armadillas


Pinterest and timeline finally got me!

Back in June I wrote a post in regards to my favorite food. If memory serves, I went on about how impossible it is to choose a favorite food, especially if you are a devout foodie, love to eat, and love to cook. But here recently, I’ve start to change my mind about this favorite food embroilment. It all started with a craving, as most things in life do. We had already eaten dinner that night. I shouldn’t have been hungry, not at all, and yet it would seem that my tummy was having quite the rumble. I tried to resist. I checked my email. I browsed through blogs. I chatted on Facebook. All this with the hope of forgetting my hunger.

But she had other plans. Finally, with a touch of reluctance and a bit of excitement, I pulled the bread down and grabbed the provolone and cheddar from the crisper in the fridge. I really, really wanted a grilled cheese, though for the life of me I don’t know why. Cravings. But I didn’t want just any grilled cheese. I wanted something satisfying, something that would allow me to sit down and enjoy the rest of my night. So I went to the garden, gathered a couple golden tomatoes, and returned to the house. Inside, I sliced those tomatoes as thin as my knife would allow, snacking on too-big slices (which tasted as glorious as sunshine), and arranged the thinner slices along with my two types of cheese across my bread. On a whim, I dusted everything with pepper and oregano before popping the whole shebang into the toaster oven.

Then I waited. And I waited some more. Before the crust turned black, I took my prize out of that toaster oven and ate it. If those tomatoes, freshly picked, tasted like sunshine, they transformed my sandwich into the best kind of ambrosia and I’m going to go off and live an immortal life in Olympus. Between the tomatoes and the oregano along with the cheese, I could have died a very happy person thanks to a very simple thing: a grilled cheese sandwich.

And you know what? I’ve always been partial to a good sandwich anyway. So perhaps that is my favorite food. If I absolutely without a doubt had to choose because my life depended on it.

The pictures are $%*&, but that’s okay. One day I will have a fancy camera!

 

 

So simple yet so awe inspiring. I’m pretty sure I could eat something like this everyday for lunch

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To the birds

(Allison stuck the cake topper onto his chest)

My best friend left us for Seattle. Left us for good. So he can go study Comparative Literature in a cozy grad program. We’re all excited for him, and perhaps just a tad bit jealous. Needles to say, we had to throw a little get together since Seattle is on the other side of the country. No more driving down the street to see each other!

Originally, the get together was supposed to be some sort of potluck, cookout thing. But it rained. And for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to try out a gnocchi recipe I had. Bad idea. The gnocchi didn’t exactly turn out, and it’s not really cookout food either, is it? But that’s okay. I managed to do something resourceful. See, the best friend decided to make quinoa salad.

I don’t know about you guys, but in my very good opinion the quinoa he brought into my home looked like a bag of birdseed. I was not excited, not at all. But I watched him cook it up. He roasted a red pepper to chop up into it and opened a can of beans. It now looked like fluffed up birdseed mixed with veggies. Poor guy! He didn’t make a sauce/dressing to go with it and that quinoa was one of the plainest things I’ve ever tasted. It wasn’t bad per say, but as bland as a econ book.

When I discovered the stuff sitting in my fridge the next day untouched, I decided something had to be done. It already had red peppers and limes, why not continue a southwest theme? Only problem was a lot of recipes I found called for lime and I had just used the last of my limes not too long ago. Same goes for my lemons. But I had some Greek yogurt. And some BBQ sauce.

I also had a couple tomatoes from the garden. I’m not that much of a gardener, but I encourage everyone to buy a tomato plant. Right now. Do it! So delicious and I’ve never been one to just bite into a tomato

A little more BBQ sauce and we were in business.  The quinoa was now reminiscent of a chopped BBQ salad I’d had at a couple restaurants. Not too shabby for something meant for birds…

I also made up some of these muffins because I had no idea they existed. Reese’s are my favorite candy, especially the holiday ones. Oh. baby!

Here’s to lasting friendships!


Sweet sweet mercy

I’m a gardener. Actually, I only attempt to garden and even that I manage to muck up. My green thumb simply has not developed yet, though my mint and basil are flourishing as well as my salsa peppers. See, look at those babies!

Despite my gardening shortcomings, a few tomatoes have managed to struggle through my neglect. I save a few from the birds every week

Have you ever eaten a tomato straight off the vine? Oh goodness, it is one of nature’s divinities. There are few things in the world more enjoyable than biting into a tomato still warm from ripening in the sun. You can practically taste the sunshine in the juices

I never really liked tomatoes all that much growing up. Unless they were made into some sort of salsa or spaghetti sauce. Hey, I admit I was a picky kid.  As I got older, sure I’d order them on my sandwiches but usually picked them off before I got to the third bite. But fresh tomatoes from the yard are rapidly changing my mind about this lovely little fruit. I’m sure it could change your mind, too, if you’re not already on the wagon. And they make a lovely snack sprinkled with salt and pepper. Slrrrp (that’s the sound of my mouth watering)

But of course, one thing that always comes to mind with fresh tomatoes is green fried tomatoes. I blame the movie

 

The fried tomatoes I made today are very simple. I’m sure they would be better with some cornmeal mixed in with the flour, but you do what you can in a pinch

Ingredients:

1 green tomato (though, honestly, mine was on the yellow side)

1/2 cup flour

1 egg

Splash of milk

Pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Oil for frying

Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat, about 1/2 inch. Slice your tomato. I was only cooking for myself, but you can up all the ingredients for a crowd

 

Gather your other ingredients together. In one bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and pepper. Add cornmeal if you have some in your pantry. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and egg

 

Dip your tomato slices in the egg and then dredge them through the flour. You know the drill by now! Fry for about 3 minutes on each side until nice and golden

 

 

Annnnnnnnd EAT! I think they have enough flavor to be eaten plain, but feel free to serve with some ranch if you have a need to do some dipping. Or even some ketchup if you’re feeling sacrilegious

Note to self: remember to keep out of cat’s reach. He has vegetarian tendencies after all… But at least he saved me from a stinging insect. Good Toby!


Suren buried

Catastrophe! My tomato garden has been devastated by a flock of birds. I noticed it about a week ago and decided to put up a net to keep them out. But those little buggers are still getting in! It’s terrible. Practically my whole harvest has been ruined. Hopefully better luck next year. But my peppers sure are popping up. I didn’t think they were going to make it, but so far so good. I like peppers better than tomatoes anyway. Hmph! But this minor tragedy is not going to stop me from making up some calzones!

Mmm. One of my favorite things in the world is a calzone. I have fond memories of eating calzone. Back in high school I was pretty involved in theater (surprising, I know). After every show, we always went to Vincenzo’s for dinner because they were open late unlike all the other small-city restaurants in the area. It also might have had something to do with the fact that they had five dollar calzones. At least, that’s why I went anyway. Plus, my dad knew the owner (do Sicilians stick together, haha?). Oh, and they were big calzones. I mean, where can you find a decent calzone for only 5 bucks nowadays? Please let me know!

I may or may not have borrowed bits of this recipe from The Pioneer Woman. After all, she is sorta my cooking idol at the moment. Usually I prefer pepperoni and ham as a filling, with banana peppers thrown in every once in awhile. But this time I decided to use mild Italian sausage. I’m still partial to pepperoni, but the sausage wasn’t too bad. Use whatever fillings strike your fancy! This could easily be converted into a vegetarian meal. Just load up on the veggies. Mmmmm

I think we all know my feelings about dough. If you want to find a recipe to make yours from scratch, by all means go for it (and don’t forget to share!). But today I’m going to use dough from a box- just add water and let rise! If you like, you can also buy pre-formed dough. Whatever works best for you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (or a blend of whatever you have on hand)
  • 12 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 tbs basil/parsley blend
  • 1 egg
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 recipe/box/store bought pizza dough

Don’t forget an extra egg to make an egg wash. If you’re making your dough from a box like me, follow the instructions. More likely than not, you’ll need to put the dough in an oiled bowl to rise. Be sure to cover!

Heat a skillet to medium heat and add the sausage. Dice an onion and throw that in along with some garlic. Don’t forget the garlic. I’m pretty sure I add garlic to everything. There’s no need for any added oil. The meat has enough fat in it not to burn

Once the meat is all nicely browned up and the onions translucent, add the Italian seasoning and the crushed red pepper flakes

Okay, let’s move on to the ricotta. You can’t have a calzone without ricotta…otherwise it’s a stromboli! In a medium bowl take all your cheeses and mix ’em up. I like the salty bite that Parmesan has, but you can up the mozzarella if you prefer

Now crack in your egg and add the remaining spices. Don’t be afraid to taste it. A little raw egg won’t kill you (hopefully…)

By now, your meat should be done. Drain any excess grease, pat dry with a paper towel, and toss into ricotta mixture

Looks yummy, right?! Actually, it doesn’t look appealing, but it sure does taste good! Time for assembly. Take your risen pizza dough and roll it out as thin as you can. I wanted to make two calzones instead of one big one, so I divided my dough in half

It looks like a heart! That one must be for the lover

Spoon filling onto dough

Fold dough over so that you have little crescent shapes. Trim around the edges and crimp. Or you can use a fork to seal it all together. Then beat and egg and brush it all over your little babies

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes depending

Yummmm

Tijuana