Tag Archives: gluten free

Summer Loving: Baked Tomatoes topped with Fresh Garden Herbs and Pecorino

How do I love summer, let me count the ways.

When I was a sophomore in college, my friend Jay  earnestly told me, “Saturdays are for playing. Sundays are for resting.” Now this might not sound like rocket science, but for someone as hard working and always on the go as Jay was, it was revolutionary. Over the past 10+ years (dear god) I’ve taken that sentiment to heart. As much as I’m able, (we are talking about me after all) I try and get my to-do list done during the week so that Saturdays can be all about friends, food, traveling, and parties, and Sundays can be all about resting, recovering from said parties, and recharging for the week ahead.

Sunday brunch is a critical part of the Sunday resting, so I’m always striving to think of recipes that will be utterly satisfying, while easy to make and clean-up from. Baked tomatoes fit that bill to a T. Easy to make, only one dish required, beautiful to serve, and the perfect complement to just about anything else you can think of, they are a standard in my kitchen. Make these on a Sunday when life has slowed down enough to let you take a deep breath and enjoy the idea of doing nothing but resting.

Baked Tomatoes topped with Fresh Garden Herbs and Pecorino
Serves 2

Beautiful baked tomatoes.

Two tomatoes (heirloom, hot house, roma, they all work), carefully cored, and cut in half
1/4 cup grated fresh pecorino or parmesan
Sprinkle of fresh garden herbs (whatever appeals, chives, thyme, sage, garlic)
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt and Pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Put tomatoes cut side up in a small baking dish (for two serving a bread pan works well)

    Is there anything so great as perfect ingredients prepared simply?

  3. Top with cheese and then herbs

    These can easily be assembled ahead and then popped into the oven right before you want them.

  4. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  5. Bake 15 – 20 minutes until juices are flowing, tomatoes are slightly wilting, and cheese is bubbling
  6. Perfect served with toast, scrambled eggs, and bacon
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Filed under Breakfasts, Entertaining, Health Conscious, Make ahead, Vegetarian

Rainy Monday: Roasted Cauliflower, White Bean, and Cheddar Soup

These beans give soups a wonderfully creamy consistency without the guilt.

If you live in Seattle right now you are likely cursing the rain. For it has returned. In droves. Or sheets. Or buckets. Pick your poison.

Admittedly the past two weeks have been abnormally spectacular with gorgeous day, after gorgeous day, taunting and teasing us with the idea that perhaps this year the Seattle Summer Curse of not beginning until after the 4th of July would be broken. Well friends, as I sit here typing and the rain sits outside pounding, I’d say we might have spoken too soon.

While I’m going to grumble like a good Seattle-ite, I should also confess that there’s something fun and cozy about the rain returning. It’s an excuse for a few more winter meals and big red wines. And sweatshirts. Big sweatshirts.

This soup is a piece of cake to make, very healthy, and just so damn good. Roasting the cauliflower gives it an even richer flavor, and the white beans add a creaminess you would swear was the result of gallons of half and half. It’s quick to make, healthy to eat, and when served with a crusty piece of bread and mixed greens the perfect Rainy Monday Meal.

Roasted Cauliflower, White Bean, and Cheddar Soup
Serves 5+
Adapted from Closet Cooking

Roasted Cauliflower, White Bean, and Cheddar Soup

1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 can cannellini beans or white beans, rinsed
1 1/2 cups aged white cheddar, shredded
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the cauliflower florets in two TB of oil along with the salt and pepper and arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
  3. Roast the cauliflower oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.

    Roasting the cauliflower, which really brings out the flavor.

  4. Heat the remaining oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
  5. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  7. Add the broth, cannellini beans, and cauliflower, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  8. Puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency with a stick blender.
  9. Mix in the cheese, let it melt and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Mix in the milk and remove from heat.

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Filed under Cheap Eats, Comfort Foods, Health Conscious, Make ahead, Vegetarian

Small Triumphs: Polenta Gratin with Kale and Cremini Mushrooms

First of all…wow! Thank you all for the support, encouragement, comments, and words of wisdom. “I’m not writing in a vacuum! There are people out there! Hooray!” Thanks to you all, Old Spice Man generated more hits in one day than any other post, save for when Food & Wine re-tweeted my Short Ribs (which I was embarrassingly excited about.)

But enough whining and philosophizing about The Writer’s Process…let’s get back to the food. And damn good food at that.  This year we had the pleasure of participating in Hand-Farmed Organic‘s first community supported agriculture (CSA) project. We signed up for a half-share, which proved to be plenty for two of us, so every other week Casey would drop by our house at the end of the day and deliver a wax covered cardboard box brimming with beautiful vegetables. Perhaps the only one more excited about its arrival than I, was this guy, who proved to be a veritable vegetable lover.

Happy Dog

His Royal Highness, the Duke of Tacoma, 10 mos old

Duke would eat just about anything…carrots, squash, and what quickly became his favorite…the radishes which he would bat around the house, sneak up on, and dive bomb from the top of the stairs until it rolled under the couch at which point he would flop down and look at his lost treasure beseechingly until Matt or I caved and got it back out for him.

In each and every box there were delicious fruits and vegetables…and then there was the kale. The freaking kale that just kept coming and coming and always seemed more bountiful and plentiful than the week before. I tried making Kale Chips like my friend Karla, but they weren’t nearly as good as hers…I made a Kale and Gruyere Frittata, but there’s only so many of those you can eat, and once or twice I guiltily yard-wasted the kale when the new box arrived and I still hadn’t done anything with it.

Up until last night it was Kale: 10, Erina: 0.

Photo Compliments of handfarmedorganics.com

Until last night, when trying to think of a starch I could make for our friend CJ who is wheat intolerant I stumbled across a polenta and spinach gratin. I love all gratins (I mean, what’s not to love, creamy unhealthy deliciousness), and thought there’s no reason I couldn’t substitute kale for spinach.

It was outstanding. The polenta in the tube couldn’t be easier, and the recipe calls for 8 cups of Kale, which totally cleaned out my supply and rendered me obnoxiously triumphant.

The perfect side to a yummy fall dinner.

Polenta Gratin with Kale and Cremini Mushrooms
Adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

12 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms (5 cups)

1 large shallot, minced

8 cups kale, center stems removed, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I used rice flour)

3/4 cup beef stock (or vegetable stock)

1/2 cup whipping cream

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

One 18-ounce log of prepared polenta, cut into 1/4-inch slices

3 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (1 cup)

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the shallot and cook over moderately low heat for 3 minutes. Add the kale and cook over high heat until the kale has wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the kale and mushrooms evenly in a 2-quart baking dish.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour over moderately high heat. Add the stock, cream, and nutmeg and whisk until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper and pour over the kale. Arrange the polenta slices on top of the kale in overlapping concentric circles, pressing to submerge the polenta slightly. Sprinkle the Gruyère on the polenta, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Uncover the polenta and broil 6 inches from the heat for about 2 minutes, or until golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

 Make Ahead The unbaked gratin can be refrigerated overnight.

 

 


11 Comments

Filed under Comfort Foods, Entertaining, Make ahead, Seasonal Cooking, Uncategorized, Vegetarian