Roasted Tomato Sauce with Mini Meatballs

Roasted Tomato Sauce with Mini Meatballs

Every few months I crave the favorite classic—spaghetti and meatballs.

Sometimes I'll make the sauce from scratch depending on what kind of jarred sauce is on sale. If I do make it myself, I will usually opt for for using canned San Marzano tomatoes but since we are in the middle of tomato season, I was hankering for something fresh and truly from scratch. 

The last time I made tomato sauce from raw tomatoes was almost exactly two (!) years ago. That was a delicious sauce but for some reason this one was even tastier. I used almost the exact same recipe, but with a few changes.

Read More

Zucchini Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Zucchini Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I tend to crave grilled cheese sandwiches more in the summer rather than in the fall or winter.

In the colder parts of the year, I am more likely to make soups or stews because they release all of that cozy heat that I don't want to deal with in the summer. Grilled cheese sandwiches are perfect for summer because they don't require any major, long-term cooking. There's something about fresh bread, melted cheese and summer produce that is a different sort of combination from a salad. Typically, I reach for tomatoes but this time I chose to stick with zucchini. I love summer tomatoes in a grilled cheese sandwich but towards the end it can make the bread soggy which we'll save for this salad

Read More

Apricot and Lime Galette

Apricot and Lime Galette

This is one of those recipes that took a while to develop but with some patience and some advice, I was able to get it to just the place I wanted it to be. 

On my summer journey to make every possible type of pie/cobbler/crumble type thing, I just had to throw a galette in there. I thought galettes were supposed to be easier than pies but I think I made it harder on myself. This first started with the idea of mini galettes as it had been a while since I'd made anything mini. I wanted to bring individual ones to work but also wanted to try a different shape other than the usual circle. I've been inspired by puff pastry lately so the idea of doing something with fruit on top of a square piece of pastry was in my head. However, galette dough is trickier to work with in smaller sizes and after many renditions of many rectangular galettes, I concluded that perhaps doing mini galettes was a bit ambitious. With a deep sigh, I went back to square one (literally). 

Read More

Tomato and Basil Frittata

Tomato and Basil Frittata

Breakfast for dinner, anyone?

Sometimes eggs don't agree with me in the morning so I am perfectly happy to eat them at a later time in the day. This time, I found that the addition of slow-roasted tomatoes helped cut down the taste and texture of the eggs and I even found myself reaching for seconds. Either that or I was really hungry post-photographing this frittata. 

Read More

Roasted Corn and Shishito Pepper Pizza

Roasted Corn and Shishito Pepper Pizza

Another summer, another year to roast the heck out of shishito peppers. 

Since my first introduction to these funny little peppers, I can't help but roast pints of them when they are in season. Usually I opt for some variation of this super simple method, and this year is no exception—they are best simply charred with a little bit of sea salt. 

So why not top them on pizza? 1 in 10 of these peppers has a bit of a fire, although for the most recent basket I bought it was more like 1 in 3. As a person who is still working on being comfortable with spicy foods, I'll eat them like chips until I get a particularly spicy one. Luckily, the fire from shishito peppers quickly fades away. This spice lends a similar kick to topping your pizza with crushed red pepper flakes but with more of a fresh pepper taste.

Read More

Almond Granita

Almond Granita

A few months ago I was watching Chef's Table: Pastry, and was pulled in by the episode featuring Corrado Assenza—a Sicilian chef who specializes in cannoli, gelato and granita.  

Prior to watching this episode, I had never heard of the Sicilian tradition of eating granita for breakfast. There are debates on whether or not lemon or almond was the best flavor but I was drawn in by the idea of eating something cold and refreshing like granita in the morning. 

It's traditionally served with brioche and espresso which sounded like the perfect summer morning breakfast. Since I don't drink espresso, I completely nixed that part of it. I do like brioche but had some difficulties when I tried making it by hand so I'm not sharing that recipe. It's been a while since I've made bread and I've never attempted brioche. Perhaps I'll try it again in the near future. 

Read More

Plum Upside-Down Cake

Plum Upside-Down Cake

Stone fruit upside-down cakes and I don't always get along.

There was one really spectacular one I made three summers ago and since then, I haven't made one as tasty as that one except for this winter Mandarinquat Upside-Down Cake. Or perhaps I should say, I've been afraid to make one again in fear of it being exceptionally soggy or having a really gnarly top. Trying to get an upside-down cake to both look beautiful and to be baked just right is a challenge that is quite difficult to achieve. 

Although I prefer fresh cherries over cooked cherries, I prefer cooked plums over fresh plums. Sometimes the skin on plums can be too sour or bitter and I much prefer the sweetness and texture of peaches, nectarines or apricots. So plums get deemed as fruit that I will bake with or use as smoothie options.

Read More

Chinese-Style Eggplant

Chinese-Style Eggplant

Besides the association with a certain type of suggestive emoji meaning, I think eggplant is a rather underrated vegetable. 

It is such a beautiful purple when raw but can turn kind of bleh and brown when cooked. Personally, I think it should be cooked thoroughly so you don't end up with bitter or chewy eggplant, but I have found my desire for it to be soft and silky and almost falling apart off-putting to others. I can just hear my sister Kristen saying "Ewwww".  

So perhaps I have turned you even more away from eggplant, but cooking it this way with a savory, garlicky sauce is one of my favorite ways to eat it. When it comes to eggplant size and shape, I prefer small-medium Japanese or Chinese eggplants for this kind of dish. The small globe-shaped Indian eggplants tend to have a skin that is too thick with not enough flesh. The large Italian eggplants are the opposite and have too many seeds. This is a Chinese dish so it makes sense to choose the eggplant best suited for it!

Read More