June has been lovely, and slower paced which I’m loving. I’ve abbreviated my quantity of posts but hopefully you’re still enjoying them. June was pretty meat-less now that I look back.
I did have some really delicious food outings. I went to The Painted Burro and had an amazing duck taco. I had a weeknight date to Figs Boston for some pizza. I went to a food truck festival and almost passed out, so I didn’t take any photos after I finally securing some water. I’m thankful for how many not-too-hot days we’ve had. I spent one Sunday by the pool after hitting of my fav local doughnut joint.
I really loved this super simple Veggie Pasta with Brown Butter Sauce
This Marinated Cucumber Salad and this Spinach & Tomato Tortellini Salad seemed like good summer staples.
I figured we were due for a re-do of zucchini fritters
Sis and I took Mom to tea for a belated Mother’s Day outing. It was awesome. I loved it! Let’s have tea and scones every afternoon.
Mr. J’s birthday burger was a great one! I was worried I wouldn’t come up with a new theme for the traditional burger but this one was great. It was a German burger: pretzel rolls, caramelized onions, mustard, swiss cheese, and a touch of horseradish. I also tossed together some truffle parmesan fries. Can’t beat that!
Let’s check on my goals:
Buy myself flowers more often – The Year of the flower is going strong, this month was a home ground peony and then this month also had some lupine from the highway in Maine.
send more mail – ehh I didn’t quite get there this month.
make some Pinterest pins a reality
cook with yeast (yikes!)
try a spin class – um nope. I did a zumba class…not quite the same.
make more cocktails – totally forgot. Stay tuned. I issued a mojito “cross country challenge” to @jessfuel
Years ago, I did a post of these fritters using summer squash. They were due for a re-do, this time they’re back to classic zucchini. I love them as a side dish and haven’t made them in a really long time. I made enough for dinner and lunch with just 1 zucchini.
1 large zucchini
1/4 cup white onion, chopped
1 tbs garlic, chopped
1/4 cup breadcrumbs or panko
1 tsp flour
1/4 cup parmesan cheese or feta
salt & pepper
Grate the zucchini then press excess liquid out either through a mesh strainer or towels.
Add zucchini, onion, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, flour, cheese, salt and pepper to a large bowl.
Mix together. It should be sticky. If too wet, try adding more breadcrumbs/flour/cheese.
Heat a large pan with vegetable oil to medium heat. (or preheat an oven to 375 degrees to bake. Bake 20-30 minutes until golden brown)
Test the oil temp by dropping just a shred of zucchini in to see it sizzle.
Spoon 2-3 tbs of the mixture into the oil to fry. Let it cook on the first side for about 5 minutes.
Flip to cook on the other side for about 4 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let rest on a paper towel for any excess oil.
I love these as a side. They go with anything. We grilled some pork chops and had these on the side. Othertimes I’ve had them alongside a salad for a filling meatless meal.
zucchini fritters – Parmesan + feta + artichoke hearts = Greek zucchini fritters
zucchini fritters + chopped tomatoes/sundried tomatoes + basil = summery zucchini fritters
zucchini fritters + shredded potato = lighter potato cake fritter
I was worried I wouldn’t come up with a birthday burger theme for Mr. J. It is now a tradition and I’ve made a bunch of burgers in between, so I wasn’t sure what this year would be. Ms. L is to thank for this one. The German burger all starts with the pretzel rolls.
In 2013 it was a Vermont Burger
In 2012 it was a Bacon Wrapped Burger
In 2011 it was a Stuffed Burger
1/2 pound ground beef/chicken/pork
1 -2 tsp prepared horseradish
salt & pepper
1/4 of a white onion, cut into slices
2 pretzel rolls
2 slices swiss cheese
2 tbs ground mustard
2 sliced pickles, or pickle chips
Mix together the ground meat, horseradish, salt and pepper. Then form into patties.
Heat up the grill, or a grill pan.
In a small pan, caramelize some onions over medium-low heat.
Grill the burgers until cooked to your liking adding the cheese at the end.
Top the pretzel rolls and burgers with mustard, caramelized onions, and some thin sliced pickles.
This burger was really good. The pickles and the horseradish gave it a little kick, the creamy mustard and the caramelized onions added a touch of sweetness. It was a good one! I wasn’t sure how strong the horseradish would seem after being cooked, so I went easy on it. You could always add it as a topping too!
Next came the side. I realized parmesan truffle fries were just so easy and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t ever made them before! I kept it easy using frozen fries and they were tossed together in just a few minutes.
Parmesan Truffle Fries
2 “handfulls” of fries
2 tbs grated Parmesan
1 tbs truffle oil
salt & pepper
Bake the fries according to the package.
Remove from the oven and toss with salt and pepper.
Then add parmesan & truffle oil.
Toss gently to coat.
This is how to eat fries. I love truffle oil and the parmesan is a great salty balance. I chopped up a tiny bit of chives for a little fresh/oniony flavor.
I whipped up these breakfast burritos to freeze so I could have them on hand for whenever the mood strikes. I love savory breakfast options and this packs a punch without a lot of work. I wanted them to be a smart portion and healthier than fast-food breakfast so I opted for turkey sausage, getting a veggie in there, and mostly eggwhites.
1 cup egg beaters
8 oz turkey breakfast sausage
2 cups arugula or spinach
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
6 wheat tortillas, 8″
Heat a medium skillet to medium high heat, then fry the sausage. Once cooked, let it cool.
Whisk together the egg beaters and eggs, then cook in a large skillet over medium low heat. Once cooked, let it cool.
Assemble the burritos with greens, eggs, sausage, and cheese.
Fold the sides in and roll the burrito closed. Then wrap in plastic wrap to freeze.
To eat, defrost in the fridge overnight, or microwave on defrost for 1 minute. Toast in the oven or toaster oven.
The arugula is a big flavor. I might use spinach next time.
bfast burrito + pepper jack cheese + salsa + black beans + corn – greens = Mexican Breakfast Burrito
bfast burrito – sausage + bacon – greens + herbs + a schmear of cream cheese = fancified bfast wrap
bfast burrito – cheddar – sausage + goat cheese + tomatoes + basil = vegetarian bfast wrap
This tortellini salad could easily be a side dish but this ended up as the whole meal one warm night. It is addictive and packs a fresh and flavorful bite after bite after bite.
9 oz cheese tortellini
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups baby spinach leaves, chiffonade
1/4 cup cheddar
1 tbs creamy Caesar dressing
Boil salted water and cook the tortellini according to the package.
Let cool, and toss with Italian dressing. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight. I did this much before work.
Stir in tomatoes, spinach, cheddar, and creamy dressing.
Salt & pepper to taste.
I loved the juicy tomatoes adding a bit more moisture to this. The spinach acted like an herb while providing the benefit of vitamin A & vitamin C. The cheese was subtle but a great bite behind the freshness of everything else.
This was a great one-bowl-wonder dinner. It hit a few food groups and was suuuuper easy.
Normally I throw English cukes into everything. For this salad, it was all about regular cukes. This is the easiest side dish ever. I threw it together while some pork ribs were slowly doing their thing in the oven, before hitting the grill. This cucumber salad is fresh, crisp, and crunchy.
1 large cucumber, pealed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1/2 tsp dill
1-2 tsp sugar
In a jar, shake together the oil, vinegar, dill, and sugar.
Add the cucumber slices, and mix well.
Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Serve & enjoy!
My mom used to make simple cucumber salads and simple tomato salads. They are such a great fresh side during BBQ season. They go with anything and are exactly what you need with a burger, something grilled, or something saucy.
This calzone isn’t such a far cry from my sausage and peppers calzone or from my meatball and spinach calzone but I think some of the best calzones are really the most successful. I like the mix of flavors and textures. Turkey meatballs have rent-controlled residence in my freezer and make a great calzone filling.
Not all turkey meatballs are created equal. Trader Joe’s has, hands down, the best ones out there. Perdue Turkey Meatballs are terrible…though this wouldn’t be the worst way to use ’em up. Cooked Perfect are pretty good. I’d definitely try Butterball’s turkey meatballs but I haven’t seen them in passing. I’ve made turkey meatballs myself but I think I like the ground chicken meatballs I’ve made better.
6-8 turkey meatballs
1/2 green pepper
1/2 white onion
1 cup tomato sauce
8 oz shredded mozzarella
Preheat the oven, and a pizza stone if using one, to 375 degrees.
Slice the meatballs into disks, the pepper into strips, and the onion into strips.
Saute the onions in a tsp of olive oil until tender, and starting to get translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add in the peppers, cook for another 5 minutes until everything is cooked through but still has some texture.
Spread the pizza dough onto the pizza stone or onto a baking sheet. Lay the dough out onto the pan off center, so you’re adding the fillings to what will be the bottom, and you’ll be folding over the top. You won’t be repositioning it on the pan again.
Add the fillings in layers: cheese, peppers & onions, meatball disks, and a drizzle of tomato sauce. Repeat the layers filling and adding what seems like over-filling.
Fold the top over across the filling. Pinch it closed, and slice some vents across the top.
Bake 20 minutes, then brush with eggwash or olive oil. Bake another 10 until golden brown.
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing. (I cut it too soon, and look what happens).
It was so good. I loved the tradtional-ish flavors. Sometimes I go for out-there flavors but that made me appreciate what works together. The turkey meatballs being fully cooked helped speed this along. I tried to be careful to cook the onions enough before adding the peppers so they could cook evenly.
For a belated Mother’s Day outing, sis and I took our Momma to tea. We got dressed up and went downtown. Many of the hotels offer tea, but we went to The Langham, Boston because I just had an event there and they are lovely to work with. I was happy to give them our business.
After cosying around a coffee table in plush sofas and arm chairs, we each ordered the Tiffin selection. For tea, I had a pomegrante green tea. I liked the showiness of getting smell the samples.
We got our tea and the sandwiches. There was a smoked salmon on Boston brown bread, egg & chive salad on brioche, roast beef and farmer’s cheese on sourdough, and English cucumber and dill with cream cheese. My fav was the egg salad.
Next came the scones. Ohh the scones. This was the best scone I’ve ever had. Ever. There was clotted cream, strawberry jam, and lemon curd for the scones. I loved the mix of clotted cream and sweet jam. I could have just had the scones and tea. They were, hands down, the best part.
We ended it with dessert. I think some were lacking and not really my thing. The raspberry macaroon and a little chocolate crunch cake were both amazing. I didn’t care about the other two.
It was fun. I think we would have liked to order a la carte better. The sandwiches were good, but there was probably twice as many as we each needed.
I figured out how to take the mystery out of brown butter. Making it in white-bottomed pot made it sooo much easier. There wasn’t a risk of the butter going too far.
1 stick butter (not margarine or a butter substitute)
1/2 pound of pasta (rigatoni or penne or other short pasta)
1 cup corn
1 1/2 cup tomatoes (cherry or grape)
6-8 basil leaves (optional)
2 tsp grated Parmesan
Heat a large flat pan to medium heat.
Cut the butter into chunks and add to the pan.
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Whisk the butter as it melts, watching for it to foam up.
Cut the asparagus into 4ths, and spread out onto a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil. Roast the asparagus for about 7 minutes.
Boil plenty of salted water for the pasta.
When the butter starts to get light tan specks on the bottom, start whisking.
Keep whisking as it gets brown all over the bottom of the pan, and then remove from heat, about 2 minutes. If it stays heating too long it will burn and you’ll have to start over.
Add the tomatoes and the corn onto the pan with the asparagus and return to the oven for about 5-7 minutes.
Put the pasta into the salted water, cook according to package.
Drain the pasta.
Toss the pasta with the roasted veggies and the brown butter. Sprinkle with basil and a touch of Parmesan.
I loved this. The veggies were a great blend. The asparagus still had some crunch while the tomatoes added some moisture. The corn was pretty much for color and a touch of sweetness. I looove brown butter.
When I’ve made it in my dark-bottomed pots I found it hard to tell when it was done – versus too-done. This time I made it in a flat dutch oven. The glazed pot made it really easy to tell when it was ready. I love the nutty flavor. It is seriously the easiest sauce for pasta. It is good on filled pasta that still need to be the highlight…like lobster ravioli or pumpkin ravioli.