Over Memorial Day weekend, we took our first family adventure since Caitlin was born: strawberry picking at Wegmeyer Farms!
It was a perfect sunny morning, and the strawberry fields were absolutely full of huge, ripe red strawberries just begging to be eaten. (No, not by me…I still don’t like strawberries.) This was by far the best strawberry picking experience we have ever had. In almost no time at all, we had gathered 5 lbs. of gorgeous strawberries and we were on our merry way back home!
Jake spent the rest of the morning alternately stealing strawberries from the bucket and pretending his little Lego men were taking trips to the farm to pick red Lego strawberries of their own. I spent the rest of the morning preparing this frozen yogurt!
I am not going to wax poetic today about beautiful cherry tomatoes or caramelized onions or intensely cheesy biscuits.
I am just going to tell you to go make this tomato cobbler immediately.
Very hearty. Very flavorful. Very simple. Go!
When I was a kid I was a complete bookworm. Also a pizza-holic.
(Imagine my delight when Pizza Hut started rewarding young readers with personal pan pizzas! I had no trouble with that task, none at all.)
But I digress.
I have a vivid memory of the first time I came across the concept of an anchovy: I was (naturally) reading a book in which some of the characters were ordering a pizza. Everyone was stating their preferences, and one person said they would eat anything except anchovies.
I asked my mom what that was, and when she told me anchovies were little fish that some people liked to eat on pizza, I blanched. Gross! Fish on pizza! Who would do that to themselves!? Don’t you people know that the only truly great pizza topping you could ever want is cheese with extra cheese?
P.S., I have no trouble admitting that I am still a bookwork and a pizza-holic. I still love me some cheese pizza. But…I guess I have expanded my palatte a little. You should, too!
One of the pitfalls of being a food blogger is that there aren’t really many family favorite meals in our house. I don’t mean to say we don’t have favorite meals—just that I don’t make repeats very often. Our “favorite” meals tend to roll around once every three years rather than once every three weeks.
There is much less room for food ruts when the chef is constantly looking for new dishes to blog about.
But this shakshuka is seriously going to grace our table several times every summer from now until Kingdom come, because wow is it delicious and it is so easy to make! I love laid back meals, don’t you?
Shakshuka is a North African dish typically comprised of eggs poached in a rich tomato sauce. This version is a little different because it adds brightly colored bell peppers for a little more heartiness and texture. It will make your house smell amazing. It will make your mouth water. It will basically be the best use of summer bell peppers you will ever find, and you will mourn when your farmer’s market shuts down in the fall!
I have been wondering what the albino beans I kept spotting at the farmer’s market were all about.
Wondering sort of idly. Green beans aren’t my most sought after veggie, so I wasn’t all that desperate to try their pale friends.
That is, until I remembered one of the lofty goals I’d set for my farmer’s market trips this summer: try new things!
So last week I grabbed a pint of wax beans, which are basically pale yellow green beans, and set to work. While you can substitute wax beans in any recipe that calls for green beans, and they are often served alongside green beans in three-bean salads, I really wanted to make something that would highlight these blond beans themselves.
They do taste similar to green beans, but I found them to be slightly more heat resistant (that is, they didn’t lose all of their crunch after 1 minute in the pan), which is definitely a good thing in my book!
It’s Secret Recipe Club time again, and this month I was so pleased to be baking with Rebekah of Family, Food, and Fun.
Do you ever come across someone’s blog and immediately feel disappointed that they live so far away? As I was reading about Rebekah and perusing her recipes (oh my! so many delicious desserts), I just enjoyed how passionate she is in serving her family and the Lord and in being a great baker! Dare I say—she seems a little like me, a few years into the future!
In fact, many of the recipes on her blog are things I have made independently and loved or have dreamed of someday making.
I had such. a. hard. time. picking a recipe for this month because the cakes and cheesecakes were all mouthwatering. In the end, I chose beet cake, because it sounds so unusual. I don’t know what it is about oddball desserts that just makes my pulse quicken (black bean brownies? chocolate prune cake? chocolate-date-nut-balls?)…maybe I just love the idea of cramming a vegetable or fruit unexpectedly into something that would otherwise be completely unhealthy.
Also…did you know that in the U.S., unless a sugar package is labeled “cane sugar” that it will actually contain beet sugar? Processed from sugar beets? When you think about it, I guess putting beets into a cake isn’t that unusual after all! In fact…it could be delicious!
Leftovers are my kryptonite.
I never really know what to do with them! Sure, I sat down to plenty of “leftover nights” when I was growing up, but we ate a fairly meat-and-potatoes style diet, so even if the leftovers were mismatched, they still made sense together in their original forms.
Leftover nights around our house are a little strange. One person is eating two different kinds of pizza while the other person is eating a salad burrito. The side dishes are really my personal nightmare…I so often eat one-dish meals that when there is a leftover side dish, I hardly know what to do with it. What I need to learn is how to look at the shelves stacked with cooked veggies and baggies of extra ingredients and imagine what they could become…something else entirely.
My husband, on the other hand, knows just what to do with leftovers (when he’s not ignoring them, that is): turn them into soup. Which—after I yanked a bag of leftover boiled corn on the cob out of the fridge and declared, “We are never going to eat this! I am just going to throw it away!”—is exactly how this corn soup was born.
And it’s so good! It is exactly the kind of thing I would have planned specifically to make, gone to the farmer’s market to shop for…and then found myself wondering what to do with those two extra ears of corn I had to buy “just in case.”
Well. Baby steps.
I so want to tell you about how awesome this pico de gallo is, and how I grew some of the tomatoes and all of the green peppers.
But first, I have to tell you that while I was making this delicious, amazingly fresh summery salsa, my son was eating crayons.
CRAYONS! I cannot get the child to eat a fresh fruit or vegetable to save his life, but crayons are yummy. What!? And he was so sneaky about it, too, just sitting in his chair and pretending to color quietly whenever I poked my head in to look at him, and taking huge chunks out of yellow and green as soon as I turned back to chopping.
Motherhood, friends…motherhood. I don’t know what I’m doing.
Summersummersummersummersummersummersummersummersummersummersummersummer, tomAto, tomAto! COOOOOOOORN, COOOOOOORN.
Haha. Maybe that was mean. (If you, like me, *unwillingly* watched and re-watched bizarre internet cartoons back in the early 2000s—but now look back on that time with fondness—and if not, then your current confusion makes me feel old and/or young.)
But I kid.
Anyway. Make some quiche! Quiche is great food! If you skip the crust, then this meal comes together super quickly (and is more of a frittata than a quiche…just saying). If you don’t skip the crust, you may find yourself grumbling under your breath because the crust shrank weirdly when you par-baked it, despite your use of pie weights. No? Just me, again?
But it will all turn out lovely and delicious and tasting of summer!
The first day I met my husband, he shared a little analogy with me. “Dave is to strawberries as Melissa is to muffins.” (I had just finished telling him that muffins were my favorite thing to eat, ever.)
As we got to know each other better, he totally held up his end of that analogy (though I quickly moved on to other things once I really started baking in earnest). No matter how many strawberries I brought him, he would generally finish them all in a single sitting.
So…imagine my complete surprise when, last year, he revealed that he likes nectarines better than strawberries. That he always has!
Now, when we go to the farmer’s market, one of the first things he does is fill a bag with nectarines so he can eat them while I am picking out greens and beans and squashes.
This week I stole a few of the straggling nectarines and baked them into a cake. This cake is so simple and homey. The nectarine flavor is mild, and the cake is not too sweet. It makes a lovely accompaniment to afternoon tea or coffee, and a great end to a delicious lunch!