Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oven Roasted Broccoli

This is by far the best broccoli recipe I have. I mean sure, you can make a cheese laden casserole with a ritz cracker topping, and that will be tasty, but with that recipe, you negate all of the wonderful nutritional value of the broccoli and then you might as well just take the cheese and crackers and rub it all over your inner thighs, because that is exactly where that shit is going to go. This tastes awesome, the garlic and broccoli together with the roasted flavor is fabulous. And get this, its good for you too.

The garden is coming along. My jalapeno plant is still coming along, the cucumbers are tiny little spiky oblongs that look like they will never mature to full cucumbers but I have faith. I finally got my fist summer squash, I'm not sure how both plants that I have continue to flower like they are and not produce fruit. Something is eating my basil, like crazy - I went out and bought three more plants hoping that one of it will make it. My tomatoes, although green are very prolific, I'm assuming in a few more weeks we'll be up to our elbows in tomatoes. Thyme - does anyone have any recipes that use a lot of fresh thyme? I've got thyme coming out the ying yang and need someway to use it. Any ideas welcome, seriously.

Also, I'll be heading to Napa and Sonoma soon. If you could let me know your favorite wineries to visit out there I would greatly appreciate it. I've been there before and I'm familiar with some of the wineries, but there are just so many of them that I'd love to have your information with me when I plan my winery tours. Thanks.

Oven Roasted Broccoli with Garlic
2 Heads broccoli broken into florets
1 clove garlic minced
2 tsp canola oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

Combine oil, garlic salt in pepper. In a large bowl pour oil mixture over the broccoli and toss to coat.
Place in 400 degree oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. If you feel like it, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the broccoli before serving.

I ate this warm right out of the oven, and cold the next day, it was great both ways.

Rating = So Damn Good

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rosemary Focaccia (my first ever)

I've always wanted to make focaccia, but never had the time, and frankly I was a little intimidated by the idea of making this wonderful bread at home. I don't know why, it was relatively easy - most of the time involved in making the bread is completely inactive, just waiting for the bread to rise, and the active time in making the bread was pretty simple.

The one bad thing about this bread is that it is so good and tasty, that CB and I downed a whole bottle of Valpolicella wine while we ripped chunks of bread from the loaf and ate them. I mean, really, what is more comforting than warm homemade bread and delicious soft red wine? Not much.

I got this recipe from a book that I bought recently called the Vegetarian Bible. Its a good book, and has a few real good recipes in it like this one.

Rosemary Focaccia
Ingredients | Makes 1 loaf

4 1/2 cups strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting (I used all purpose flour)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, plus sprigs for garnish
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for dusting
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 tsp coarse sea salt

1. Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl and stir in the yeast and rosemary. Make a well in the center, and pour in 4 tbsp of the olive oil, and mix quickly with a wooden spoon. Gradually stir in the lukewarm water but do not over mix. Turn out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 2 minutes. The dough will be quite wet; do not add more flour.

2. Brush a bowl with oil. Shape the dough into a bowl, put it into the bowl, and put the bowl into a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, until dough has doubled in volume.

3. Brush a cookie sheet with oil. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter and punch down with your first, then knead for 1 minute. Put the dough on to the prepared cookie sheet and press out into an even layer. Put the cookie sheet into a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 475F. Whisk the remaining oil with a little water in a bowl. Dip your fingers into the oil mixture and press them into the dough to make dimples all over the loaf. Sprinkle with the sea salt, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle the loaf with the remaining rosemary.

5. Lower the oven temperature to 425F and bake the focaccia for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly, then serve while still warm. Alternatively, let the loaf cool completely and reheat in a low oven before serving.

Rating - Damn Good

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Checking In and Zucchini Overload

Hi All. I've missed blogging so much since I've been laid off, but truth be told I just haven't been cooking that much; I've spent a lot of time at my father-in-laws place in Newport and also relaxing in Vermont and I've barely seen the inside of a kitchen in what feels like forever.

The time has actually gone by faster than I thought it would, it's been three weeks, and I feel like it was just yesterday that I was given my walking papers. I start my new job in three weeks, I'm terribly excited and nervous at the same time, this job is such a wonderful opportunity for me, and I just want to succeed at it so badly. Fingers Crossed!

When I got back from Newport on Sunday I had zucchini literally jumping out of the raised beds of my garden. So far I've picked 5 gargantuan zucchinis and it seems like there are new ones every day. The other parts of the garden have not been so fruitful. I've got a jalapeno plant that has about seven peppers on it, but none are ready to be picked, the six tomato plants I've got going are really big and bushy and have tons of flowers, but only one little tomato seems to be hanging on the vine. The cucumbers seem to be growing well, but just blossoms and no fruit, same for the red, green and yellow peppers and the summer squash. Salad greens though, I've got those coming out the wazoo, every night I pick garden fresh greens for a salad which is really cool.

So, yesterday - with the zucchini I made chocolate banana zucchini bread, which wasn't the bestc bread I've ever made, but still good. I'll blog that as soon as I take pictures of it. I've got a focaccia dough raising as I write this, and I think I'm going to try and make a zucchini parmesan dish to go with it, that should knock off a few more of the zucchini. Does anyone have any really good zucchini recipes that you can share with me? Otherwise I'm going to have to start drive by zucchini trips to all my friends and leave unwanted zucchinis on everyones doorstep.

Thanks for your patience while I try and get back on a blogging schedule. I really do miss writing this blog, I won't be away for much longer.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Laid Off

I was laid off on Wednesday. It sucks, but it's ok too. I'll be taking a little while off from blogging. Probably a week or two while I get my crap together and take some much needed time off. You'd think with being laid off I'd have even more time to cook, but it seems since I got laid off I'm busier than ever. Anyway check back in a week or so.

Take Care.