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.

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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

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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. 

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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!

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Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

This salad is a celebration of two things—heirloom tomatoes and homemade croutons.

Davis is in the heart of tomato growing country, so for the whole month of August you'll see what I call "tomato turns" or what happens when tomato trucks take a turn onto or off of the freeway too fast and tomatoes fall out. There is a particular section on the ramp on 113 North that is notorious for being covered in very sad smashed tomatoes. That's how I know we're in the thick of tomato season and that they should be gobbled up until they are no longer in season.

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Crepes with Fresh Strawberries

Crepes with Fresh Strawberries

In honor of the first farm stand strawberries, I made crepes for probably only the second time in my life. 

I am grateful to live in California where you can get the most beautiful, ruby red, sweet and juicy strawberries from April-October. When I was living in Hawaii, strawberries and stone fruit were the two produce items that I missed the most. But on the other hand, they have mangoes, pineapples and lilikoi. It's hard to have the best of both worlds. 

Crepes are the perfect vehicles for fresh strawberries because they have a delicate flavor and texture that allow the berries to shine. After I graduated high school, I visited France and of course we had to try crepes from a stand. Without a doubt, Nutella and strawberry was the winner. When I tried to make them from scratch several years later, I was traumatized because they never turned out circular. It was always some weird alien shape with a hole or some horns. Little did I know, if I had kept trying, I probably would have liked making them a lot sooner than now especially after one of my friends encouraged me to try making them again.

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Sausage, Onions and Bell Peppers

Sausage, Onions and Bell Peppers

It's funny how sometimes the simplest recipes I want to post stay in the queue for the longest time. 

I haven't been quite sure what to write for the past few weeks. Well, that's not entirely correct, I have had thoughts about it but have wondered if I'd just be rattling off about stuff that no one really cares about and are entirely unrelated to this dish. But, then I go back to the whole this-is-my-blog-and-I-can-write-about-whatever-I want-to-write thing. I am trying to not care what others think, but that is always hard. So here are some thoughts and things that have happened since the beginning of February. 

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Simple Roasted Shishito Peppers

Simple Roasted Shishito Peppers

Hello...just a quick pop in with a super easy summer recipe. 

I haven't posted in a while because I've either been traveling or clearing out all of the leftovers in my freezer because it's been too hot to cook. Also read, lazy. 

This also means that I have been neglecting the fact that all of this amazing summer produce is out and that I need to consume as much as possible before it disappears. Granted, I do live in sunny California where certain things are available year round but produce at its peak is the best. 

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