Category: Summer

Chorizo and Halloumi Pancakes with Fried Eggs

I love breakfast!  At almost any time of the day, there is nothing quite so satisfying as an egg with a runny yolk, a pork product (yes, I was born and raised in the south,) and/or pancakes.  I love to find new recipes and flavors for those times when we are having breakfast for dinner, brunch, or hosting friends.  This has been in my recipe queue for a few months and this feels like the right time of year to try it.  There are a couple of interesting ingredients; Spanish chorizo (the cured kind, not the raw Mexican version that requires cooking) and halloumi cheese (a “grilling” cheese, popular in Greek cooking.)  Both should be able to be found in the cheese section of better grocers.  I like chorizo (both kinds actually) because it provides a great deal of savory flavor to most any dish, even if you use very little and halloumi; well come on, its cheese, whats not to love.  So whether you are making this for brunch or dinner, for yourself or friends, enjoy some farm-fresh eggs with a couple of new and interesting flavors.

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No-Knead Brioche Buns

It is the time of year where we usually start thinking about cleaning up our diets for our new year’s resolutions…well, not so fast, we still have a little partying to do.  I made these buns for our Christmas dinner and we loved them, but I realized how much better they are suited to making sandwiches for leftovers or as buns for burgers.  I actually froze half of them for the latter purpose.  This recipe will take a couple of days (due to the resting time in the fridge,) but no special equipment is required and no kneading!!  If you have an active starter and would like to replace some or all of the yeast with that, then go right ahead.  Your rises might take a little longer, but the added flavor should be worth it.

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Cloud Eggs

As expected, with the joy of the holidays comes the stress of the holidays.  Trying to find time for cooking, shopping, decorating, and communing with friends and family can lead to some tension and headaches.  So, it is also a time for some self care and spoiling.  Take a moment from your busy schedule to make and enjoy a nice, fulfilling breakfast for yourself.  It will start you off on the right foot for crazy day ahead.  

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Summer Spaghetti with Uncooked Tomato Sauce

By the calendar we have reached fall, but the temperatures still feel pretty summer-y, so I decided to take advantage of late season tomatoes and make this dish last night.  It was so easy and delicious that I wanted to share it with you guys even though it came from a cookbook (Melissa Clark’s Dinner: Changing the Game) and I was unable to find a link to share online.  First, grating the tomatoes is a brilliant idea!  I have made other uncooked sauces that diced the tomatoes, but the grating makes it so much easier to mix everything up.  Second, ricotta salata is pressed, salted dried and aged, so taste as you go to make sure that you keep the salt level where you like it.  The cheese should be easy to find at most larger grocery stores in the fancier cheese case.  Also, make sure you serve with that dollop of fresh ricotta, it takes this dish to creamy heaven!

Note:The picture is not of this recipe, but of a similar one from Smitten Kitchen.

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Fresh Tomato Soup with Basil and Farro

Well, we are getting our first taste of fall; up here in east TN, it has been in the 40’s the last couple of mornings and with Irma barreling towards us, most of the south should see some rain.  That makes me feel like snuggling up under a blanket, reading, and having some soup…but there are still fresh tomatoes you say, no problem with this one pot, stick to your ribs, fresh tomato soup.  Even with the farro, I envision serving this with a big hunk of crusty bread, maybe with a little garlic and olive oil rubbed and drizzled on.  If you cannot find the farro, you could always substitute soaked wheat or spelt berries.  Two notes: As I was reading this an announcement came that the Tuesday markets would be cancelled this week, due to Irma, so get to your local Saturday market and stock up before she heads our way.  Also, I will be away next week, so no recipe post next Friday.  Be safe!

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Southern Tomato Pie

If you follow my personal Instagram or Facebook pages, you will realize that when it is tomato season, I make tomato pies and tarts.  I have a tried and true recipe that hints more at Italy than the southern United States, but I also like to tweak that recipe as well as try completely new and different recipes.  This is the “new and different” one that I will make this week.  I like that this recipe uses a combo of roasted and fresh tomatoes, plus it uses a lot of tomatoes.  I am also interested to see how the caramelized onions and fontina cheese pair with them.  One tweak that I will make: I will use the food processor for the dough.  I have more experience with this method and it will go much quicker; also by pulsing, you have better control with less likelihood of over-mixing.  It is a somewhat time consuming recipe, although not that much hands on, but I have high hopes and will report back via FB when I have done mine.

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Pasta Salad with Pesto

Last week was one of those weeks…one of those weeks that I knew I had to prepare ahead of time or risk eating cereal for lunch and dinner.  One of the meals that I prepared was this pasta salad and boy am I glad that I did.  Truth time: a lot of pasta salad can be big bowls of flavorless oil or worse, cooked pasta with mayonnaise dumped on-yes I said it.  Neither is true for this one.  Both mayo and oil are in the recipe, but used in such a way that you do not feel like you are eating a mouthful of grease, plus, the pesto brings a wealth of flavor, and the tomatoes add a bright freshness.  In case you cannot tell, I really liked this.  Best of all, it made a big bowl that I portioned out for lunch and dinner a few days in this busy, busy week.

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Summer Tomato Gratin

So, its late summer and you couldn’t resist buying all those tomatoes…you had a plan; fresh summer tomatoes with everything, but then, life got in the way and those big, bright, beautiful tomatoes are looking kind of spotty and leaky…what to do.  Well, you certainly could make tomato sauce, a cooked salsa, or that amazing tomato jam recipe that I put up last year, but why not try something different that really concentrates the tomato flavor and gives a new appreciation for summer.  Yes, you do have to turn the oven on, but you can transform those sad, leaky countertop tomatoes into a spectacular new dish that seems like you planned it all along.

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Peachy Pork with Charred Onions

I don’t often recommend meat recipes in these posts for a couple of reasons: 1. We have so many veggies and so many ways to try them, I usually have no trouble finding recipes, and 2. In the past people have not seemed as enthused by the meat recipes as the veggie ones.  I am making an exception with this because it is so easy and so full of flavor.  I made this midweek and we gobbled it up. I mean, who knew that charred peaches and red onions with a little drizzle of pomegranate molasses and a bite of pork would be so transcending?  If any of you did I wish you would have told me…If chops are not your thing, I think you could sub in pork tenderloin or maybe even a pork burger.  I am not going to make a meat substitute rec’ but would be interested to hear about the results of anyone’s experiments.  So, get yourself a couple of peaches before the season is over and try this. You will be glad that you did.

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Summer Squash Pizza

Well, we have finally hit full on tomato season the last couple of weeks here in NE Tennessee and I have been taking advantage: tomato-caprese pie, pasta with fresh tomatoes, caprese salad with burrata, panzanella, and the list goes on.  Hearing this, you would expect for me to offer up a tomato recipe this week…I fully intended to, but then, as often happens when browsing my favorite food sites, I saw something shiny and it became the recipe that I MUST MAKE NOW!  Yes, this is how my food/ingredient/recipe crazed mind works…Over the years I have made a few recipes from Smitten Kitchen with good results, but it is not one of my go-to sites, so when I saw this pizza topping (I have been thinking about pizza a lot lately) on another site, I knew that I must try it.  I love new ways to use veggies, plus pizza; win, win, so follow my brand of crazy this week and try summer squash in a new and exciting way.

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Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce

I swear I am not an addict, but if I keep going on like this, we will have to rename these posts: “Tara cooks from Ottolenghi.”  Yes, once again I bring you a recipe from Chef Yotam’s book “Plenty,” but in my defense, I made this on Sunday and it really is a revelation in how you can eat eggplant.  I do like eggplant a lot, but other than in baba ganoush, or a salad with lots of other things, I have never really thought about eating it at room temperature…this was obviously an oversight, because WOW; this recipe is so good.  The combo of the roasted eggplant with the tangy-ness of the buttermilk and the tart crispness of the pomegranate is just perfect.  It even gets bonus points for being so freaking easy and double bonus points for being pretty.  I know that the recipe says to use two large, long eggplant, but it does not matter; any globe style eggplant will work.  Also, take note, if you go to the Epicurious link, there is a misprint about the oven temperature (it says 200F, that should be 200C or 400F.)  Go and order some eggplant now, so you can be eating this soon.

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Green Gazpacho

This has been a busy summer for me, so once again I am posting early.  We have established in these posts before that 1.) I try to eat as seasonally as possible, 2.) I like cold soups in the summer, and 3.) I am mildly obsessed (maybe not so mildly) with Yotam Ottolenghi, so bearing those things in mind, I present this recipe.  Let me just shout out that this soup is great!!!  Don’t let the fact that it is green and cold scare you, this is a hearty summer dish that is full of flavor and just so good for you.  I made this ahead of time to enjoy for lunch throughout this hot week .  I did not add the ice cubes, because I knew I would not be eating it right away and to me, it only got better as the week progressed.  Just like bone warming hot winter soups, cold summer soups can be comfort food, especially if you like a little spice and add the green chile.

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