Sunday, July 15, 2012

grilled cheese with smoked gouda, fig preserves, and fresh basil

Being in the midst of packing for camp, Sunday School teacher meeting at 3, and church/fellowship shortly thereafter, I am in a bit of a rush today, so I'm foregoing the pics of the food this time. :) But I had to share this wonderful grilled cheese recipe that I absolutely loved, and considered myself very chic to make. hehe!

Smoked Gouda with Fig Preserves and Fresh Basil, on Buttered Whole Wheat Bread! Woohoo! (yes, that's pretty much the recipe. lol)

I like the smoky flavor of the cheese against the mild sweetness of the figs, and of course the occasional peppery bite from the basil just keeps things spicy. And, as Dillon said after tasting a bite, "I like the aftertaste." Aftertaste is always important. :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

roasted cauliflower

You must forgive me for the poor quality of these pictures. I have to say, the blog is lucky to have any pictures at all! 

It was only after getting this sparkly citrusy heavenly cauliflower out of the oven that I realized I had only eaten a meager lunch of 2 steak fingers and a small chicken finger, leftover from yesterday and reheated in the oven. Plus I got carried away making cookies for tomorrow's cookie fellowship at church, and wasn't watching the time - it was 7:45 before I started eating.

The unsurprising result was that I unattractively wolfed down my food. I even apologized to my son and husband, who were both eating in different rooms (yes, it was a TV night for them) for the unladylike behavior - they hadn't noticed.

I was so HUNGRY. And it was so GOOD.

So, before I turned lupine and did the unattractive wolfing thing, I managed to snap 2 pictures for the blog.  Not pretty, and not professional, but maybe they will cause you to stop and take notice of a very underrated vegetable.

You gotta give it a try. You might be howling at the moon too.

Roasted Cauliflower

1 medium head cauliflower, washed and cut into florets of approximately equal size, and not too big
1/4 cup olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4-1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Place prepared cauliflower in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice until well blended; pour immediately over cauliflower and, using your hands or a large spoon, toss until the cauliflower is well coated with the olive oil mixture. Scoop cauliflower into a baking dish that is large enough to accommodate all the vegetable in a single layer, yet doesn't spread them out too far from each other. Pour and scoop all the remaining 'sauce' over the cauliflower. Roast in the oven for 8 minutes, then remove and, using a wooden spoon, stir thoroughly. Roast for 10 more minutes and then mix with the wooden spoon again. Roast a final 5 minutes and remove from oven. (You can now put it in a serving bowl, if you wish, but you don't have to - we just helped ourselves from the stovetop). Finally, sprinkle the cauliflower with grated cheese and parsley, and serve immediately.

Monday, July 2, 2012

jammin' with tomato jam

One of the greatest, if not THE greatest, things about summer is the supply of fresh tomatoes from the gardens of my mom and my brothers.  During the practically flavorless tomato based meals of winter, it's what I think of with longing in my heart.

The standby recipes are fresh salsa, roasted tomatoes, incredible spaghetti sauce, and best of all, just plain old room temp thick slices dusted with salt & pepper - nothing better.

But I do like to experiment, so when I saw this recipe from Food Loves Writing, I had to give it a try. I ended up cooking it for about 2 hours, 15 minutes before I got the consistency I wanted, but hey, that's okay - it's summer and I have all the time in the world. Well, not really, but I was home that day anyway...

In addition to making the jam, Dillon and I had grilled cheese for supper that night (see below).  It was so good, we had it again for Sunday lunch after church, when Dalton was home, and it was a hit with him too.

If you have an abundance of tomatoes that you are tired of canning or putting in the freezer, give this a try. I think you'll be glad you did. The small amount of honey adds sweetness, but the real sweetness comes from the long slow cookdown of the onions and tomatoes. Heaven in a pot.

Tomato Jam (adapted from recipe found in the cookbook Herbivarious by Michael Natkin; I originally found the recipe in the blog linked above)
Makes about one cup

1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled and diced
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced small
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Combine the tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, basil, honey and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir in cayenne pepper and black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then adjust the heat to keep the tomatoes simmering until the mixture becomes thick and syrupy. This will likely take a couple of hours. Taste and adjust seasonings as you like. Serve at room temperature. 

Grilled Cheese our way:

Butter one side each of two slices of good whole wheat bread. On the opposite side of one slice, layer slices of sharp cheddar cheese and fresh mozzarella. Top with chopped basil leaves. On the other slice, spread tomato jam on unbuttered side, and place on top of cheese/basil, tomato jam side down. (In other words, just make a grilled cheese sandwich, butter on the outside, haha). Grill until toasty golden brown on each side, and the cheese is all melty and gooey and perfect. Cut in half for easy access, and enjoy. Resist temptation to make and devour a 2nd sandwich. Or don't resist. :D