An Easter Menu

Easter Menu

TO START
Fritelle di Baccalà
Pickled Beet Eggs
Deviled Eggs

SOUP
Stracciatella (Italian Egg Drop Soup)

MAIN
Agnello al Forno (Oven Baked Lamb) with Potatoes

VEGETABLE
Piselli alla Fiorentina (Florentine Style Spring Peas)

DESSERT
Pastiera Napoletana (A Neapolitan Easter Cake)
Keep on reading!

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Springtime Pea Salad From Quilt Country

If you are no stranger to the simple yet hearty fare from the Pennsylvania Dutch, then this salad will definitely spark a sense of familiarity. Continue reading “Springtime Pea Salad From Quilt Country”

The King of Salads: Hail Caesar!

When you’ve dragged yourself from the dredges of winter and you feel the first rays of sunshine warm your cheeks or catch a flutter of a breeze accented with the grass clippings, you know it’s the perfect time to make a big salad for dinner. Keep Reading!

Rotolini di Melanzane con Pomodorini

You know what’s really good, like really, really good? Fried eggplant wrapped around salty ham and ooey gooey mozzarella! Do I have your attention? …Because one taste of these eggplant rolls and it’s love at first bite! Keep Reading!

What In The World Are Banana Blossoms & More Importantly, How Do You Eat Them!?

You know when you happen upon something unfamiliar and then you encounter it repeatedly? I called it serendipity or fortunate happenstance, but science has another term for it, the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Mine is currently banana blossoms. Keep Reading!

Sour-And-Hot Silken Tofu

Get your spoon ready, ’cause you’ll be slurping this Sichuan, silken tofu mixture like it’s going out of style. I was recently gifted, Fuchsia Dunlop’s cookbook, Every Grain of Rice and I can not recommend it enough. Keep Reading!

Yes, I dredged and fried my tofu

A new sushi place opened near my house, Maru, extending a modernized, chicness to the neighborhood.  A friend suggested that I revel in a “pillow of goodness,” aka tofu from the vegetarian hibachi grill and well, it was clearly, quite good!  The first bite presented a crisp, golden texture on the outside, followed by a fluffy center that melted in my mouth.  The tofu was drizzled in a sweet sauce, brandished with sesame seeds.  It was a dish that had me asking, how?  What made the tofu so perfect!  Crisp and springy?!!!
Continue reading “Yes, I dredged and fried my tofu”

Knee-High by July

A summer memory:

Sitting on the front stoop, my sister by my side with a brown-paper grocery bag and a heavy bottomed cooking pot.  There we sat shucking away the green husks and wisps of silk from Mid-Western sweet corn.  We knew that summer had arrived when corn was offered up at roadside stands and grew to be knee-high by July.  Nothing beat those crisp, golden kernels, bursting open with a pop of sweet, starchy goodness!
Continue reading “Knee-High by July”

You can’t stop the “beet”….

As Bill Cosby stated, “nobody ever says, can I have your beets?”  I categorize beets as an acquired taste, something to the effect of your very first beer!  I recall as a child being served the ‘tinny’ taste of beets straight from the can….and I was NOT a fan!  However, I grew up, my tastes changed and I tried ‘real’ beets not from a can and I like them!  Not to knock canned beets….they are useful in a pinch but do have a different taste.
Continue reading “You can’t stop the “beet”….”

Hasta Luego Tomato

My grandpa ( a man I love MUCHO) recounts a time in his life  in the late 30’s and early 40’s when he worked in the produce section of a local market. Vegetables and fruits were seasonal and bananas were a BIG deal!  He told me that when bananas would come in they were reserved in the back of the store for the ‘good’ customers before offering to the general public!  Here is Grandpa….

Grandpa, photo by michelle.

Choices were very limited in comparison to what grocery stores offer today.  This topic on choice makes me question–Just because we can should we?

Do any of you recall that every summer we say just how good a juicy, sun-ripened tomato tastes or that a steamy bowl of fresh, butternut squash bisque hits the spot during the fall?  We say this because it’s true!!!  A tomato that is grown locally and in season IS going to taste far better than a tomato that was picked under-ripe and shipped halfway across the world to your local grocery store.  In the past seasonal eating was all we used to know.  Now with the onset of technology, globalization and supply and demand we are offered a myriad of choices ranging from Fiji to Switzerland.

I believe that seasonal eating is important to maintain balance and nutrients in our bodies.  It is not a coincidence that we crave certain types of food throughout the year.  Each season bears foods and cooking methods which support our bodies.  Winter time is dry and cold and sustains cold weather crops such as root vegetables.  Soups and stews warm and moisturize our bodies from the cold, dry air.  Warmer weather brings fresh and abundant crops ranging from berries, to greens and tomatoes.  We crave fresh and raw foods to cool our bodies from the heat.

In hopes of becoming a better seasonal eater my friends and I purchased a CSA share with a local farm (Trillium Haven Farm).  Each week we receive organic vegetables that are in season!   It is a challenge to keep up with the bounty of veggies and meal planning but it sure does feel good to eat this way.  I applaud those who do grow their own food, put it up and reap the benefits of their labor.  You’ve got a good thing going on!

The height of summer has come to an end and as this post mentions, sadly so have the tomatoes.  My farm share was pumping out gorgeous, succulent heirloom tomatoes.  Purple ones, green ones, red ones, yellow ones variegated ones….so so so GOOD!!!  I stored up enough of these beauties to make a great end of summer Heirloom Tomato Pie.

Heirloom Tomato Pie, photo by michelle.

Ingredients:

Heirloom tomatoes

Roasted Red Peppers

Onions

Fresh Basil

Yogurt (I like Greek)

Feta Cheese

Salt and Pepper

Pie Crust

I do not pride myself on my baking skills so for this recipe I bought a pre-made pie crust.

Preheat oven 350 degrees

Slice up your tomatoes, sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for about 10 minutes in a strainer.  Chop up the roasted red peppers, slice the onion and chiffonade the basil and set aside.  In a bowl mix together about 1 cup yogurt  and 2 cups feta cheese.
Layer the tomatoes, roasted red pepper, onion and basil in the pie shell.  With a rubber spatula spread the yogurt and feta cheese mixture atop.  Pop it in the oven for about 30-35 minutes.  Let cool then slice it up and serve!

Tomato Pie with Feta Topping, photo by michelle.

End result, nicely browned and SO GOOD!