on one of these you could make a crust with masa but I chickened out. I spread refried beans over the crust as a sauce analog.A good measure of roast pork was laid down over the beans along with tomato slices and fresh jalapenos (on my half only).My first thought for cheese was sharp cheddar but I opted for queso quesadilla. It’s a good melting cheese. Quesadillas are named for the cheese, not the other way around.I gave the pie an overall sprinkle of my favorite Tex-Mex seasoning and baked it for about 20 minutes at 350. I added a little hot sauce to mine just to kick it up.
JeffreyW makes mouths water with this photo of his Beef and Barley Soup (with bonus foccacia recipe here)
It has been unseasonably cold here. Today was the first day that I could actually open the windows. So soup seemed like a good idea over the weekend. Chuck roast was on sale for the amazing price of $2.99 lb. So I bought several large pieces, cut them up to dinner size and a couple pounds up for soup and stew. First up was this soup.
Beef & Barley Vegetable Soup
- olive oil
- 1 lb chuck, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 6 to 8 cups of water
- 12 oz sliced carrots (frozen ok)
- 12 oz green beans (frozen ok)
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup barley
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (more as desired. I use salt-free canned tomatoes, so I usually add more salt)
- 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
Heat oil in saucepan, sauté onions for 1 minute, add beef and brown on all sides, add garlic and sauté for 1 minute making sure not to burn the garlic. Add remaining ingredients** and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until barley is tender. Serve with biscuits or cornbread.
**Alternately – I blend tomatoes, and 6 oz of the carrots, 6 oz of the green beans, 2 stalks of the celery, 1 cup water into a smooth puree, to make a hearty base for the soup. Then I add the remaining veggies as directed above. I like the hearty stock.
I usually make this with ricotta as a base for shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, and provolone but decided to go with a bechamel this time just to see how it would work. I’ve been seeing the basic white sauce used in a few different lasagnas prepared on one of my TV cooking shows. I made one with 4 cups of milk and stirred the cheeses into that and added the ricotta just for the hell of it. Made a ton of cheese sauce thinking I’d make two pans but my lasagna noodle count was off so I packed one pan, slightly larger than my usual, as full as I could. Still had leftover cheese sauce.Freshly made lasagna, still warm from the oven, will slump all over the plate. I let mine rest for a half hour but it still oozed all over. Here’s a nice slice that’s firmed up overnight in the fridge. The green is chopped spinach that went into the white sauce. The tomato sauce has sausage in it but this would be just fine without any meat added if that’s your preference.Even just the one pan is way too much for the two of us so I divide it like so and slide it into the big freezer so I can vacuum seal the portions for later. They’ll keep a long time like that.