my new favorite diy

garlic herb salt

One of the new items I've been experimenting with is homemade garlic and herb salt. You know that nasty chalky McCormick garlic salt that's been in your pantry for years? Throw it out. This one is easy and makes everything taste better. Seriously. I've tried it on eggs, humous, guacamole, sauteed veggies, salad dressing and roast chicken. I now sprinkle it on a bagel and cream cheese (instant everything bagel!) Try it on top of toast with mayo (or spinach humous pictured above) and fresh summer tomatoes. It elevates flavor and adds a richness without overpowering. Cardboard up next. 

It does however take some upper body strength, so feel free to cancel today's gym plans. 

a lazy bolognese

This is a great dinner party recipe that can be served in a big messy pot on the table but gets rave reviews every time. It also makes the house smell like you've been cooking all day, which you sort of have but not like people think. Nothing about the directions is hard but it requires you being there, observing, adding, waiting, stirring. I find it quite mediative and rewarding. The basic strategy is add liquid and reduce. Vegetables, meat, wine, milk and tomatoes give all their concentrated goodness while their liquid evaporates away. In fact, even after you add all the ingredients, it helps to keep adding water—a strange cooking concept but wholly approved by Marcella Hazan-- which even further concentrates this meaty but nuanced sauce. It's so yummy that all you need is some spaghetti underneath it, and maybe a green salad and bread.

 

Lazy Bolognese

  • 1 onion
  • carrot large
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 pound pork sausage (removed from casing)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1.5 cups tomatoes peeled in juice

Put the kids in front of the TV. Roughly chop veggies then pulse in a food processor until fine. Melt butter and oil in large pot and cook vegetables (plus salt and pepper) over med-high heat for 10-15 minutes until water evaporates and they start to turn brown. Add meat and sausage, breaking up with wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper and cook for 10-15 minutes until browned. Add milk and stir occasionally until it evaporates. Add wine and do the same. Add tomato paste and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes as you add them from the can. When the sauce returns to a boil, turn down and cook at "lazy simmer*" for 3 hours. But continue to monitor it and add water if it starts to dry out, which it will. 

* amazing phrase courtesy of Marcella Hazan
 

my version of friday take-out

For some reason, I cannot order takeout when the rest of the intelligent world would, so tonight's dinner is a result of what was in the freezer/fridge after a week with TWO school holidays, six loads of laundry and a movie about cartoon turtles who fall in love. Eaten silently with a spoon in two identical bowls. And yes I realize they don't really go together and yes, I was too hungry to take pictures so this is a somewhat lame post but actually both were pretty awesome...Michael and Mack ate every last bite. I will make both recipes again. Unless someone orders takeout.


Easy Chicken-Broccoli "Fried Rice"

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  •  chicken thighs cut into small pieces
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli defrosted
  • 1 tsps each fish sauce, soy sauce
  • 1 small bag Uncle Ben's parboiled brown rice
  • 1 egg


Heat olive oil and garlic clove in saucepan. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes then add fish and soy sauces. Cook for 5 minutes and add broccoli then rice. When hot, add raw egg and mix to cook. Season with soy or hot sauce to taste.


Easy Greek Shrimp

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 1 pound raw shrimp cleaned and shelled including tail (I used bag o' frozen)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1/4 cup feta


In saute pan, olive oil and one garlic clove then add tomatoes, tomato sauce and salsa and cook until tomatoes are soft. Add raw shrimp, stir until covered then scatter feta on top. Cover and cook over medium high until shrimp is cooked and feta melted (about 3-5 minutes).

farmer's market pasta

This picture is misleading.

The tomatoes don't figure prominently in this dish. But they are what I am most proud of about this recipe because they were entirely my invention.

This is how I usually decide what to make: 1. Have a general idea in my head 2. Do a lot of research on sites/books I trust. Like a lot. Probably too much. 3.Think about it for awhile. 4. Look in my fridge. 5. Put all materials away and make my version.

So for this one, I read several recipes about broccoli rabe sausage pasta and then made this one up based on what I bought at the farmer’s market (turkey sausage, mustard greens, kale) and the fact that Mack somehow put two boxes of cherry tomatoes in our grocery cart without me seeing them. (He obviously thought they were balls. He loves balls so much! It's almost weird. )

Anyway, since tomatoes aren’t even in season I knew I had to do something to concentrate their flavor which is why I crushed the hell out of them, reducing them to a sticky, quite tasty, pulp.

Farmers Market Pasta

  • I pint cherry tomatos
  • ! tbsp oliveoOil
  • ¾ lb sweet turkey sausage
  • 1 head mustard greens
  • 1 small head kale
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 lb Rigatoni
  • 1 c parmesan
  • ¼ c cream
  1. Heat olive oil in pan over med-high heat. Add tomatoes, cook for 10-15 minutes to soften. If they start to burn, turn down head. Use a wooden spoon to squash them down and release their juices. Turn to low and let them for another 10 minutes. Mash and scrape them some more until you have a loose paste.
  2. Blanch greens for 4 minutes then shock them in ice water.
  3. Cook sausage (out of casing) until almost brown (5-10 minutes). Add onion, cook for 5 minutes, and then add garlic. Cook for 10 minutes adding some water if dry. Add greens. Cook for a while adding water if needed.
  4. Cook pasta reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Add pasta to sausage mixture along with water (1/4 cup at a time) to make it saucy. Add ¼ cup cream and one cup cheese. Serve.